Musekese Camp

Musekese Camp: Our full report

Rooms
4 chalets
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 27 reviews
Children
Best for 14+
Open
1 Jun to 30 Nov.

Previously, Musekese Camp was a simple bush camp located on the edge of a floodplain near to the Kafue River. After significant renovations in 2016, the camp shifted to an area of the Kafue National Park the owners call 'Eden', situated in an area of mature riverine trees and overlooking a permanent lagoon.

Owned and run by the enthusiastic Phil and Tyrone since 2013, this camp has made a real name for itself. The pair have both worked in the Kafue for many years and you can sense every bit of their enthusiasm for the park when you stay. Everyone we met praised them for their venture into a previously unused part of the Kafue, the remoteness of this area is a large part of the camp's draw. Add that the pair have opened up several loop roads, building hides and habituating wildlife and you have a really fun wilderness experience that feels new and unique.

The new iteration of Musekese camp has seen the tents replaced with four chalets, all spacious, with wooden framed canvas walls, wide mesh windows and reed-and-thatch roofs, and wooden decks overlooking the lagoon. The chalets are simple but comfortable and all are well-appointed with either twin or double beds under a walk-in mosquito net, bedside tables alongside and locally-sourced wooden furnishings, including a hanging rack, shelves and chest of drawers, . Each chalet has an open-plan en-suite bathroom, with a wide mesh window also giving an expansive view out to the lagoon in front. A basin and flush toilet are to one side, and a bucket shower (filled with hot water on request) over a pebble and slate floor to the other. Eco-friendly toiletries are provided,

Lighting is from rechargeable solar lights that provide a good level of light for the room and bathroom - the lights are left out to charge during the day, then placed back in your tent at night.

The main area at Musekese is simple but homely, and we found it really charming. A rustic thatched roof sits over a polished stone floor, creating an open-sided comfortable lounge area, perfectly placed to look out across the view down towards the river. You’ll find a couple of sofas and armchairs, scattered with colourful cushions, and in one corner is a map of the Kafue and some board games including Scrabble and Rummikub. Alongside is the bar, with soft drinks, beers, wine and a variety of spirits available, all of which are included in your stay. There’s generally someone around to serve, though you’re also welcome to help yourself throughout the day. There’s also a charging station with international plug sockets, canvas water carriers to use on your walks and a basket of items for sale such as t-shirts and caps, as well as shelves with various reference books and others on the Kafue for guests to flick through.

A sandy path leads out from the main area down to split-level wooden decking, also overlooking the plain. The top level holds a tea station and a large communal dining table for shared meals, which are usually hosted by either Phil or Tyrone, if not both. If the weather is inclement, meals are taken up in the thatched section. The lower deck has more chairs around a firepit.

The activities at Musekese are varied, and are all led by one of their knowledgeable and experienced guides. Many guests opt to focus on walking from the camp, which is a passion for both Phil and Tyrone. On our last visit in October 2018 we enjoyed a long walk along the edge of the lagoon, watched a family of bush pigs (a rare occurrence to see them in daylight hours, but there’s a family of them that are often seen from the camp) and saw a large herd of roan antelope. We then followed a large breeding herd of elephants, and found a little spot to shelter and watch while the elephants crossed the river and happily mud bathed in the sun.
Phil and Tyrone will often cross the river and walk on the other side, in an area inaccessible by car – so those looking for a very remote walking experience will enjoy it. In accordance with Zambian park rules, Musekese's walk are always accompanied by a trained, armed national park scout.

As well as walking, you can explore further afield on game drives. While on previous visits we have been a little underwhelmed by the somewhat limited amount of wildlife in the area (a throwback from poaching in past years), the animals are now much more habituated and recent experiences seem to suggest that things are much better. This part of the park has a good number of animals, and during our stay, we were lucky enough to see many herds of elephants (numbering several hundred in total), lion and various species of antelope.

You may also want to head down river on the camp's steel-bottomed boat, which has comfortable seats for up to nine people. Musekese is especially worth visiting for the birdlife: look out for species such as the half-collard kingfisher; visit the African skimmers which are nesting on a sandbank near camp; and keep your eye out for the Africa finfoot, which you might be lucky to see.

From a smaller second boat with removable seats, it is also possible to do bait or spinner fishing. Musekese tell us that they will also accommodate guests with their own fly-fishing kit. The fishing here is very good, especially during the drier months from August to October, when you have a good chance of catching sizeable bream, pike and barbel.

A treehouse hide is just a short walk from camp, raised high to allow for elephants to walk beneath, giving guests an alternative option between the other activities on offer, or as an option in itself.

Musekse is located in the central area of the park, so combines well with its sister camp Ntemwa Busanga. A simpler camp located at the southern end of the Busanga Plains, Ntemwa it can be accessed by road transfer or a chartered flight from Musekese and offers access to a completely different area of the park in terms of the landscape and the ecosystem.

Our view

The wildlife viewing here is arguably some of the best in the Kafue, but we felt that the camp’s real strength lay in its simple camp charm, and the clear passion of Phil and Tyrone to protect this previously unused part of the park. Those looking for a true wilderness experience, hosted by excellent guides, will love it - it is definitely one of our favourite camps in the area.

Geographics

Location: Kafue National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: If travellers are visiting just Musekese, three or four nights is perfect. Those also wishing to experience their Ntemwa-Busanga camp will want to stay in the area for about a week.

