Lower Zambezi Expedition

October 18 - 28, 2024 | Zambia | $11.300

THIS EXPEDITION HAS ONLY 2 MORE SEATS AVAILABLE!

After succesfully hosting my first expedition to Zambia in September ‘23, I’m incredibly stoked to come back with a brand-new expedition in 2024. This time I’m focusing exclusively on my all-time favorite National Park in the entire African continent: Lower Zambezi National Park.

A journey that takes you back in time, to the nostalgic essentials of a true African safari. An expedition like no other, with a wide variety of vehicle safaris, walking safaris, kayak safaris and boat safaris, while staying in 3 of my favorite bush camps in all of Africa.

Get ready for a wild adventure! Scroll down to read the full itinerary. All images you see below are taken on previous visits to the magical land that is Lower Zambezi.

Spoiler alert: I managed to bring the price of this Zambia Expedition significantly down with a 25% price-drop vs last year!

Sign up for Lower Zambezi Expedition

Important information

  • Dates: October 18 - 28, 2024
  • Tour starts/ends in: Lusaka, Zambia
  • Price: $ 11.300 per person (based on twin sharing or double sharing accommodation)
  • Deposit payment: $ 3.500 per person (paid upon booking in order to hold your seat), 120 days prior to departure the remaining balance of $ 7.800 will have to be paid
  • No single supplement available
  • Group size: min 6, max 8 (2 more seats available)
  • Experience level: Anyone is welcome, from beginners to professionals
  • Above price is incl VAT
  • Make sure to read the Terms & Conditions before booking by clicking here

Zambia truly is one of the last remaining unspoiled safari destinations. A place that many people describe as Africa of 10-15 years ago. In that context Lower Zambezi, truly is a hidden gem. For this expedition, I am collaborating with Chiawa Safaris, an award-winning collection of Safari Camps as well as Classic Zambia, an owner-run organisation with conservation at its core.

During this trip we will explore the bush not only with vehicles but even more so on boats, in kayaks and on foot. Because Zambia is particularly known for walking safaris - one of the most incredible and honest interactions you can have with wild animals - this is an expedition like no other.

After running my first-ever expedition to Zambia in 2023, I decided I wanted to make 1 major change in moving forward: shift my focus exclusively to 1 park, allowing more time to explore every aspect of this truly unique corner of Africa. Therefore, during this particular expedition we will explore 3 different camps all located in opposite corners of the park. We kick-off with Kutali Camp, an intimate tented bush camp on the banks of the Zambezi River, in the shadow of the magical winterthorn forest. With only 5 guest tents this camp allows for the most beautiful, intimate Africa experience, surrounded by extroardinary wildlife sightings 24/7.

We continue our journey upstream the Zambezi river to the iconic Chiawa Camp, on the Western edges of the National Park. Lastly, we travel back into the heart of the park to stay at my favorite bushcamp in the world: Old Mondoro.

We will stay in each camp for 3 nights, working with some of the best guides in the industry since Chiawa has been awarded ‘best guiding team in Africa’ multiple times. For a period of 9 nights, we will emerge ourselves in one of the most unique ecosystems in the world and experience some of Africa’s wildest flora and fauna. And all of that, in the best possible season, the tail end of the dry season, which makes for spectacular game viewing.

Day-to-day itinerary

Day 1

The expedition starts on October 18, 2024 in Lusaka. With everyone traveling towards Zambia from different directions, the first day is all about landing and acclimatising. We are spending the first night at Latitude 15, a beautiful boutique hotel in the capital city Lusaka. The next morning our adventure starts!

Day 2 – 5

Early in the morning of October 19 we travel to the domestic Airport where we will board out flight to Lower Zambezi National Park. After a short flight of only 35 minutes, we will be picked up from Jeki Airstrip by vehicle transfer and make our way to the first camp, Kutali Camp.

Kutali is an intimate, comfortable tented camp with all the luxuries one could wish for, but with the charm and ethos of a true seasonal bush-camp. With just 5 guest tents, catering for no more than 10 people in camp at once - each tent is carefully and expertly located for the best possible views across the Zambezi River. The Kutali tents are bespoke and very comfortable, with high quality linen and mattresses, alongside flushing toilets, running water taps and traditional bucket-showers! It will be one of the most authentic real bush camp experiences of your life.

Simpy put, Lower Zambezi has some of the finest big game wildlife viewing in Africa. This, coupled with the variety of safari activities on offer and the aesthetics of this park, make for a truly fantastic wildlife spectacle. High densities of elephant gather on the valley floor as the dry season commences, along with large herds of buffalo and impala. In attendance are all of the large predators one might expect, with lion, leopard and wild dog very well represented here.

