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Shoebill Island Camp

Bangweulu wetlands

Shoebill Gallery Camp Access & Travel Info

Shoebill Island Camp Overview

Operating season: 1 May – 31 Oct
4 tents (2 twin, 2 double)
Minimum age 8 years

Shoebill Island Camp is tucked away in indigenous thicket and faces out onto the Bangweulu wetlands. Bangweulu means where water meets the sky, a perfect description for one of the most extraordinary and important wetlands in all of Africa. It is unique in that it is a community-owned protected area and is home to 50,000 people who retain the right to sustainably harvest its natural resources for their survival and livelihoods. The fish and wildlife populations were rapidly diminishing as a result of unsustainable harvesting. This all changed in 2008 when African Parks signed an agreement with the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to work with the communities to sustainably manage the wetland for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

Today, Bangweulu is thriving, delicately balancing the needs of the communities with the preservation of wildlife. It is the largest employer in the region; it is providing healthcare and education to all six Chiefdoms and is positioned to become a leading example of community-driven conservation on the continent.

The prehistoric and vulnerable shoebill population is growing; fish stocks have significantly increased due to an annual three-month fishing ban; the implementation of sustainable harvesting has allowed the endemic Black lechwe population to significantly increase to 50 000 animals in the last decade; and cheetah were reintroduced at the end of 2020 after a one hundred year absence.

The main visiting season is from late May to August when Shoebills can usually be seen on canoe trips.

The Shoebill’s rough breeding timeline:

• May, Shoebills start nesting,
• June, the first eggs appear in some nests. Most nests contain one egg and some with 2 eggs already,
• July, most nests have chicks but some nests still have one unhatched egg,
• August, all nests have chicks but with some nests only containing one chick as the youngest might not survive,
• September, the bigger chicks already start fledging through to October and November when some start flying.
• By December 1st, all nests are empty and the nest guards have withdrawn from all nesting sites.

September to November offer great birding (though reduced chance of Shoebill sightings). It is an “Important Bird Area” (BirdLife International) and a “Wetlands of International Importance” under the RAMSAR Convention. Opportunities abound to see other common animal and bird species including Wattled crane, White cheeked bee-eater, Rufous bellied heron, Lesser and Greater swamp warbler, gallinule and a profusion of waterfowl. Over 430 globally significant migratory & resident bird species rely on the wetlands as a life-source.

The mammal highlights include Zambia’s endemic Black lechwe (in their thousands!), sitatunga, buffalo, tsessebe, hyena, buffalo, side striped jackal, and the recently reintroduced cheetah.

Remote Africa Safaris signed a management agreement with African Parks for Shoebill Island Camp from the 2021 season, and is excited to manage the camp from 1st of May – 31st of October for the next few years.

Shoebill Island camp was refurbished and reopened in 2018 and has 4 comfortable tents (2 double and 2 twin) with ensuite facilities and electricity. Activities include walking safaris, game drives and deep hull (photographic) canoeing and mokoro rides, community visits with the seasonal fishermen of the region. For the more enthusiastic and adventurous visitors, walking in the swamps is also an option for visits to (and better views of) a shoebill nest with the Shoebill Guardian programme (seasonal activity), and comes strongly recommended. Apart from a community campsite further afield, this is the only camp in Bangweulu enabling access to this incredible wetland.

Highlights

  • Community owned conservation area
  • Iconic Shoebill
  • Shoebill Guardian Programme for shoebill nest visits (June – Oct)
  • Endemic black lechwe (50 000+)
  • Reintroduction of cheetah in 2020
  • Reintroduction of buffalo in 2019
  • African Parks project since 2008
  • Contains 10% of the world’s wattled crane population
  • Sitatunga
  • Side striped jackal
  • “Important Bird Area” (BirdLife International) and a “Wetlands of International Importance” under the RAMSAR Convention
  • Over 430 globally significant migratory & resident bird species

Quick facts

  • Solar power
  • Communal charging area (220V) & plug point in the room
  • No wifi

Sunrise

Sunrise - Shoebill Island Camp

Breakfast

Breakfast - Shoebill Island Camp

Morning activity

Morning Activity - Shoebill Island Camp

Midday lunch

Midday Lunch - Shoebill Island Camp

Early afternoon

Early Afternoon - Shoebill Island Camp

Afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea - Shoebill Island Camp

Afternoon activity

Afternoon Activity - Shoebill Island Camp

Sundowners

Sundowners - Shoebill Island Camp

Dinner

Dinner - Shoebill Island Camp

Bedtime

Bedtime - Shoebill Island Camp

What to expect at Shoebill Island Camp


Sunrise

Early morning splashes as lechwe lope through the wetlands and a friendly morning knock on the door welcome the new day.

