The Best Vacation Lodges to Book in and Around Lusaka, Zambia

You don't have to venture far from Lusaka for incredible wildlife sightings at these lodges
You don't have to venture far from Lusaka for incredible wildlife sightings at these lodges | Courtesy of Potato Bush Camp / Expedia
Photo of Paul Stafford
6 December 2021

The land around the Zambian capital of Lusaka is filled with sprawling evidence of humanity – but there are also patches of land still reserved for wildlife. These game reserves and national parks are home to dozens of mammal species and hundreds of species of birds. And while there are plenty of top hotels in Lusaka, these vacation lodges often provide a more memorable stay, closer to nature. Here’s a selection of our top picks – bookable on Culture Trip.

Lilayi Lodge, for a safari-centric stay

Lilayi Lodge
Courtesy of Lilayi Lodge / Expedia
At the heart of the Lilayi Elephant Sanctuary is one of Lusaka’s finest vacation lodges. The modern building – while primarily built of sturdy brick – incorporates many traditional building techniques, such as conical thatched roofs and bamboo partition walls. Safaris are all part of the experience here: game drives are available for an additional fee during the day, while the sundowner drives include a few drinks and snacks, plus the inimitable atmosphere and animal activity at twilight.

Chaminuka Lodge and Nature Reserve, for lovers of African art

Chaminuka Lodge and Nature Reserve
Courtesy of Chaminuka Lodge and Nature Reserve / Expedia
This forest-bound lodge is ideal for art lovers – thanks to the sizable private collection of African art spread around the property’s rooms, common spaces and capacious grounds. The nature reserve is surrounded by a larger rural expanse – through which you can take game drives to spot some of Zambia’s 18 species of antelope on the plains and in the forests. There are captive animals at the lodge, too – including cheetahs and elephants.

Mukambi Safari Lodge, for a real-life bush lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge
Courtesy of Mukambi Safari Lodge / Expedia
On the fertile banks of the Kafue River, the remote Mukambi Safari Lodge epitomises five-star luxury in a place where it’s least expected. It’s in Kafue National Park – a huge swathe of western Zambia where lions, hippos, baboons and many other species roam freely, including around the lodge’s grounds. The thatched villa huts have lofty ceilings and rug-enhanced floors leading to wooden verandas that overlook the river. The stars at night are particularly impressive in this low-light-pollution area.

Anabezi Camp, for an African glamping experience

Anabezi Camp
Courtesy of Anabezi Camp / Expedia
The Lower Zambezi National Park is another glorious expanse of African wilderness that is, for the most part, devoid of signs of humanity. The Anabezi Camp sits on the banks of the Zambezi – looking out from Zambia across the river and the border towards Zimbabwe. Good use is made of the riverbank locale by this top-end resort, with loungers and a tub built into private decks of glamorous tents filled with teak furniture. Tents are spacious, too – with plenty of indoor sitting space for a more sheltered view of one of nature’s greatest shows.

Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience, for sundowner cruises along the river

Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience
Courtesy of Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience / Expedia
Further upstream, but still within Lower Zambezi National Park, is this all-inclusive resort where the fee includes two daily safari activities and air transfers. Activities include sundowner river cruises, game drives or – for a less invasive and disconnected experience – a walking tour into the wilderness. End the day back in Zambezi Grande’s plush rooms – all decorated in earthy tones and pale greens, and underpinned with an art deco flair. Gourmet dining is included in the fee, where chefs use ingredients sourced from local farms.

Sausage Tree Camp, for candlelit dinner on the Zambezi

Sausage Tree Camp
Courtesy of Sausage Tree Camp /
Sausage trees, native to the Zambezi, are known for their distinctive sausage-shaped, yet poisonous, fruits. These and many more trees form the forest surrounding this high-end safari camp on the riverbank. Candlelit dinners, afternoon tea and even a special lunch – while sitting above the calm Zambezi River cooling your feet as you eat – are unique ways in which dining is turned into an art form here. Meanwhile, a variety of guided safari activities are also included, such as canoeing and birding.

Potato Bush Camp, for family-friendly accommodations in the bush

Potato Bush Camp
Courtesy of Potato Bush Camp / Expedia
Potato Bush Camp is a family-friendly safari lodge next to its sister property, the Sausage Tree Camp. There is a high probability of seeing the main species in the area regularly – particularly during the high season from June to October – which makes it ideal for families with children. Keep an eye out for leopards and lions on your daily safari outings, and wake up to an elephant or two trudging gently through the campsite. Throughout the year, there are other great activities on offer here – such as fishing and river cruises.

Wild Dogs Lodge, for a great location near Lusaka

Wild Dogs Lodge
Courtesy of Wild Dogs Lodge / Expedia
If you are looking for a vacation lodge close to Lusaka – where you can experience both the urban and rural lifestyles of Zambia – Wild Dogs Lodge has plenty to offer. The accommodation is situated close to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, on the eastern edge of Lusaka. The four lodges are decorated and designed with locally made furniture and curtains that feature regionally inspired animal print designs. The long, thin outdoor pool is particularly inviting when backlit at night.

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