(6 tented chalets) Chifungulu Ltd, PO Box 35139, Lusaka; tel: +260 1223697; fax: +260 1223689; email: email@example.com; www.sausagetreecamp.com
Sausage Tree is set in a beautiful position inside the Lower Zambezi National Park, and it is usually accessed by a short flight to either Royal or (closer) Jeki airstrip. A possible alternative is to transfer by boat from Gwabi Lodge, a trip of almost two hours. If you're planning to drive in, you'll need to warn them well in advance; this isn't an easy place to find.
Sausage Tree is privately owned and professionally staffed and run, with first-class food and attentive service. Its tents are large and unusual, being of an oval marquee design in cream canvas, with reed half walls around the sides and tree-shaded bathrooms offering a loo with a view (the honeymoon suite also has a bath). Solid teak furniture is used throughout, as are first-class cream fabrics and linen sheets, with personal extras including bathrobes and an emergency radio in each room. Each tent is the responsibility of an individual muchinda or butler, and power is supplied by generator.
The sense of an English summer wedding extends to the creamy-coloured canvas of the circular living and dining tents, both right by the river. Now lying in the shallows just in front is the sausage tree after which the camp was named; its branches are popular perches for various species of bee-eater. One of the camp's main assets is the proximity of a lovely backwater, the Chifungulu Channel, which runs parallel to the main river for about 10km and makes a great area for a gentle paddle about. It's popular with the local hippo population, too, particularly Frank. (Chifungulu is said to be the local name for Combretum microphyllum, the 'flame creeper' with blood-red flowers that grows up winterthorn trees here. Smith's book on the Luangwa's flora, see Further Reading, observes that some local people used to grind up the roots of this creeper, mix them with dog turds, and then burn the mixture – using the ashes as a cure for lunacy. It's uncertain if anyone at the camp has ever tried this.) Four guides are on hand to organise the full range of day and night drives, canoeing, walking, boating and fishing trips, while in the evening private dinners can be arranged.