On our last night, at sunset, Banda drives the Land Rover across a rickety wood-and-rope bridge over the Kapamba, and pulls up on the bank of a small tributary for the customary happy-hour cocktails – what locals call sundowners. The sun sets fast in Zambia – it drops, really – but for a moment the sky is lit in electric purple and orange, and the bush is alive. Baboons scream in the trees, dozens of pukus graze in a nearby field, and a giant African fish eagle – Zambia's national bird – circles in the twilight. Banda says that after four days in the bush, he's looking forward to seeing his family tomorrow, and mentions that his older of two sons is named Elvis, after his grandfather. Tourists have told him that Elvis is also the name of a famous American singer, but Banda says he's never heard Elvis' music. So I dig my iPhone out of my rucksack and turn it on for the first time in four days. I find the most appropriate Elvis track I can think of – "Mystery Train" – and set the iPhone on the hood of the Land Rover. It's a perfect moment, thousands of miles from home in a place with no human development, no electricity, no cellphones, where nothing has changed for hundreds of years – and Elvis Presley blasting out over the savannah. As the song ends, and the buzz and hum of the bush fills the silence, Banda is quiet for a moment, sipping his Coke Zero. "I really enjoyed that, thank you," he says, politely. "But I think I prefer the sound of the bush."
More information: South African Airways flies from the U.S. to Lusaka, Zambia. The flight to Mfuwe is included in the trip. Vermont-based CW Safaris are experts in the area and work with the Africa's Bushcamp Company, which runs bushcamps and the Mfuwe Lodge, a world-class hotel, where elephants (and sometimes lions) roam the grounds. [$5,498; cwadventure.com]