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Zambia Safari

Kapani Lodge

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Elephants on the bank of the Luangwa River, Kapani Lodge, Zambia
Return to South Luangwa Camps & Lodges                     Image © Norman Carr Safaris

View images of Kapani Lodge: Kapani Images

KAPANI LODGE RATES: Kapani Lodge Rates

Norman Carr Safaris operate Kapani Camp and several bush camps in the Luangwa Valley, ZambiaKapani is a beautiful, permanent lodge, situated on one of the many ox-bow lagoons in the South Luangwa. It is the ideal place for visitors to spend their first night in Africa, before moving on to the more rustic bushcamps.

Kapani Lodge is situated on a large lagoon beside the Luangwa River in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. Close to the main gate of the park, the lodge is about a twenty minute drive from Mfuwe Airport, ninety minutes or so flight to the East of Lusaka.

Although the Mfuwe area is busier than other areas of the park, it is still quiet compared with many other National Parks in Africa. The advantage of the tradition of camps in this area and the presence of people is that game sees the area as safe and is present in very high densities. Game viewing in the area is by vehicle, and South Luangwa is one of the few National Parks which allows night drives.

Norman Carr
Norman Carr is a conservation legend in the Luangwa Valley. He pioneered walking safaris in the Zambian bush in the 1950s and is widely regarded as the father of walking safaris. He spent over 50 years devoting himself to the development of the South Luangwa National Park. Norman built Kapani Lodge in 1986 and lived there until his death in 1996. Norman has probably been more influential in developing conservation policies and a wildlife tourism industry in Zambia than any other individual.

Accommodation            For images of Kapani Lodge, click Kapani Images
Accommodation consists of eight standard suites and two new Lagoon Houses, 20 beds all in all. The brick chalets have thatched roofs, spacious living areas, luxurious interiors and walk-in mosquito nets. The Lagoon Houses offer more spacious rooms, private views and elegant furniture.

The rooms are designed for the warmer weather with high ceilings, overhead fans and large gauzed windows, all with en-suite facilities.

Dining & Facilities
A thatched building in the centre of camp houses the bar and lounge area and is a pleasant place to relax between gamedrives. According to the season, dining is al fresco, with dinner taken on the terrace and brunch taken on a shady platform overlooking the lagoon. There are also a main chitenge with a bar and lounge area and a secluded swimming pool at the far end of camp.

The Luangwa Valley is regarded as the home of the walking safaris. During the dry season, those with a sense of adventure can set out on foot with a guide and armed scout for morning walks from Kapani or alternatively enjoy a more extensive foot safari utilizing one of the nearby bush camps.

Game viewing is in open 4 wheel drive vehicles or on foot, with activities being tailored around your requirements. Game viewing is exceptionally good during the dry winter months of June through October. Typically small parties are taken into the park twice daily in open vehicles. Night drives with a spotlight are one of the highlights of the Luangwa Valley, providing the opportunity of seeing nocturnal animals, particularly leopard, for which the area is renowned.

The Luangwa Valley has one of the highest concentrations of game In Africa. Due to the lush riverine vegetation and lots of water, large animal populations and a variety of birdlife can comfortably be supported.
Sightings of lion and leopard are common. Puku, while not widely distributed in Africa, are common in the Luangwa. With over 400 resident species, the Luangwa is a wonderful place to see birds at any time of the year. However, during the wet months, from November to March, many migrants arrive and the Luangwa becomes a Mecca for birders.

Elephants and hippos: The Luangwa is known for huge herds of elephants and large pods of hippos. Of the primates, baboons and vervet monkeys are prolific, but Maloney's monkey is scarcer. Present, but unlikely to be seen except on night drives is the nocturnal bushbaby. Hyenas are fairly common throughout the valley and their plaintive, eerie cry, so characteristic of the African bush can be heard on most nights.

Prides of up to 30: Lions are as plentiful in the Luangwa as anywhere else in Africa, but when a kill is made away from the central tourist area, the pride may stay away for several days and may not be seen by visitors on a short stay. Very often they roam in prides of up to 30.

Crocodile Heaven: Of the other carnivores present but not often seen is the caracal, wild dog, serval and side striped jackal. The Luangwa River also has an extraordinarily high number of crocodiles. It is not uncommon to see several basking on the riverbanks or even floating down the river tearing at a dead animal. Night drives are fascinating in the Luangwa. Not only for the chance of seeing a leopard but for the many interesting animals that only come to life at night. Others present are genets, civets, servals, hyenas, and bushbabies as well as owls, nightjars, the foraging hippos, honey badgers and lion.

Birdwatching - Over 400 species: Birdwatching is superb in the Luangwa Valley, with over 400 recorded species. Near the end of the dry season, when the river and oxbow lagoons begin to recede, hundreds of large waterbirds can be seen wading through the shallows. The red faced yellow billed storks move along with their beaks open underwater, disturbing the muddy liquid with their feet until the fish flop into their mouths. The pelicans tend to operate in lines abreast, driving the fish before them into shallows before scooping them up into their beak pouches. The striking 1.6m saddle bill stork makes quick darting movements into the water. Then there's the marabou stork, great white egrets, black headed herons, open billed storks and the stately goliath heron that can stand in the same position for hours before pouncing. Of the most beautiful are the elegant crowned cranes, with their golden tufts congregating in large flocks at the salt pans.

With about 400 of Zambia's 732 species of birds appearing in the valley, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is plenty for the birdwatcher to spot, whatever the season.

Special features of the South Luangwa National Park:
• Thornicroft's Giraffe
• 14 different antelope species
• Plenty of leopards
• 47 migrating bird species from Europe and Russia
• Birds of prey (i.e. Steppe Eagles and Buzzards)

The Kapani School Project
The Kapani School Project was established in 1986, its aim is to give an education to children who otherwise would not be able to go to school.

Yosefe School is the flagship of the project, and Norman Carr Safaris currently sponsor 40 children, giving them uniforms, books, pens and pencils, and also pay their tuition fees. The project has 34 students at various high schools all over the region; however, this sponsorship is more expensive as they have more elaborate uniforms, boarding fees, text books and transport costs. The project also has 4 students that have progressed to further education. The project originally chose not to send students to college since the costs were so high. A few years ago Kapani sent its first student to a teachers training college; today that woman is a qualified teacher and has returned to Yosefe School.

Yosefe School gets no grant from the government so the project also undertakes the maintenance of the school. Each year the general fund puts a bit aside for maintenance. Over the years Kapani has had several sponsors who wish to give money for a specific project; as a result they have been able to build 2 new teachers' houses, (the government will only allocate teachers to a school if there is suitable accommodation for them). They have also put in a borehole and a hand pump. Clean water is essential to good health and this borehole is a treasure not only to the school but also to the surrounding communities. They have also built a new classroom block and recently renovated the existing two blocks and replaced all the desks.

The project also teaches the children conservation awareness, twice a month groups of kids are brought into the National Park to watch the animals. The project also gives lectures on many conservation issues. The general attitude towards wildlife in the villages is negative, elephants destroy crops, lions eat people or livestock, and impala are just meat to eat. However due to Kapani's
efforts, it is very rewarding to see the changing attitudes in these young children. A couple of years ago they organised a tree planting competition and the winners were treated with a night at one of the Norman Carr bushcamps. They just loved it!

There is a lot of suspicion these days about so called “charities”; so much is spent on administration that not much is left for the intended purpose. The Kapani project is different; all members are volunteers and no one gets an allowance or a salary. Hence every penny generously donated goes directly to educate these kids.

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For History and General information about Zambia, click More Zambia
For further information about the National Parks of Zambia, click Zam Parks

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