Reviews of Kaingo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kaingo Camp review
This was excellent, just what we had hoped for. The camp struck a perfect balance of feeling close to nature and providing creature comforts.
The staff were uniformly good at their jobs, charming, helpful but not intrusive. The guiding and activities were excellent - as there was always a guard as well as the guide driving, there were 2 pairs of expert eyes spotting. Excellent viewing of mammals large and small, and birds. Wonderful photo opportunities.
Very professionally run. Full marks.
Outstanding wildlife viewing facilitated by Derek and his team of highly knowledgeable guides.
Comfortable and characterful accommodation situated to make the most of the stunning river-front location, all enhanced by the excellent level of service provided by the pleasant, hospitable and friendly staff.
Thanks to Derek, Jules, Ian, Izzy et al, for being so welcoming.
Excellent team at Kaingo
This is a superb camp, made excellent by the consistent top quality and enthusiam of all the staff - there just appeared to be no weak link. Derek and Jules have clearly put together a great team and show constant effort to go the extra mile with a number of nice small touches. We had some great game viewings with Gondwe and the potentially disruptive handover as managers from Brian & Michelle to Isabelle and Ian (which happened while we were there) was handled in a way that actually added to our experience....
The Shentons (at both Kaingo and Mwamba) have a different timetable from other camps we visited, with a quicker early morning start and an added midday activity. With their specialist hides, this normally works well. We particularly enjoyed the Carmine Bee-eater and Hippo hides (although strangely the highlight at the "Hippo hide" was an elephant amusingly "tobogganing" down the bank to the river....)
This is a lovely camp with a great feel which we'd very much like to return to.
Kaingo Camp review
We had an excellent time.
The guiding and the camp were both great. Carmine bee-eater hide was just fantastic, as was the walking safari at Kaingo and to Mwamba.
Guide Patrick's knowledge was just amazing and we really appreciated how much he spotted birds and animals and explained nature's wonders. Lunch on the new private decks overlooking the river was a real treat.
Just not enough hours in the day!
Kaingo Camp review
Spot on! So glad we had booked for 5 days, a visiting agent queried if that was too long but not at all, if we'd had longer we would have transferred to the bush camp for a couple of nights.
Derek and Jules are splendid hosts, Patrick is a guide par excellence, and all the staff did their best to make our stay memorable. The recent arrival of Izzy only added to the professionalism. Game was more than plentiful and the hides added another dimension to the day's activities. Derek was in his element when acting as a guide, much to our benefit.
Only one quibble, lunch was really superfluous!!
Kaingo Camp experience
Just the right combination of adventure & luxury for us.
Everyone very welcoming.
The perfect South Luangwa safari camp
Had a brilliant three day stay at Kaingo Camp. You are far enough into the park that the animals behave naturally for you to feel that you are part of the 'real' Africa.
Gondwe was an expert guide, along with Ben in the evenings, which enabled us to see the elusive leopard at very close range! So close that you felt you could hear her breathe as she walked past the vehicle! She was relaxed enough for us to watch her drinking and then stalking Impala.
Derek is very passionate about the area around Kaingo and has developed brilliant opportunities to see species at very close range in the hides that he has set up. The sound and smell of the Hippos is something we will never forget! We were lucky enough to have Derek accompany us on a visit to the Carmine bee-eater hide, paddling us across the Hippo filled river!
Michelle and Brian were excellent hosts in camp, even organising a private dinner on one evening and a surprise brunch in the Ebony Grove on another occasion. Food was also excellent, particularly Michelle's home made cakes! We really enjoyed the lunches served on our private deck with the Hippos laughing in the background.
There are so many fantastic memories, two of the highlights being the wonderful leopard sightings and a close encounter with the Hollywood pride of Lions as they set off on their evening hunt with the cubs in tow.
