Kakuli Bushcamp is small with only five tents
Kakuli Bushcamp: Our full report
Kakuli Bushcamp is a seasonal camp situated in a high density wildlife area within the South Luangwa National Park. Built at the confluence of the Luangwa and Lubi (pronounced Luwi) rivers, Kakuli is a small camp with just four tented rooms.
Expert Africa team members first visited Kakuli Bushcamp in the late 1990s – and have returned many times since then. In 2008 the camp was completely rebuilt and refurbished ready for the safari season – and on our most recent visit in June 2010 it was still looking lovely.
Kakuli sits on a high bank with the central areas and rooms overlooking the river. Dining takes place in a simple thatched room with totally open sides and a sandy floor – this helps to keep this area delightfully cool during the hotter parts of the day. Just adjacent to this is the bar and lounge, which is a more significant building of reed walls, a thatch roof and wooden decking leaning right out over the river bank. There are numerous comfortable sofas and chairs to sit in – all decorated in neutral safari tones. There is also a clever fire pit in the centre of the decking which is a great place to enjoy a drink before dinner.
Down the bank and a little closer to the water, is a further thatched area with sofas and directors chairs. This is a very quiet place to relax and read a book during the heat of the day. It might also become the dining area for your evening meal!
The bedrooms are constructed with wooden frames, a proper door and canvas walls so feel very solid and sturdy. Then the thatched roof and mesh windows are designed to keep the tents cool. The rooms are simply but well decorated, attractive and well lit. They also have lovely views over the Luangwa River.
A wooden door links each tent to an open-air en-suite bathroom, which is enclosed in a wall of reeds. In the bathroom, the floor polished red stone, and reed 'wall paper' has been cleverly used to conceal the pipes around the flush toilet, sink and shower. Toiletries are provided here.
There is no buffer between Kakuli and the surrounding bush, and the landscape here is quite barren. Young rain trees are interspersed with taller tamarind trees which offer little shade. Though the rooms and main areas are designed to remain as cool as possible, you should expect the area to get quite hot – especially in October.
The openness of this site combined with the small lagoon in front of the main area attracts a variety of wildlife. Expect to see impala, puku and baboons at the lagoon throughout the day and elephants regularly pass through camp.
Activities at Kakuli include 4WD day and night safari drives in an area well known for its large lion prides and regular leopard sightings. Guided walking safaris through the variety of environments in the area of Kakuli Bushcamp are often a highlight. The more active visitor should consider combining time at Kakuli with a stay at it's sister camp Nsolo Bushcamp and walking the 14km between them. It is usually too hot to do this trek during October, but it is possible to walk the 6km on from Nsolo to stay at Luwi Bushcamp.
Kakuli Bushcamp is one of the very few bush camps open during Zambia's 'Emerald Season' (Jan – Apr). Three nights at Kakuli is combined with three nights at
During this lush time safari drives are offered from Kapani Lodge whilst walks and boat trips are offered from Kakuli. Animal viewing is still good at this time of year but the real draw is the lack of visitors and the numerous birds, many in full breeding plumage (over 700 species have been recorded here during the emerald season).
Our viewKakuli Bushcamp is a relatively rustic camp with few frills. However its simplicity is charming and atmospheric and so this is a great base from which to explore this area of South Luangwa.
Ideal length of stay: Two or thee nights is ideal here, and most travellers will combine Kakuli in a longer visit taking in a couple of its sister-camps: Nsolo Bushcamp, Luwi Bushcamp and Mchenja Bushcamp.
Directions: Mfuwe Airport and South Luangwa National Park is reached by a 70 minute flight from Lusaka. From Mfuwe a transfer/game drive lasting approximately two hours takes visitors to Kakuli Bushcamp.
Owner: Norman Carr Safaris
Staff: Camp Managers: Aubrey is the manager and head guide at Kakuli. Guide: Glen is the camp's host and JJ is the second guide. Chef: Bernard
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we last visited Kakuli in June 2010 we only popped in for a short visit, so we were able to have lunch but didn't have breakfast and dinner here.
That said, lunch was delicious and consisted of lasagna, a fresh and fiery rocket salad, quiche and potato salad. This was accompanied by fresh bread and finished off with a fruit salad.
We have no doubt that the other meals would be equally as good, especially seeing as all the meals we have enjoyed across Norman Carr Safaris have always been excellent. This includes Nsolo Bushcamp, Luwi Bushcamp, Mchenja Bushcamp and Kapani Lodge.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks available at Kakuli Bushcamp are included in the accommodation rate. A good variety of soft drinks, juices, beers, spirits and wines are available.
Attitude towards children: Children under the age of 12 can only be accommodated at Kakuli if the family group books the whole camp privately. Even then, the length and areas undertaken on walking safaris will be limited. The minimum walking age set by Zambian National Parks is 12 years. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 years will be allowed to join the walking safaris at the guide and managers discretion.
Equipment: An additional bed can be added to any of the rooms to accommodate a young child with the parents.
Generally recommended for children: Not for children under 12 years.
Notes: Kakuli is unfenced, so dangerous animals do roam through the camp. When we visited in June 2010 the camp manager pointed out hyena and elephant tracks on the sandy paths through the camp. Any children should be closely supervised by their parents at all times.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: Kakuli Bushcamp has 24-hour radio contact with the other Norman Carr Safaris camps and with their base at Kapani Lodge.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: The guides and manager at Kakuli are trained in first aid. The various safari operations in South Luangwa National Park sponsor a doctor who is based in the valley and who is available to tend to anything more serious. In severe emergencies guests would be evacuated by air to Lusaka or Johannesburg.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The camp is unfenced so dangerous animals can roam through freely. Guests are escorted to their tents after dark.
Fire safety: The camp kitchen has an extinguisher readily available. Water hoses can quickly be utilized in case of fire in the camp. A fire break has been created around each of the 'Rhodesian' water boilers as a preventative measure.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included at Kakuli Bushcamp. Clothes are hand washed and ironed with a coal iron. Washing powder is provided in each of the bathrooms and we recommend that delicate items be hand-washed by guests.