Robin Pope Safaris Press Reviews
Zambia and Malawi
NY Metro Resident, USA
Norma Davidoff says "It was a moment indelibly engraved in my brain. Zebras galloping through a swath of green alongside terraces at a hotel in Zambia. On our arrival at the hotel, a giraffe was loping along, munching leaves from the tops of tall trees. Zebras racing past guests at a posh hotel? Giraffes at its entrance? I felt like Alice falling into Wonderland. My companions, who had been to Africa before, pooh-poohed my excitement. “Oh, you’ll see so much more of this, and it will be so much better in natural surroundings.” Nevertheless, that startling incongruous scene was the perfect introduction to the magic I experienced in Zambia and Malawi." Norma visited Luangwa Safari House, Mkulumadzi, and Pumalani.
Malawi's first Big Five safari park
The Guardian UK
15 September 2012
With its first Big Five wildlife park, and a glut of new lodges, Malawi is taking on the big boys in the safari stakes. Rachel Williams finds out how Robin Pope Safaris make their Big Five dreams come true in Malawi
Vacations and Travel, Australia
Sue Watts talks about Zambia's safari zeal: Another protégé of Norman's is Robin Pope who, with his wife Jo, established Robin Pope Safaris (RPS), renowned for its walking expeditions, excellent guiding and luxury camps, including Nkwali, Tena Tena and Zambia's oldest, Nsefu.
Named after the tribal chief who first gave his land to conservation, Nsefu is an elegant, relaxing camp on a riverbank. Everything here seems chilled:
on a game drive, a giraffe comes close to our Land Cruiser, almost poking her head inside to satisfy her curiosity; a lion cub fights tiredness like a young child, shaking itself awake before flopping back onto its mum. During the day, elephants wander across the river and Nsefu's grounds at will; leopards loiter at night.
RPS has also been continuing Norman's tradition of community development - recently, it became the joint overall winner of the Responsible Tourism Awards in London's World Travel Market for the work it does with Kawaza Village, home to many of RPS' staff. Since the late 1980s, the village school has benefitted from donations from guests and RPS, and in 1997, it established the Kawaza Village Tourism Project, run by and for the local people.
Wandering around the village of mud and thatch houses, we see a woman making the local gin, enigmatically called moonshine, using a rudimentary condenser involving half a tyre, a pipe and a clay pot. I take a sip and almost burn my throat. It's fiery stuff.
Nearby, women and children pump water from the bore hole with lively disputes about whose turn it is next. Children as young as five balance 10-litre buckets full to the brim on their heads with consummate ease.
This African encounter is up close and personal
The Independent (UK)
19 February 2012
Robin Pope Safaris pioneered responsible tourism in Zambia via a unique partnership with the community. Sue Watt is impressed with the results, and visits Kawaza Village, as well as Nkwali and Nsefu.
Roar talent time
Sydney Morning Herald
11 February 2012
Sue Watt discovers walking safaris and night drives bring her even closer to the wildlife in a key national park.
A Southern African Safari in Zambia
Karen Lofty strongly feels that If you want to explore the allure of Africa and be seduced by a Southern African safari, head to Zambia..."
Five of the Best African Safari Lodges
Safari Special: best for Walking
BBC Wildlife Magazine
A herd of buffalos marches slowly towards the life-sustaining Luangwa River. Our guide signals us to keep still as the front animals stop to sniff the fresh morning air, their heads lowered, brown eyes staring intently ahead. Slowly, they resume their thirsty journey.
After watching them for a while, we walk on, too, stopping occasionally to enjoy the minutiae of the African Bush: a chameleon wobbling goggle-eyed along a branch, or a palm-sized spider huddling expectantly in a corner of her web.
South Luangwa is a superb reserve on so many levels. There is the Luangwa River, its sluggish bron waters passing through dry-season pools dense with hippos, and its tall banks pockmarked with the breeding holes of dazzling carmne bee-eaters. Then there are the night drives, renowned for their leapard sightings but also good for other 'nocturnals' such as the handsome genet, twitchy-nosed elephant-shrew and quill-rattling porcupine.
But South Luangwa can also claim to be the home of the walking safari - whether it is a half-day hike or muli-day trek between fly-camps. Either way, you get to experience a richer Africa than the one you see from a vehicle: the zebras look bigger, the giraffes tower higher and, faced with the stare of a buffalo or trumpeting of an elephant, your sense of being an intruder is painfully, thrillingly manaifest.
