North Luangwa National Park, Zambia
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View images of Mwaleshi Camp: Mwaleshi
MWALESHI CAMP RATES: Mwaleshi Camp
NORTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK, ZAMBIA
Mwaleshi Camp is situated on a scenic bend of the Mwaleshi River,
a clear water perennial stream feeding the Luangwa river in North
Luangwa National Park, a remote area of Zambia
renowned for its large population of lion, huge herds
of buffalo and endemic Cookson's Wildebeest. The remoteness of
the North Park is enhanced by the lack of roads.
Miles from anywhere, the outside world melts away as nature surprises,
delights and soothes the senses.
This remote and rustic camp is for the
safari enthusiast who wants to feel the earth beneath their feet. Game
viewing at Mwaleshi is only on foot, led by a highly skilled and armed
ranger, but bring a bathing suit for the occasional
refreshing dip in the Mwaleshi
at the Mwaleshi Falls.
The North Luangwa and Mwaleshi are not
for everyone, but for those seeking a true wilderness experience in
a remote and intimate safari camp, under the guidance of some of Zambia's
'bush folk', it's hard to imagine a camp more perfect than Mwaleshi.
The North Luangwa National Park is a
35 minute flight from Tafika or 45 from Mfuwe. Notable differences
to South Luangwa are the remoteness (very unlikely to encounter other
visitors), large population
of lions and hyenas, and the beautiful clear Mwaleshi river in which
you can safely bathe.
Mwaleshi Camp is seasonally operated
from 15 June to 31 October.
images of Mwaleshi Camp, click Mwaleshi
Mwaleshi is a grass pole bush camp which accommodates up to eight guests
in four thatched reed chalets. The four chalets are hand built and
finished with local reeds in hues of orange and gold in harmony with
The walls at Mwaleshi Camp are built
only half way up and are then open to the ceiling, giving that
inside/outside feel. The chalets contain large comfortable beds
and en-suite flush
toilets but no running water, which is provided in jugs for use
in hand basins. There are two shared use showers with views across
the river and
if you have never tried
an outdoor shower, you will love the feeling.
is no electricity in camp and lighting is provided by solar storm
lanterns but the sun does provide
power for refrigeration.
All the chalets at Mwaleshi Camp
look towards the Mwaleshi River where the presence of hippos is
by charismatic grunting. The nights in the
Luangwa are pure magic - secure beneath cool cotton sheets and
net, you are lulled into deep
sleep by distant lion grunts and hyena whoops fading
into the night.
Mwaleshi boasts an excellent manager/guide,
bush chef, armed escort scout and a well trained camp
Meals include an early morning
light buffet before departing on your
viewing activity, a buffet lunch and a delicious dinner
under the night skies in the company of fellow guests and guides.
After dinner, guests usually gather for
drinks around the fire
to conclude the day.
All safaris at Mwaleshi Camp are conducted on foot, which
is the traditional way of exploring the area. Excellent guides
lead the way through this scenic area bisected by the Mwaleshi
River and one travel writer rated a swimming trip to the
Mwaleshi Falls as one of the 'Top highlights in Zambia'.
With virtually no roads in
the entire North Luangwa National Park, almost all game-viewing
is done on foot, accompanied by a highly skilled
guide and an armed game scout. Guests should not
expect to see as much game as they would at camps offering
but the encounters are more intimate, and the sense of
wilderness unrivalled. The birding
here is also fantastic.
All safaris are
led by very experienced guides - dedicated conservationists
with a special talent for sharing their love of the bush
Trips to the Bangweulu Swamps, famous for the
Shoebill Stork and thousands of Black Lechwe can be organized
from Mwaleshi Camp.
The Luangwa Valley is a beautiful,
mostly untouched wildlife sanctuary in the heart of
Southern Africa. It is an extension to the Great
East African rift valley, the main arm of which runs
to the east of Zambia, containing Lake Malawi. The
Luangwa River rises from the dramatic Mafinga Mountains
in the northeastern corner of Zambia, which reach up
to 7,500 ft above sea level. The flat-bottomed valley
runs from northeast to southwest and is clearly defined
to the west by the beautiful Muchinga escarpment.
All in all, the ecology
of the Luangwa Valley is extraordinary.
seasonal variations, a dynamic river system, fertile
soils, lush vegetation, prolific wildlife,
a perpetual contest between the elements, hunter
and prey. These are the inter-related ingredients
that comprise the Luangwa Valley and engender its
unique atmosphere. This is classic Africa.
valley experiences two distinct seasons, the Dry
Season from May to November, and the Green
December to April.
Green Season: The
build up of huge banks of cumulus clouds brings an
atmosphere of excitement and promise to the valley.
When these life-giving clouds break the tension by
spilling their bounty over the parched landscape
the relief is vibrantly tangible. Almost overnight
the valley is transformed into fresh green parkland
and there is an overwhelming sense of regeneration.
Temperatures fall away from their October peaks.
March, the entire valley has been completely
transformed. The meagre stream has become a
brown, surging torrent
200 metres wide, the deciduous woodland is luxuriantly
green, the grassland is almost impenetrably dense
and the impressive concentrations of elephant, buffalo
and hippo disperse over a large area. Most of the
becomes waterlogged and inaccessible. The spectrum
of bird life has also changed. In October and November
a number of migrants arrive, contributing new colour
and sound to their summer haven. Heronries abound
and the yellow billed storks form a spectacular breeding
colony containing several hundred nests.
