Lion Camp

Lion Camp: Our full report

Rooms
9
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 5 reviews
Children
ages 7+
Open
1 June to 31 October

Lion Camp is located in the remote north of South Luangwa National Park, close to the incredibly game-rich Lion Plain, and a three-hour drive through the park from Mfuwe airport. Comfortable and well appointed, it overlooks a plain on the edge of an oxbow lagoon, or wafwa, which is a real magnet for game all year round.

Lion Camp's location in the park is good, in the far north and away from the main Mfuwe area and so visitors see relatively few other game-viewing vehicles when out on drives. Game densities immediately around the camp are also excellent, with the Hollywood lion pride its most renowned local residents.

Plenty of animals are drawn to the lagoon in front of camp as well – so even during siesta you can watch out for animals. In one lunchtime when we were last here (September 2014) we saw elephants, impala, zebra, warthog, puku, bushbuck and a lovely herd of kudu come down to drink in front of camp.

Lion Camp is dominated by a large thatched main building with polished wooden floors and, in the centre, a large recessed firepit with chairs all around it. Brightly covered fabrics adorn the wooden chairs and sofas, which are grouped in separate seating areas overlooking a long narrow swimming pool (a real rarity in South Luangwa) with sunloungers, and the open plain beyond. An extensive welcoming bar sits to one side, and adjacent is the dining area, dominated by a large dining table; there's even a billiards room! A library and a very good shop complete the picture.

Two-metre-high wooden walkways link the main area to nine solidly built chalets, leaving the ground free for game to wander through. The chalets high thatched roofs, wooden frames and canvas walls have a simple safari theme. Also raised on wooden platforms, each has lovely views over the plain, and double doors that open out onto a private deck with a couple of wooden chairs – a great spot to do some game viewing.

Inside, double or twin beds are draped in mosquito nets and covered with brightly coloured African fabrics, and an extra bed can be added if required. Each room also has a standing fan as well as a couple of easy chairs and a wardrobe.

Separated from the bedroom by a floor-to-ceiling wooden partition is the bathroom. The basin, shower and toilet each have separate cubicles, but with wood-paneled walls and a small window it does feel a little rather dark, especially when compared to the bright and breezy bedroom areas.

Safari activities at Lion Camp include a choice of walking safaris, 4WD game safaris and night drives. Typically there are two activities per day, each lasting around 3–4 hours and led by a fully qualified guide, and for each you'll have a choice of what you do. As with all of the Luangwa's camps, all walking safaris are accompanied by an armed scout, as well as your guide.

On our last visit we thought the guiding at Lion Camp was very good, and the guides were experienced and knowledgeable. On previous visits we had experienced guiding that focused too much on just big game, missing out some of the finer nuances of the bush and its wildlife. But we saw no evidence of that during our time here in 2014, and all the other guests were happy with the guiding they experienced.


Our view

Lion Camp's facilities are impressive, with an attractive and well designed main area featuring the significant luxury of a swimming pool. Its food and service were also very good. The chalets are comfortable too, albeit a little less 'safari' than some real purists might like. Whilst the larger size of the camp and its infrastructure, might not appeal to those looking for a really simple bush experience. Having said that, for this comparatively remote northern area of the park, it is excellent value, and the cost difference between Lion Camp and its neighbours becomes even more significant during the peak season. Its great value for those who want to indulge in a more permanent camp.

Geographics

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: 3 – 4 nights

Directions: Lion Camp is about a three-hour drive through the Park from Mfuwe Airport

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Privately owned.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We had always enjoyed good food when visiting Lion Camp – and our most recent stop was no exception.

Typically, a continental breakfast is served before the early morning activity. This normally consists of a selection of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, porridge, toast, coffee and tea.

A buffet brunch is served at around 11.00 when everyone has arrived back in camp after their morning activity. You can expect a selection of warm food as well as salads, such as chicken peri-peri kebabs, veggie burgers, butternut and tomato gratin, Greek salad, bok choi and apple slaw, all served with freshly made bread. A light dessert generally follows this.

Afternoon tea, served before guests head out on their afternoon activity, comprises of something sweet or savoury, served with tea, coffee or homemade iced tea.

On returning from the evening game drive canapés are served around the bar, followed by a three-course plated dinner. A typical meal could be a starter of Thai fishcakes with mango and onion salsa, lentil soup or spring rolls. Followed by something like a fillet steak with mushrooms and potatoes, or maybe served with cauliflower cheese. We also had a really tasty Thai chicken curry. This is then finished off with a dessert, such as sticky toffee pudding, chocolate and vanilla cream trifle or apple and berry pie with custard.

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

Children

Attitude towards children: Lion Camp welcomes children 7 years and older, but a private vehicle must be booked for families travelling with children aged between 7 and 12. Children will need to be constantly supervised by their parents as the camp is not fenced and game wanders freely throughout.

Property’s age restrictions: Children 7 years and older are welcome.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: We recommend this camp for well behaved children 7 years and older.

Infrastructure

Communications: There is a phone in the office, which may be used by guests in case of an emergency. There is no cellphone reception or WiFi here.

TV & radio: No

Water supply: Borehole

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a doctor based at Mfuwe Lodge, about three-hours’ drive away. Lion Camp has links to a flying-doctors service for serious emergencies.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There is a night porter on duty.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main area, the guest rooms and on board the game drive vehicles.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A complimentary laundry service is included.

Money: There is no currency exchange available.

Accepted payment on location: Lion Camp accepts Zambian kwacha or US dollars as payment, but guests are welcome to tip in other foreign currencies. Cards are not accepted