Ten best safaris in Africa
The Telegraph (UK)
Monday 09 May 2011
Lisa Grainger promotes The South Luangwa, Zambia as one of The 10 best safaris in Africa. “Guests come not just because there is great game (everything but rhino, which were wiped out by decades of poaching), but great guides: Robin Pope (infrequently, now he has retired) and Deb Tittle at Nsefu...”
Spice Magazine of India
Yvette Cardozo says that, the high point of her trip to Zambia wasn’t watching nearly extinct white rhinos from 30 paces or seeing so many hippos in a river that she lost count, or walking next to zebras or the National Geographic moment when a leopard in a tree ate a freshly caught impala. ... It was dancing half the night with local folk in a village (Kawaza) after helping them gather firewood and then sleeping in their huts.
Getting nose-to-nose with nature If you go
March 15, 2011
Any trip that starts with an elephant sauntering past the front door of your lodge promises to be good. And it was, says Yvette Cardozo
Zambia’s got game
19 December 2010
The elephant showed up in Zambia at the Robin Pope Safaris’ Luangwa Safari House. Zambia is where you go in Africa after you’ve done the wildebeest migration with 30 other safari cars on the Masai Mara. Zambia is more intimate, says Yvette Cardozo. Robin Pope Safaris’ luxurious Luwangwa Safari House looks like an oversize Hobbit house with its flowing thatch roof and organic walls. Each of the four themed rooms is open (they put up bars and netting at night), with a front row view of meandering elephants, baboons, giraffes and more. We sat on the deck for lunch and watched as 14 elephants came to visit.
Life, death and resurrection
Once a lush wildlife wonderland, the Liuwa Plain in western Zambia flatlined at the hands of poachers and hunters. Now, like the proverbial phoenix, it is recovering from its misfortunes, animal by animal. Dale R. Morris visited this remote region to witness the process for himself.
The 10 best safaris in Africa
13 August 2010
Lisa Grainger highlights The South Luangwa.
"This isn’t the most beautiful spot on Earth. It can be very hot (over 100F/40C in summer), is thickly vegetated and lacks any outstanding geographical features. But it’s where, in the Fifties, professional game guiding began in Zambia – and it’s from here that some of the best walking safaris operate.
Guests come not just because there is great game (everything but rhino, which were wiped out by decades of poaching), but great guides: Robin Pope (infrequently, now he has retired) and Deb Tittle at Nsefu and Abraham Banda at Kapani Lodge.
With these pros at the helm, guests walk a few hours a day, stopping to learn about every moving thing en route, from the Big Five (such as buffalo) to the Little Five (buffalo weaver) and Plant Five (buffalo grass).
While walking is not for sissies (the big animals can, and sometimes do, charge), traversing the bush on foot is the best way to drink in the surroundings, to smell the dung-infused earth, to listen to elephants grumble and trumpet as they trundle, to watch dungbeetles roll their egg-filled balls, to spy on crocodiles digging nests in a sandy riverbank.
There’s no barstool I’d rather drink at than the deckchairs set up beside a Luangwa fire, and no shower as sensually thrilling as the simple bucket hung on the branch of a tree. This isn’t a place for lovers of iPods and spas; it is the earth as it has been for millennia, untouched and unspoilt."
The good game lodge guide
24 July 2010
Lisa Grainger rounds up the 20 best camps and lodges.
#3 Best for a private group: Chongwe River House, Zambia
An architectural one-off; a spacious double-storey, four bedroom thatched mansion on the banks of the Chongwe River, whose vast spaces include waterfall showers and bathrooms open to the elements. Guest can do whatever they fancy; fish and canoe in crocodile and hippo infested waters, drive or walk through the Lower Xambezi national Park with their provatye guide and armed ranger, swim in their pool - or hang out and enjoy the soaring blue mountains of the escarpment above, and the three-filled green lawns on to which elephants, monkeys and hippos often wander. An exclusive haven in one of the most beautiful spots in Africa.
#8 Best for walking: Luangwa Bush Camp, Zambia
Before he retired, Robin pope was one of the most admired guides in Africa. Deb Tittle is a worthy successor: she quietly but authoritatively brings the bush in the South Luangwa National Park to life. While staff set up camp, Tittle will guide you through forests, sandy river beds and grassland, stopping to admire animals, birds and plants on the way.
