This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines now closed

User menu
Shumba Camp
Shumba Camp
Shumba Camp
Shumba Camp
Shumba Camp
Shumba Camp

Shumba Camp: Our full report

Situated on Kafue National Park's Busanga Plains, Shumba Camp was originally a basic bushcamp run by Busanga Trails.

We've known this camp
since 1995, when we first visited ... although it's changed out of all recognition since then. In 2007 it was almost completely rebuilt by its new owners, Wilderness Safaris, and reopened as one of their 'premier' (high-spec) safari camps.

The surrounding terrain might be better compared to Serengeti's open plains than any of Zambia's usual bush landscape, which makes the Busanga Plains a worthwhile and contrasting inclusion on any safari to this country.

Standing on an island of large, majestic fig trees, Shumba overlooks the floodplains in all directions. Built high off the ground and linked by wooden walkways, it is quite spread out, yet well camouflaged, with grass roofs helping it to blend into its surroundings. From various vantage points around the camp you can often see antelope, typically puku and red lechwe, grazing the lush grasses below.

Shumba Camp has six spacious tented rooms, including one larger room that can be used as a family unit. Each is a substantial wood-and-canvas structure built up on a raised platform about 2m off the ground. Every room has two large queen-sized beds under a mosquito net and a settee or armchairs face the front, where canvas walls can be rolled up for an uninterrupted view of the plains and the antelope grazing below. The en-suite bathrooms at Shumba can be curtained off from the bedroom although both the toilet and a large indoor walk-in shower have curtain dividers of their own. Each room also has its own outdoor shower with a view.

The central area at Shumba is also elevated, built around three giant fig trees and positioned to give a great view of the sunrise, yet largely shaded during the hotter afternoons. A well-stocked bar, comfortable lounge with a small reference library and dining area are all under cover in the main building. Folding glass doors slide back to give this area a very open feel but can be closed in times of windy or wet weather. There are several places to relax around the vast, split-level wooden deck, whose lower level incorporates a sunken area with cushioned bench seating around a campfire, and a pool surrounded by loungers.

Shumba is owned and run by Wilderness Safaris, and it is in their top category of camp in terms of style. The rooms and communal areas are certainly very spacious, though on our most recent visit in 2022 we noticed that they could do with a bit of TLC. That said, the little extras appealed to us: a mohair blanket laid out on our chair, the sherry available in our room, the filter coffee brought with the wake-up call and the marshmallows offered for toasting whilst sipping liqueurs around the campfire.

Shumba Camp has (in common with most of Wilderness' other camps) also provides personal water bottles for each guest, an idea which we particularly liked. On our visit and for the duration of our stay in camp, we were given a reusable insulated glass bottle which can be filled from the water filter at the bar; and returned at the end of your stay to be washed and reused. A great way to reduce the waste of small plastic bottles often produced by safari camps.

Activities from Shumba Camp centre around exploring the vast Busanga Plains on day and night 4WD safari drives. Shumba also has an aluminium swamp boat with a specially adapted motor allowing it to travel through as little as six inches (15cm) of water. Thus, during the early months of the season (typically early June, depending on the summer rains), when many of the surrounding roads will be impassable, activities will often include boat trips and very short guided walks of 30–40 minutes.

The flora and fauna in this unique area can be amazing. For the first part of the year – typically from about mid-November to late-June – the plains are largely under water. This verdant, marshy environment attracts a wide variety of birdlife, with many herons, ducks and other waders, often including goliath herons, wattled cranes and saddle-billed storks.

Boat trips when water is still high can be short sorties into the surrounding flood plains or full-day trips. One such trip takes you to see a breeding colony of open-billed storks, some way south-east of the camp, and includes a lovely picnic lunch. Although the landscape is very marshy during this time, wildlife can still be found here including hippo, crocodiles and buffalo, as well as the ever-present puku antelope and large herds of red lechwe.

As the surface water dissipates, from around mid-June onwards, the remaining grasses stay nutritious for much of the year. Dry-country animals are increasingly attracted onto the grasslands, most notably herds of blue wildebeest and zebra. This increases the variety of wildlife that can be seen on the Busanga Plains as the months pass - and means that the late dry season is generally much more productive for game sightings than earlier.

Throughout recent years, at least two prides of lion are resident here; they are not put off by the water. Instead they have adapted to hunting puku and lechwe through the shallower waters during the months when the variety of prey is more limited.

