Monday, August 11, 2008

Grace Epitomized at Nkwali

Giraffes may be the most graceful animals on earth. As you watch them amble through the bush looking for tasty leaves high in the acacia trees, it’s easy to forget your cares and let their serenity carry you away. You'll see plenty of them at Nkwali Camp, which is directly across the river from South Luangwa National Park, home to the unique Thorneycroft’s giraffe.

Nkwali GiraffeA typical day at Nkwali begins with a light breakfast served around the campfire, followed by a game walk or drive with a guide and armed ranger among a huge population of elephant, buffalo, lion, impala, bushbuck, eland, and more bird species than you can count. Then you’ll take a mid-morning break for tea, coffee, and cake toted along by your porter, perhaps while you watch the hippos cavort in a scenic lagoon. You’ll return to camp for lunch, a swim, and a siesta before afternoon tea, then back to the trail for an evening drive to see wildlife you’ll only find at night. I’ll always remember my first leopard sighting—she had paused to drink from the river under a full moon and was reflected perfectly in the black water.

Nkwali Camp only accommodates 12 guests. The cool, spacious chalets are woven bamboo and thatch. For a real treat, ask for the honeymoon suite, which is extra large with a sitting room, bath, and king bed. The bar at the camp is built around an enormous ebony tree and the separate dining area overlooks a small lagoon that often attracts elephants and bushbuck. Visits to a nearby village and school can also be arranged.

The nightly rate is $550 per person inclusive of all meals, drinks, laundry, activities, and airport transfers. Mfuwe Airport is 45 minutes away.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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