The light-on-earth luxury camp along the Zambezi River offers two luxury lodges, allowing guests to experience Zambian culture
January 27, 2022: Nestled atop the Zambezi River banks on five hectares of remote wilderness in the eastern region of Lower Zambezi National Park, African Bush Camp’s Lolebezi, a new luxury safari camp, is a modern sight. With 3,300 feet of river frontage, the lodge and its contemporary, sleek design follow the river's undulating twists and turns.
Lolebezi will start welcoming guests from June 1, 2022. The striking location is vibrant with wildlife and draws from authentic traditions to provide Zambian hospitality that is unpretentious, and unique.
Lolebezi is designed to connect guests with the heart and soul of Africa while contributing to the conservation of the continent. The new camp offers authentic experiences provided by a local team that is proud of their roots and is eager to share their heritage with guests. Safaris, led by expert guides, are designed to be fun and informative for travelers, heightening the awareness of the fragile balance between nature and communities in Africa. Guests at Lolebezi can look forward to twice-daily activities. Game drives, guided walking safaris, riverboating, and canoeing offer close perspectives of wildlife, including enormous herds of elephants, leopard encounters, buffalo, waterbuck, prides of lions, and more. World-class guided fishing trips (catch & release) and bird-watching excursions are also part of the offering, as it’s time to kick back, relax, and watch the sun come up over the Zambezi.
Guests can take advantage of Lolebezi’s spa and wellness facilities and a yoga deck to restore their spirit. An open-air cinema set amid a forest of enormous Winterthorn Acacias offers movie nights, while strategically placed ‘river pods’ are available for private picnics, guest retreats, and quiet moments.
Lolebezi can accommodate up to 16 travelers in 4 Signature Suites and 2 Signature Family Suites that are sensitively designed and outfitted with amenities, including a private plunge pool and thatched-roof sala. Opening onto the river, each suite is essentially a minimalist viewing platform with sections ‘twisted’ away from each other: a bedroom and sitting room facing east, and a bathroom, dressing room, and ‘loo-with-a-view’ toward the west. The suites are designed to ‘float’ above the landscape and allow water to pass underneath during heavy rains and occasional flooding.
Handmade natural elements in the interior design, including woven reed ceilings, hand-carved wood doors and hand-stitched canvas strap detailing on the walls, balance the contemporary nature of the building. Zambezi tribal elements, regional basket-ware, and woven reed products from the country’s Central Province; and tactile and earthy tones with a hint of copper and forest green all play homage to its Zambian roots. A dramatic feature of each suite is a circular 13-foot diameter curtain around each bed which combines wooden beads and an embroidered mosquito net, creating a halo-like ‘cocoon’ in the room.
Lolebezi’s dining pavilion, fashioned from reclaimed railway sleepers, includes an all-day café and pizza bar offering family-style dining, including tandoori evenings and traditional barbeques created from fresh ingredients purchased locally whenever possible. The upper level has a private dining room as well as a game room with options for amusement. An infinity-edge pool surrounded by comfortable loungers is set at the edge of an inlet dubbed the ‘Discovery Channel’ for its panoramic views up and down the Zambezi. Wildlife viewing is also possible via the ‘Circle of Light,’ a suspended circular walkway raised 23 feet into the tree canopy that affords impressive perspectives.
The camp is completely ‘off-grid,’ powered by a dedicated solar farm comprised of photovoltaic panels constructed in an existing clearing of the Winterthorn forest. The water supply and wastewater are managed via a staged treatment system that ensures no pollution of the Zambezi. Floors, walls and roofs of individual structures are comprised of a complex layering of insulation materials that mitigate heat gain in guest suites during summer and heat loss during winter. And thermodynamic panels, similar to air-source heat pumps, absorb heat from the atmosphere and convert a refrigerant into a gas to heat water for showers, baths, basins, and all kitchen services.
Sustainable design considerations also include intelligent, concealed climate control systems, boosting energy efficiency and consciousness of the solar farm’s capacity. The choice of light-gauge steel instead of timber for framing structures throughout the camp also offers benefits, including increased speed of construction offsite and erection onsite, minimization of transportation to the remote setting, and reduction of human impact. The light-gauge steel is also 100% recyclable – a significant consideration making it possible to reprocess and relocate the guest suites, should the need ever arise, without requiring the harvesting of a single tree.