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Norman Carr

Norman Carr

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.

Norman was Adrian’s father and he brought Adrian up with the same deep love of the animals and people of the Luangwa Valley.


Norman’s Publications;

Norman with Big Boy and Little Boy - the lions he raised from orphaned cubs and successfully returned to the wild.

Norman with Big Boy and Little Boy – the lions he raised from orphaned cubs and successfully returned to the wild.

Return to the Wild  – Collins 1962

The White Impala  – Collins 1969

Some Common Trees and Shrubs of The Luangwa Valley 1978

Valley of the Elephants  – Collins 1980

Guide to the Wildlife of the Luangwa Valley –  Collins 1987

Kakuli  – CBC 1996


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).

1912 – 1919

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

1930 – 39 – 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 – 44

Norman served with the King’s African Rifles in the Abyssinian campaign, attaining the rank of captain.

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

1944 – 50

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.

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

1951 – 56

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

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

1957 – 58

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

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.

1960 – 61

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.

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

1962 – 64

Zambia became independent in 1964. Norman moved to the “new” Mfuwe Lodge.

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

1968 – 71

Norman established the original Chibembe camp in the park.

He built the new Chibembe Camp

1975 – 77

The original Chinzombo Camp was started as a green season extension to Chibembe.

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.

1979 – 81

He worked as a freelance tour guide while building Kapani Lodge, his last home – which was opened in 1986 by His Excellency Dr. K. D. Kaunda. Norman worked hard to establish Kapani as a prime tourist destination – Adrian and Gid live close to the lodge.

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.

1993 – 97

Norman died on 1st April 1997, aged 84.

Coffee in Camp with The Boys

Coffee in Camp with The Boys