Directions: Musekese is around a five-hour drive from Lusaka: three hours on tarmac and two on bush tracks. Do be aware that, depending on Lusaka traffic, and the current state of the roads in the park, it's possible for this transfer to take up to 7 hours, possibly more. It is also possible to fly for an hour to Lufupa airstrip in the Kafue National Park, via charter. Then it is a short vehicle and boat transfer of 20 minutes to the camp, which is on the other side of the river.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Musekese is owned and run by Tyrone McKeith & Phil Jeffery. Both have a long-standing history with the Kafue National Park, having lived and worked there for many years prior to starting up on their own. Both also studied wildlife conservation in the UK which is indicative of their dedication to the protection of wildlife and habitat.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The food at Musekese was good, and we enjoyed the dinner party style atmosphere of the communal meals when we stayed in October 2018. The camp’s kitchen is able to cater to a wide range of dietary requirements, with advance notice.

Breakfast is set out at 6am around the campfire. It is a help-yourself system, with cereals (branflakes, rice crispies and muesli), hot porridge, fruit salad and toast cooked on the fire. There is also yoghurt, tea and coffee.

A buffet lunch is served after guests return from the morning activity, usually around 11am and midday. We enjoyed a pasta salad, coleslaw and a fresh salad with olives, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumber, along with chicken, beef and vegetable skewers, served with freshly-baked bread is on offer, along with a selection of chutneys and pickles. A fruit bowl was placed on the table for people to help themselves

At teatime, before the afternoon activity, we had freshly baked doughnuts and a fruit dip, which were really tasty.

Dinner on our first evening was a starter of ratatouille and pesto bruschetta, followed by delicious beer battered tilapia fillets, with chunky chips. Pudding was a peach and sultana crumble, and there were a selection of teas, coffee and after-dinner drinks on offer also.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Filtered drinking water from the camps borehole), soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks are included. The camp offers a few premium wines, which are an extra cost.

Further dining info: Musekese can arrange bush dinners for special occasions, if they are advised in advance.

Special interests

Birdwatching: With over 490 species in the Kafue, this park is great for bird-watching in Zambia. Combine that with the excellent guides at Musekese and you are likely to have a superb birding experience.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia

Children

Attitude towards children: Musekese welcome older children.

Property’s age restrictions: Children under the age of 14 years are not permitted to take part in walking safaris. Families travelling with children under the age of 12 years will have to book the whole camp, and the children are not able to go on the mobile camping trip.

Special activities & services: Musekese has no special facilities for children, but they do have some board games and some arts and crafts.

Equipment: Musekese does not have any special equipment for children.

Notes: Musekese is a very wild camp. Children are the responsibility of their parents or guardians and should be under supervision at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: Musekese works on solar power, for the lamps in the tents (note that these are not fixed lights) and along the pathway, the fridges/freezers and the central charging station. There is a back-up generator.

Communications: While at Musekese you should consider yourself out of contact; there is no WiFi or phone signal. In case of emergency, guests may use the camp’s internet service.

TV & radio: No

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: Musekese has its own borehole, and water from this is pumped to the plumbed bathrooms. The camp bathrooms have hot and cold bucket showers and plumbed in toilets. Fresh drinking water is sourced from the borehole also, which helps the camp to reduce the amount of plastic that they have to throw away.

Sustainability

wildlife protection and community investment

wildlife protection and community investmentProtecting and conserving wildlife is highly valued at Musekese Camp which encourages anti-poaching initiatives.

Musekese Conservation was established to protect important areas of the Kafue National Park from illegal poaching activities. For each night a guest spends at Musekese Camp or Ntemwa Busanga Camp, $5 is donated towards this initiative, helping to finance protective measures for a variety of species, many of which guests get the chance to catch a glimpse of during their stay. Wildlife opportunities include cheetahs, over 20 different types of antelopes, nearly 500 bird species.

Musekese also purchase locally-sourced toiletries from SKIN Africa which contain natural African oils, carefully blended to nourish and rejuvenate the skin, without compromising the environment. In supporting the local community, SKIN Africa provides funds for local disadvantaged children and to improve Nayamba School.

Nayamba School in Zambia was set up in 2010 and 300 children are currently enrolled and benefit from an educational program that would be otherwise difficult to obtain. Raising money is the first step towards covering costs such as teachers’ remuneration, accommodation, classrooms, facilities, food and essential learning resources and equipment.

By partnering with SKIN, Musekese Camp works to make school life a reality for many African children.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The guides at Musekese are first-aid trained, and both Phil and Tyrone complete regular advanced first-aid training . There is a trauma kit in camp for serious injuries, and a basic first-aid kit for minor ones. First-aid kits are taken out on activities. The camp has cover for medical evacuation to Lusaka and Johannesburg, and would use Lufupa airstrip as its evacuation point.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The camp staff escort guests to and from their tents at night.

Fire safety: Musekese has a fire break around the camp, and they also have fire beaters and water bags. Every chalet and vehicle has an extinguisher, as does the kitchen and main area. Two staff members have attended fire-fighting training.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included in the cost and is hand washed, line dried and coal ironed. The camp are happy to wash all items, but washing powder is available if there is anything you would rather do yourself.

Money: Guests are welcome to use the central safe at Musekese; just discuss this with Phil and Tyrone when you arrive. There is no currency exchange here as the camp does not carry much in the way of cash.

Accepted payment on location: Any additional payment must be made in cash only: Zambian kwacha, US dollars or any other major currency.

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