Luangwa Valley Zambia

About Norman Carr

About Norman Carr Safaris

Way back in 1950, a young game ranger called Norman Carr initiated a far-reaching and visionary conservation concept which was to pave the way for modern conservation and tourism. He encouraged Senior Chief Nsefu – the paramount Chief of the Kunda people in the Luangwa Valley to set aside a portion of his tribal land as a Game Reserve and built the first game viewing camp open to the public in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Revenue from the camp was paid directly to what was called in those colonial days "the Kunda Native Authority".

His dream was to share his passion for this unique wilderness and to secure its future by ensuring that the local population would benefit by conserving the wildlife and infinitely varied habitat of the Luangwa valley.

More than sixty years on at Norman Carr Safaris, we are still walking. We are still passionate about sharing the thrill of tracking lions on foot through the early morning mists, the delight in learning something new on every walk or game drive and the chance to meet local people and share experiences about life in the valley.

1912 - 1997
  • 1912


    Norman was born in Chinde on 19th July 1912. Chinde was a British concession in Portuguese territory in Southern Africa used for transit of goods from ocean going ships into the Zambesi River and paddle steamers for Nyassaland (now Malawi).

  • 1919


    He was sent off to school in England to, by his own admission, unremarkable academic acclaim.

  • 1930


    He returned to a varied career in Nyassaland including the hunting of garden raiding elephant and, on the basis of this experience, was appointed Elephant Control Officer in the Luangwa Valley. This was to replace the legendary Charlie Ross whose own career had been terminated by one of his quarry.

  • 1940


    Norman served with the Kings African Rifles in the Abyssinian campaign, attaining the rank of captain.

  • 1944


    On his return he was absorbed into the newly formed Game Department as one of their first Game Rangers in the Luangwa Valley.

  • 1950


    Norman initiated a far-reaching, even visionary concept by involving the local people in wildlife conservation, and by their benefiting financially therefrom. He encouraged Senior Chief Nsefu to set aside a portion of his tribal land as a Game Reserve. Nsefu Camp was built, which was the first game camp open to the public in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Revenue from the camp was paid directly to the Kunda Native Authority.

  • 1951


    Norman was instrumental in organising the first formal professional Hunting safaris, which were run by the Game Department.

  • 1956


    He retired as Chief Ranger for health reasons after a spinal operation resulting from a buffalo injury.

  • 1957


    He was recalled from retirement as Warden to develop the Kafue National Park.

  • 1958


    Norman acquired two orphaned lion cubs, the raising of which resulted in the book and subsequent film "Return to the Wild".

  • 1960


    He was transferred back to Luangwa to evaluate the wildlife and tourism development potential and he was able to live with the lions, teaching them to hunt and fend for themselves.

  • 1961


    The two lions, now mature males, were released into the North Luangwa National Park where he saw them a year later, thus concluding a successful reintroduction into the wild. He finally retired from government and started a private safari operation at Lion Camp in the north of the park. These were the first conducted game viewing tours in Northern Rhodesia. He also initiated guided walking safaris, which became known as wilderness trails. These were very popular and have since been emulated throughout southern Africa.

  • 1962


    In partnership with Peter Hankin, Norman started Luangwa Safaris, the first hunting operation in Luangwa, from the "old" Mfuwe Lodge.

  • 1964


    Zambian independence. He moved to the "new" Mfuwe Lodge.

  • 1968


    He operated walking safaris out of numerous bush camps in the northern areas of the park.

  • 1971


    Norman established the original Chibembe camp in the park.

  • 1975


    He built the new Chibembe Safari Camp.

  • 1977


    Chinzombo camp was started as a green season extension to Chibembe.

  • 1979


    Norman initiated and devoted two years to the "Save the Rhino" campaign in an effort to combat the rampant poaching that was sweeping through the Valley.

  • 1981


    He worked as a freelance tour guide while building Kapani Lodge which was opened in 1986 by His Excellency Dr. K. D. Kaunda. Norman worked hard to establish Kapani as a prime tourist destination.

  • 1993


    His last few years were spent largely on welfare and charitable projects. He assisted a great many children in primary, secondary and further education through the Kapani School Fund and devoted himself to awakening in young people an awareness of wildlife conservation and its importance to their future.

  • 1997


    Norman died on 1st April 1997, aged 84.

    Norman Carr Portrait