Breakfast

Light continental breakfast.

Morning activity

4 hour walking safaris / game drive / canoe / shoebill nest visit (seasonal) with the Shoebill Guardian programme.

Midday lunch

Buffet lunch of bush cuisine

Early afternoon

Siesta time. Relax in camp - review your flora and fauna lists or study some water fowl from the comfort of the lounging area.

Afternoon tea

Tea/coffee and delicious freshly baked cakes.

Afternoon activity

2,5 / 3hr evening walking safaris, returning before sunset / An evening game drive with a sundowner stop for drinks and snacks and then continuing with a spotlight after dark.

Sundowners

Enjoy pre-dinner drinks and delicious snacks around the bar.

Dinner

Three course meal beneath the stars.

Bedtime

Cotton sheets and expansive mosquito nets keep you comfortable while wild lullabies of hyena whoop you to sleep.

Shoebill Island Camp Experiences

Guest of Remote Africa Safaris on the back of a safari vehicle look on as two lions lazy around during a game drive in South Luangwa, Zambia

Game Drives

Great for photography



A group of kids photographed during one of Remote Africa Safaris cultural visits to the Mkasanga village in Zambia

Cultural Visits

Understanding life in a Zambia



Two Carmine bee-eaters take flight as a third remains sitting on the bank of the Luangwa River at the Tafika Camp's Carmine bee-eater hide

Specialist Birding

Over 400 species of birds



Remote Africa Safaris guides, Brian Jackson and Jennifer Coppinger, ajusting their cameras while a group of elephants stroll past in the background

Photography

Put your skills to the test



A group of Remote Africa Safaris guests look on as White Backed Vultures and African Wild Dogs gather near the Chikoko Trails in Zambia

Walking Safaris

Africa at natures pace



Remote Africa’s in-house Cessna 210 landing at Mwanya (Lukuzi) airstrip close to Tafika Camp and the Chikoko Trails camps in the South Park

RASair

Perfect for direct and scenic transfers



leopard

Night Drives

See Luangwa's nocturnal treasures



Canoe / Makoro

Explore beyond the shore



Guest of Remote Africa Safaris on the back of a safari vehicle look on as two lions lazy around during a game drive in South Luangwa, Zambia

Game Drives

Great for photography



A group of kids photographed during one of Remote Africa Safaris cultural visits to the Mkasanga village in Zambia

Cultural Visits

Understanding life in a Zambia



Two Carmine bee-eaters take flight as a third remains sitting on the bank of the Luangwa River at the Tafika Camp's Carmine bee-eater hide

Specialist Birding

Over 400 species of birds



Remote Africa Safaris guides, Brian Jackson and Jennifer Coppinger, ajusting their cameras while a group of elephants stroll past in the background

Photography

Put your skills to the test



A group of Remote Africa Safaris guests look on as White Backed Vultures and African Wild Dogs gather near the Chikoko Trails in Zambia

Walking Safaris

Africa at natures pace



Remote Africa’s in-house Cessna 210 landing at Mwanya (Lukuzi) airstrip close to Tafika Camp and the Chikoko Trails camps in the South Park

RASair

Perfect for direct and scenic transfers



leopard

Night Drives

See Luangwa's nocturnal treasures



Canoe / Makoro

Explore beyond the shore



Mwaleshi Camp

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An arial view of the Mwaleshi Camp and the Mwaleshi river, North Luangwa National Park in Zambia

Tafika Camp

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Enjoying sundowners on the east bank of the Luangwa River at Tafika Camp in Zambia

Takwela Camp

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An arial view of Takwela Camp and Luangwa river in North Luangwa, Zambia

Chikoko Trails Camps

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A tree house with an open plan view of Chikoko Trails Camp on the west bank of South Luangwa National Park in Zambia

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