- Small-scale, luxury tented camp
- Shaded plunge pool
- Up-close walking safaris
- Game drives
Named for the nearby grove of ebony trees, Mchenja Bushcamp is an elegant tented camp with superb views of the South Luangwa National Park’s unspoilt wilderness. A two hour drive from Mfuwe airport, each of the camp’s five tented chalets overlook the huge sweeping bend in Zambia’s Luangwa River, the perfect backdrop for a relaxing stay. Mchenja is arguably Norman Carr’s most luxurious camp, and one of the best in the area. Even during peak sunlight hours, guests can enjoy welcome shade from the ebony grove, as well as the surrounding sausage trees. Guests have the choice of staying close to camp and indulging in comfort and pampering, or exploring the area further.
The camp comprises five tented chalets, spaced far enough apart to ensure privacy. Each hexagonal tent is designed to be light and airy, and floor to ceiling canvas windows with billowing cotton curtains let the breeze through on hot days. The tents also have their own private en-suite open air bathroom with hot and cold shower, plus Victorian style baths with delightful river views and a decking area featuring a small shaded plunge pool, which although not large enough for swimming, is deep enough to completely submerge in for a refreshing escape from the heat.
Peak safari season is between June and October, but the camp is also open in the last weeks of May and first weeks of November. Those who visit during October and November will experience the highest wildlife concentrations, although they will also need to come prepared for some very high temperatures. Mchenja is located in a strong game area and offers both walking safaris and 4WD safaris. It’s possible to combine Mchenja into a camp-to-camp walking trip, as it’s only a morning’s walk from its sister-camps, Kakuli and Nsolo. As with most of the South Luangwa, sightings of lions and leopards are fairly common; during the dry season guests might be lucky enough to see antelope, mongoose, or even bushbabies, and the birdlife is phenomenal.
Aside from safari activities, guests can choose to simply relax at camp and spend the day reading books from the small library in the many comfortable sofas. The bar is well stocked with soft drinks, spirits, beer and wine, and afternoon tea with cake is served after a midday siesta. The main lounge is sheltered by a sausage tree, which is designed to look like it’s falling into the dining area. Dinner is usually served when guests return from the evening game drive. Meals are normally enjoyed communally, but private dinners can be arranged for anyone who wishes to enjoy the beautiful sunset views of the river in peaceful seclusion.
For safety reasons, the camp only accepts children aged 12 and over if they’re part of a booked family group. Children are not permitted to join guided walks, but may take part in game drives, which will easily thrill them as the 'Lion Plain', where safaris take place, certainly lives up to its name. Parents should note that the camp is unfenced and is also beside a steep, and occasionally unstable, bank of the Luangwa River so children must be kept under adult supervision at all times.
Really brilliant being met in the airport off the plane. It got the holiday off to the right start and driver really chatty and knowledgeable. Great transfers to and from the camps with drivers that were like guides - pointing out animals and full of interesting facts. All really friendly.
4 Rosmead in Cape Town; We loved it here. Just the right side of plush and a lovely warm, friendly welcome. Breakfast were delicious. It was a real haven to come back to and even though it was small it didn’t feel intrusive. They were also really helpful with great places to eat.
Tours in Cape Town; Our guide, Bevan, gave us an incredible insight into the history of South Africa whilst also being really knowledgeable on wild life and nature. No question was too hard and his answers honest. He had an intern with him from a township and this allowed us a different perspective. Bevan was brilliant with my daughter. The Cape Point trip was a full on day with lots packed in. Our highlight was the penguins but we also really enjoyed seeing Cape Point and getting our first taste of the wild life to come! Our stand out experience in Cape Town had to be the tour of Masiphumelele. We’re so pleased that we did this as it gave us an insight of the lives of so many people in SA. The visibility of such poverty was tough going at times and we learned much about the harsh realities of living in a township such as how dwellings regularly burn down, TB & HIV incidence but equally we saw the resilience, warmth and resourcefulness of the residents. We loved being shown around the nursery and the library and the chance to have a very different experience. Being in someone’s home for lunch was a real privilege. We got such a lovely welcome there and the food was really delicious. The tribal dance routine felt a little forced and I wasn’t convinced there was much pride in the display. I think being shown a little more of the craft workshop or the older people’s group might have worked better. Although I can see how this allowed us have a purpose to go into the unofficial part of the township. All in all a moving experience that will stay with us both for years to come.
Getting around Cape Town; We quickly learnt from local people it’s not actually that safe walking around Cape Town except for in the Waterfront. Uber is the best way to travel - much safer and cheaper than the local cabs. The fares are ridiculously cheap.
