Shawa Luangwa Camp is situated on the eastern bank of the Luangwa River on a site hand-picked by Jacob Shawa, one of Zambia’s top professional guides and an expert on this area. 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’s experience of the bush, combined with his knowledge and contagious enthusiasm, led to him 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 the beautiful land on the Luangwa River as his very own. At this moment, Shawa Luangwa Camp was born.
Choosing the location for Shawa Luangwa was just the first part of Shawa’s story: we still had to build the camp!
As with our other lodges and camps, it was crucial that Shawa support and empower its neighbouring communities. Work opportunities are scarce in this area, so in 2019 Jacques and Linda, who had built Ila Safari Lodge with us, assembled a team of young, passionate people from within the closest villages. We could not have known how much of an impact this would have on Shawa’s story.
The new team were brought in to do construction, plumbing, carpentry, and whatever else was needed for Shawa Luangwa Camp to become a reality. Each A-line tent was raised on a wooden platform, the pool was put in, and the main area was constructed... slowly but surely, Shawa was growing into something quite beautiful. And it soon became clear that the construction team were equally wonderful. They were talented and eager to learn. So our Founder and Director Vincent decided to interview each of them, to see who might make a good fit to stay on at Shawa in a different capacity once it opened.
Of the 20 or so regular workers who worked on the build of Shawa Luangwa Lodge, 11 of them were recruited to stay on. We hired an expert General Manager, Chef, and Housekeeper, and brought in experienced guides, and they implemented an intense training programme. The pandemic delayed the launch of Shawa, but that gave us more time to train up our team. When we opened in May 2020, Shawa was run almost entirely by the people who had built it from the ground up!
To this day, 9 of the original 11 can still be found at Shawa Luangwa, and the service at Shawa is consistently rated 5* thanks to their pride and dedication.
Shawa proudly offers the very first silent safaris in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park using solar-powered electric vehicles or e-Cruisers. The Silent Safari concept was born in Kafue National Park at Ila Safari Lodge, but has now taken root and blossomed at Shawa. Guests can explore the South Luangwa in a way that allows them to really tune into the quiet of nature and the animals are less disturbed by the vehicle’s presence.