Kaingo Camp review
Very enjoyable.Read more about the whole safari
Kaingo Camp review
Especially loved the hippo hide, and the private balcony/terrace where lunch was servedRead more about the whole safari
Kaingo Camp review
This was the low part of the trip. Part of the staff was distinctly unpleasant. The first dinner everyone complained (there was a full house with a Canadian party, an American couple and an English couple), there was simply no wine on the table and we had to beg for getting served by the glass and the camp management was nowhere to be seen.The food was disappointing. I don't go to Zambia to eat a pizza/bruschetta as a starter and a vietnamese fish with French fries as a main.
The camp itself was OK, the idea of a private dinning area on the river for each bungalow is certainly very nice. We would have preferred "would and straw" rooms (as everywhere else) to concrete built ones whereas at the same time it is the only place where we had plumbing problems (the water taking ages to drain out of the shower).
The activities were disappointing, we were not allowed to go to the elephant crossing point on day 1 (apparently there were too many people wanting to get there) and this activity was simply canceled on day 2. Apart from lions, the night drives did not show anything, the staff was significantly and obviously less experienced that Remote Africa's, in fact on the second night the spotter was a room attendant.
When we stopped for a sundown drink, someone found a lower jaw of a crocodile (so distinctive) which was identified as .... maybe an hippo!!!. As far as their driving was concerned, it was absolutely clear that they were going far too fast to be successful in spotting wildlife.
Would we go back? no.
Expert Africa comments
We put these comments to Jules Shenton, the owner of Kaingo, who responded at length, including the following:
“As ever, we take this feedback very seriously. I’ve commented on the hosting/drinks issue in my comments to the feedback below (to Mr & Mrs C from Cheshire); these guests were at Kaingo at the same time. It’s important to note that this was an isolated issue, and I am sure that we have solved this for the future.
I was flummoxed by the meal reference; we have never served French fries! We have a 15-day rotating meal menu and that night was due to be: Cheese and Spinach puff pastry tart, Pan seared tilapia with salsa verde served on a bed of crushed potatoes with green beans and Lemon Merringue Pie.
However, on investigation I understand that on that night a group of 8 very health-conscious Canadians requested sweet potato wedges, so we happily slightly altered the normal menu. We asked if everyone liked sweet potatoes before serving and everyone said yes; I’m sorry if this caused a problem.
After these last two travellers’ feedbacks, we took a close look at the food at our camps. Both have two chefs: at Mwamba we serve 6 guests; at Kaingo we serve 12 guests. We decided that our Kaingo chefs were overworked, and so have hired a third chef to help. Additionally we hope to also have an international chef to oversee the kitchens for the 2011 season.
The elephant hide is not run as a normal activity at a specific time, but only when elephants are crossing. We then round up any interested guests to go to the hide. Sometimes these crossings coincide with the midday activity (as happened on the first day of these travelers’ visit.) On other days this visit results in a fourth activity for that particular day.
There are plenty of options for our midday activity and we don’t like to overcrowd any. The elephant hide is high in a tree; it’s just not safe for more than 7-8 people at a time. The second day that these travellers stayed, the elephants were not crossing around midday; hence we didn’t offer this as a suggestion. However, other options were offered – as our midday activity is NEVER cancelled; if there are guests who want to go out, then we’ll always go out.
With regards the spotter, I apologise for not explaining his position and role more clearly.
Spotters are not trained guides; they are normally either game scouts, or junior members of our team. Many do not speak much English. They are trained to spot animals with the light on night drives – and despite often having little formal education, they can be very good at this. In fact, spotting is often the first step on the ladder to guiding; if a spotter shows aptitude and interest then we’ll help to improve their English, train them to drive, and start them on the road to becoming a guide.
Some spotters, as in the case of our room attendant Nashon, have fantastic eyes. He has been spotting for us for nearly 10 years. However, his English is poor and his education is limited: like many people in this area, he is unable to read or write – something that ‘Project Luangwa’ is hoping to change. He certainly can’t study biology to the high level that is required to pass South Luangwa’s stringent guiding exams.
It is very likely Nashon did not understand the question, or pulled the wrong answer from his limited vocabulary of English. I’m very sorry that the question wasn’t directed to the guide.”