Reviews of Bilimungwe Bushcamp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
This was the first Bushcamp in my South Luangwa itinerary. I was very tired after a long flight and it was dark by the time I reached the park gate. First I was taken to Mfuwe lodge where after a quick refreshment and completion of formalities, I was transferred to an open landrover. The drive to Bili lasted for almost 2 1/2 hours but turned out to be very productive with a leopard and a lioness with cubs welcoming me to South Luangwa!
Bilimungwe, the camp itself is very small with only 4 chalets. The guide Manda was excellent. Katie, the manager on site is in this job only for 3 months, but she was quite good at it and made me feel welcome at the camp. The waterhole in front of my chalet and the one in front of the deck was a magnet for wildlife especially elephants. Elephants were practically everywhere and one had to be a little careful while moving about the camp. From my chalet itself, I had good sightings of elephants, a magnificent male Kudu, Impalas, Bushbucks and even a gang of banded mongoose. At night I was woken by a antics of large hippo in the visiting the waterhole in front of my chalet....
Fortunately for me the camp was not full and there were only 4 more guests. Next morning we had a drive followed by a walk which was a practical demo of tracking a leopard on foot. Although we did not manage to find the leopard, it was great fun all the same. Evening was a spotlit night drive yielding good sightings of genets, civets, white tailed mongoose. Next day was even better with me as the only guest in the camp. Manda took me for long game drive. We tried to track down 2 male lions which are dominant in that area but failed to locate them. Instead we found 2 leopards, one male and one female, spending almost an hour with them. Most important during these 2 days we hardly came across any other vehicle and all sightings were practically private! This is in stark contrast to many parks in Kenya and even Tanzania...
All in all it's a great camp with an able guide. The slight negative point is that the chalets do not have electricity so the only light available is that comes from solar powered portable "Luci lights". This makes is a little difficult to move around in the chalet after dark and a torch is quite handy. But then again it's all part of experience of a "Bushcamp" .
Bilimungwe - what a location!
This was the 2nd camp on our safari at The Bushcamp Company camps and we were bowled over when we arrived to see the fabulous location and layout. The 'chalets' are sited around 3 water holes and you don't really need to go out of camp to see a whole fabulous range of animals and birds. Just amazing! We were lucky to be staying in 'chalet' number 4, which I would suggest is the best location as it overlooks all 3 water holes. Other 'chalets' do not have such a comprehensive outlook, although they are all huge and very luxurious and overlook at least one water hole.
There was a similar regime - wake up at 5.30am for breakfast and a walk, returning at about 10.30am for brunch at 11.00am. Then siesta until game drive at 4.00pm, sundowners, then return for dinner and early night! The evening drives tended to last somewhat longer than at other camps, mainly due we think to Manda (our guide) wanting to find absolutely everything possible for us to see.
There was a temporary manager Ian, as Katie was having a well deserved break, so it probably was not reasonable to expect everything to run as efficiently as normal. Whilst everyone looked after us perfectly well, there were a couple of small glitches (like laundry not being done one day) that probably wouldn't usually happen. Having said that, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and would not hesitate to return to this fabulous camp.
As well as being visited quite often by a variety of wildlife, the camp enjoys (?) the very close attention of a group of 3 elephants, who regularly get very close to feed on 'biscuits' from the winterthorn tree. At brunch one day, they were so close that they were picking up 'biscuits' from no more than 1 metre away from one of the guests (Roland) whilst he was sitting at the table! Consequently, walking around camp during the day can be challenging, interesting and exhilarating at the same time!
Unlike the other camps we visited, Bilimungwe actually took chairs on the game drive after tea so that we could sip our gin and tonics in total comfort at sundown - a very nice touch we thought even though we don't expect that level of pampering.
One of the highlights of our stay was enjoying our sundowner drinks (in the chairs!) whilst watching 31 elephants, ncluding one very tiny baby, crossing the river.
When we left camp for the last time, all the staff came out to say goodbye and they treated us to a wonderful song about Bili - fantastic!
All in all, a fabulous camp with fabulous game viewing that we will remember for a long time.
Bilimungwe Bushcamp review
Large spacious cabins overlooking a waterhole which had a lot of animal activity. Puku, implala, wart hogs, waterbuck, kudu, bushbuck, monkeys, elephants, and a hippo were all in camp at the waterhole. A large family of elephants came in each afternoon and were great fun to watch.
This was another one of our favorite camps and we'd have liked to have stayed longer. Good drives and morning walks.
elephant heaven at bili
after chindeni we found the rooms here alittle dark but this this was more than made up for by the location having its own waterhole game is in and around the camp all day elephants pass through and drink within yards of your room or the bar great for photos ,fisheagles,kingfishers,the resident moniter lizard who we watched catching frogs within a couple of feet of us mean you could just stay in camp and still see plenty .
the walks with the guide manda are excellent a rearly interesting man with a great knowledge and passion for his countrys history and culture finding ancient sites with bits of pottery and iron from early smelting plus learning how plants are used for medicines and sometimes witchcraft make you almost forget your here to see the wildlife .but the game veiwing here was fantastic cats every day plus everything else and the sight of a troop of baboons chaseing a male leopard in broard daylight just as we were setting off for a walk is one we will never forget
there was a slight problem with the food one night due to a spillage of fuel during transportation some things tasted of parrafin but this was soon sorted out by the very able manager mike and did not detract from our stay in any way. we had a great time at billi and would recommend it to anyone.
Good location and huts
It was surprisning that Bilimungwe was so underused. Our impression was that it was better than its neighbour (Chamilandu?). We stopped there on the way to Bilimungwe and the reception of the guests getting off there was much poorer.
Mike was managing the camp well and was good with the guests and with the other staff.
Our guide, Peter, was also excellent.
Did you hear that we never got to Bilimungwe, as they closed it due to the rains? Instead we stayed an extra few days at Kapamba, although this was no hardship!
Expert Africa comments
These travellers stayed here earlier in their trip - read below for Mr Buffalo's comments.
Expert guiding by Manda and Mishak, learning about the various bush medeicines was very interesting. Rachel was an absolute star, very welcoming and made us feel right at home.
After Tafika had set such a high standard, Billi felt a little neglected, the rooms were in need of a litle sprucing up, and the camp suffered a little in the storms. Having said that a great time was had.