Antelopes grazing as seen during the Chaminuka game drive

Chaminuka Day Visit: Seeing the Big 5 at short notice in Zambia

Dalek went on a solo trip along with his MBA cohort to spend an April week in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Any National Parks and associated safaris were off the table due to the solo trip. A quick search threw up Chaminuka Lodge private nature reserve as one of the top places to visit near Lusaka, especially if seeing the Big 5 were on anyone’s list so Dalek rounded up a couple of friends and thoroughly enjoyed the day visit package. Here are some of the highlights from the day!

Top tip: The biggest cost for us was sharing a taxi for 1000 ZMW from Downtown Lusaka to Chaminuka Lodge and back. Try to make a group trip to visit the lodge rather than a solo trip.

Total cost: 595 ZMW for Day Visit ticket (£36) + 333 ZMW for a taxi split by 3 (£20) = £56

Game Drive

Chaminuka has all the herbivores grazing freely over its large land area and the Game Drive allows lots of up close and personal photography opportunities with them. Just a few of these are Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, many types of Antelopes, Wildebeest, Pumba and Deer. I did enjoy the experience of seeing them graze in the wild and made for some good photos.

giraffe

Gorgeous Giraffes

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The Zebras were a bit hidden

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Hello again, our first encounter described below

Elephant Walk Experience

There are a couple of popular premium add-ons including the Cheetah walk that we considered experiencing before choosing the Elephant Interaction. The herd has 1 adult and 4 calves, all of them adopted and brought in from outside the park. The experience included taking a walk with the elephants, feeding them leaves and water as well as petting the calves. Just watching the herd up close and free was fantastic. Led to some good pictures and learning more about elephant habits (including putting dust on their bodies to cool themselves).

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Walking with elephants towards the feeding area

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Giving the calf a quick drink

Tip: Carry enough drinking water for yourself as well as it can be quite warm for someone used to cooler climes.

Boat ride / Fishing

This was our first activity of the day around one of the four aforementioned man-made lakes and a sufficiently cool introduction to some of the wildlife that can be seen here. The most memorable experience was seeing a herd of wildebeest by the lake moving in a herd in their signature stop-start way. The Fishing activity also takes place in the same lake so we recommend you pick one or the other.

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Some of the wildlife seen from the boat

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Looking for fish to eat

Food and Drink

Buffet Lunch

Around 1 PM is when a big buffet spread is laid out by the poolside with a fair amount of vegetarian options. Some of the grilled meats (esp the chicken) were nice but others a bit unevenly cooked. There is a serious chance of getting a food coma here which might impact the afternoon activities.

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Buffet grill

Wine and Cheese Tasting

Chaminuka produces its own brand of award-winning cheese and this activity pairs some of these along with homemade wine. Again, 2-3 varieties tasted very much like the real thing which was surprising given the distance from Europe (where most of their cheese varieties are originally from). My favourite part of this activity was interacting with some of the other locals also visiting for the day.

wineAndCheese

Wine tasting

Artwork

The central building has a number of interesting pieces of artwork from across Zambia worth perusing. Chaminuka is home to the country’s largest private art collection and they plan to showcase more it with details about each piece and artist info.

artwork

An example within the lodge

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