#13 Best family cultural experience: Kawaza Village, Zambia
A small village in the South Luangwa National park, Kawaza has two huts for visitors, and runs tailormade programmes that take in the witch doctor, chief, school and vegetable fields. Children love sleeping in a hut, drumming round the fire, and playing with local children.
Into the wild: On expedition with safari guru Robin Pope in Zambia
BA First Life
With just 400 visitors in a year, the Liuwa Plain in Zambia is one of Africa's most unique safari destinations. Sara Lawrence joins world renowned guide Robin pope for a lesson in nature.
Walk this way
Luxury Life (from NY Resident)
Lisa Loverro visits Zambia and stays at Nkwali and also visits Kawaza. [also online, starts at page 82]
Roar terror: If you want a good night's sleep in Zambia, beware of the lions...
20 March 2010
"Zambia possesses astonishing landscapes, luxurious lodges and wildlife in abundance" says Christina Patterson, who visits Chongwe River House, and Luangwa Safari House.
27 February 2010
Donald Walker meets many Scotsmen on his trip to Zambia, staying at the Safari Houses. "The safari house at Chongwe combines luxury with a touch of the Flintstones. Host Brendan – whose wife is from Crieff, good grief! – offered assurance that the ground floor bedroom was perfectly safe, despite the lack of an outside wall, leaving it wide open to passing elephants and hippos" ... "The impressive house (Luangwa Safari House), run by Robin Pope Safaris, has the feel of a castle and looks out over a lagoon where a waterhole is frequented by herds of elephants and journeys of giraffes. "
The perfect classroom: learn photo tricks on Zambian safari
Condé Naste Traveller
25 February 2010
Jenn Selby extols photo safaris with David Rogers: "Award-winning photographer David Rogers has spent the last 15 years of his life capturing stunning scenes of the South and East African landscape at hundreds of different locations. Now, he has teamed up with the renowned and extremely exclusive Robin Pope Safaris to offer his expertise on wildlife photography in the world's biggest classroom: the South Luangwa Valley of Zambia."
Explore Africa's hidden treasures
The Star (South Africa)
Winnie Graham compiles a list of choice destinations: ROBIN POPE SAFARIS, in Zambia’s 10,000km2 South Luangwa National Park, is dominated by the Luangwa River with a lagoon system and riverine woodlands. It offers excellent game viewing, both on foot or by vehicle, including elephants, some of the continent’s best leopard viewing, lion, buffalo and,more recently, a resurgence of the wild dog population plus more than 400 bird species.
There are three 12-bed bush camps, a couple of luxury safari houses and two- to five-day walking safaris with a mobile camp. Robin Pope Safaris recently opened a luxury lodge on Lake Malawi, Pumulani, and offers a bush and beach experience.
Private Clubs, USA
Jim Morrison goes on his first African trip and around every corner on the dusty trail another remarkable experience awaits. He sees more different animals than he could have imagined and is reminded of a quote from British travel writer Brian Jackman: "Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all." Jim also provides a summary of Zambia's National Parks
Chongwe River House and Luangwa Safaris House
Two one-of-a-kind guest retreats in Zambia are outfitted for roaming or relaxing. Architecture and Interior Design by Neil Rocher. Text and photography by Tim Beddow.
From the ground up
Travel Africa Magazine
While traditional tented camps continue to have a certain allure, the standard lodges of the past – simple, comfortable bases for safari explorations – are increasingly losing out to chic structures that have become attractions in their own right. One of the leaders shaping the accommodation evolution is designer Neil Rocher. Are his concepts derived from successful commercial models found elsewhere in luxury travel market? No, they are born from the very African soil on which they are built. By Matt Phillips.
17 September 2009
Duff Hart-Davis recalls "Elephants, baboons and a walk on the wild side in stunning South Luangwa"
My own private Africa
Staying on private estates in Africa is the smart way to travel. Lisa Grainger tracks down the biggest beasts and highlights Chongwe River House - "There's no other lodge like it in Africa.. It's nutty, It's eccentric, a cross between a Flintstones cave, a Gaudi sculpture and a thatched African homestead..."
The Plain Truth
Liuwa Plain is the stuff of myth: a remote, little-visited corner of Zambia that is reputedly home to one of Africa’s greatest animal gatherings. For years it was off the safari map. But now, with the help of some enterprising conservationists and operators, adventurous travellers can find out what all the fuss is about. Stephen Cunliffe took up the challenge."
