Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 8, 2013

New budget airline set to launch in Livingstone


Livingstone is set to become home to a new budget airline, Mukuba Airlines, to be launched later this year well in time for the UNWTO conference in August.

Travel.cnn.com reports:

While the past decade has seen a reported 60% increase in arrivals of regional and international air carriers to the Republic of Zambia, relatively few locals have been able to take part in the country’s air travel boom.

That will change if a group of Zambian aviation professionals and foreign investors can get its revolutionary vision off the ground.

According to a story this week in the Zambian Lusaka Times, the investment and operating group has announced the launch of Mukuba Airlines, said to be the southern African nation’s first budget carrier.

In a press statement, a company official said the airline will be operational within a few months, in time for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s General Assembly conference, to be held in Zambia in August.

Commenting on the “record numbers” of regional and international travelers in Zambia in recent years, Mukuba Airlines chairman and chief executive officer Mwansa Chalwe said the airline would target domestic travelers.

Zambians have been left “as spectators in their own country” according to the article, which also stated that Mukuba Airlines would “demystify and democratize air travel and emulate emerging economies like Brazil, India, Indonesia and others that have extended air travel to those who have never flown before, including domestic workers.”

The airline is also expected to improve the domestic tourism market by making destinations within the landlocked country more accessible to travel.

Mukuba Airlines will be based in the Zambian city of Livingstone, near the tourism center of Victoria Falls. It will operate French-built ATR 42-500 and ATR 72-500 turbo-prop aircraft.

Once the airline is up and running in Zambia, the management of Mukuba Airlines plan to look at opening new routes to elsewhere in Africa. Good news for Zambians and tourists alike!

Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 2, 2013

KK visits Lion Encounters in Livingstone


Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s first ever president (1964 – 1991), visited Livingstone’s Lion Encounter last month. The staff were thrilled to welcome the 89-year old and the cubs were on their best behaviour, charming the former president.

Kenneth Kaunda visits Lion Encounter

For more information or bookings to experience walking with the cubs contact info@victoriafallszambia.travel.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | March 14, 2013

Zambezi – the slow easy way…


Everyone usually associates the Zambezi with the mighty Victoria Falls, with wild water rafting and bungee jumping off the bridge in Livingstone. There is however also a slow, easy way to enjoy the river. WHL’s Ethan Gelber recently wrote this article, which appeared online on BBC Travel (http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20130311-take-it-slow-on-zambias-upper-zambezi):

“There is always much more to a tempest than its terrible thunderclaps. While all eyes and ears are trained on nature’s feistiest displays, a host of overlooked things work at gentler rhythms right alongside. It is no different with the Zambezi, the fourth-largest river system in Africa after the Nile, the Zaire and the Niger.
Of the Zambezi River’s full 3,540km length – running south and then east from northern Zambia all the way to the Indian Ocean via Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique – most travellers only experience its greatest wonder, Victoria Falls. Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, the “Smoke that Thunders”, the world’s largest falls channels the Zambezi’s impressive water volume into a 250km-long zigzag spectacle of rock-eating cataracts and steep-walled gorges perfect for the extreme adrenaline rushes of white-water rafting, kayaking, river boarding and more. Some people call the area, including the nearby twin towns of Livingstone (Zambia) and Vic Falls (Zimbabwe), the adventure capital of Africa.

Away from all this high-octane hoopla, however, the upper reaches of the river are just as enrapturing, albeit often in a more languid way. Unbeknown to most, you do not have to travel far from Victoria Falls for a complete change of pace. Just a few kilometres upstream are serene riverside lodges that allow for the easy ogling of birds and big game, including hippos, crocodiles, giraffes and elephants; while the calmer waters bring the more gentle pursuits of canoeing, drift rafting and river boating.

Tranquil water safaris
A water safari is an excellent way to explore the upper Zambezi. Glide along in a solo inflatable canoe; or, if you are more inspired by a group experience, take a seat in a large raft. With a paddle in one hand, camera in the other, your senses are bristlingly alert – undisturbed by the drone of a boat motor – to more than 350 bird species and the bush enlivened by munching, grunting and shuffling wildlife. When you make welcome landfall on the beaches of, say, Katombora Island, one of many on the upper Zambezi, you find sand so pure it squeaks beneath your feet.

Chundu Island, where the sand squeaks under your feet, is only accessible at low water.

Chundu Island, where the sand squeaks under your feet, is only accessible at low water.