Food/Going Out; There are so many great places to eat in Cape Town. The indoor food market at the Waterfront is an absolute must. A huge variety of food that is great quality. Also a great place to hang out for a while as there is always bands playing. The Waterfront overall was a pleasant way to do a bit of shopping. We got some great township art there. We ate at the Cod Father in Camp Bay. It was night so we couldn’t benefit from the incredible views. The food was incredible and really fresh. Really warm service too. The Nelson Eye? was also gorgeous for meat eaters. A slightly retro steak house but with the best meat (nor for vegetarians!). We had great steak, ribs and a divine mint crisp local dessert. We also found a lovely place on Kloof Street called the Dark Horse (its sister restaurant the Black Sheep was closed). Really excellent small plates and great selection of wines.
Moswari Game Reserve; This part of the holiday blew us away. The safari was spectacular. From our first game drive we saw and learnt so much about the incredible bush. We saw the Big Five within 24 hours (although we appreciate that must be unusual) but it wasn’t just that we saw them we saw them in amazingly dynamic situations - lion cubs suckling the lioness, rhino doing a strange greeting, a herd of 40 elephants at almost touching distance, a leopard eating its kill in a bush and then majestically descending. I could just go on. It wasn’t just these but also the wonderful giraffe sightings, all types of buck and antelope, a rainbow of different coloured birds. This was an unforgettable experience.
Our guide and tracker, Weinond and Bricks, were perfect. Weinond was a lovely gentle and sensitive man with an encyclopaedic knowledge for wildlife and nature. Bricks was a skilled tracker and I am certain that without him we would not have seen half of what we did. You could feel their passion for the animals and they seemed to take as much joy from a spot as we did. Whilst driving Weinond filled us with information about life in the bush. This meant we learnt so much about the habits and habitats of the magnificent animals and birds we were seeing.
The camp and rooms were top class. It was a small intimate camp with nicely spaced lodges for privacy. The view from our lodge was stunning. The room was large, beautifully furnished and with the best bathroom ever. If there was one thing that could be added it would be would be access to drinks in your room. Sometimes you want a beer or a nightcap without having to go all the way to the main camp.
The food was luscious. There was something for everyone and it was all of a really high standard and cooked to perfection. It was definitely restaurant standard. My only complaint is how much weight I’ve put in because I couldn’t resist!
The service throughout was warm, friendly and appropriate. Very professional.
We stayed for a night in the Giraffes Nest. This was a special, magical experience. The setting was fabulous and ‘nest’ itself beautifully decorated. It was winter so it was a cold night but they gave you lots of blankets and a cosy robe to help with that. Once in the best you we’re in your own but with radio connection back to the camp. Whilst we only spotted 2 animals during the night it was a special experience sleeping under a blanket of stars. It was a bit overpriced I think for what it is and I think in the winter it should be possible might to stay a bit longer in the morning ( we were collected 6 am to join our drive group) as this might mean you would see animals in the light.
Finally, I cannot recommend this camp enough to people. A truly spectacular holiday that we will never forget. I’ve definitely been bitten by the Africa bug!
Dara d reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 02 July 2019
We had a wonderful time! Our transfers (besides a bit of a wait when we arrived) were smooth. The gentleman that drove us to and from the airport also drove us to our hike and he was very nice and helpful, clean car and very accommodating.
Our tour guide on the first day, Mandy, was charming and insightful. It was a slow day in the markets but we appreciated the space and gave us a chance to hear all about the Souks. The gentlemen who was with her was a wealth of knowledge and both did a very nice job!
Our hike was awesome and our guide was great- he even took us to a cool waterfall and took great care of us; lunch in the mountains was delicious!
The hotel was so lovely and the staff was very accommodating and helpful. The food was great and the rooms very comfortable!
I did a good amount of damage in the market (often accused of being Berber;) and truly hope to be back next Spring... maybe a girls trip or perhaps I’ll bring my kiddos!
Thank you for organizing such a nice getaway for my husband and I; we will confidently recommend Tourdust to our friends!!
Jennifer H reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 12 June 2019
We had an amazing trip. Everything was well thought out and so much fun. What a great way to truly see the country and learn the culture.
Joseph was the perfect guide. Very kind, professional, knowledgeable and patient. The kids loved Joseph and keep asking when will they meet him again. He found the Big 5 for us which was unforgettable! Please pass along our appreciation to Joseph.
Maji Moto was also another incredible experience. They had great customer service and we loved experiencing their culture.
Sunbird was absolutely beautiful and I wish we had more time there. We loved the view of the lake!
One suggestion to make the trip even better for other guests in the future would be to have a cooler with drinks and snacks in the Jeep at all times because a ton of driving is involved and it would be helpful to have a cold drink and snacks during the long trip.
Thanks again for organizing this experience of a lifetime for us!
Brandon H reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 12 June 2019