The loneliest lioness
Metro, London, UK
22 April 2009
Meet Lady Liuwa, last of her pride, who's been alone for nearly 8 years.
Safari breaks: Beauty and the beasts in amazing Africa
Daily Mail, UK
18 March 2009
PRIVATE SAFARI: CHONGWE RIVER HOUSE, ZAMBIA
This unique house accommodates up to eight guests in eccentric ethnic splendour.
Custom-built around rough branches, it claims there isn't a straight line to be seen.
Apart from great style, Chongwe boasts excellent staff: a private chef will discuss each day's menu after you've plotted safaris, boat and fishing trips with one of your two guides.
And if you're worn out, you can always retire to your swimming pool.
No distractions, just splendid isolation
The Independent, UK
5 October 2008
To experience the African wild, you need to forget the outside world for a while. Adrian Mourby travels to two new retreats in Zambia and Malawi (Pumulani).
26 August 2008
Dave Donelson finds Five Glorious Getaways in the Heart of Africa and says "For rampant romance, take a honeymoon where luxury is elemental, the nightlife howls, and the wildlife is really, really wild" and " At Nkwali camp you can spot what may be the most graceful animal on earth." (find out which)
Roam a New Range
With neighboring Zimbabwe in turmoil, Zambia has emerged as the newest player in southern Africa's safari triangle. It shares Victoria Falls' thundering whitewater and the Lower Zambezi's hippo-studded canoe trail. But it's South Luangwa National Park that rivals Botswana's Okavango Delta, South Africa's Kruger National Park, and other celebrated wildlife haunts.
No one knows the Luangwa Valley better than Robin Pope — the Zambian-born bush guide was leading trips before anyone here had ever heard of adventure travel. In keeping with his unconventional — and acute — bush wisdom, Pope advises clients to come during the "Emerald Season," a six-month stretch beginning in November when spectacular thunderstorms roll through, swell the Luangwa River to its high mark, and leave the land a brilliant green and the sky an intense blue. Birds break out in breeding plumage, and elephants, zebras, and warthogs form nursery herds. Witness the local life cycle unfold during an eight-day floating, walking, and 4x4 safari. Candlelit dinners and South African vintages are served up nightly at Nkwali, the Pope family's 14-guest homestead.
Exclusive Liuwa Plains Safari
Travel World News
1 August 2008
Many travelers to Africa have heard of "Liuwa Plains" - the vast open grasslands in the far west of Zambia, but very few have been there.
Now Robin Pope Safaris in the South Luangwa, Zambia, is providing an opportunity to visit this immense wilderness. The Liuwa Plains is an enormous wilderness area, brimming with birds and home to huge numbers of animals such as pelicans, zebras, tsessebe, buffalo, hyena, cheetah and many more.
The landscape is completely flat and the skies vast – here you really are in the middle of wild, remote and isolated lands.
June 22, 2008
Robin Pope made his name as Africa’s hardest-working walking-safari guide, but we always knew there was a touch of hedonism about him. On Tuesday week, he opens Pumulani lodge. It’ll be positively decadent: 10 luxury villas overlooking the clear, warm waters of Lake Malawi. Great diving and snorkelling, with clouds of indigenous fish, but we suspect most guests will be be found sipping cocktails in the infinity pool.
The Hedge Fund Club Magazine,
Lucia Van der Post writes: "at Luangwa Safari House lunching under the huge ebony tree you are part of the drama of the bush. Out of the wilderness, long lines of elephants frequently come down to the marsh and lake (lagoon) in front of the house to drink."
"Chongwe River House looks over another sort of scene entirely – the Chongwe River, a tributary of the great Zambezi which is itself accessible a mere 10 minutes by motor boat (which comes with the house). Without moving from the sun deck you can see most of the vast menagerie of Africa’s wildlife at play. "
Work in a safari camp = cheap holiday
June 7, 2008
Serving guests rather than being one was a role reversal for Cath Urquhart - but a cheaper way to see Africa.
