The unforgettable Luangwa Valley is one of Africa’s premier wildlife sanctuaries. Sitting at the tail end of the Great Rift Valley, this region boasts spectacular scenery and the great African lakes. The area is world-renowned for its populations of leopards, lions, elephants and buffalo, and has the largest concentration of hippos and Nile crocodiles in Africa. Herds of antelope meander under thorn trees, while predators lurk in the shadows of lush vegetation.
This is where, in 1998, Anke and Ron Cowan built and opened their first offering — Kafunta River Lodge, located just a 45-minute drive from Mfuwe Airport. It features 10 exceptional wooden chalets and suites, a stylish lounge and dining area as well as an infinity pool, natural hot tub (fed by hot springs) and wellness hut. Situated on the border of South Luangwa National Park, the lodge’s assortment of chalets and suites offer stunning views of the flood plains.
In 2008, the Cowans built the exclusive Island Bush Camp to lure safari-goers away from South Luangwa’s beaten tracks. The camp is set directly on the banks of the river and is an intimate affair, with just five open-sided chalets erected on stilts. Island Bush Camp offers the perfect way to enjoy the pristine wilderness, and visitors can embark on walking safaris confident that they’re unlikely to meet other tourists or vehicles.
This year marks another benchmark for the couple, with the opening of their third property at the confluence of the Luangwa, Kapamba and Lusangazi Rivers. Three Rivers Camp is tucked under the shade of ageless sausage trees, overlooking the Luangwa and a large lagoon.
The camp’s five quintessential safari tents are extremely spacious, and are decorated with locally sourced materials that reflect a natural and earthy style. Each tent comes with its own private terrace, as well as an elevated platform with star beds — the perfect way to experience a night under the African sky.
All the Cowans’ properties offer excellent game-viewing with attentive and knowledgeable safari guides and a wide choice of day and night drives or bush walks.
Need to know
Kafunta River Lodge
• Eight en suite standard chalets and two luxury suites
• Swimming pool and natural hot tub
• Wellness hut and gym room
• Open April to December
Island Bush Camp
• Five en suite open-sided bungalows on stilts
• Bucket shower with hot water
• Running cold water and flushing toilet
• Open June to October
Three Rivers Camp
• Five en suite luxury tents
• Indoor and outdoor showers
• Private terrace and sleep-out platform
• Open June to October