This particular strecth of winterthorn forest surrounding Kutali Camp, has been gaining recent widespread attention due to a pack of wild dogs hunting buffalo, an unbelievable spectacle of nature. If luck is on our side, we might spend time watching this unfold in front of our eyes.

With the broadest possible spectrum of safari activities on offer, this first camp of our journey is ideal for each and every safari goer. Their guides are specialists in walking and kayak based safaris, which means next to twice-a-day vehicle based safari, there’s plenty of options to experience a different angle of the park.

The reason I picked October to be our month, is because it’s the end of the dry season. It will be hot which means animals come to drink at the last remaining waterholes and concentrate around the river. It’s the best month of the year to visit Lower Zambezi, and given the fact that our camp is situated right at the Zambezi banks, the animals will literally be everywhere you look.

Day 5 – 8

On the morning of Day 5 we get picked up on the banks of the Zambezi river by boat and transfer via water to our second camp, called Chiawa Camp. After staying in a ground-level bush camp for 3 nights, we now switch to Chiawa Safari’s flagship luxury camp. An award-wininig camp that combines the best of two worlds; first-class service and top-notch luxury accommodation as well as some of the most exceptional game viewing in the world.

The camp is consisting of 9 spacious and luxurious tents and each tent is equipped with an ensuite bathroom. All tents are covered by big thatched roofs which ensures for cool mid-days in the blazing Zambian heat. A wonderful place to relax in between game drives and activities.

During our stay at Chiawa Camp we will experience a totally different side of Lower Zambezi National Park then Kutali Camp. Even though both camps are only 1,5 hours apart, the vegetation is completely different which makes again for unique photographic opportunities. During long days in the bush and on the water, we will come across lions, leopards, wild dogs and large elephant herds, but also spend up and close time with buffalo’s, hippo’s, antelope, crocodiles, serval, an amazing array of birds and many more amazing species.

During sunrise the low light pours across the floodplains, igniting the tops of the winterthorn glades where elephants are feeding on fallen seedpods (better known as elephant cookies). The area around our camp is the perfect hunting ground for lions, leopards and wild dogs; but above all this timeless valley is a land of giants, of towering, ancient trees and the elephant herds that find sanctuary beneath their dappled shade.

Day 8 – 11

On the morning of Day 8 we get transfered by boat from Chiawa Camp to the absolute highlight of our expedition: Old Mondoro.

Old Mondoro has been one of the wildest bush camp experience I had in all my years in Africa. It’s a small camp consisting of only 5 chalets and the concept is simple - to provide guests with an authentic and unedited Zambian safari, providing a “back to the bush” atmosphere that centralizes on the wildlife and wilderness experience. We will be completely disconnected from the internet for the next 3 nights and experience some of the most incredible wildlife encounters on the planet. Wild animals are part of the camp and part of our daily routine.

Elephants are literally residing inside the camp, under the canopy of winterthorn trees on the banks of the Zambezi River. Big cat sightings (some of the most prolific leopard sightings to be had in Africa) are very common as well, with the magic of the water providing island-hopping buffalo and elephants at your doorstep, as well as an extreme concentration of hippo. “Mondoro” in Goba language means Lion. The camp name honours a mythical white lion that used to prowl nearby – although “Old Mondoro” is long gone, his descendants still roam the wilderness of the Lower Zambezi, wild and free.

The 5 chalets are constructed of reed and canvas, each with a beautiful and comfortable shaded deck that overlooks the Zambezi River. Each room has an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold water during the day as well as the night, an outdoor shower and even a bath tub that overlooks the river. The area is particularly know for walking safari’s as well as water based activity and of course we will experience both, under the guidance of some of Africa’s best guides.

Day 11

On the morning of October 28, we will board our plane back to Lusaka and the trip comes to an end. We will arrive in Lusaka around mid-day so you can connect on your flight home that same night.

Included in the expedition price

  • 1 x night at Latitude 15 in Lusaka based on B&B
  • 3 x nights at Kutali Camp
  • 3 x nights at Chiawa Camp
  • 3 x nights at Old Mondoro Camp
  • All accommodation based on twin / double sharing
  • All domestic airport transfers
  • All domestic flight tickets
  • Full board in all 3 camps incl all meals, wines & spirits
  • Entrance fees to the National Parks
  • Daily Laundry
  • Daily sundowners
  • All game drives
  • Photographic lectures & image review sessions by Pie
  • 1-on-1 tuition in the field by Pie
  • All activities: walking safaris, kayak safaris, boat safaris, night safaris

Not included in the expedition price

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel & cancellation insurance
  • Tips & gratuities for staff
  • Visa
  • Premium spirits & Premium wines

Testimonials of previous participants

As you probably know, I have been hosting expedition to Africa for some years now. After each expedition I am asking participants to write a short testimonial, below you find a few examples of last year.

