Busanga Bushcamp: Our full report
On the north-west side of the Busanga Plains, Busanga Bushcamp lies hidden in a small tree island of giant ...... sycamore fig trees and wild date palms. Though not as grand as its sister camp, Shumba, this is a first-class little bushcamp with a very rustic approach.
Busanga Bushcamp has just four chalets – which are shaped like traditional Meru-style tents. Mosquito-proof gauze is used for the top half of their walls – allowing a breeze to blow through – and the bottom section and roof are made of canvas. Each room has two large queen-sized beds, and an open-air en-suite bathroom with a flush toilet and hot showers.
(Read more about the chalets…)
The comfortable lounge and bar area of Busanga Bushcamp are at the centre of the camp. This wooden structure is covered by a canvas roof and has an uninterrupted view over the plains. As the building faces east, this is the perfect spot from which to watch sunrise during breakfast whilst enjoying the sight of herds of lechwe and puku feeding. A little further back is the dining boma, an open area shaded by a tall tree from which a lantern chandelier hangs - a spectacular sight when lit up at night.
There is a small library stocked with a limited number of reference books and other reading matter. Tea and coffee is available throughout the day whilst the bar uses a self-service system.
Near the main area, a wooden viewing deck has been built into a large sausage tree. This can easily be reached on a short walk from the camp.
The vast Busanga Plains are more reminiscent of the Serengeti's open grasslands than any of Zambia's usual bush terrain, making this a worthwhile and contrasting stop on any safari to this country.
For at least half the year – typically from about mid-November to late-June – these plains are largely flooded. The flora and fauna can be amazing. This lush, swampy landscape attracts masses of birdlife, with flock of cranes, herons and other waders, often including good numbers of wattled and crowned cranes. Although this area can be challenging to travel around during these months, there is still plenty of wildlife to be seen including herds of buffalo numbering 500+, graceful puku antelope and large herds of red lechwe – all of which are attracted by the verdant vegetation and large stretches of surface water.
As the water dries, from around June onwards, the remaining vegetation stays nutritious for many months. These grasslands then increasingly start to attract dry-country animals, most notably herds of zebra and blue wildebeest – which increases the variety of the game that most visitors will see on the Busanga Plains.
During the whole year, several prides of lion are resident in and around the plains – the water doesn't put them off; they're well-known in this area for their tree climbing antics!
The other large predators found here are cheetah and wild dog. The Busanga Plains certainly offer visitors their best chance of seeing cheetah in Zambia. Similarly, northern Kafue is one of the strongholds for wild dogs in the region, and they're seen here fairly commonly. Spotted hyena also occur, but as their dens are largely restricted to areas that don't flood, around the tree-line, they're not often seen on the Busanga Plains.
When we last visited we found the Busanga Plains particularly good for game rarely spotted in other regions of southern Africa. In particular we saw a large herd of roan antelope which were very relaxed, allowing us to spend a long time viewing and photographing this usually shy antelope. We were frequently treated to sightings of the diminutive and delightful oribi antelope in the 'termitaria zone' on the edge of the plains – which are rarely see in most of Africa's parks – and also had two superb sightings serval.
Activities from Busanga Bushcamp include 4WD game drives to explore the plains; both day and night drives are possible. We enjoyed a few really long morning drives here, which reached across most of the different corners of the Busanga Plains, and really enjoyed this.
During the wetter months of the year, there are sometimes chances to use mekoro (dug-out canoes) and motor boats – although this is unusual rather than the rule. Sometimes short walking safaris are also possible – although the open country of the plains doesn't lend itself to walking.
We really like this small, exclusive camp which felt like a proper safari camp – not a boutique hotel. It has been situated well, overlooking sunrise on the plains, and the food and camp staff were great. The guides were good, and brought the plains alive, even at times when there seemed to be little to see.
Our only reservation about Busanga Bushcamp is that being small; it won't suit people who need constant change or entertainment. There's little to do between activities, and you need to be happy entertaining yourself.
- Kafue National Park, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- We recommend a 3-night stay here at Busanga Bushcamp as part of a longer safari combined with Lufupa Bushcamp.
