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Extraordinary Livingstone bicentenary trips

27th February 2013 Print

The ultimate year to experience Africa, you presume? You presume well! 19 March 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of David Livingstone – explorer, writer, missionary and medic – and specialist operator Robin Pope Safaris has three extraordinary trips that retrace his footsteps.

Livingstone came from a humble background, working 14 hours a day in the Blantyre Cotton Works from the age of ten. But his remarkable capacity to learn propelled him to become a skilled navigator, linguist and natural historian. Fascinated by Africa, and considerate of its peoples, he spent 30 years there and, by the time he died, it was estimated that he had travelled over 46,000km across the continent, much of it on foot.

Here are the three extraordinary trips:

Malawi – a journey to Livingstone’s ‘Lake of Stars’

A one-off itinerary, focusing on Livingstone’s explorations in Malawi, takes in Blantyre - a town named after his Scottish birthplace - safari activities by the Shire River and in Liwonde National Park, which he travelled along and through respectively, the Kapichira Falls – a stumbling block in the explorer’s adventures, and ends at Lake Malawi, the water Livingstone discovered and famously christened the ‘Lake of Stars’. The trip includes stays at two of Robin Pope Safaris’ exclusive lodges: Mkulumadzi – a blend of luxury and isolation, it has just eight chalets set beside the Shire River, and offers top-quality guides, game drives, bush walks and safari boat trips; and Pumulani, its lush, lawned slopes tumbling down to a powder-sand beach and the warm waters of Lake Malawi.

Package: Expert Africa ( offers this 11-night trip, available from March, from £3,576 pp (two sharing) including flights (London), all transfers, accommodation, all meals, most activities and park fees.

Zambia – where Livingstone left his heart, under a Mvula tree

Livingstone was the first European to see Lake Bangweulu, and he died in the Bangweulu Wetlands in 1873, on the edge of the flood plain. His heart is buried there, beneath a Mvula tree, marked by the Livingstone Memorial. Bangweulu is a varied, offbeat region, with superb birdwatching – including the much-sought shoebill – and interesting wildlife amid rural Zambian life. Old ‘Africa hands’ will enjoy combining this with Kasanka National Park and the South Luangwa.

Package: Cox & Kings ( has a seven-night trip to Zambia from £4,275 pp (two sharing) including flights (London), the Robin Pope ‘Shoebill specialist safari’, all transfers, accommodation and all meals.

Zambia – Livingstone’s dizzying heights discovery

Perhaps Livingstone’s most famous African discovery, the Victoria Falls span the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, interrupting the Zambezi River. A giddying sight, they are 700m wide, 108m high and boast the world’s largest sheet of falling water. The activities here – both cultural and high-adrenaline – are numerous, including lunch on Livingstone Island, walking with lions, elephant rides, white water rafting and microlighting. Combine the Falls with a safari in the South Luangwa National Park - one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. Here, enjoy walking safaris, game drives (day and night), a Kawaza Village Tour, a Tribal Textiles Tour and a Chipembele Wildlife Orphanage visit.

Package: Robin Pope Safaris offers this seven-night trip, available throughout 2013, from £2,625 pp (two sharing) including accommodation with all meals, most drinks, laundry, all safari activities (except in Livingstone), domestic flights and airport transfers. International flights extra.

For more information on Malawi and Robin Pope Safaris, visit