Reviews of Kanga Bush Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A treasure trove in Mana Pools
We really enjoyed our four nights at Kanga - and could easily have spent the whole time just sitting on the deck watching the constant stream of mammals and birds coming to what has to be one of the best waterholes for game-viewing in the region. However, we did get out and about, walking under the expert guidance of Rob Shattock who is a brilliant guide with a wonderful portfolio of anecdotes reaching right back into the early days of Mana Pools. It was also a real pleasure to do a couple of outings with Reggie whom we knew already from Somalisa: his undoubted enthusiasm and expertise has only burgeoned since we first met him.
The camp itself is very comfortable and we were very impressed with the lengths which Lizzie, temporarily managing on a day-to-day basis, went to to make us feel welcome and to provide any assistance we required.
As for the wildlife - leopards, painted dogs, lions, hyaena, buffalo and (of course) elephants all graced the waterhole during our stay, among many others; and we identified over 70 species of birds without even leaving the concession.
Kanga Bush Camp review
Kanga is without doubt one of the best camps we have visited in our many trips around southern Africa. As the camp is effectively less than a year old, everything is impressively clean and sparkling, yet it manages to feel like a well-established little camp that sits perfectly in its forest clearing around the pan.
Our hosts Richard and Gilly manage a perfect balance of warmth, professionalism and relaxed style in the way the camp operates and we came away - reluctanctly, having enjoyed our stay so much - feeling that we had spent a happy few days with old friends. The beauty of Kanga is that one can spend a day relaxing in camp and still see great wildlife right in front of you. With no need to move on, it is possible to watch fascinating behaviours that one would not see from a vehicle or possibly even on foot.
We saw, for first time, a beautiful male bushbuck hesitantly make his way to the water, alert to every sight and sound and easily spooked even by the baboons who spent their days at the pan.
The most unforgettable experience was seeing a leopard family - a mother and three large cubs - come down to drink one night as we sat on deck, whilst other nights saw the visits of lions and hyenas.
Kanga Bush Camp review
We loved Kanga. Our hosts Gilly & Richard were great fun and looked after us very well. Unfortunately, the camp is surrounded by very dense vegetation so it was difficult to see much game, however, the waterhole at Kanga was a very relaxing place to sit and we watched elephant, impala, bushbuck, baboons, banded mongoose and many birds. At night, we had visits from four leopard at the same time, lion, wild dogs, hyena and a porcupine. On one day, a couple of us didn't bother going for a local drive so sat overlooking the waterhole with books and a cold beer. Beautiful.
Fisher, our wonderful guide, took us to the Zambezi at Mana Pools a couple of days for a change of location and the chance to see more game out in the open. We had a few lovely walks to get up close to waterbuck, elephants and a fish eagle. He was heavily armed in case of trouble, but kept us very safe and at no time did we feel threatened.
Kanga had the most beautiful bathrooms in the whole of Zimbabwe. Completely uncovered, a great shower and handbasin with a view to die for!
Kwality Kanga Kamp
Richard and Gilly were exceptional hosts. As our guide Fisher was excellent and all the staff were very efficient and friendly. The whole atmosphere within Kanga is what one would hope for in a luxury tented camp. The siting, with it's waterhole, was a delight and we appreciated the opportunity for nightime viewing with the infra red searchlight.
However, Claire, as you well know the animals within the small concession were very skittish as the camp is adjacent to a hunting area. We saw hardly any game whilst on game drives within the concession. Consequently we did two full days at Mana Pools. There we had an exciting viewing of hippo and some gentle safari walks to view waterbuck, elephant eating water hyacinth and a flock of carmine bee eaters.
We realise from past experience that game viewing on safari can be hit and miss but we really felt that Kanga was more miss than hit. Kanga is a camp to stay a maximum of three nights. A great camp in the wrong place.
In our responses to the three places we stayed we are unsure what is meant by Activities and Facilities, thus the no comment.
Expert Africa comments
This is really interesting feedback.
Mana Pools National Park borders onto several hunting areas, all of which have buffer zones of no hunting around their borders. So we don’t think that Kanga’s game is significantly affected by this.
Investigating the game sightings on this trip more closely, these travellers were unlucky to miss a male lion drinking at the water in front of camp as they showered in the evening. Their first full day was spent on a full-day trip to the game-rich Mana riverfront area (including the exciting hippo fight!).