But first, to get you in the right mood, here’s a wonderful video testimonial created by Yash, one of my previous guests on an expedition to Kenya, watch the full video to get an impression of what’s it like to join one of my expeditions.

Heather (USA) - This was not my first safari, but it was going to be the first time to Africa for my father, who is 82 years young. He had waited many decades for the stars to line up, for this opportunity to arise, and had high hopes of seeing all that could be seen, but realized it was a big ask. But not for Pie - this trip surpassed any and all expectations. Honestly, absolutely nothing could be improved. It became a running joke — everyday Pie would ask my father what he wanted to see the next day, and low and behold, the request would be fulfilled. Pie’s resources, connections and his ability to bring together a small group of strangers into a harmonious family are undeniable. I have been on many group travel trips in my lifetime, but never have the dynamics of all, worked so well together. This was a trip of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to go back.

Sasha (USA) - I just got back from a life changing expedition with Pie in Kenya, and literally had the time of my life. The thoughtful care and effort Pie puts into planning these trips was evident every day, and it was clear he has spent years building meaningful relationships with everyone involved in Africa. The Kenyan people were kind and genuine beyond words and truly added to the overall experience. I felt safe and taken care of the entire trip. I made tons of new friends with fellow photographers, witnessed endless sightings of incredible wildlife and landscapes, ate some of the best food of my life, and walked away feeling inspired, full of emotion, and ready to take my business to the next chapter. Throughout the trip, Pie shared his knowledge and expertise whenever he could - during workshops, meals, even during jeep drives! The connections made during our time together became apparent during our goodbye’s, especially when the tears started flowing… haha. Overall, it was unbelievable how much education, life experiences, and joy were packed into 10 long days. It’s an investment for sure, but also the trip of a lifetime, and one that everyone should experience!

Michelle (USA) - Where to begin, Pie’s expedition was a trip of a lifetime! One that will have me buzzing for a long, long time. Amboseli and the Masai Mara are two very unique and magical places that stole my heart from the beginning but what was extra special was the amount of knowledge I took home from hours upon hours of being in the bush and learning from Pie. To add to that, the lodges were absolutely incredible as was the heaps of delicious food we had at every meal. I had tears in my eyes on the final day knowing I was leaving such a special country and even more special group of people that came together from all over the world to learn about photography and be immersed in the African bush for 10 days.

Tobias (United Kingdom) - This is the third time I have been on a trip with Pie and every trip seems to get better and better. It’s more than just a photography trip, you almost seem part of a family. The relationships Pie builds with the people in his groups is what really makes these trips so special. The wildlife is mind blowing and Pie works with the best guides that do everything they can to get you in to the best positions for photography. This specific trip opened my eyes more than ever to the challenges that wildlife and humans face in Africa during climate change and droughts, and witnessing this first hand has had a huge impact on me personally. I can’t thank Pie enough for making a trip like this possible and I also can’t thank everyone who was there enough for making it so unforgettable.

Noortje (South Africa) - This Kenya expedition was about so much more than just taking photos. It gave us an insight into Pie’s adventurous spirit and way of living, his view on the planet, our place on it and how we coexist with the natural world. Understanding that is what ultimately results in taking great images and we certainly achieved that! It was a beautiful and wild adventure, and Pie’s enthusiasm, commitment and honesty made the trip unforgettable! Thank you for your knowledge, the laughs, the chases, the fantastic food (!) and all the in-between moments!

Yash (India) - I mean it when I say that this trip to Africa has had a huge effect on who I am, and I mean it in the most positive way possible. I came thinking only about photography, but left with an African experience so raw and so moving. My eyes opened to incredible stories of the people and wildlife, which I attempted to capture with my camera under the guidance and teachings from Pie. And last but not least, and which was totally unexpected, but I left with a new found group of incredible people that I consider as one of my closest friends.

Nathalie (Netherlands) - This was definitely a once in a lifetime trip! It was an incredible experience to hitch a ride on Pie’s passion and energy. It was a wonderful group, with a great variety in personalities and background, which made the expedition even more special. Every little detail was right! I dare to say it was a dream which unfortunately I have to wake up from now, but I’ll carry it with me the rest of my life.

Capucine (France) - A trip of lifetime, this is what was promised and the dream became a reality! I had an amazing time in the bush with the best group of people. Amboseli and Masai Mara blew my mind with the abundance of wildlife. Going from shooting unbelievable scenes to having the most delicious food in the camp has been a real happiness bubble for 10 days! Very inspiring workshops as well with Pie who definitely made this trip very special. Also, lots of surprises along the trip, which I won’t share here, which made it unforgettable!

How does an average day look like?