As the grasslands dry out, other large predators can be found here including cheetah and, typically, very shy leopards. Cheetah are largely absent from most of Zambia's national parks and the Busanga Plains offer visitors the best chance of seeing these cats – though they remain uncommon, even here. Similarly, the Busanga Plains attract several other uncommon and highly localized species. In particular we saw numerous sightings of the small and enchanting oribi antelope and a large herd of roan which were very relaxed, allowing us to spend a long time viewing and photographing this usually shy antelope.

The guides were very knowledgeable at Shumba, always keen to answer any questions and to embellish further with interesting facts and stories, so we recommend that you make a point of asking plenty of questions as this helps to bring the plains alive – even at times when there seems to be little to see.


Our view

Shumba's a smart camp in a very good location. The food and service we had were very good – but be aware that whilst the game sightings can be great, they're far from guaranteed.

Amanda Bond

Amanda Bond

Country manager: Zambia

Geographics

Location
Kafue National Park, Zambia
Ideal length of stay
We recommend a 3-night stay at Shumba Camp, perhaps combined with a camp in central or southern Kafue.
Directions
It is approximately a 90-minute flight from Lusaka or 105 minutes from Livingstone to Busanga Airstrip. From there it's about a 20-minute road transfer over the plains to the camp.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
Shumba Camp prides itself on its great food and it doesn't often disappoint. Varied and delicious meals are inventive and well presented. The day will often begin with a light breakfast on the camp's deck whilst watching the sun rise over the plains. As well as the usual cereals and toast there is often fruit salad, mini pancakes, muffins and hot porridge to which you are invited to add a shot of whisky. This is all laid out in a buffet style with tea and filter coffee.

A large brunch is usually served upon returning from your morning activity. Choices of cold platters are available for self-service and might include two or three types of salads, quiches, tasty pastry packets and freshly baked breads. The chef also offers a selection of eggs prepared on his hot plate to order, with sausages, tomatoes and bacon. If you arrive at camp after brunch on your first day you will usually be offered a light lunch instead.

Dinner is three courses, eaten either in the dining room or in the camp's boma under the stars. Often beginning with soup and a freshly baked bread roll, it's followed by a main and dessert. When we visited we began with creamy tomato soup, followed by beef ragout on a bed of vegetables with potato wedges. Dessert was a choice of a pecan tart with cream, or a cheese board.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Filter coffee or tea with the morning wake up call.
Drinks included
Most drinks are included, although premium brands are extra.

Special interests

Wildlife safaris
Shumba stands in the middle of the vast Busanga Plains, which 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 in Zambia
Luxury
Shumba Camp’s rooms have a rustic décor and an antique-style design, featuring sumptuous dark leather furniture scattered around the vast space. Thoughtful details, like a mohair blanket, and coffee brought with a wake-up call, are great touches to your luxury safari.
See ideas for Luxury in Zambia

Children

Attitude towards children
Children over the age of 9 years are welcome.
Special activities & services
None
Equipment
None
Generally recommended for children
As the camp is unfenced and in a wildlife reserve, children will need to be supervised by their parents at all times. Although the rooms here are built on platforms, above the level of the plains, there are some rooms which the local lion prides are known at times to favour for lounging on their decks.
Notes
Shumba Camp is quite a smart camp, and though it is unpretentious it can feel a little formal – especially in the evenings. It is good for families with older children, but those with younger children may feel ill at ease here.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Shumba Camp

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Shumba Camp 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.

Buffalo

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

Sable antelope

100% success

Wildebeest

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Cheetah

50% success

Eland

50% success

Leopard

50% success

Pangolin

50% success

Roan antelope

50% success

Spotted Hyena

50% success

Aardvark

0% success

Sitatunga

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
The rooms have plug points for charging batteries.
Communications
The camp uses radio coms between guides and the various camps in Kafue. Satelite phone and email is used to communicate with their main office in Lusaka. There is no cellphone coverage at Shumba Camp. However, they do have WiFi in the rooms with limited bandwidth (not in the main area). Keep in mind that in the bush, the WiFi isn't always 100% reliable.
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
The indoor shower and toilet are plumbed in, while the outdoor shower is a bucket shower; apart from the family room which has a plumbed in outdoor shower.

Sustainability

Shumba Camp sustainability

An inspiring use of sustainable management systems

Due to its off the beaten track location, Shumba Camp took a leap of faith by choosing to operate in this remote region. With a mission to expand the presence of eco-tourism all across Africa, the camp ensures that everything it does strictly follows the principles of sustainability. Shumba Camp’s dedication for eco-friendly management can be mostly seen in how the camp makes the best use of renewable resources.