They all spent their second day in the camp’s area. The game drives didn’t produce any great sightings, but there were elephant in camp, followed by four leopards (a female and her three sub-adults) coming down to the pan in front of camp to drink.
Later, at about 22.30, there was a lot of noise as a pack of wild dog killed an impala. Apparently some guests saw this – but it was pretty dark. We understand that the dogs were first chased off the kill by elephant, then they returned, and eventually a hyena stole the leftovers.
The third day was again spent on an all-day drive to the riverfront, whilst lionesses appeared at the camp’s waterhole as they were finishing dining.
Their final day was spent in the Kanga area – and whilst the game drives were largely unproductive, several guests at camp saw a young leopard and the group of elephants which visiting the waterhole near the deck.
Thinking about this detailed report, and other travellers’ recent experience of Kanga Camp … we think that, during the dry season (and especially the latter parts of this), the game in this area is very good. Specifically, there are plenty of animals around the Kanga area, including all the resident big predators – as these are all drawn to the waterhole which is right in front of camp. Thus sitting on Kanga’s deck can be a great place to spot game.
However, much of the bush around the camp is thick. Hence relatively short game drives (ones which go in the morning, or afternoon, for just a few hours) tend to be unproductive, and see relatively little game.
Because of this, we’d recommend that travellers do what these travellers did: take a number of whole-day trips to the Mana Riverfront area. Then perhaps intersperse these whole-days out with the odd day of relaxation in the camp, reading a book or chilling, whilst seeing what comes to the pan to drink.
A real surprise!
We loved the location of this camp, set in amongst the trees with the superb waterhole stretching out in front of us. The tents were generally well-spaced giving plenty of privacy. Game viewing at the camp water-hole was exceptional; we saw elephants, buffalo, kudu, impala, leopard, baboons, porcupine, genet, civet, hyena, wild dogs and many birds, including thousands of doves that arrived in waves. Lions could be heard very close by. We hardly needed to leave the camp at all!
Our tent was spacious and well-equipped and there was great attention to detail, probably one of the best layouts we have experienced in a tent.
Service was excellent, our tent was always clean and comfortable and laundry was returned the same day. Staff were all friendly and helpful. Meals and menus were announced by 3 members of staff in English, Tonga and Shona and whilst it was good to hear the musicality of the languages the staff appeared a little uncomfortable doing it.
The food was always of a good standard but there was occasionally some confusion about my specific dietary requirements - on one occasion there was no main dish that I could eat and one of the vegetarians staying there shared his meal with me! The lunch provided for our trip to the river was outstanding and much appreciated.
We particularly enjoyed the walking with Richard and especially our approach to the wild dogs and the time we were able to spend with them. Our game drive to the river was also outstanding. It was exciting but ultimately frustrating watching the elephant which apparently stands on its hind legs to reach high branches. Unfortunately it was feeding from a tree which was JUST within its reach with a good stretch of the trunk!
It was great to have the plunge pool in which to cool off - very welcome in the 40+ temperatures we were experiencing.
Kanga Bush Camp review
Kanga Bush Camp is a very nice camp. Richard and Jillie were excellent hosts and made us feel at home. Staff was friendly and helpful. The camp's location overlooking Kanga Pan provided a great place to watch game and birdlife.
Rooms were private, comfortable and spacious.
Meals were consistently good.
long walking safaris
The camp itself is very charming, even if it's not so easy to reach.
The opportunity of walking safaris is certainly a plus, unfortunately the concession borders on a hunting area and this affects the behaviour of the animals, which seem to be extremely scared of human beings. In fact we weren't really able to spot lots of animals during our walks.
I probably wouldn't go back there considering the long way to reach it.
Kanga Bush Camp review
Lovely setting by the Kanga Pan in the Mana Pools area
What ever time of the day you sat watching from the deck there was always something going on.
We had the place to ourselves so were very fortunate in having such close attention.
Fisher our guide was very knowledgeable about the animals and the bush in general.
Camp staff very helpful and the cooks were very good.
We went on the inaugral night run following a bottle of champagne given by Richard and Gilly ( camp Managers). Saw herd of buffalo ,civet, scrub hare genet. Altogether a lovely place to spend 3 nights