Kasaka River Lodge

Kasaka River Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
9 tents, 1 house
Traveller's rating
Excellent (92%) From 5 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
Mid Feb to December

Kasaka River Lodge is a relatively simple but efficient camp, situated on a high bank of the Zambezi River in the game management area that borders the unfenced Lower Zambezi National Park. Although the lodge is a short drive from the park and the best wildlife areas, this is reflected in the rates.

Owned since 2010 by the excellent Chongwe River Camp, Kasaka has good standards of guiding and service, yet is one of the cheaper options in the Lower Zambezi.

The main areas are very well furnished, with plenty of comfortable and sturdy armchairs, bucket chairs and sofas – all in neutral tones. The bar and dining room, where meals are served around a long table, 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 lounge area, with an open-fronted library stocked with books and games, that looks out over the river. Leather sofas are inviting, though the directors' chairs directly overlooking 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 – surrounded by a well-tended lawn.

Kasaka’s accommodation, a short distance from the main area and accessed along wooden walkways and dirt paths, is largely tented, and comes in three guises:

  • Eight 'classic' tents 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.

    These tents are split either side of the main area, with half of them on the ‘tame side’, fronted by neatly managed green lawns, and the others on the ‘wild side’, where the natural vegetation is allowed to grow giving a more natural feel to the environment.

  • The honeymoon suite, at the end of the ‘wild side’ of the camp, is similar in style to the 'classic' tent, but is bigger and is furnished with a lovely four-poster bed. 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 easily use the bar and dining area. With its own guide, chef, and pool 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. The bedrooms can be made up as twins or doubles, and each has a large en-suite bathroom at the back, incorporating a shower, toilet, 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, 4WD day and night drives, safari walks and catch-and-release fishing. These take place in the game management area around the lodge and within the Lower Zambezi National Park. The park entrance is a 20-minute drive from the lodge, so you will spend more time commuting to the best wildlife areas from Kasaka than from camps closer to and inside the park. However, to maximise your wildlife viewing it’s possible to spend the whole day on a game drive in the park with a picnic lunch prepared by the lodge.

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 good guides and comfortable tents. It’s a lovely relaxed option for families, and the large main areas and communal meals give the lodge a very sociable atmosphere. Kasaka is noticeably less luxurious than other options in the Lower Zambezi, and its distance from the park means that wildlife around the lodge is slightly limited, but both these factors are well reflected in the very reasonable price.

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 last visited Kasaka River Lodge in October 2014 we found the food to be very enjoyable, and there was plenty of it!

Breakfast is usually between 5.30am and 6.00am before you set out on your morning activity. There is typically a selection of cereal, yoghurts, porridge and fruit, with toast and eggs cooked to order.

Lunch is served after your morning activity at around 11.30am. This is usually a buffet of 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.

Dinner is served after everyone is back from their evening activities, usually at around 8.00pm. After some delicious and crispy vegetable samosas to start, we were offered a buffet of various meat and vegetable curries served with rice. A tasty chocolate cake for dessert was 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: The Hippo Pod at Kasaka River Lodge is a reasonably priced, simple private house,,and is excellent for a family holiday in Zambia. Children can go on boat safaris, game drives, canoeing (12+), fishing trips 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 board games such as Monopoly in its library. They have also put together an activities book and animal list, to help engage children. 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 they have not been specifically trained in childcare and Kasaka will not offer babysitting whilst parents are out of camp.

Notes: Kasaka is set on a high bank above the river, with relatively open walkways and an unfenced pool. Children must be supervised by their parents at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: There are plug points in the tents for charging electronic equipment.

Communications: There is limited cellphone reception by Kasaka's pool, but this is very intermittent. WiFi is available in reception, and the signal can sometimes be picked up in the main area.

TV & radio: No

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: Water is pumped from the Zambezi River and is filtered. Showers and bathtubs are plumbed in, with hot and cold running water. There are flushing toilets.

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

Security measures: Night watchmen are on duty in the camp after dark to escort guests to and from their tents.

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.

Money: A stay at Kasaka River Lodge includes all meals, drinks and activities. It is possible to purchase a cap or t-shirt bearing the camp’s logo, but otherwise the only additional cost would be any tips or gratuities.

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.