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As Liuwa Plain is so remote and difficult to get to, one of the best ways to access this National Park is by travelling with an experienced safari guide who knows the area and his team of well trained camp staff. To make it more affordable, they run set departure safaris which run on fixed dates and take a maximum of six guests or will take up to eight guests if one wants to book a completely exclusive safari.
Robin Pope, one of the best and most accomplished guides in Zambia, led expeditions into the plain during the nineties but has not done so for ten years. He has never lost the yearning to return and so in December 2008 he started up safaris to this wilderness again. The camp is based at the African Parks camp Matamanene Camp, a 3* camp however providing the usual 5 star service that one would expect on a Robin Pope safari. Each safari is either 4 or 5 days and operate either in late November for 2 weeks or from May to mid June.
From Lusaka, you take a charter flight to Kalabo which will take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours depending on the aircraft. The first half of the flight is over the extensive Kafue River flats - with water, reed and channels as far as the eye can see. After flying over the Iteshi Iteshi dam the landscape changes to sandveldt bush. Then you will see Mongu to the left and the Zambezi River and its surrounding flood plain. Kalabo is a further 10 minutes. You will be met by Robin or his guide and driven to the pontoon to cross the Luanginga River. The harbour seems to be the centre of this remote town and there is plenty of activity to watch. The drive to camp is two hours, firstly through woodland on sandy roads and then out onto the open plain. The game and birds will start to slow you down!
After settling in, lunch and a rest, the afternoon drive will take you out onto the plains. There will be a host of birds and wildlife to see. Sunset will be out on the plains accompanied with a well earned beer or G&T. You will then head back to camp for showers, the campfire and dinner.
Exploring the plains and woodlands is an amazing experience. Robin or his guide will take you out and with them you can either walk or drive. There are lagoons and waterholes, literally filled with birds. There are miles of open plains to drive through, finding a host of wildlife. The pattern of the days will vary but will be based around an early start with a light breakfast, returning for an early lunch. A siesta before afternoon tea and the afternoon drive. A sundowner out on the plains and then returning at dark to camp.
A great addition to this safari, is to extend to some time spent on safari at one of the camps in the South Luangwa National Park.