Kaingu Lodge is situated in the south of Kafue National Park.
KaingU Lodge: Our full report
Historically the south of Kafue has been considered the poor relation of the north, but in the last few years KaingU Lodge has gradually started to change opinions on this. This owner-run lodge is set in a stunning location next to the Kafue River, and offers a variety of activities, making the most of the natural surroundings.
KaingU Lodge has six large, green Meru-style tents, and a separate four-bed house, known as ‘Finfoot’. Built as much as possible with local materials, the lodge has been designed to blend into the natural surroundings.
The tents are raised on private wooden decks and have thatched roofs, which help to keep the rooms cooler during the hotter months.
Two of the rooms have double beds, while the other four are twins, all with mosquito netting overhead. The bedside lights are solar-powered, as are the bathroom lights. Flasks with filtered drinking water are provided in the room - the lodge has bottled water available at the bar, but encourages the use of re-fillable bottles. Charging points for your electronic devices can be found in the main area of the lodge.
All of the bedrooms at Kaingu have en-suite bathrooms, each with indoor showers and either an outdoor shower or bath. The bathrooms are stylishly built in stone, with well thought-out details added, such as green bottles cleverly set into the walls to create artistic lighting effects.
Each tent has wood and gauze doors leading out to a large veranda, with chairs and a hammock, that overlooks the Kafue River.
Kaingu’s family house, ‘Finfoot’, is a much more solid construction than the tents, with two en-suite bedrooms, one queen and one twin. The rooms are connected by a central lounge area, which has doors leading onto a private deck overlooking the river. It’s ideal for small families, or a group of friends, to have a bit more privacy from the rest of the camp.
The main area to Kaingu Lodge is a thatched boma, incorporating the lounge, dining area and bar. Wi-Fi is available in this central area, and there’s a small curio shop here as well. You’ll find the afore-mentioned charging sockets here, and more solar-powered lighting - not only has KaingU been built making the most of the local surroundings and materials, but the entire lodge is powered by solar energy. A large redwood deck stretches out from the seating area over the river, shaded by the surrounding forest, with a fire-pit built into the deck for evening campfires. It’s a great place for sundowners, or just to relax after dinner and watch any wildlife that wanders through the camp.
As an owner-run property, the team behind KaingU have always had a passion for the area and its environment. There is game here: relaxed antelope are seen on day and night drivesm which are conducted in the national park just a 10 minutes boat ride from the lodge, and leopards pass through the camp regularly. The wildlife can be quite limited here though, especially when compared to some of the northern camps in the park. We therefore don’t think that the wildlife should be the main reason why people visit KaingU: instead the river is the major attraction here.
Beside KaingU, the mighty Kafue River splits into shallows as it flows around a myriad of small islands - each a jumble of sand, soil and huge, rounded granite boulders. This landscape lends itself wonderfully to a wide variety of river-based activities. Boat cruises along the river are possible, and many of the guides are keen, and experienced, fisherman for those wishing to add an extra activity to the boat trip. The lodge also offers canoeing trips in and around the islands, during which a wide variety of bird life and animals can be seen, and hippos, crocodiles and elephant are frequently encountered. The river is stunning here, and when we canoed down the river and stopped for brunch on one of the islands in August 2015, we felt that the river in this location was one of the main draws of the camp.
Apart from river activities, walking trails from the lodge to the local rock formations are an option, or for guests wishing to partake in longer treks walking safaris take place within the national park. KaingU Lodge is also heavily involved with community projects, including sponsoring the local school, and trips to see ongoing projects can be arranged.
Our viewKaingU is an excellent little lodge, with a focus on environmental preservation where comfort, combined with traditional design, has been executed with impressive attention to detail. The amount of wildlife in the area may not be enough for most people to visit KaingU by itself, but the river and the walking here are truly stunning from a landscape perspective. We think that combining KaingU with one of Kafue’s camps in the north will give you the best of both worlds, and a great chance to properly explore this diverse national park.
Ideal length of stay: We would recommend a 2-3 night stay at KaingU in order to properly explore the landscape in this stunning section of the park, possibly combined with 2-3 nights in the more wildlife rich northern sections of Kafue National Park.
Directions: Fly-and-Transfer - KaingU is accessed by a short flight to Lusaka, either from Livingstone or Mfuwe, From there, it’s a four and a half hour drive from Lusaka to KaingU. It’s possible to get a charter flight down, but this would be at an extra cost.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Birdwatching: Dry-country and waterbirds found in this diverse area.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Property’s age restrictions: KaingU Lodge is a family friendly lodge, and has no age limit for children. However, infants cannot be taken on any river activities, and the minimum age to participate in game drives is 6 years old.
Special activities & services: The Lodge has a ‘Young Adventurers’ programme for children, with activities including tracking, archery, stargazing, bread making, African storytelling and drumming, and excursions to the local school.
Generally recommended for children: No
Power supply: Solar Power
Water supply: Other
Water supply notes: Water is pumped from the river before being filtered and sterilised.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Dangerous animals: High Risk