As dinner cooks, watch the local villagers drifting past in their makoros(dugout canoes), the waters teeming with tiger fish. After a colour-wheel sunset, a canopy of stars decorates the skies.
When the water level is low, trust your guide to navigate the shallow channels and avoid the grumpy hippos. At high water times (February to May), even small rapids, while no challenge to negotiate, may set your heart aflutter.

A two-day trip, with half- and one-day options possible, can be organised though Bundu Adventures, located at Maramba River Lodge in Livingstone.

Relaxing river cruises
sunset Afr Princess
Several stately triple-decker catamarans ply the Zambezi’s waters, leaving from and returning to the landing of The Royal Livingstone hotel, just south of Livingstone town. Although built in the 21st Century, the African Queen and African Princess look like river boats from the early 20th Century, finished in teak and beech wood with polished-brass touches.
On both ships, seating for 80 to 120 passengers (depending on the boat) hardly detracts from the two-hour float along the river edge of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a perfect vantage point for spying wildlife. The animals are most active at sunrise and sunset – and the sunsets are unforgettable – but the cruise experience is lovely at any time of day.
In the evenings, the luxury liners share the river’s currents with “booze cruises”. This combination of sunset-viewing plus wildlife- and bird-spotting with an on-board barbecue and open bar have made river-borne evening entertainment options very popular on the Zambezi; try Taonga Safaris, whose launch site is at the River Shack, next to the Livingstone Boat Club.

Secluded river lodges
Rather than spending the night in Livingstone or Vic Falls, head out of town to a room on the quiet waterside fringe of the Zambezi. Mama Out of Africa and Kayube Zambezi River House are two self-catering and eco-friendly properties located on a 90-hectare private estate about 20km west of Livingstone that looks straight across to Zimbabwe’s Zambezi National Park, a treat to both bird- and wildlife-watchers.

Mama & Zambezi sunrise

Mama Out of Africa, parked right on the banks of the river under a large thatch roof, is an old bus converted into lodge for up to four people. Driven here from Germany many years ago and dubbed the “Okavango Mama” along the way, the bus has had many lives, including one as a mobile dressing room during the filming of Out of Africa. You could be relaxing where Meryl Streep or Robert Redford once sat. Surrounded by lawns and towering old-growth trees, the two-room Kayube Zambezi River House is a private luxury accommodation, complete with housekeeping staff.
Special local tours and activities can be booked from both lodges through in-house tour operator victoriafallszambia.travel, including private river safaris, guided visits to traditional villages, bike or horseback rides and, when accessible due to changing water levels on the river, picnics on the adjacent Chundu Island.”

Posted by: wildsidezambia | March 5, 2013

Wild Side’s Judith wins first prize in Safpar competition


Judith Phiri, Karien’s right hand lady at the Wild Side office in Livingstone, won the first prize in an education tour test organised by safpar on friday 1st March. The prize was a DVD LG player.

There were 16 participants from different lodges, hotels and tour operators. The tour of the new Raft Float package started with the Elephant Interaction followed by the Lion Walk.

Judith enjoying the new River Float package

Judith enjoying the new River Float package

Next came a gentle float in rafts down the Zambezi River, followed by a game drive through the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park.

Then it was exam time, with Judith coming out tops as the best consultant!

"Getting the 1st Prize on SAFPAR's Education Tour has really encouraged me more and made me realize how much I I've learnt while working at Wild Side Tours", said Judith.

Am so grateful to the organizers".

For details on the offerings available please email info@victoriafallszambia.travel.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 30, 2013

Kayube cheers BBC celebs


Hippos Ahead - Crocs Under Control! (photo Karien Kermer)

Hippos Ahead – Crocs Under Control! (photo Karien Kermer)

Surrounded by tv cameras and photographers, the celebrities made their way past the Mama Out of Africa and Kayube River House. The staff pulled out all the stops and sang and drummed to cheer them on.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 27, 2013

Spice Girl joins BBC’s Celebrity Challenge on the Zambezi


Dara O'Briain practising in the UK - he ain't seen nothing yet... (ph: Daily Telegraph)

Dara O’Briain practising in the UK – he ain’t seen nothing yet… (ph: Daily Telegraph)

Starting today, six well known Brits take on ‘Hell & High Water’, a 5 day, 68-mile stretch of the great African river in aid of ‘Red Nose Day’ Comic Relief. Melanie C, Phillips Idowu, the Olympic triple-jumper, comedians Dara O’Briain (one of the ‘Three Men in a Boat’) and Jack Dee as well as the Radio One DJ Greg James and actress Chelsee Healey are all household names in the UK.

They hope their efforts will help raise £1m to help educate children in Zambia.

Peter Kermers’ sturdy and fast 12 seater safari boat, the African Finfoot, is accompanying the trip as one of the safety boats. On day three the team will pass in front of Kayube, and flags and banners are ready to cheer the celebs and the entourage on.

The Zambezi river trip will be ‘self-powered’, with the team required to paddle for up to 18 miles each day. Each night will be spent wild camping by the banks of the river in a stretch of water that is known to have hippo and crocodiles, as well as poisonous snakes.

“If I had to choose between encountering a hippo and a black mamba, it would probably be the mamba – at least there I could try ducking it or avoiding it,” O’Briain said. “There is no antidote to being bitten by a hippo, put it that way.”

According to pre-trip publicity, the team “will push themselves to the limit… battling torrential downpours and negotiating rapids officially known as ‘Gnashing Jaws of Death’, ‘The Washing Machine’ and ‘Oblivion’.” The journey culminates near the Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall in terms of the amount of falling water.

Despite the fearsome billing, there is one aspect of the trip that O’Briain, also the presenter of Stargazing Live, is anticipating in particular. “The whole thing seems so overwhelming at the moment, it’s difficult to say what’s most exciting – but in the evening I am looking forward to looking up at some proper open skies.”

Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 21, 2013

The beginning of the golden age for Zambian conservation?


Zambia’s new Minister of Tourism recently banned all hunting in Zambia and at the same time showed her mettle by booting out corrupt officials out of ZAWA, the Zambia Wildlife Authority.

Following the total ban on hunting in Zambia, South Africa’s  daily, well read on-line ‘Tourism Update’, aimed at anyone and everyone in the travel industry, recently ran the article below:

“From hunting bans to the dismissal of senior wildlife authority executives, the new Zambian Tourism and Arts Minister, Sylvia Masebo has taken bold and controversial action in a bid to root out corruption and lay down a solid foundation for the growth of wildlife-based tourism in Zambia. 

In the past, safari hunting in Zambia occurred in Zambia’s Game Management Areas (GMAs) – communal lands that encircle the National Parks. Theoretically, these GMAs should have served as buffer zones by maintaining the hunting, settlement and agriculture in these lands at sustainable levels, while at the same time rewarding the community for engaging in conservation activity through tripartite agreements between the communities, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and the safari hunting companies. 

 But mismanagement has resulted in an underfunded ZAWA and failure to set sustainable hunting quotas in the GMAs. It is also believed that the communities have not yet received their full share of the monies from ZAWA.

As a consequence, in many GMAs there has been over hunting and the communities were under remunerated. This, in turn, has led to poaching and encroaching in the GMAs and on to the boundaries of the national parks over the years.  

 The leases for most of the GMAs expired at the end of 2012 and, during the tender process for new leases, these anomalies became apparent to government and, in particular, the dire conservation status of lion in the country. 

Lion Encounters are actively involved in conserving and reintroducing lion populations into Zambian game parks

 In December, Masebo sacked five senior officials from ZAWA, including the Director General, Edwin Matokwani. Then in January, during a stakeholders’ meeting, Masebo announced a ban on the hunting of lion and leopard with immediate effect, as well as the suspension of all hunting activities outside of fenced game farms in 19 GMAs for 2013. This bold move caused huge waves in conservation circles in Southern Africa.

 According to a press statement issued by Masebo, during this time government has committed to funding conservation activity in the GMAs while conducting a wildlife census on Zambia’s entire game area estate to establish current stock levels, as well as a review of the structures responsible for wildlife management. 

Many members of the Zambian tourism industry believe Masebo’s actions are a step in the right in the direction and could eventually result in tourism growth for the country.Stakeholders have also expressed hopes that opportunities in photographic tourism, which can earn many multiples more revenue and create more jobs than hunting can, will be explored”.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 9, 2013

Uganda’s former Vice President enjoys Livingstone


Wildside Tours was approached by the Kazibwe family wanting to spend a few days in a quiet spot in Livingstone along the Zambezi, with their extended family of 14 from Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Germany.

Among them was the former Vice President of Uganda, Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe.  “We all met in Lusaka for the Christmas holidays but couldn’t miss out on the Livingstone fun even if we had little time!”, said daughter Caroline Nansubuga who is based in Nairobi.

Their first choice was Kayube Zambezi River House but as that was fully booked Karien booked the family into the newly opened Camp Nkwazi, just upstream  from Kayube.

“Our Livingstone stay lasted two nights and was packed with action”, says Caroline. “The combo offer by the bungee company was very much loved by the boys in the group who all went for the slide, swing and bungee jump. Others went for the slide, including my courageous mom who enjoyed it very much and regretted not having gone for the swing at the end of the day as well! She has promised to be back soon with her friends to do the swing she says!

Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe & fam Dec 2012

Former Uganda Vice President Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe with her two sons Henry (right) and Julian (left). She is holding her granddaughter Kevina

 “Nothing much phases my Mom!

“The Victoria Falls were amazing. A very welcome refreshment on a hot day! We would have loved to stay longer”, says Caroline.

The Kazibwe family loved their stay at Nkwazi, thanks to Paul Oosthuizen and his family who own and manage the camp. “The boat cruise on the Zambezi was excellent, despite it being a bit cold. Paul knew a lot about the fauna found in the area. We really felt at home.

2012_1230ZambiaXmas20120036

Recently opened Camp Nkwazi on the Zambezi, half an hour outside Livingstone

“We highly recommend Nkwazi and Livingstone. Thanks to Karien for helping us with finding this lovely place to stay”, Caroline concludes.

For more information on the new Camp Nkwazi click here

For other swing and bungee jump stories click here (Judith, with video) and here (former minister Given Lubinda).

Posted by: wildsidezambia | November 21, 2012

… and another one


Luxurious and romantic

Toka Leya Camp lies within the Mosi O Tunya National Park is only 8 km from Livingstone Town. 12 spacious en-suite safari-style tents build on stilts with huge wooden decks and walkways. Be part of the bush in 5 star luxury.

Email info@victoriafallszambia.travel for more info.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | November 19, 2012

Need a bit of romance?


The Zambezi’s most romantic river lodges

The Zambezi is one of Africa’s most famous rivers, the fourth largest river system, after the Nile, Zaire and NigerRivers. The 3,540-kilometre-long river runs through six countries on its journey from central Africa to the Indian Ocean. It has its source in Mwinilunga in NW Zambia.

It’s most spectacular attraction is the Victoria Falls at Livingstone, where the water drops 400m into the Batoka Gorge down below.

The Zambezi is also known to be wildly romantic and Zambia is the only country along its banks that offers many different types of  accommodation – literally within feet of the river. In the Livingstone area alone there are at least 14 river lodges to choose from.

A beautiful room at Kubu Cabins

These are the top romantic spots:

 Tongabezi Lodge & Sindabezi Island

Livingstone’s original luxury lodge, Tongabezi Lodge is said to be one of the most romantic destinations in the world

 The River Club

The view over the pool from The River Club

Reminiscent of colonial times, The River Club has ten luxury thatched suites in a beautiful spot right on the river.  

 Thorntree River Lodge

Thorntree River Lodge is unpretentious and cosy, lovely and affordable.

 The Islands of Siankaba

Try the island life on the Islands of Siankaba with seven unique chalets all facing the river, near Chobe National Park.

 Natural Mystic Lodge

Set in a beautiful gardens, Natural Mystic Lodge is also close to the activities and attractions of Livingstone and Victoria Falls

 Chundukwa River Lodge

25 km upstream from Victoria Falls, the open-fronted chalets at Chundukwa River Lodge have stunning views of the river.

 Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

Waterberry’s great location on the banks of the ZambeziRiver is just 30 minutes from Livingstone and Victoria Falls, yet in the heart of the bush.

Kayube Zambezi Riverhouse

Experience what it’s like to have your ‘own home’ on the Zambezi. Self catering, two bedrooms with a pool within a meter of the river and overlooking the ZambeziNational park on the other side of the river.

 Mama Out of Africa

Perfect for two, this quaint river abode is reminiscent of the famous Out of Africa movie…

An early morning peak over the Zambezi from the Mama Out of Africa

Kubu Cabins

About half an hours’ drive from town, self catering chalets nestle under shady trees along the banks of the river, facing the National Park.

 Ideal for families, conferences or groups:

The Zambezi Waterfront

At just 5 km from the majestic Victoria Falls the Zambezi Waterfront caters is family friendly and suitable for all ages.

 David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa

Situated close to all the action around Livingstone, the David Livingstone Safari Lodge has 77 rooms and is ideal for groups or bigger families.

Hotels with direct access to the Falls

The Royal Livingstone Hotel

Spoil yourselves at this beautiful property,excellently situated along the ZambeziRiver, within close proximity of Livingstone town and Victoria Falls.

 The Zambezi Sun Hotel

Moments away from the Zambezi River with the dramatic torrent of The Victoria Falls adjacent as a natural backdrop and situated within the MosiOTunya National Park.

For more information on the lodges go to http://www.victoriafallszambia.travel/hotels-in-livingstone-river-lodges or email info@victoriafallszambia.travel.

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