- Take a light aircraft flight lasting about 90 minutes from Lusaka or about 105 minutes from Livingstone to an airstrip in the Kafue, followed by a road transfer to the camp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Meals at Busanga Bushcamp are delicious and plentiful. Whilst dishes might not be considered gourmet they are certainly at the standard expected of a good safari camp - each is well presented, well prepared and very tasty.
There is always time for a quick breakfast before the morning activity. A buffet of cereals, toast, yoghurt, fresh fruit and muffins or mini pancakes is laid out in the main area.
A large brunch is usually served upon return from your morning activity. A variety of salads, including pasta, potato and green, is usually accompanied with a quiche or meat dish and fresh breads. The chef lights up his barbeque and prepares eggs, sausages and bacon to order – which sets you up for the afternoon siesta. If you've just arrived at camp you might be offered a light lunch instead.
Dinner at Busanga Bushcamp is usually a 3-course affair set out in the boma, under a beautifully lantern lit 'chandelier' made of hurricane lamps. The starter and desert is usually served to you whilst the main course is a self-service buffet. When we last visited, we began with mushrooms in a filo pastry pocket flavoured with blue cheese sauce, followed by lamb chops served with basmati rice and vegetables and rounded off with bread and butter pudding.
- When the plains flood (Dec-June) there are high densities of water-birds; crowned cranes are often seen dancing! Endemics such as Chaplin's barbet and unusual species like Lady Ross's turaco are highlights of the wooded areas for birders in Zambia.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Wildlife safaris
- The small Busanga Bushcamp stands beside the amazing Busanga Plains and is one of the only area in Zambia where cheetah are regularly seen. The wildlife here includes unusual species such as serval, oribi, Lichtenstein's hartebeest and Defassa waterbuck.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Children over the age of 12 are welcome.
- Property’s age restrictions
- The minimum age is 8 – however, families with children aged between 8 and 12 must book out the entire camp for their own private use.
- Generally recommended for children
- As this is a small camp with limited communal areas and no pool we don't recommend it to children under the age of 16 as they may find there is too little to do between safari activities.
- Note that Busanga Bushcamp is unfenced, and dangerous wildlife wanders through on a regular basis – so children should be constantly supervised.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Busanga Bushcamp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Busanga Bushcamp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Guides and managers are proficient in first aid.
Medical evacuation is used in emergencies.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- None as this is a small and remote camp. Compressed air alarms are provided in each chalet for guests to alert management in the case of an emergency.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are provided at each room and serviced regularly.
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is included.
- Accepted payment on location
- Any extras can be paid for by cash (US dollars, Pounds, SA Rand and Zambian Kwacha only). Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only) or travellers' cheques are also accepted.
Room types at Busanga Bushcamp
Busanga Bushcamp has just four en-suite pole-and-canvas chalets – which are shaped like traditional Meru-style tents. However, the top half of their walls are mosquito-proof gauze, and the bottom section is canvas. The ceilings of the bedrooms are canvas, and that has a shade-cloth mounted above it to help keep cool. Each has a wooden veranda which is partially-shaded.
In keeping with the bushcamp feel, the décor of these has been kept simple, using natural fabrics and colours. However, comfort has not been compromised on and each room has two large queen-sized beds, each bathroom has a flush toilet, hot showers and complementary toiletries – even cotton dressing gowns are provided!
During the night, large mosquito nets cover the beds and curtains are drawn across the windows to keep insects away as you sleep.
Note that all of the chalets at Busanga Bushcamp are, at least partially, shaded under trees, and all have open-air bathrooms. As there is no door between the bedroom and bathroom, these chalets are not entirely enclosed. This is good news for nature-lovers, as there are often resident geckos and tree frogs in the rooms, as well as assorted organic debris which drop from the canopy into the bathroom. (If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, then consider one of the more luxurious camps on the plains – Shumba Camp or Kapinga Camp.)
In 2007 we stayed at Busanga Bushcamp and found that chalets 2, 3 & 4 each had spectacular views over the plains. Chalet 1 was deeper in the shade, so only had a broken view of the plains but, unlike the other rooms, the deck surrounds two sides offering a wider and more varied view. Each deck also has a comfortable hammock in which to relax during siesta.
Other lodges in Kafue National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.