"I first visited Robin Pope Safaris in 2006 to interview Jo Pope about her work supporting local schools and jobs in this impoverished part of eastern Zambia. Jo and her husband, Robin, run a lodge on the banks of the Luangwa River. The main camp, Nkwali, sleeps 12 in six chalets, while parties of eight can hire Luangwa House, half a mile away down a bumpy track. It's an enormous safari house built three years ago from ancient leadwood trees and stone, with a thatched roof. "
"On this visit I had returned as a caterer, overseeing the cleaning and cooking at Luangwa House for wealthy, potentially demanding guests. My reward: time off each day to enjoy game drives and bush life. For a travel writer, accustomed to staying at some of the world's best hotels, it was a major role reversal - as a host, could I meet the standards that I would expect as a guest? "
BA High Life Magazine
Lisa Johnson reveals the best hideaways for great game spotting:
Robin Pope's Safari Houses in Zambia, have also been a well-kept secret with those in the know for the past few years. Guests can stay in a fully-staffed designer house with private pool and extensive grounds, as well as having guides and transportation 'on call' so that they can tailor-make their own experience.
17 May 2008
With its empty white beaches and clear water, Lake Malawi feels like a private paradise - although you might have to share it with the odd croc, says Isabel Choat
"Landlocked Malawi has been slow to develop its tourism - hardly surprising considering it is one of the poorest countries in the world. It also lacks the big draws of its neighbours - it may have sandy beaches but it doesn't have a coastline, the Big Five or sweeping plains or vast dunes. It only attracts between 150,000 to 200,000 visitors a year. Such small numbers hold no attraction for major investors but smaller, specialist companies are flourishing. Wilderness Safaris now operates five lodges and camps in the country, including Mumbo; and Robin Pope, the safari company that made its name in Zambia, is about to open 10 £400-a-night beachside villas (pumulani.com), their first in Malawi. Of course, these companies are foreign owned - in a country where nearly 90% of the population are subsistence farmers - how could they be anything else? But to their credit they take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously. "
One to Watch
Lydia Bell reports: "Safari Legend Robin Pope has opened a new lodge in Malawi, the perfect place to relax after going walkabout this summer. Pumulani has 10 rooms and private decks for watching the birds and sunsets. "
Safari for beginners
Food and Travel
Brian Jackman introduces this vast and vivid land, and highlights Nsefu camp. "Like most of Zambia's camps and lodges, Nsefu is owner-run, in this case by Robin Pope, Zambia's best known professional safari guide. Nsefu's cosy thatched rondavels come with shady verandahs and en-suite showers and wide-screen views of the Luangwa River. Why not combine a stay at Nsefu with a walking safari accompanied by an armed ranger? "
27 January 2008
Close to the Victoria Falls [at Chongwe River Camp], Karen Robinson finds herself even closer to an elephant nearly in the room. "Since our arrival in Zambia five days before, we had been as close to the wildlife of Africa as it’s possible to be while still enjoying good food and wine, comfortable rooms and attentive service. At Robin Pope’s establishments in the Luangwa valley, that’s pretty close. I didn’t even have to get out of bed at Nkwali Camp to see the Luangwa river, gleaming like mercury in the sunlight and home to more wallowing, grunting, snorting hippo than I could count."
20 Style Destinations for '08
20 January 2008
"MALAWI: Robin and Jo Pope helped put responsible tourism on the map in Africa. Robin is one of the continent’s most respected guides, and their safari camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa are just gorgeous."
"Still, a beach option would be nice. No sooner said than done – in the shape of Pumulani, on Lake Malawi, which opens in July. The romantic 10-room lodge overlooks its own creamy beach. Safari in the morning, then dip your toes in the water and snooze all afternoon."
100 summer holidays for '08
6 January 2008
"59: Branson goes there, Madonna goes there: Lake Malawi is becoming an unlikely celebrity playground. In July, Robin Pope, Africa’s leading safari guide, will open Pumulani camp on its southern shores: five hillside villas in spectacular surroundings, with fantastic scuba-diving to see unique fish species. It should make a cool addition to Pope’s famed walking safaris in the South Luangwa valley, Zambia. ... pricey, but, if Pope’s track record is anything to go by, you’ll get what you pay for."
Luxury Travel Magazine
In their review of what's new, Luxury Travel Magazine highlights Pumulani Lodge.
One of the top 101 hotels in the world
The Tatler Travel Guide
Chongwe River House is in Tatler Travel Guide’s 101 best hotels for 2008.
In 2007 Tena Tena and Luangwa Safari House were ranked among the top 101 hotels in the world by Tatler UK.
Luangwa Safari House ranked among the best 'Private Party' hotels:
"Zambia was in the spotlight this year with safari chief Robin Pope building two lodges. The first, Chongwe, is wonderfully eccentric, a sort of hobbit home. Luangwa, on the other hand, is a deeply elegant house perfect for friends or family. It sits on the edge of a seasonal lagoon close to South Luangwa National Park, one of Africa’s best game reserves: wild, out of the way, stuffed full of predators. Architect Neil Rocher, who had such success creating Shompole in Kenya, has merged the bush with the interior. Cathedral-style doors open onto a two-storey sitting and dining area. Thereafter, the house is exposed to the wilderness with a quartz-tiled terrace and plunge-pool – an ideal spot from which to watch elephants and giraffes at the lagoon. Each of the four bedrooms (two up, two down) has a different look – kill for the one with the copper bath – and its own terrace or verandah."
Tena Tena ranked among the best 'Camps' hotels:
"Africa without the pillow menus, the rose-petal baths or the cellars overflowing with Pétrus. Africa at its most exciting, its most old-school – long may the desire for all things retro reign! This is Robin Pope’s first and best camp. Pope rules the walking safari, and he rules it from here in Luangwa – possibly the wildest wildlife sanctuary in Africa, with the most game and the fewest tourists. If you want infinity pools, cutting-edge furniture or one of those flipping pod baths, don’t come. If you want a tent pitched under a mahogany tree, if you want to fall asleep to the sound of frogs, owls and lions, to wake and see a python wrapped around the tree above you, to eat by a lagoon while a leopard appears out of the darkness, then head here."
Holiday Hotspots: Where to go in 2008
31 December 2007
Mark Jones, under the heading "Where we'll be going", says: in July, the celebrated Zambian guide Robin Pope is opening Pumulani in July, a new lodge on Lake Malawi, set inside a World Heritage Site.
Best New Hotels for 2008
31 December 2007
Nicky Holford draws up a wish list, and in Africa, selects:
Pumulani, Lake Malawi, Malawi "On the west side of the Namkumba Peninsula on Lake Malawi, Pumulani - opening in July - is in Malawai's only national park. There will be 10 guest villas, with an infinity pool, with fantastic views from elevated terraces."
Where's hot for 2008?
30 December 2007
Amanda Marks, Managing director, fair-trade travel company Tribes, writes that "There's a lot of really good stuff going on in Zambia at the moment. It has always been known for its walking safaris but there's much more than that, from boating safaris on the Zambesi to excellent fishing. The lodges are fantastic, the guiding is wonderful, it's properly wild and a lot of tourism is done ethically, from safaris with people like Robin Pope and Norman Carr, to smaller operators - and the anti-poaching measures in Zambia are great."
The 53 Places to go in 2008
New York Times
9 December 2007
At #29 is Malawi: "Blame Madonna. Safarigoers tended to overlook Malawi, but that has changed since she began her effort to adopt a 1-year-old boy from this tiny African country that lies within the Great Rift Valley. Next July, the luxury lodge Pumulani is set to open 10 villas on spectacular Lake Malawi, home to rare cichlids and pied kingfishers."
30 November 2007
(also in Berliner Morgenpost)
Wolfgang Merkel writes: Sambia, das ist noch besser als bei Daktari.
Lassen wir den Geländewagen einfach mal stehen. AuchSafari-Bustouren sind in Sambia verpönt. Stattdessen wandern die Urlauber, begleitet von bewaffneten Rangern, zu Elefanten, Büffeln und Leoparden. Auch wenn es manchmal etwas Überwindung kostet. Denn wer will schon als Krokodil-Futter enden?
My Private Africa
25 November 2007
So we’re all au fait with renting a cottage in the Lakes or a villa on the costas. How about trying it on a safari? Brian Jackman explains...
Aaronovitch on a family safari of Zambia
27 October 2007
In the company of lions, elephants, hippos, hyenas and countless exotic birds, David Aaronovitch and family get in tune with nature.
Leave your worries behind: Tourists are relaxing and relishing a wildly diverse continent
26 August 2007
David Swanson investigates Africa Safaris, and discusses the myth that Safaris aren’t suited for families.
"Robin Pope Safaris in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park designs learning programs for children 7 and older. On guided nature walks, they are taught how to identify various animal paw prints and droppings and they learn to use spotlights at night to track game. On a visit to a village school they meet Zambian children, collect eggs from the hen house, and bake cookies in the camp kitchen."
