November 2, 2017 | Robin Pope Safaris
Whilst wintertime in the UK is known for plants dying back, trees losing their leaves and many species taking to hibernation, the very opposite is true of Southern Africa, where the winter months herald new life. This ‘emerald’ season, around Christmastime, is a period of revitalisation: buds burst into new growth, skies are dramatic and bright and colours are vibrant, as green foliage plays host to the purples, pinks and yellows of freshly blossoming flowers.
The Christmas season also sees an influx of migratory birds. Expect storks, cuckoos and other beautiful species, such as the Angola pitta. The air will also be alive with colourful butterflies flittering daintily. The plains and grasslands offer the perfect setting over Christmas for excellent game viewing experiences, with ample wildlife uninterrupted by tourists, providing a more exclusive and authentic safari experience.
The renowned Robin Pope Safaris, the operator that owns and runs top-class camps and lodges in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, suggests the best places to stay this emerald season:
Luangwa Safari House, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
This impressive private house sits gracefully on the edge of a lagoon system frequented by large herds of elephants, impalas, giraffes and countless other species against the backdrop of the magnificent Chindeni Hills. The ultimate in luxury, the property has an airy and graceful feel, with the front of the house entirely open, and great ceiling heights adding to the sense of space. With four en-suite bedrooms, an expansive veranda and plunge pool, Luangwa Safari House provides a home away from home experience for families or groups this festive season.
The house is priced from $3,600 per night (based on eight guests sharing, i.e. $450 pppn) in November and December.
Set on a hill bordering the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and overlooking unspoilt bush, Stanley Safari Lodge is just three kilometres from Victoria Falls and offers spectacular views at every turn as well as providing the perfect base for taking part in local activities. Offering the ideal combination of relaxation and adrenaline, the lodge boasts ten individually-designed private cottages and rooms, four of which are suites (two open and two closed) that offer a private plunge pool and private deck or terrace. The atmosphere of the lodge is tranquil and intimate, with the service entirely personalised.
During November and December, a cottage is priced from $415 per person per night (based on two sharing) and a suite is priced from $460 per person per night (based on two sharing).
Situated on the west side of the Nankumba Peninsula on the southern end of Lake Malawi, Pumulani, meaning ‘place of rest’, is an exclusive lodge that blends seamlessly with its environment. Relax on the beach, admire the breathtaking views from the infinity pool or get active with water-skiing or wakeboarding; this is a beach holiday with a difference. The perfect African beach lodge, each of the ten villas has a large bedroom opening onto a private deck, with private bathroom and lounge area, and there is also a central restaurant and the only ‘Stargazer’ telescope in Malawi, providing opportunities to discover the glittering constellations above.
A villa is priced from $350 per person per night (based on two sharing) from November to January.
The perfect mix of splendid isolation and first-class facilities, Mkulumadzi is the dream hideaway for rest and relaxation in the Majete Wildlife Reserve. Surrounded by 7,000 hectares of private concession in Africa’s Great Rift Valley and situated in the only park in Malawi to boast the ‘Big Five’, the lodge provides the only luxury accommodation in the reserve. Mkulumadzi has eight beautifully light chalets, set on the banks of the Shire River, shaded by giant leadwood trees and wild mangos, each with spacious living quarters, a private viewing deck and an outdoor shower. This perfectly serene setting offers the ideal retreat for the festive season.
A chalet is priced from $350 per person per night (based on two sharing) in November and December.
Robin Pope Safaris has properties in Zambia (South Luangwa National Park and Victoria Falls, Livingstone), Zimbabwe (John’s Camp, Mana Pools) and Malawi (Pumulani, Lake Malawi and Mkulumadzi, Majete Wildlife Reserve).
For further information and trip ideas, see www.robinpopesafaris.net.
All prices are quoted in US Dollars.