Each of Lufupa Tented Camp's tented rooms overlook the Kafue River.
Lufupa Tented Camp: Our full report
Lufupa River Camp is only available for large group trips and not currently available for individual travellers. It is situated in the northern sector of the 22,500km2 Kafue National Park, Lufupa Tented Camp was originally part of the old 'Lufupa Lodge', which was run by Busanga Trails. We first visited it in 1995, and it soon became a firm favourite of ours.
After a refurbishment and a few significant changes, it effectively split into two and reopened in July 2007 as two adjacent camps: Lufupa Tented Camp, and Lufupe River camp, both run by Wilderness Safaris.
Built along the banks of the broad Kafue River, near its confluence with the Lufupa River, Lufupa Tented Camp has eight en-suite tents. One of these is a family tent with two adjoining rooms and a shared bathroom. Each tent has a wooden deck with a view over the river. It's a great spot to relax and do a touch of bird spotting between activities.
Strengthened by a wooden pole frame, each of the Meru-tents are spacious and have high ceilings to help keep the interior cool. Good air flow is further aided by three sides of the tent having tall netted windows. White ceiling to floor curtains remain open during the day for an un-spoilt all round view but can be drawn to cover the windows at night.
Each room has been very simply, yet tastefully decorated. Comfortable beds are adorned with duvets printed in earthy browns and creams. The bathroom is divided from the sleeping area by a woven screen that doubles as an open closet on the bathroom side. Local deadwood curves around to form a table supporting a large wash basin. The shower is large and open plan, superb for washing off the dust after a hot game drive.
At the centre of the camp is an open-sided canvas lounge and dining area situated to make the most of great views across the river. Next to this, the campfire is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink before settling around the communal dining table for dinner. During the day, you can enjoy a cooling dip in the plunge pool before drying off on one of the comfortable sun loungers.
The area surrounding Lufupa Tented Camp has a variety of flora and fauna. The vegetation consists of broad-leaf woodland, riverine forest and dambos (wide, grassy clearings). It's a rich area for game, with a long history of safaris – and so the game (especially the leopards) is very relaxed. Some of Kafue's more unusual game species are regularly seen here, including Defassa waterbuck and Lichtenstein's hartebeest.
Visiting most recently in late 2007, the only reservation we had about this area was the tsetse flies. We found these to be a much higher density than we'd known them before; they were very annoying. To put this in context ... we first visited Lufupa in 1995, and have stayed here regularly in the last 13 years; this was the first time that we had a major tsetse problem. We remain unsure if this has been simply a one-off issue for 2007, or an ongoing problem. In either event, we understand that tsetse fly traps are being introduced, and these should reduce this problem for future visitors.
One of the favourite activities offered from Lufupa is their exciting night drives, as the camp's experienced guides are adept at locating leopards. Watching a leopard stalk its prey by night is unforgettable, and Lufupa offers an excellent chance to do this. On the one night-drive that we took here on our last visit, we had chance to watch two separate leopards – following one for a short time as she hunted. It was marvellous!
It's interesting to note that the area around Lufupa has a lot of rocky outcrops – and we speculated that this might be one factor behind the leopard population, which seems to be higher here than in most other areas (or even most other national parks in Africa!).
Boat trips along the Kafue and Lufupa Rivers are also a real joy. There are numerous sandy beaches along here used by animals as drinking spots. Any one of can produce a herd of puku, a shy bushbuck or even a resting leopard. The main channel is home to pods of hippo and some very sizeable crocodiles, whilst its bird life is exceptional.
Directions: Approximately a 90-minute flight from Lusaka or 105 minutes from Livingstone to Moshi Airstrip. From there it's about an hours' game drive to the camp depending on what you spot on the way.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Safari Adventure Company
Staff: Managers: Natalie & Bas Guides are John & Boyd Barry is the boat man
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Lufupa Tented Camp does 'traditional safari style camp' very well without being over the top. This is obvious in the camps décor as well as in its food. Meals are simple yet well prepared, delicious and plentiful. There is always time for a continental breakfast before a morning activity. Cereals, toast and muffins are laid out in a buffet style whilst hot tea and coffee is there to give you a kick start.
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 fresh breads and the choice of eggs, sausages and bacon. If you've just arrived at camp you might be offered a light buffet lunch instead.
Dinner is a 3-course affair. Often beginning with soup and a freshly baked bread roll, it's followed by a main and desert. When we last visited we had deliciously marinated chicken sosaties with plenty of fresh vegetables followed by apple crumble served with cream.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks are included. Premium brands such as french champagne and most whiskies not included.
Further dining info: No
Birdwatching: Favourites for birdwatchers may include palm swifts, half-collared kingfishers, Pel's fishing owls and African finfoots –seen skulking under riverside vegetation close to camp. The afternoon/night drive offers the chance to see a variety of owls.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Wildlife safaris: Lufupa has earned a justified reputation over the last decade as a great place for leopard sightings. It's also an interesting and varied area with a very good general game density. So come for the leopards, but don't ignore the many other species.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Generally recommended for children: Not recommended for children under the age of 8 as the camp is unfenced and in a wildlife reserve. Children will need to be supervised by their parents at all times.
Notes: Children under the age of 12, sharing a room with an adult will receive discounted rates.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All the guides are trained in first aid. Air transfer to Lusaka for more serious injuries.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: A safe is available in the manager's office for use on request.
Fire safety: Each room has a fire extinguisher which is regularly serviced. The camp has a fire station with fire beaters, sandbags and extinguishers at the ready. Instructions of what to do in case of a fire are posted in each room.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: There is a laundry service included here; clothes are usually returned in 24 hours. They use a coal iron for pressing, so it's not recommended for anything delicate. It is possible to do a little hand-washing for yourself in the tents.
Accepted payment on location: American Dollars and Zambian Kwatcha. Visa and Mastercard.