It’s been a turbulent few months. While some nations have delivered impressive, world-record-beating vaccine programmes, others have experienced awful renewed waves of the COVID epidemic. My thoughts are regularly with the people of India and the horrifying individual struggles that many families are enduring there.

The whole world underestimated the impact of this pandemic, including some of the best-informed policy and health experts. We all hoped that 2021 would be the year of recovery; so far, this has not been the case with just a trickle of visitors able to plan and safely make their travel journeys. The Luangwa is entering the peak game-viewing months but most camps are empty or have just a handful of guests.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

I’m including some images from the last couple of weeks in this report – hope you enjoy! Two male lions drink from a small pond in South Luangwa before retiring to the shade for the day!

There is hardship the world over right now, but the impact that zero tourism has had on safari operators is dramatic. Most have continued to pay salaries to their staff from their dwindling reserves, but even those who planned best are reaching the bottom of the barrel. We all hope that evidence emerges to show that vaccinations provide protection not only for the vaccinated individual but also for those around them; this is surely the key to opening up unrestricted travel for the world.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

Getting very close with a Giant Kingfisher on a boat safari in Livingstone.

In the meantime, I sincerely hope that you and your families are well. The personal challenges faced by many over the last few months are not to be underestimated and I am wishing everyone the fortitude to get through what must surely be the final months of this global drama.

I have been on the move around Zambia in the last few months, keeping up my knowledge on my favourite safari areas and exploring new ones. I share most of this information on my Instagram page, and I save my 24-hour Stories into Highlights so that they are accessible forever. You can find them by clicking on the highlights (as shown in the yellow box below).

Image of elephant in the forest south luangwa by edward selfe.

Tours for 2021!

However, I am excited that a number of guests from the USA and Canada are keen and able to travel to Zambia this year. I have been working on trips for them in August and September!! There is space on both tours for 1 single or 1 couple to join these trips.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

Lesser Swamp Warbler in the reed beds of the Zambezi River.

Bespoke Luangwa — 26 August – 8th September 2021 (13 nights)

The first tour includes 4 nights at Flatdogs Camp, 4 nights at Nsefu Camp and 5 nights at Lion Camp. This takes us to 3 distinct areas of the Luangwa Valley all of which are thick with game and offer photographers a superb experience.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

A leopardess (with the longest tail?) spray marks a thicket in the Lower Zambezi National Park, close to Royal Zambezi Lodge.

Custom Kafue & Busanga Adventure — 12- 22 September 2021 TBC (9 nights)

The second tour is based on my Kafue & Busanga Adventure and includes 4 nights at Musekese Camp, 2 nights at Ntemwa-Busanga Camp and 3 at Shumba Camp in the Busanga Plains. I have travelled through the Kafue in both of the last 2 dry seasons and been impressed with the quality of the guiding, wildlife and wilderness experience available here. In this year, even more than most, the chance to explore these areas with no other guests around (sad as that is!) is a chance to be grabbed with both hands. At this stage, this tour is still in the creation stages, as the dates and availability are not yet fixed, but I am keen to register interest if you would like to travel.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

A young malachite kingfisher resplendent in the sun.

All these camps feature highly in my Trip Reports which can be viewed to get a better idea of why, from all the camps available this year, these are the ones that I have chosen this year. Using camps such as these ensures the best experience and also helps, in a small way, to ensure their futures. I have worked with the camps to craft a package which is as affordable as possible, but based on rates that allow the camps to recover after an extremely challenging 18 months.

Contact me if you are keen to travel this year, and would like to be part of restarting tourism in Zambia….and experience this incredible ecosystem with few other people around. Equally if these two tours do not suit you, please get in touch anyway and I’ll craft something for you from scratch.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

Making home. White-fronted bee-eaters rest in between sessions of digging burrows in the newly-exposed river banks of the Luangwa, ready to recommence breeding after the flood.

Wildlife image from a photo safari with edward selfe.

Focussed on a warthog in the distance, a lionness begins a flanking movement that brings her right past our vehicle!