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Island Bush Camp

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Highlights

- Rustic bush camp in remote location
- Great value accommodation for the area
- 'Up-close' guided walking safaris
- Kafunta Safaris Portfolio

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Overview

Island Bush Camp is an intimate and unassuming rustic safari base located in an extremely remote yet game-rich area of the South Luangwa National Park, eastern Zambia. Located on the high sandbanks of the Luangwa River, three hours south of its sister camp Kafunta River Lodge, this excellent-value, owner-run dwelling offers a ‘back-to-basics’ stay in pristine wilderness, allowing guests to reconnect with nature both through the simplicity of the camp facilities, and through the expertly-guided walking safaris for which this National Park is renowned. Common, ‘up-close’ encounters with lion, buffalo, giraffe, and elephant during the walks are a particular highlight of the area, and a real thrill. Despite the camp’s rustic nature, the service and cuisine are of an excellent standard, and friendly staff promote a sociable atmosphere. This seasonal retreat is open during the late May to early November dry season, and is reached via a four hour airport transfer along a bumpy track in an uncovered vehicle, so do bring a hat, sun cream, and a little resilience for the ride.

The camp is small and simple, blending almost completely into its river-side surroundings. The open-air main area sits below a thatched roof amidst a mahogany tree grove and contains a bar, a lounge area with sofas and armchairs, and a covered dining area. Meals are cooked on a wood-burning stove, and are often served outdoors under the stars. To maximise game viewing and avoid the midday heat, the day starts very early at Island Bush Camp, but early-morning tea and freshly toasted bread served around the fire pit overlooking the river undoubtedly cushions the blow. There is no mains electricity; the camp runs on solar power and paraffin lights, so it’s worth arriving with equipment fully charged.

The accommodation consists of just 5 bush chalets; reed huts which open onto private verandas overlooking the river with its neighbouring pod of hippos. Sitting on a raised wooden platform, each room contains twin single beds draped in mosquito netting, directors’ chairs, a small table, and a solar-powered lamp. The open-air en-suite bathroom sits on the same level along a short walkway, equipped with a canvas bucket shower filled with hot water twice daily; once in the morning, and again on return from the afternoon walk. The capacity is usually enough for a 10-minute shower, and cold running water and a flush toilet is also provided. Laundry is included. Note that the huts have no air conditioning, which may be keenly felt during the intense heat of October and November.

Activities centre on walking safaris with an expert guide and armed ranger scout. A safari vehicle provides connections to walking trails, and sometimes night drives are offered, but generally the experience is on foot. The seasonal nature of the area means fewer wildlife sightings early on during the season, with peak density in the hottest October to November months.

Children are welcome, although there’s a minimum age of 12 years so that all guests can enjoy the walking safaris. With no pool or designated children's activities, a stay would best suit older children with a keen interest in nature. Parents should note that although it is unlikely for animals to approach humans or tents, the camp is unfenced so children must be kept under close supervision at all times.

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What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 501 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • It was FANTASTIC! Beautifully organised, everything worked like clockwork. We agreed that we had the best support team ever (and we have experience) - all delightful, very professional and nothing was too much bother.

    It clearly couldn't have been a better route, such a wonderful mix of landscapes. And plenty of acclimatisation time. Nonetheless, I was glad of my summit oxygen.

    Kit excellent. Double good mattresses made for most comfortable trek camping ever. Tents v good. Mess tent pretty windproof, which was vital for enjoyment. Best camp loo ever!

    My favourite day was Shira Cathedral. Amazing.

    MissingWilliam M reviewing Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route on 15 April 2020

  • Hi Lisa,

    The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.

    Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)

    Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019

  • We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
    We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
    Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
    Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
    Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
    Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
    Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
    Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
    Level of service, quality of food throughout

    MissingCatherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019

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