Kasaka River Lodge

Kasaka River Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
9 tented rooms; 1 house
Traveller's rating
Excellent (92%) From 5 reviews
Open
Mid Feb to December

Kasaka River Lodge is a relatively simple and functional camp set outside the boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park. When we last visited it had just been taken over by the excellent Chongwe River Camp, and thus we expect standards of guiding and service to improve – making it a good option for those wanting an economical base to explore the park.

Though Kasaka lacks the style of many camps in the Lower Zambezi, it is still very well furnished. The main areas have plenty of comfortable and sturdy armchairs, bucket chairs and sofas – all in neutral tones.

The bar and dining room are set on a high platform overlooking the river, under a thatched roof. With dark wood, slate-stone floors and wrought-iron chandeliers the look is almost medieval, balanced by rustic colours and African furniture. A wooden deck extends seamlessly from the dining area and bar to an outside terrace, where chairs are set beneath shady trees. This is a lovely cool place to relax and enjoy a drink because it catches the cool breeze off the river.

Below the dining area and bar, and closer to the river is an additional main area, with an open-fronted library and additional lounge. This looks out over the river, and is stocked with books and games. Leather sofas are inviting, though the directors' chairs looking directly over the river were the draw for us. Sit here with your binoculars and a bird book during siesta! Kasaka River Lodge also has a kidney-shaped swimming pool – with sunloungers and shady umbrellas.

Kasaka's accommodation, accessed along wooden walkways, is largely tented and comes in three guises:

  • Eight 'classic' tents which are well-appointed walk-in tents of a decent size. Each bedroom has varnished slate floors, a large bed draped in crisp white and red linen and a stand for water, mosquito spray and bug spray. There are also power points for three-pin UK-style plugs. There are few frills, but the looks is uncluttered, with dark-wood fittings and small African artefacts adding a touch of elegance. On the side of each tent is an en-suite bathroom with stone floors and white-washed walls. Here you will find a flush toilet, basin and hot-and-cold shower.

  • The Wild Mango Honeymoon Suite. This is located at the end of camp, and though the tent is similar to the 'classic', it is bigger and furnished with a lovely four-poster bed and a sofa. At the front is a broad private deck with sunloungers, and to the side is a large open-air stone bath.

  • The self-contained Hippo Pod is ideally suited to families. This private two-bedroomed house is a short walk from Kasaka's main areas, so guests can still use the pool, bar and dining area. With its own guide and chef, however, it can offer a private safari experience as well. The house is built from stone and canvas, so it feels very solid but also opens up at the front. One room has a double bed and the other is a twin. Both have a large en-suite bathroom at the back, incorporating a shower, loo, twin basins and a bath. The furnishings are very similar to Kasaka's other tents – though the solidity of the building results in a more luxurious look.
Activities at Kasaka River Lodge include boat safaris, 4x4 day and night drives, safari walks and catch-and-release fishing. These are all done in the game management area around the lodge and within the Lower Zambezi National Park, which is just 20 minutes' drive away. For those interested in a cultural element it is also worth visiting Chiawa Cultural Village – a living museum where visitors can learn more about the traditions of the Goba tribe local to the area.

Our view

Kasaka River Lodge has a really friendly team, with very comfortable rooms, and is a lovely relaxed option for families. Though the main areas look a little dated, the tented rooms are simple but comfortable. Its relative lack of luxury, and its location a distance from the park, also result in it being very reasonably priced.

Geographics

Location: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: Spend three or four nights at Kasaka River Lodge to give time to sample all of the activities on offer here.

Directions: Kasaka River Lodge is located a five-minute drive from Royal Airstrip, and 20-minutes from the gate into the Lower Zambezi National Park.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Chris Liebenberg

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we visited Kasaka River Lodge in June 2010, we didn't have a chance to sample the food. However we did eat several times at Kasaka's sister camp Chongwe River Camp and always found the food to be excellent.

Breakfast, around the campfire at sunrise, is always something light, such as cereal, porridge and fruit. Lunch is then served after returning from a morning activity at around 11.30am. This is usually a buffet of various salads and cold dishes, followed by fruit for dessert. At around 3.30pm, and just before your afternoon activity, tea and cake are laid out for you to help yourself. Then dinner is three courses served to the table, followed by coffee.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included at Kasaka River Lodge, apart from champagne and premium bottled wine and spirits.

Further dining info: Kasaka River Lodge can do private dinners on request.

Special interests

Family holidays: Hipppo Pod is a reasonably priced, simple private house at Kasaka with a private guide and chef, excellent for families of four on safari holidays in Zambia. Kids can play board games, take part in little competitions, boat safaris, 4WD drives, canoeing (12+), fishing and village visits.

See more ideas for Family holidays in Zambia

Private villas & houses: The Hippo Pod at Kasaka River Lodge is a great value private house for families or small groups of up to four people. It offers various private safari activities by vehicle, boat and canoe, plus further options such as fly-fishing or visits to a cultural village with your guide.

See more ideas for Private villas & houses in Zambia

Children

Attitude towards children: Kasaka River Lodge has a minimum age of five years.

Property’s age restrictions: The minimum age for canoeing in the Lower Zambezi is 12 years and for walking it is 16.

Special activities & services: Kasaka River Lodge has a number of children's games such as Monopoly in its library. They have also put together an activities book and animal list, to help engage children in the activities. They will happily offer children's meals and sometimes run competitions with prizes. Housekeeping staff can watch children during the evening meal so that parents can eat with the other guests, but Kasaka will not offer babysitting whilst parents are out of camp.

Notes: Kasaka River Lodge is a really relaxed lodge that is very good for families. The Hippo Pod is a lovely spot for a family and the lodge has made a lot of effort in putting together imaginative ways to help children enjoy their stay.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Communications: There is limited mobile/cell-phone reception by Kasaka's pool, but this is very intermittent. Guests can use the office computer for short emails if they need to.

TV & radio: No

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: For minor injuries, the guides at Kasaka River Lodge are first-aid trained and there are first-aid kits in all cars and boats. The camp also has links to flying doctors for serious emergencies.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all the communal areas and workshops at Kasaka River Lodge, as well as a water pump for the rooms.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and is hand washed and charcoal ironed. Delicates and underwear should be washed by hand and soap is provided in the tents for this.

Accepted payment on location: Kasaka River Lodge prefers guests to settle the bill for any extras in cash if possible. They accept US dollars, British pounds, South African rand, euros and kwacha. They also accept MasterCard and Visa, though apply a 5% surcharge.