My journey time to Lusaka was thoroughly rewarded by the subsequent light aircraft flight to the Lower Zambezi. As we flew over the incredibly diverse terrain we were teased with glimpses of elephant and hippo below. I could tell that this trip was going to be one that I would never forget.

Chiawa sits on the bank of the Zambezi offering jaw dropping sunsets, incredible hospitality as well as top quality accommodation. Game viewing, like most properties in Zambia, can be enjoyed from a vehicle as well as on foot, but one of the most immersive ways for me was whilst relaxing on a river boat. The elephants traverse the rivers “delta like” channels to feed on the grasses of the rivers’ many islands offering us so many Attenborough style photo opportunities with hippos and birds adding to the rich diversity of this region.

I will never forget my first morning in Zambia, waking up to the sound of hippos grunting in the river and lions roaring in the distance, it certainly set the tone for the rest of the day. After a light breakfast around the boma we ventured off for a bush walk. Our guide shared his wealth of knowledge with us, from the 30 year life cycle of a queen termite to identifying crocodile poo and the medicinal uses of the plants. I was left in awe of the sheer number of elephants that we came across, they caused us a few unplanned diversions but it was a privilege to share the same paths as these magnificent beasts.

The shape of the Lower Zambezi National Park contributes to your viewing opportunities by being long and narrow, almost hugging the river with dense vegetation along one length, making for pockets of high concentration of game, especially elephants.

Zambia’s high season is relatively short with July-October being the hottest and offering prime game viewing thanks to the inland waterholes drying up, forcing the animals to head to the river in search of water. High numbers of Leopard sightings have led to Zambia being known as the “Valley of the Leopard”, although solitary hunters they thrive in this area and certainly steal the show of any game drive, day or night.

Anabezi offers an idyllic setting with wooden walkways to your individual rooms boasting a plunge pool and decking to soak up the views and spot the elephant tracks in front of you whilst listening to the hippos laughing – a sensory delight.

The highlight of my stay was an experience I will never forget, a canoe trip on the Lower Zambezi. Our guide, Presley, safely guides us through the channels of water allowing us to take in the tranquil setting and to experience viewing the wildlife from this truly unique position. Not only do you get to see hippos in the water, elephants as they cross the river, but also Zebra on the banks and crocodiles basking in the sun, like this fella we came across…

If you’re not tempted by canoeing don’t worry as activities also include walking, boating, fishing as well as day and night game drives or a sunset cruise so there is something for everyone.

The Lower Zambezi just keeps on giving. Our night drive was captivating and emotive, from sundowners under the African sky to watching a young male leopard successfully catch and kill its prey, to give it up to a dominant hyena without any fuss!