To light up part of the camp, Shumba uses a hybrid system, whereby a diesel-powered generator charges a bank of batteries from where power is converted into electricity. Thanks to the use of batteries, the time the generator needs to operate to supply enough power is cut to only eight hours per day. Moreover, the camp is strict on using only energy-efficient lights and appliances. Additionally, each of the six tents has access to hot water thanks to their own small solar panel and inverter as well as a solar-powered geyser. In exchange, waste water is treated in an Above Ground Sewage Plant before going back into the soil.

All actions at Shumba Camp are strictly monitored against in-house environmental standards, which ensure that the camp is not willing to compromise when it comes to sustainable management, and therefore becomes a leading model of ecotourism in the area.

See more great sustainability projects in Zambia

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
All the guides are trained in first aid. Air transfer to Lusaka can be arranged in an emergency.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Each room has a small safe to store valuables. Compressed-air alarms are provided in each room for guests to alert management in the case of an emergency.
Fire safety
Each room has a fire extinguisher which is regularly serviced and the team at Shumba are trained to use them. The camp also 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.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Night drive

    Night drive

Extras

Disabled access
Not Possible
Laundry facilities
A laundry service is included here; they use a coal iron for pressing, so it's not recommended for anything delicate. Clothes are usually returned within 24 hours. It is possible to do a little handwashing for yourself as washing powder and a clothes line are provided in the tents.
Accepted payment on location
American dollars, GB pounds sterling, euro, South African rand and Zambian kwacha are all accepted forms of cash. Visa and Mastercard are also accepted at Shumba Camp on bills of greater than US$50, but note that there is a 3% surcharge.

Room types at Shumba Camp

1 of

Shumba tented room

Shumba Camp has six very spacious tented rooms, each built high off the ground on a wooden platform. Canvas walls have been strengthened by a solid wood-and-pole structure to create a substantial building. Above the canvas ceiling, a raised wooden roof covered in grass helps to keep the tent cool. Each has an extensive private wooden deck with a sunken seating area where comfortable cushions have been laid out along a wooden bench.

The rooms are long and rectangular. At one end, two queen-sized four-poster beds are pushed together and draped with a mosquito net which is drawn for you before you retire for the night. A comfortable settee or armchairs face the front, where canvas walls can be rolled up for an uninterrupted view of the plains and the antelope grazing below.

Luggage can be stored or hung on an open wooden shelving unit, where there is also a small safe for valuables. Each room also has a small desk and a power point for charging batteries.

The en-suite bathrooms at Shumba can be curtained off from the bedroom although both the toilet and a large walk-in shower have curtain dividers of their own. Twin basins are set in a wooden bench equipped with complimentary toiletries, and a full-length mirror adds a further touch of luxury. To complete a marvellous bathroom, each room also has its own outdoor shower with a view!

Other lodges in Kafue National Park

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Musekese Camp

Musekese Camp

Musekese is a small owner-run tented camp, offering great guiding and a high degree of personal service in a stunning wilderness area, with modest game.


95% (39 reviews)
Busanga Bushcamp

Busanga Bushcamp

Busanga Bushcamp is a small but comfortable tented bushcamp (max 8 guests) which makes a great base for a wildlife safari to the Busanga Plains.


93% (20 reviews)
KaingU Lodge

KaingU Lodge

KaingU Lodge, in the centre of the southern part of Zambia's vast Kafue National Park, is in a great location for exploring this section of the Kafue River


91% (14 reviews)
Ntemwa Busanga Camp

Ntemwa Busanga Camp

Ntemwa Busanga Camp is a simple but comfortable camp on the southern tip of the Busanga Plains which combines well with its sister camp, Musekese.


98% (12 reviews)
Chisa Busanga Camp

Chisa Busanga

Opened in mid 2021, Chisa Busanga Camp is a beautifully designed, small, intimate and rustic camp.


96% (5 reviews)
Mukambi Safari Lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge is a solidly built, comfortable property just off the main road from Lusaka, making it one of the most convenient camps in Kafue.


80% (3 reviews)
Mukambi Plains Camp

Mukambi Plains Camp

Mukambi Plains Camp is a rustic, tented property located in the middle of the vast Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park.


70% (2 reviews)
Fig Tree Camp

Fig Tree Camp

Fig Tree camp is in the centre of Kafue National Park, and in addition to having a stunning location is well placed to start or end your trip in the park.


100% (1 review)
Ila Safari Lodge

Ila Safari Lodge

Ila Safari Lodge is a comfortable lodge just outside Kafue National Park, with convenient access from Lusaka.


No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa