Imogen & Den – Zambia (Sept 2017)

The aircraft door swings open and the late afternoon brings a breath of heat, bitter touches of bark and the rich, exotic drift of flowers, we shield our eyes as the dust simmers in the intense white sunlight…

Thank you Travel with Jules for creating another exceptional holiday and our second to Zambia with Robin Pope Safaris. Jules, we felt exceptionally well cared for from the initial booking process and coping with SAA’s rather problematic booking system, through to being updated about on-going changes to our travel arrangements. Your friendly and professional approach assured a wonderful holiday. Thanks so much. We are most grateful to the ground agents from African Tours during our flight transfers. Special thanks go to Michael, who helped us through an eventful and breathless connection at Lusaka. Rather than action the well organised Plan B, an overnight stay, we left our luggage to follow on and it arrived next morning! Thank you Luangwa River Camp and Robin Pope Safaris for all you did for us whilst we were without our belongings.

Both our lodge at Luangwa River Camp and tent at Tena Tena were spacious, comfortable and sparkling clean. We enjoyed sharing the space with geckos, tiny frogs and butterflies. In our open air bathroom, taking a shower was like standing in a warm, gentle cascade of summer rain. Yvonne and Jenny our lovely, welcoming camp hosts had a flexible and light touch with our daily routine. Along with our guides they held delicious communal dining experiences, we especially enjoyed the surprise bush breakfast and evening braai. 

We celebrated our wedding anniversary whilst on holiday and a big thank you to everyone who made it such a special occasion. There was a bubbling sense of fun and community between the staff, who were friendly, accommodating and provided an exceptional level of service. All our guides had a remarkable wealth of knowledge, passion for their ‘office’ and pride in the culture and history of the area. Being patient teachers with a lively sense of humour, they took great pleasure in our learning. Each guide gave an individual insight and varied experience of South Luangwa.

We were delighted to see old friends again and making new relationships. The school and village visits were unforgettable experiences. Please do go if you get a chance. Ireen, the head teacher, is an inspirational practitioner with an enveloping sense of empathy and fun. Her pleasure and great pride in the children is tangible. We learnt about the challenges facing the children, especially the girls and how the pastoral approach cares for and supports each student. We joined in the morning greeting and listened to the group singing, blending and harmonising with rhythmical hand clapping and dance steps.

Our morning walk was a rich, diverse tour of discovery, across the hot, arid bush land and under the shady, dappled cover of mahogany, ebony and sausage trees. The sweet smelling spice of early morning settled in the stillness. Being on foot we were introduced to an intimate view the environment, engaging all our senses. We learnt to recognise bird and animal calls, identify the different prints left by the wildlife along a sandy pathway above the river bank, seeing the story insignificant dried plant offered up a surprise. As I ran my fingers along the ridged stem, crushing the brittle leaves, a fresh, green aromatic taste and smell of basil flooded the air……