Shawa Luangwa Camp is situated on the eastern bank of the Luangwa River on a site hand-picked by Jacob Shawa, the Head Professional Guide at camp. From this beautiful location, you can cross the river on a pontoon or boat and explore the prime game-viewing areas of the South Luangwa National Park.
Jacob Shawa is not only a legendary Zambian guide; he is also the inspiration behind building Shawa Luangwa Camp in the first place. Jacob was brought up in the Luangwa Valley and his interest in wildlife started when he was young. Whilst he was completing secondary school at Mambwe High School (at the time the only secondary school in the Valley) Jacob’s passion for wildlife was so evident that he was named Chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Club for the school.
For a brief moment, Jacob considered studying medicine. He was even accepted into the University of Zambia, an incredible achievement in any circumstances and even more so considering his upbringing in a rural village. Due to limited finances, Jacob was unable to pursue a career in medicine. So, instead, he embraced his ever-growing love for nature and began two years of professional guide training in 1997 with Mfuwe Trails.
In 2000, as a young, qualified guide, Jacob joined Robin Pope Safaris based at Nsefu Camp. He began as a Transfer Guide, Spotter and Tea Bearer for Robin and other senior guides. A year later, he was recommended by legends Robin and Jo Pope to start guiding guests himself. He was ecstatic!
Jacob passed his Walking Safari Guide examinations with flying colours and was promoted to Guide and Assistant Manager at Nkwali Camp. In 2006, Jacob was again promoted to be the Guide and Manager for Luangwa Safari House and was also recommended to lead some special trips with guests in other parts of Zambia, including the Bangweulu Wetlands, Liuwa Plain and Kasanka national parks.
Just a few years later, Jacob was starting to be thought of by guests from around the world as a Zambian David Attenborough. His experience of the bush, combined with his knowledge and contagious enthusiasm, led to Jacob being shortlisted as one of the best eight guides (out of 3000 nominees) in the World Guides Award by Wanderlust. The Luangwa area was incredibly proud of Jacob for representing them. To congratulate him, Honourable Senior Chief Nsefu of the Luangwa Valley asked Jacob to choose a site from his beautiful land on the Luangwa River as his very own. At this moment, Shawa Luangwa Camp was born.
With the support of Green Safaris, Jacob has been integral to the creation, soul and energy of Shawa. His knowledge of the area and wildlife has inspired and guided the Green Safaris team throughout. What’s more, Shawa proudly offers the very first silent safaris in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park using solar-powered electric vehicles or e-Cruisers.
The opening of Shawa was delayed due to Covid-19, but Jacob has been patiently waiting and ensuring that his little slice of paradise is ready for guests. Importantly, Jacob and his team have been working on reforestation and growing initiatives in the area to support the Luangwa community without whom none of this would be possible.