Ellies at the Bottom of the Garden (link to PDF copy)
Financial Times How to Spend it
Home of the walking safari, Zambia juxtaposes the excitement of raw African bush and night drives, with lodges for your exclusive use, says Lucia van der Post
The Hot List 2007
Condé Naste Traveller
"Zambia has never seen the likes of Chongwe River House, and is unlikely to see it again. This extraordinary private villa was designed by Neil Rocher, who made his name with the Shompole camp in southern Kenya. The building is a free-form, undulating structure moulded around the organic shapes of twisted branches: a cartoon cave dwelling fit for Barney Rubble, with an LED-lit water feature and a tree trunk for seating in the living/dining room. In profile, the house appears to have sprouted sci-fi wings: soaring structures surrounded by fans of wooden spikes rise above the two upstairs bedrooms, which sit directly above two further bedrooms downstairs. There are no doors or glass in the windows; baths and showers are open-air. The house is co-owned by Robin Pope Safaris and Chongwe River Camp, on whose land it has been built at the mouth of the Chongwe River, a tributary of the great Zambezi. The house and lovely swimming-pool terrace face the Lower Zambezi National Park, with its dramatic escarpment backdrop, just across the river. The house is in effect a private safari camp with its own management couple, Garth and Lindsay Hovell, a chef, butler and guide. There are also fishing boats (Garth is a keen fly fisherman) and three Canadian canoes."
Five Best: Safari Villas
Independent Traveller (UK)
1st April 2007
Rhiannon Batten hightlights Luangwa Safari, House Zambia: "This stunning, four-bedroom house is set on the edge of a seasonal lagoon, overlooking elephant, giraffe and other local game. Built around 25 old leadwood trees, it is one of the most dramatic private safari properties. Rooms are arranged around an open-sided "great room", with squishy sofas and a huge marble table, looking out on to a terrace and pool. There is also a game-viewing deck, or you can perch on the upstairs balcony and survey the bush and the distant Chindeni Hills."
Deb Tittle: "A Brit, Deb worked in France and South America before Africa claimed her for its own. She's now top guide with Robin Pope Safaris, the apex of walking safaris in the South Luangwa, Zambia. To experience the bush without the sound of the internal-combustion engine is sensational. You're unlikely to see lion or leopard - reassuring or disappointing, depending on your nerve - and to be with a young woman in the bush is rather different. It becomes a gentler place of small things."
The Last Real Africa
National Geographic Traveler
World-famous wildlife photographer Frans Lanting and his wife, Chris Eckstrom, team up to bring you the real African safari. We're not talking fancy lodges and butler service. We're talking the real deal -- a chance to see amazing wildlife in its natural habitat and an opportunity to reconnect with the land. Zambia's lightly visited, wildlife-rich Luangwa Valley is a place with a powerful safari personality shaped by several generations of strong-willed and farsighted individuals living and guiding in one of Africa's great wildlife strongholds. Trust us, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
October 2007: The Society of American Travel Writers announced the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism winners. Among magazines, National Geographic Traveler won five awards, including the Bronze winner Christine K. Eckstrom, for her article “The Last Real Africa,” in the March-April 2007 issue of National Geographic Traveler."
To Find the Real Zambia, It Took a Village
25 March 2007
Bill Brubaker visits Kawaza Village, and the School, and also meets a traditional healer.
(Also published in the Miami Herald, 1 July 2007)
Wet and wild
The Times Online
18 March 2007
Everybody goes on safari in the dry season; but are we missing a trick? Mark Hodson visits Zambia at the ‘wrong’ time of year to see why wetter is better
East African Safari takes the long route
11 March 2007
Margaret Backenheimer recommends the South Luangwa Valley ("one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa"), and our Walking Mobile Safaris "Each day, naturalist-led hikes reveal the plants, birds and animals of the bush in the company of an armed scout to assure safety."
Lie Back and Think of Africa
London Evening Standard
25 February 2007
Jo Fernandez writes: " The Chongwe River House, in Zambia's Lower Zambezi, is architecturally fantastic — made from ferro (cement) walls and wild wood, it follows the natural lines of the branches used. Think The Flintstones meets design hotel, as inside nature mixes with silky interior touches: furniture carved from a fallen winterthorn tree, waterfall showers, taps carved from bone and wood, handmade copper baths and white marble basins. The main room on the ground floor is built over low bridges across the water, with views across to the deck and swimming pool, while the bedrooms are entered through tunnels. Just opened last year, the property has its own chef and there is even a private butler, on hand to deliver your morning tea or your evening G&T."
