Nsolo Bushcamp has just four chalets all built on timber platforms
Nsolo Bushcamp: Our full report
Taking the local name for the greater honeyguide bird, which can often be found in the area, Nsolo Bush Camp overlooks a wide bend in the bed of the Luwi River where one or two shallow pools (depending on the season) attract various animals to drink.
Nsolo Bush Camp has four thatched chalets built on raised timber platforms. Each chalet has its own slightly unique style, incorporating the local landscape and trees, and has been cleverly designed using local materials. Bamboo lattice windows sit in reed walls, a bamboo hanging rail has reed covered hangers for clothing and woven reed 'wallpaper' conceals the plumbing in the open-air, en-suite bathroom. Double wooden doors open up to a private wooden deck where comfortable chairs face out over the river bed. The rooms here are very cleverly designed and feel completely in keeping with their natural surroundings.
Nsolo Bush Camp's main area is an open-sided, thatched building set on a deck of beautiful dark wood. It overlooks the Luwi riverbed and so is a great place to sit and watch out for birds and game. It has been built under the shade of sausage and Natal mahogany trees incorporating their tree trunks into the structure. In this building there is a comfortable lounge with a small library, a bar and the dining area, with a small toilet within close proximity. Beyond, the ground slopes away onto a wide sandbank before dropping into the main riverbed. This sandbank is the perfect spot for sundowner drinks and snacks or for a beautiful lantern-lit dinner under the stars.
Depending on the time of year there are one or two pools of water in the riverbed, where animals come to drink. On top of the bank, canvas chairs have been laid out in various viewing positions, and nearby, the campfire is the focus for breakfast and pre-dinner drinks.
Although day and night driving activities are offered from Nsolo, this bush camp really concentrates on guided walking safaris. These walks might take place in the open plains, devoid of roads, across the riverbed from the camp or through the riverine woodland along the river banks. When we were last there in June 2010, we even drove a short way to a lovely stretch of river and walked from there for a few hours.
Our viewWe really enjoyed our brief stay at Nsolo and only wish we could have stayed longer. The team here were especially welcoming and went out of their way to accommodate their guests. Nsolo is a rustic but very well run bushcamp with lots of charm.
Ideal length of stay: A two- or three-night stay at Nsolo Bushcamp is ideal. This works best when combined with a walking safari encompassing its sister-bushcamps, Luwi Bushcamp, Kakuli Bushcamp and Mchenja Bushcamp - and, of course, this will often start and at Kapani Lodge. It is approximately 6km between Luwi and Nsolo, which takes about three hours to walk. The walk between Nsolo and Kakuli is 14km and only recommended for fitter travellers during the cooler winter months (May to early Sep).
Directions: Mfuwe Airport is the gateway to South Luangwa National Park. From there it's an easy game drive lasting about three hours through the park to Nsolo camp.
Owner: Norman Carr Safaris
Staff: Camp Manager and head guide: Shadrack
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: We've visited South Luangwa National Park, and Nsolo, many times in the last decade, most recently in June 2010. We were impressed by the food at all the Norman Carr Safari camps, including Nsolo Bush Camp. Whilst almost all the Zambia's safari camps provide very good meals, we thought those at Nsolo and its sister camps were particularly delicious, well prepared and well presented.
Breakfast is usually served around the campfire before the early morning activity. A choice of cereals, fruit, juices and fresh muffins are usually set out in a buffet. Porridge is heated over the fire whilst toast is prepared to order. Occasionally a full hot breakfast is cooked over the fire by the camp's chef. On our last visit this included fried eggs, sausages, tomatoes and bacon.
Brunch is served at about 11am although this is flexible and depends on when the morning excursion returns to camp. Usually eaten under the cool thatch roof of the main area, this meal is served as a buffet and could include a variety of salads (green, rice and coleslaw), freshly baked bread and two more substantial dishes such as quiche, lasagna or babooti (a South African farmers pie). This is often followed by fruit salad.
Dinner is a three course meal often served by candlelight under the stars. We enjoyed one meal out on a sandbank in the river channel, whilst keeping an eye on a leopard hunting baboons by moonlight on the opposite bank. Our dinner started with pumpkin soup, followed by tilapia (local river fish), stir-fried vegetables and brown rice. Desert was a very tasty banoffee pie.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks available at Nsolo Bushcamp's bar are included in the price.
Walking safaris: Nsolo Bushcamp offers walking safaris through various environments, from open grassy plains to mopane woodlands, visiting the odd remaining lagoon and the riverine woods along the Luwi riverbed. Wildlife is plentiful here with species including Crawshay's zebra, elephant, lion and the usually elusive eland antelope. Walks between Nsolo and its sister-camp, Luwi Bushcamp (about 7km's away), are a highlight.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Nsolo can only accommodate children aged 12 and over. Even then, children between the ages of 12 and 16 years will only be allowed to join the walking safaris at the manager's discretion.
Equipment: An additional bed can be made up in one of the chalets to create a triple room for parents and a child..
Notes: Nsolo Bushcamp is unfenced; dangerous animals will often pass through the camp. Parents need to keep children under their close supervision at all times.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: Nsolo bushcamp has 24-hour radio communications with its sister camps in South Luangwa National Park and with its base near Mfuwe.
TV & radio: No – this is a bushcamp.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: A doctor is usually on call in the Luangwa Valley, sponsored by the various safari operators based in South Luangwa National Park. Nsolo also has links to flying doctors and the guides are fist aid trained.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: As Nsolo camp is unfenced, a guide or scout will escort guests to their chalets after night fall.
Fire safety: The camp has a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and there is a fire break around the camp.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is offered on a complimentary basis, although local taboos may mean that women's underwear cannot be included. For guests who wish to hand wash these or any delicate items, washing powder is provided by the sink in each chalet.