Sausage Tree Camp stands beside a channel of the Zambezi River.
Sausage Tree Camp: Our full report
Within the Lower Zambezi National Park, beside the confluence of the picturesque Chifungulu Channel and the Zambezi River is the beautiful Sausage Tree Camp. Just in front of the camp lies the old sausage tree after which the camp was named; its branches providing the perfect resting place for numerous kingfishers.
A cold damp cloth, refreshing drink and smiling faces is how you will be welcomed at Sausage Tree Camp, which has a very relaxed feel, yet it runs like clockwork. Nothing is ever too much trouble for the enthusiastic managers Nicci & Alan who will go out of their way to accommodate your every need and make your stay as comfortable as possible. Sausage Tree has a great team, all of whom add to the camps comfortable feel and high standard of service.
Sausage Tree offers a range of flexible activities which are run by excellent guides. These include walking safaris, game drives (day & night) in open 4WDs and boat cruises (using 9-seater motor-boats which seem rarely to have more than a few guests in them).
They also offer canoe trips guided by professional canoe guides down the Chifungulu channel. Usually there's a canoe guide in each canoe, although it's also possible to opt to paddle yourself. The channels used for canoeing here have a high density of hippos and crocodiles and can be narrow (see the satellite photograph of the camp, and note nearby channels) – so those who opt to canoe must understand that these trips can be a little hair-raising, and that there is a higher level of risk involved here than there is for most game activities.
Sausage Tree Camp practices catch-and-release fly-fishing and tiger-fishing deep within the Lower Zambezi National Park. Even for novices, catching a tiger is a lot of fun! The camp has a lot of tackle and kit; most is shiny and new, including expensive, professional rods & reels to cater to the serious fisherman who come here.
Sausage Tree Camp consists of eight Bedouin-style tents with white canvas roofs and reed walls. Two of these are Honeymoon Suites, five are simpler Signature Tents, and one is a large family house known as Kigelia House which has two separate rooms; all are high-quality and broadly similar in feel and style.
On arrival at Sausage Tree Camp by vehicle, the camp appears to be very modest. However, once you've stepped inside the main area and see their wonderful views over the Zambezi River, you'll know exactly why their guests return time and time again.
Sausage Tree's lounge and dining area is a simple, elegant white Bedouin tent with open sides to maximize the camps beautiful views. Inside you'll find some soft sofas, a small library, dark wooden trunks, dining room table and a well stocked bar (with quirky glasses made out of recycle J&B bottles). Wooden decks, which are always spotless, extend from the main area almost right up to the river. Comfortable cane furniture is spread around the deck, so there is plenty of seating to while away the quiet afternoons. In front of the bar there is also a fire 'pit' where pre and post-dinner drinks are served under the stars.
Set aside from the main area, you'll find a large, crystal-clear swimming pool which also overlooks the River Zambezi. Sun-loungers and fresh towels make it the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon.
Sausage Tree's food is first-class, with varied and very tasty dishes and there is always plenty to go around. Meals are taken as a group, and are eaten either in the dining room or on the outside deck.
Sausage Tree is one of the most luxurious camps in Lower Zambezi, it is beautifully styled and furnished and has high quality service to match. That said it has retained elements of rusticity that means it has managed to keep the atmosphere of an authentic safari camp – it is a great balance that works really well.
Ideal length of stay: We'd recommend a minimum of 3 nights – and a maximum of about 7-10 nights.
Directions: Fly in from either Lusaka (30 minutes) or Livingstone (approximately 1 hour 10 minutes for as direct flight; more via Lusaka) to Jeki (the closest airstrip), then an approximately 1 hour transfer to camp.
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Staff: Camp Managers: Nicci and Alan Guide: Alan, Mosses, Charles, Chris, Hastings – senior guides. Walking & canoeing Guide: Marshall - canoeing Chef: Royal Zuze
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On previous visits and when we last visited in June 2010 – the food at Sausage Tree was excellent!
Tea & coffee is delivered to your along with your early morning wake-up call. Then a light breakfast of toast, muffins, cereal, yoghurt and porridge along with tea, coffee and fruit juice is then served prior to your early morning game activity.
Lunch is usually served at 12:30. On one visit we had lunch on a private island under a white umbrella, overlooking a pod of about 10 hippos and some crocodiles basking in the sun. Lunch was delicious and consisted of a tuna salad, green salad, grilled vegetables, quiche and freshly based bread rolls. This was accompanied by Pimms & lemonade and followed by cheese & biscuits.
Afternoon tea is then served before your afternoon activity, around 15:30 – and involved a choice of hot and cold drinks, savory snacks and a freshly baked cake.
Dinner is after your afternoon/evening activity, and possibly a shower, at around 20:00. For starters we had pumpkin soup, followed by fillet steak with roasted vegetables. Desert was crème caramel and glazed pear! We couldn't fault the food – it was really excellent!
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: All drinks are included, including wines, beers & spirits.
Honeymoons: Sausage Tree Camp is very romantic and elegant – as well as peaceful and remote. Honeymoon couples can stay in a honeymoon suite which has beautiful views over the Zambezi River, a large bathtub (big enough for two) a four poster bed and comfy sofa with river views. Private dinners can also be arranged!See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zambia
Birdwatching: Sausage Tree is a great camp for bird-watching; land and water birds are seen from game drives, walks, canoeing and from the camp itself. When last there, our more notable sightings included goliath herons and giant kingfishers – plus martial eagles, a Gabar goshawk and numerous of fish eagles.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Walking safaris: Sausage Tree's guides are very good and the Lower Zambezi, like Mana Pools across the water, is a really excellent area for walking safaris. There are plenty of glades with tall riverine trees, especially the lovely acacia albida, which make walking a real pleasure – and big game is never far away.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia
Wildlife safaris: Sausage Tree is within the Lower Zambezi National Park, so their game is considerably denser than around the camps in the surrounding GMA. We have seen breeding herds of elephants, (calves paddling in the shallows, still learning how to use their trunks) buffalo and lions. Not to forget the nocturnal animals on night drives, including civets, honey badgers, genets and porcupines.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children over 8 years are welcome with their parents.
Equipment: There is no furniture designed for small children, but an extra bed can fit comfortably into one of the tents; two can be arranged, but is a bit of a squash. The Kigelia House has two rooms, so is perfect for families.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend this camp for sensible children over 8 years, who are interested in wildlife and will understand the full safety implications of being in an area of dangerous big game.
Notes: Sausage Tree Camp is located on the edge of the Zambezi River and within the Lower Zambezi National Park. There are no fences around the camp, so dangerous animals do roam freely through the camp – at all times. Children should always be closely supervised. The camp also has a swimming pool which is not fenced in.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There is currently no mobile reception at Sausage Tree; however the camp does have internet which guests can use if they need to.
TV & radio: No
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: The camp managers are first-aid trained and so are the guides. In severe emergencies you will be evacuated to Lusaka and then down to Johannesburg.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The camp is unfenced; dangerous game roams here freely. Guests are escorted to their tents after dark, and radios are provided in the tents in case of emergency. The guides' tents are spread out throughout the camp, so there is usually someone nearby to assist in case of emergency.
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included, except for underwear, for which washing powder is provided in the bathrooms.
Money: No exchange facilities offered, but then you're unlikely to need any!