Zambezi Kulefu is situated on a beautiful stretch of the Zambezi River...
Zambezi Kulefu Camp: Our full report
Stop Press: 4 March 2011: Due to the exceptionally high water levels of the Zambezi River in early 2011, Zambezi Kulefu was closed for the 2011 season. It has remained closed for 2012, and seems unlikely to be opened in the near future. We'll keep a close eye on developments here so please don't hesitate to get in touch with us for an update.
Formerly called simply 'Kulefu', or 'Kulefu Lodge', we've known this camp for many years – even sending several large groups of travellers here to see the solar eclipse in 2001. Now titled Zambezi Kulefu Camp, it was bought and refurbished by Sanctuary Retreats in 2008 along with Sussi & Chuma Lodge in Livingstone, Chichele Presidential Lodge in South Luangwa, and both Zebra Plains Walking Safari Camp and Puku Ridge Camp in South Luangwa (Hence it's sometimes now referred to as 'Sanctuary Zambezi Kulefu Camp'.)
None of the Expert Africa team has visited the camp since its refurbishment was completed; when we last visited it was little more than a building site. However, having spent time at its sister camps in Zambia, as well as at Sanctuary's other properties in Botswana and East Africa, we have clear expectations of this lodge. If true to form, then the emphasis here will be on high standards and creature comforts.
Zambezi Kulefu Camp is in a fairly remote, eastern area of Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park, which is a good area for game. It's also got relatively few other camps around it – only Ana Tree Lodge and Old Mondoro are at all close. (The former is usually very quiet, and the latter tiny – so this is one of the quietest areas of the Lower Zambezi National Park.)
Zambezi Kulefu consists of 7 tented chalets, each constructed of brick draped with Bedouin-style canvas, and sitting on a raised platform with a deck (and loungers) beside the riverbank. All are very comfortable – and very much on a par with Sanctuary's existing camps in Tanzania (Kusini
In the Serengeti, and Swala in Tarangire).
Each secluded chalet has four-poster twin beds, or a large double, draped with mosquito nets. There's a cupboard, a writing desk with a lamp, and a small lounge area. You can expect plenty of dark, teak wood and solid, comfortable furnishings – including some quite luxurious touches – while comfort comes in the form of a cooling fan, and hot-water bottles to stave off the winter cold.
The plush en-suite bathroom boasts a bath and both indoor and outdoor showers, as well as twin vanity units and a flush toilet. A range of complementary toiletries is supplied, as is mosquito repellent.
The central lounge and dining areas at Kulefu Camp are elevated on an extensive deck, with great views of the meandering Zambezi. Each is covered by a Bedouin-style tent, lending a fresh and breezy feel, while plenty of comfortable chairs and largely wooden furniture add substance. Bar facilities are in the lounge area, and there's also a small library.
To one side of the main area, a plunge pool offers a picturesque riverside location for cooling off in the heat of the day.
Meals are served both inside and outdoors, including the possibility of a candlelit dinner under the stars, overlooking the river. Without first-hand experience of the camp it is difficult to judge the food here, which is claimed to be 'authentic African cuisine'. However, camps operated by Sanctuary Retreats generally pride themselves on high-quality dining and Zambezi Kulefu should be no different.
Fully qualified and licensed guides lead the varied activities at Kulefu Camp. 4WD game drives are the mainstay of the camp and provide the best opportunities to see the big cats and larger game that frequent the area. The lodge also offers walking safaris in the surrounding bush (great for covering the things you won't notice from the back of a vehicle) or even a canoe trip or fishing excursion on the Zambezi River.
Our viewZambezi Kulefu Camp has a good pedigree, and should be a camp of real quality following its recent upgrade. Its location - in a quiet area of the park with few other camps around - makes for good game viewing.
Watch this space for a first-hand report from one of our team. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any further queries.
Ideal length of stay: We'd recommend a stay of about 3–4 nights to take advantage of all that this high-density game area has to offer.
Directions: Access to Zambezi Kulefu Camp is by light aircraft to Kulefu Airstrip followed by a 20-minute boat transfer. In October, should the rains start early, flights may have to land at Jeki Airstrip or Royal Zambezi Airstrip).
Owner: Sanctuary Retreats
Staff: Camp/Lodge Manager: TBA Guide: Elijah Yevuka Guide: Prince Kapunga Chef: TBA
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Authentic African cuisine. Vegetarians are catered for.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks (except premium-brand spirits and fine wines) are included in the price.
Attitude towards children: Children over 12 are welcome here.
Generally recommended for children: No
Notes: This is an area where dangerous game is often found in or around camp, so we wouldn't recommend this lodge for children. This is also a malaria area.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: Complimentary WiFi available
TV & radio: None, this is the bush.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: All of the guides are trained in first aid and there are first aid facilities on site. For anything more serious incidents the nearest medical help is in Lusaka, a flight of about 30 minutes.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are no guards on site, but guides walk guests to their tents at night.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Zambezi Kulefu.
Money: US dollars, kwacha and South African and are accepted