- Small, intimate riverside camp
- Superb hosting and guiding
- Abundant seasonal wildlife
Luangwa River Camp is a small, stylish safari camp, on the banks of the Luangwa River, eastern Zambia. Featured on the BBC documentary ‘No Going Back’, this intimate camp boasts superior hosting and guiding, and just five select chalets at the higher end of the budget spectrum. One hour’s drive from Mfuwe airport, the camp enjoys direct seasonal road and river access into nearby South Luangwa National Park. The diverse surrounding terrain comprises expansive plains, woodland and lagoons, home to prolific birdlife, plus seasonally high numbers of elephant, leopard, lion, jackal, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, and the occasional wild dog. The camp operates from January to November, and visitors from October onwards should prepare for the extremely high temperatures which coincide with peak wildlife density.
The open-sided, thatched main area with its distinctive red columns surrounds a courtyard of banana trees. Guest spaces include a comfortable lounge, a communal dining area, and bar, all with lovely river views, plus a small library. Outside is a decked terrace with an attractive infinity pool and a lawn with ebony and sausage trees. Meals, often served alfresco on the terrace, comprise delicious buffet breakfasts and lunches and communal, three course dinners. Special diets can be accommodated with prior notice.
Activities include day and night game drives, and guided walks with extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic guides. Visitors should be aware that game drives in the park’s Mfuwe Bridge Gate area may be subject to vehicle congestion at peak times. Guests can also enjoy cultural visits to local villages and markets, and take a relaxing boat safari on the Luangwa River during the wetter January to April ‘Emerald’ season, when water levels are at their highest.
Accommodation comprises five spacious chalets, constructed from brick with thatched ceilings. Decorated with stylish, hand-carved furniture, they accommodate two guests in double or twin beds, draped with mosquito nets. Each chalet has a lounge area with a comfy daybed, perfect for reading, and an ensuite bathroom with twin basins, flush WC, shower, and a large sunken bathtub. French doors lead from the bedroom and bathroom onto a wooden veranda overlooking the river. The chalets have mains electricity and fans, but no air conditioning, and whilst the camp has internet access and reasonable mobile phone reception, guests are encouraged to refrain from using mobile phones in communal areas.
Children aged seven and over are most welcome. An extra bed can be added to accommodate one child per chalet, although this does somewhat compromise the available space. Note that there is a minimum age of 12 years for walking safaris, and as there is no child specific programme, the camp may be more suited to older children. The property is unfenced with animals free to roam through, and although it is unlikely that wildlife would approach chalets or people, parents are reminded that children should be supervised at all times.
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!
Woan 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
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019