Crocodile Bushcamp

Crocodile Bushcamp: Our full report

Rooms
3 chalets
Traveller's rating
Excellent (98%) From 57 reviews
Children
OK for 12+
Open
1 June to 31 October

The tiny and stylishly rustic Crocodile Bushcamp – also known as Crocodile River Camp – is one half of a pair of bushcamps, known as ‘the Chikoko Trails Camps’ which occupy a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park where no vehicles are permitted. Made of reed and thatch, and rebuilt every year after the rains, it’s one of the simpler camps that we feature.

The other half of this pair of camps is Chikoko Tree Camp, and together they act as a satellite camps for the slightly larger Tafika Camp. All three, plus one further bushcamp in North Luangwa National Park, Mwaleshi, are run by the team at Remote Africa Safaris, led by one of the Luangwa Valley’s top walking safari guides, John Coppinger.

Crocodile Bushcamp itself stands beneath a tall grove of evergreen ebony trees, overlooking a large open pan (known locally as a 'dambo'), which was once the course of the Luangwa River. This is a big open area with a depression, which often contains water during the early part of the dry season – and always has green plants and nutritious grazing for the game.

Accommodation at Crocodile consists of three rustic, reed-and-thatch chalets – so this little bushcamp takes just six people when full. All three are set on a slightly raised side of the dambo, where the ancient riverbank used to be. Inside are either twin or double beds, covered in brightly coloured African fabrics, with a chair and sofa by the large open window with a good view of the bush. Attached is a private open-air bathroom, its sandy floors covered in reed matting; it has a washbasin, flush toilet and (hot!) shower.

Crocodile’s main area is partially covered, with a small, well-stocked ‘help-yourself’ bar as well as a little library. In the centre stands a large round table laid at mealtimes with linen, glassware and crockery. Everyone eats together, usually out in the open. At the front of the main area is a small seating area with a couple of comfortable chairs and a sofa.

Activities at Crocodile Bushcamp concentrate solely on walking safaris: the camp is in an area with no roads at all, so your luggage will be carried to and from camp by porters. (They always walk separately; they won't be with you on any walking safaris.) Walks normally last about three–four hours, and are fairly relaxed affairs, including a mid-morning break for tea. The terrain is broadly level but often uneven underfoot – so sturdy shoes are a good idea. The emphasis is on observing the area's excellent wildlife; these walking safaris aren't endurance tests or route marches – so a moderate level of fitness is fine!

The top guides from Tafika are shared with Crocodile Bush Camp – guaranteeing the excellent wildlife knowledge and experience that is the hallmark of this operation. Most guests arrive at Crocodile from either Tafika or Chikoko Tree Camp as part of a longer walking safari which starts and perhaps ends at Tafika; you can easily walk between Tafika and Crocodile, or Crocodile and Chikoko, in about three–four hours. For a view of the three camps, see the satellite map of the area. If you want to venture further, then these camps combine well with their more distant sister camp, Mwaleshi Bushcamp, in North Luangwa National Park.

Our view

Though the structures of Crocodile are deliberately rustic, the standard of guiding here are exceedingly high – and even the food here is top-notch. (Quite remarkable when you see the kitchen facilities.) This bushcamp’s emphasis is firmly on enjoying the wilderness, the environment and the game, so for those of us that love walking safaris – this is one of the best, and so one of our favourite places in Africa!

Geographics

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: In the dry season, it's perhaps most popular to start a safari in the South Luangwa at Tafika for two–four nights, and then head to the bushcamps – Crocodile Bushcamp and Chikoko Tree Camp for a few nights each. Often trips will then return to Tafika for a night or two at the end – although some will finish with a visit to Mwaleshi in North Luangwa. To check if Crocodile Bushcamp has space on the dates for your safari, click on the 'camp availability' link on the right-side of this page.

Directions: From Mfuwe Airport it's approximately 1½–2 hours by road to Tafika. From here, guests walk to Crocodile, taking about 3–4 hours. A flight transfer from Mfuwe to Lukuzi airstrip (Tafika) takes 15 minutes.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Owner run – John and Carol Coppinger

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The small kitchen team at Crocodile Camp produces really excellent cuisine from a remarkably simple bush kitchen. This includes delicious freshly baked bread cooked underground in the wood-fired ‘oven’.

On our last visit, in June 2013, we arrived in time for lunch, which was served buffet-style in the main area. We had a choice of chicken goujons, vegetable and bacon quiche, pasta salad, coleslaw, mini sweetcorn cobs and a green salad. Dessert was a light but tasty Amarula and fruit mousse with cream.

After returning from the afternoon walk, we were served dinner: a green bean soup, followed by beef fillet with potatoes, vegetables and a green salad, and rounded off with a tasty chocolate mousse.

A very early morning breakfast is served around the campfire. On our visit there was a choice of cereal, toast and a cold platter of ham, cheese, pickles and tomato, as well as tea, coffee and juice.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included in the rates. Note that fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs, are charged as extras.

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Solo Travel: Crocodile Bushcamp stands out for as being a great destination for a very remote holiday. Solo travellers will love the walking safaris and that very knowledgeable guides who share their wildlife knowledge. The low single supplement adds to its attraction.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia

Birdwatching: Crocodile Bushcamp has a great spot overlooking a verdant dambo – with first-rate guides who know their birdlife. Even sitting in the lounge on a Zambia birdwatching break you'll see a constant flow of birds in the trees around.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia

Walking safaris: In a remote, walking-only area of South Luangwa, Crocodile Bush Camp has top walking safari guides and is surrounded by a good density of game. Your luggage is carried separately for you on camp-to-camp walking trails, leaving you to focus on the amazing wildlife experience.

See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia

Wildlife safaris: Crocodile Bushcamp's is located in an excellent area for big-game safaris – and a terrific area for walking because the environment around camp is often open, and the game is generally very relaxed. 4WD safaris are not available at Crocodile.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Zambia

Children

Attitude towards children: Crocodile Camp welcomes children 12 years and over.

Property’s age restrictions: Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to take part on a walking safari.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Crocodile Bushcamp is very remote and is not fenced in, so animals do roam freely through the camp. With walking being the only activity there is nothing else here to keep children occupied.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Communications: There is no cellphone reception here although the camp is in radio communication with Tafika – which has excellent communication facilities.

TV & radio: No TVs or radios

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a doctor in Mfuwe, about an hours drive from Tafika. For more serious emergencies Tafika has links with a flying doctors service.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Both your guide and the staff are in camp.

Fire safety: There are sand buckets outside each chalet as well as in the main area.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A complimentary laundry service is included, but this does not include ladies underwear; soap for this is provided in the chalets. Note that clothes are hand washed and coal ironed.

Money: No exchange facilities are provided

Accepted payment on location: No money is required at Crocodile. Any payments may be made at Tafika which accepts payment for any extras in cash only: UK pounds, US dollars, euros and kwacha. They do not accept cards or travellers' cheques.