  • 05.00 – 05.30 wake up + coffee/tea
  • 05.30 – 09.00 photography in the field with focus on soft morning light
  • 09.00 – 09.30 bush breakfast or packed breakfast
  • 09.00 – 11.00 continue photography in the field focusing on B&W photography
  • 11.00 – 13.00 lunch in camp + lectures by Pie
  • 13.00 – 15.00 rest, edit, back-up
  • 15.00 – 18.00 photography in the field with focus on soft afternoon light
  • 18.00 – 19.30 optional night drive
  • 20.00 – 21.30 campfire drinks & dinner
  • 21.30 off to bed to rest for another day of adventures in the bush

We are very flexible when it comes to planning our days. Usually, we leave each day with a packed breakfast, which allows us to stay out in the field all morning. If the conditions and sightings are good, we can even decide having lunch in the field to maximize our time with wildlife. We also carry our own sundowner drinks each afternoon, which gives us full flexibility.

As you can see in the planning, at lunch time I will host several lectures. Topics can be workflow, post-production, animal behaviour, composition, light, elephant conservation, how to find your voice as an artist, social media, equipment, and so on. In between activities there’s also room for 1-on-1 tuition about any of the above topics or whatever comes to mind.

Which guides will we work with?

If you know my work well enough, you know how picky I am when it comes to the guides I work with. Their knowledge, expertise, tracking ability, sense for hospitality and people skills is the driving force behind all my work.

This expedition is no exception to that. We will work with some of Africa’s absolute best guides in each camp. I know below names won’t mean a lot to you, but trust me if I say they are amongst the absolute top guides in all of Africa. I call them all 3 dear friends and have been working with them for years.

In Kutali Camp we will work with Kyle Branch, professional guide and one of the co-owners of Classic Zambia. In Chiawa Camp we will work with my dear friend Christopher Farao (below right), head guide of Chiawa. And last but not least, in Old Mondoro we will work with my good buddy Mark Nicholson (below left), who also manages the camp.

Which kind of vehicles will we use?

In all 3 camps we will use Toyota Land Cruisers that are specially modified for photography. On board you will find bean bags, blankets, a fridge with ice-cold drinks and 220 volt electricity sockets for charging. There will be a maximum of 4 people sitting in the back giving each participant enough space to move around. This means with a group of 8 participants, we operate in 2 vehicles. I will be sitting in the front, next to the driver and alternate between both vehicles, 4 guest are sitting in the back. A rotating scheme will make sure everyone gets to spend an equal amount of time in my direct presence. Working with the right people is everything. Therefore, I carefully selected the best possible naturalists/guides that will lead us on this expedition. As a result, we will work with some of the best people in the industry, award-winning guiding teams in all 3 camps.

Do I need any photography experience?

Nope, not at all. Everybody is welcome. Beginners and professionals. In fact, a diverse group always makes up for a lot of fun, because the main idea of these expeditions is all about interaction and learning from each other. I’m more than happy to explain you the basics of how to use your camera, but we can also have a deeper conversation about how to grow your personal brand as a visual artist, or how to find your voice. So please don’t hesitate if you have never used a camera before, I’m there to help.

What type of gear do I need?

As soon as you have confirmed your booking, we will share an extensive list of recommended gear items that you would need for this expedition. However, don’t stress, any camera will work, it all depends on how you use it. We offer a custom advise for every level, from amateurs and beginners to full professional photographers.

How is this photography expedition different from any regular safari?

In the past 4 years I have spent more than 80 weeks in Africa spread across Kenya, Zambia and Botswana. This has generated an in-detail understanding of seasonality, geography, animal behavior, photographic opportunities, community living and cultural aspects, and of course wildlife conservation. This combined with 10+ years of experience in photographic story-telling, makes this trip a unique opportunity to learn. The entire itinerary is crafted around the theme of story-telling, which means I deliberately chose certain areas, camps and guides to work with. We will maximise time in the field and won’t be restricted by gate opening hours. We work with an award-winning guiding team in all 3 camps on this trip. I will be hosting lectures and there’s room for 1-on-1 tuition as well. It’s a trip that’s centered around teaching you how to tell meaningful stories about the wild and you will go home with an incredible series of images!

Can I cancel my seat when I change my mind?

For more information about Terms & Conditions click here.

Will you advise what documents to organize in order to travel?

Of course. We will send you a full briefing before the trip.

The host

Pie Aerts is a Dutch documentary and wildlife photographer with a sincere interest in human/wildlife coexistence stories. Through his lens, he examines the intricate relationship between animals, humans and nature and, as we become increasingly distant from each other and ourselves, he uses photography to search for the cause of this disconnect. He’s the founder of Prints for Wildlife, a fundraising platform that since its inception in 2020 has generated 2.1 mio dollars for conservation and believes art can be an incredibly powerful tool to restore the disconnect. Pie also serves as Canon EMEA Ambassador, Gitzo Ambassador and Hahnemuhle Ambassador.

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