A Zambian Bushcamp Adventure

Jane Kidd

08 Aug 2018

NWS client Jane visits three of South Luangwa's best bushcamps

In June 2018 my husband and I spent seven days in Zambia. The wildlife is abundant and healthy with expanding populations, and the people are just wonderful. The whole experience was unforgettable, and we certainly hope to go back.

After a long flight to Lusaka our first night was spent in the lovely Latitude 15, which is a fantastic hotel not too far from the airport. A relaxing place to spend our first night in the country and acclimatise.

Next morning, we took the short and small flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe. Immediately we were met by personnel from The Bushcamp Company and from there on in we were in their very capable hands. It’s about a half-hour drive from the airport to the main lodge, which is not far inside the entrance to South Luangwa National Park. After a short introduction we then jumped in a safari truck for the 3-hour drive to the first of three bushcamps within the park.

We had two safaris each day – one early-morning one, which included a safari walk, and a late afternoon/evening drive with sundowners. Every one of the guides was very knowledgeable and managed to teach us something new every safari, from Mishek to Manda to Shadreck, and of course their amazing trainee guides and the national guards. We saw lots of hippos, leopards, lions, water buffalo, giraffes, hyenas, baboons and even some rare wild dogs.

We stayed our first two nights in the Kapamba Bushcamp. This camp is set on the bank of the Kapamba River. It’s totally delightful, with four open-fronted chalets. Each feels very private and it’s just as well, as the bedroom and bathroom are completely open to the river. You can even enjoy a cooling dip in your very own stone plunge pool. The central area, where you eat with the group, lead guides and camp manager, has a lovely deck which overlooks the river and allows you to watch elephants crossing, all while sipping G&Ts and eating the fabulous food.

Our second camp was Bilimungwe, with its wonderful camp manager Alex and the resident hippo Harry. This camp has four raised thatched rooms and again the facilities were fantastic, including an outdoor waterfall shower where the local baboons can watch you scrub! We spent two days with breakfast on the river, a wonderful afternoon watching the elephants and warthogs take mud baths, and of course brunch and dinner with Harry just below the deck. It’s so relaxed that you feel as though you’ve moved into Alex’s own home.

Our third camp was Zungulila which is designed in an “out of Africa” style. The chalets here are shaded tents with a private bamboo veranda featuring large tin baths, from which you can view wildlife over the open river basin. Our stay here included a private dinner at our tent and a surprise brunch in the bush.

Our final night was spent at Mfuwe Lodge. It certainly feels different from being out at the bushcamps. It’s busier in comparison, and unlike the bushcamps you see other vehicles and people when out on safari. It’s a great reintroduction to “normal” life though, as there are more facilities including a spa, which we managed to make the most of. A special event for us was seeing a baby hippo being born in the lagoon below the spa – something even many of the locals haven’t seen.

In summary, we’d definitely recommend a trip to Zambia, and going with Natural World Safaris and The Bushcamp Company made it totally special. The staff and locals were delightful, and nothing was too much trouble. The accommodation was excellent, and the food was wonderful. A truly special holiday which we’d love to repeat.

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