Dry Season: By May the last rains have
fallen and the blue sky is clear but for a smattering
of puffy white clouds. Ground water is still plentiful
and the vegetation is thick, but areas that have been
unreachable throughout the rains now start to become
accessible. During June and July temperatures fall
to their lowest, although they would rarely go below
10/11 degrees Centigrade. The days are glorious - warm
and sunny. Thereafter the thermometer rises until the
heat is alleviated by the onset of the next rains,
which usually arrive in November.
October is normally
the hottest month with maximum temperatures of about
37 degrees Centigrade. There
is virtually no precipitation during this season
and by October virtually all outlying water has dried
The valley's herbivores are irresistibly attracted
to the riverine belt and endure great hardship during
their agonizing wait for the fresh rains. It is a
time of plenty for the carnivores and the concentration
of game around the river makes for
Luangwa is home to most of the big game - lion,
buffalo and hippo are abundant.
It is notable for two endemic species: Thornicroft's
Giraffe and Cookson's Wildebeest. Cheetahs have been
recorded but are rare. Black rhino, although once common,
are sadly no longer seen. There are few, if any, rivers
in Africa that contain such a high concentration of
hippos and crocodiles. Night drives reveal many fascinating
mammals including civet, genet, mongooses, bushbaby,
serval, porcupine and aardvark.
Over 400 hundred
species of birds have been recorded in the Luangwa.
to Mwaleshi, specials include White
winged babbling starlings and Fulleborn's
Longclaw. At Tafika (sister
camp to Mwaleshi located in South Luangwa National
large flocks of Crowned Cranes and the Yellow billed
colony are incredible sights. Pel's fishing owls
and Bat hawks are also regularly seen.
John Coppinger was born
and raised in Zambia, educated in Zimbabwe and
his way round the globe
from the diamond mines of South West Africa (now
Namibia) to the oilfields of the North Sea and
Iran. He returned
to Zambia in 1984 to pursue his lifelong dream to
work with wildlife. After 12 years of working in
Valley he and his wife Carol created Remote
Africa Safaris in 1995. Their two children, Christine
and Jenny, were both born and raised in the Luangwa
Valley and Tafika Camp in
South Luangwa remains their home.
Coppinger was born and raised in South Africa.
She qualified firstly as a Radiographer and subsequently
attained a Computer Science degree. She was first
introduced to the bush in 1981 when she joined
John on an extended safari through the region.
She sacrificed a promising business career and
moved to the Luangwa with John in 1984. Both her
children were born and raised in the Valley and
Carol home schooled them at Tafika until 2001 when
they entered boarding school. In addition to this
impressive feat she keeps the company accounts,
supervises the camps' catering and re-supply, manages
the Mkasanga School Fund and runs a clinic. In
her spare time she entertains the guests!
- SOURCE OF THE LUANGWA SAFARI
Coppinger has for
many years been obsessed
with reaching the source of the Luangwa River
- a river he has worked alongside for twenty
This river (that many know as a shallow, meandering,
wildlife paradise) rises in the Mafinga Mountains
on the border of Zambia and Malawi. In November
2002 John finally made it to the source (a tiny
clear water pool high in the Mafingas) and, in
conjunction with David Foot of the Nyika Safari
Company, would now like to offer the opportunity
to others to reach the source of this famous
river on a "Source of the Luangwa Safari."
and David are offering two departures in 2004 (one
in June and one in October), each lasting approximately
2 weeks in duration. The
safari will take in the Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
and the Nyika National Park in northern Malawi
before a two night hike to the source of the Luangwa.
David will lead this section of the safari before
the safari continues into the Luangwa Valley first
stopping at Mwaleshi Camp in the North Luangwa
National Park and ending at Tafika in the South
Luangwa National Park.
is as follows:
Safari Camp, Vwaza Marsh (2 nights)
Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park (3 nights)
Source of the Luangwa Hike (2 nights)
Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park
Mwaleshi, North Luangwa National Park (3 nights)
Tafika, South Luangwa National Park (3 nights)
rates are fully inclusive of all accommodation, meals, safari activities
on the Nyika), drinks, laundry, park entry
fees and all domestic air and road transfers starting
and finishing in Lilongwe.
would suit anybody who would like to visit
these great game parks and in particular
perhaps those who already know and love the Luangwa
Valley. However participants will have to be fit
and used to hiking as it is an 800 metre ascent
to the source and camping will be rough and simple
on top of the mountain. In June there will be a
wonderful clarity of light in the mountains of
Nyika and the Mafingas so ideal for photography
whilst in October game viewing will be top class
being late in the dry season and there will be
the added attraction of the wildflowers of the
Nyika as well as the migratory and forest birds
in the highlands of the Nyika and the Mafingas.
On the exploratory trip to the source, four Sharpe's
starlings were seen - a new record for Zambia!
Luangwa Camps & Lodges Return
History and General information about Zambia, click More
further information about the National Parks of Zambia, click Zam