Those feet are made for walking
Sunday Times, Travel & Food. (South Africa)
January 28 2007.
Gisela Williams writes: "Tourism in once dirt-poor Zambia is booming on the back of the woes of its southern neighbor. Gisela Williams checks out some top lodges.
Go on safari in Kenya or South Africa and you’ll likely encounter rows of tourist buses armed with shiny zoom lenses all aiming at the same sleeping lion. It’s a different world in Zambia, and not only because its game reserves are as yet unspoiled by mass tourism. This is the home of Africa’s best walking safaris, and instead of driving for hours in search of the big five, you explore the bush on foot."
A refresher course in simple pleasures
The Sunday Times
21 January 2007
A safari trip to the wilds of Zambia evokes childhood memories for Sandra Howard
"Robin Pope is a remarkable man. He spreads such a sense of calm; we were out walking in the unspoilt wilderness of the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia, a handful of trusting guests, miles from the comparative safety of truck or Land Rover, prey for any passing kings of the plains, but feeling completely secure"
Sleeping under African skies
21 January 2007
Lisa Grainger returns to Africa in search of luxury safari camps that allow guests to bed down under the stars.
"Robin Pope, one of Africa's legendary guides, has been in the Luangwa Valley since the 1960s so he knows it intimately. His nine-day bush safaris are on foot, taking in wild grasslands, thick ebony groves, the Luangwa River and vegetable ivory palms with an armed guide, before hunkering down at night at a remote camping spot. There is plenty of time for star-gazing – camps are in the middle of nowhere, with sundowners and dinner taken under the Milky Way in beautiful parts of the country, and nights spent under mosquito nets, or tents, after moonlit bush showers under a tree."
The Complete Guide To: Luxury Safaris
The Independant (UK)
20 January 2007
"Seclusion is also offered at Robin Pope's new Palmgrove Bush Camp in Zambia's Luangwa valley. It's not as lavish as a boutique lodge experience, but this is as cool as bush camping gets, with proper tents, mattresses, sheets and blankets, bucket showers and a full bar and food service."
My Life in Travel
The Independant (UK)
20 January 2007
Sophie Lam asks Giles Foden, Where has seduced you?
"Africa. I remember going to a particular ebony grove in northern Zambia a few years ago. We had a wonderful safari guide called Robin Pope, who made us sit down and be quiet. It was a very moving if not eerie experience. One felt that human beings and animals had been coming to it for thousands of years."
Avontuur in Afrika
De Telegraf, Reis Special. 6 January 2007.,
Daphne Van Rossum writes: In het schitterde en onontgonnen ostelijk Zambia zij er op drie plekken door de plaatselijke gemeenschap landelijk gelegen lodges gebouwd, waarin je voor dertig euro per nacht letterlijk tussen de wilde dieren slaapt. Er wordt door de plaatselijke bevolking voor je gekookt en bekeerde stropers nemen jemee op een avontuurlijke wanselsafari en vertellen’s avonds bij de barbecue hun spannende levenverhalen. Alle opbrengsten vloeien netjes terug in de gemeenschapskas. Zo drag je tijdens je vakantie ook nog een steentje bij aan de locale economie. En dat je dan vanuit de bushcamps nog heel wat wilde dieren (o.a. zebra’s, buffels, impala’s, elanden en wrattenzwijnen) tegenkomt, is helemaal mooi meegenomen. Al kan een treffen met een paar pas bevallen olifanten wat minder aangenaam uitpakken…..
Weelde in het wild
Het Financieele Dagblad, FD Persoonlijk. 6 January 2007
Babette Verbeek writes:. “Zulke lieflijke beelden moeten door engelen met bewondering zijn aanschouwd tijdens hun vluchten.” Die verwondering, meer dan 150 jar geleden opgetekend door de ontdekkingsreiziger David Livingstone bij het zien van de Victoria Falls, slaat nog steeds toe.
One of the top 101 hotels in the world
The Tatler Travel Guide
Tena Tena and Luangwa Safari House have been ranked among the top 101 hotels in the world by Tatler UK.