Kutali Camp: Our full report
Kutali Camp lies in a beautiful riverside location on the small Kulefu Island, deep in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi ...... National Park. Opened in July 2018, it is a simple, rustic fly camp - fully mobile, and rebuilt each season, with some highly experienced guides.
Shaded by an expansive winterthorn grove, Kutali has just four walk-in tents of a unique design: in a switch from the norm the walls of the rectangular tents are made up of full mesh panels, with roll-down canvas ‘blinds’ coming into their own on cooler evenings. In the warmer months, though, you can view the surrounding wildlife and scenery from your bed. Rugs line the floor, solar lights hang in the centre, and each tent has either twin beds or a double, with a small bedside table and luggage rack. You’ll also find a torch, whistle, mosquito spray and an insulated water flask and glasses. A couple of camp chairs sit outside, a great spot from which to watch the wildlife so often found in and around the camp.
When we visited in October 2018, guests at Kutali had a short walk from the tents to the two open-air bathrooms. However, after refurbishments in early 2019, each tent has its own en-suite open air bathroom. Each has a separate bucket shower and toilet surrounded by walls of bamboo and reed. There's a great view out into the surrounding bush from the bucket showers, which have hot water on request, fluffy towels and a towel rack, plus a small table with a mirror, and toiletries provided. Flush toilets are sheltered under a tree, along with brushed copper basins and a quirky bucket-tap design – the team will bring hot water with your wake-up call, and can re-fill on request.
The main area of Kutali is sheltered under a large stretched canvas roof, with directors’ chairs and coloured cushions set around a bar and dining table. There’s a small reference library, and a water dispenser to refill the water bottles provided by the camp for each guest.
Activities at Kutali are overseen by Kyle Branch, an exceptionally experienced guide with a vast wealth of knowledge. Kyle is one of the team responsible for the design of the new guiding exams in Zambia, and on our walk with him during our last visit he was not only knowledgeable but also entertaining and personable, making for a brilliant walking experience. Along with walking safaris, Kutali also offers day and night game drives and, with the permanent Zambezi River running through the park, boating, canoeing and fishing are all available. Though the gates of the Kariba Dam had been open the week prior to our last visit making the river levels too high to canoe safely, we very much enjoyed a sunset boat cruise with an attendant array of birdlife.
A stay at Kutali combines well with its sister fly camp, Chula Island. Their main bushcamp Tafara Springs is due to open in 2020 and will allow for a more in-depth exploration of this remote section of the Lower Zambezi National Park. For guests wishing to add a bit of luxury to their stay, both Kutali and Chula would also combine well with one of the permanent camps in the park – call us for more details on the options.
We think Kutali is a great addition to the accommodation options in the Lower Zambezi National Park, allowing travellers to get back to basics at this rustic fly camp with a great guiding team. Kutali Camp also combines well with the more luxurious options in the park.
Country manager: Zambia
- Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- We'd recommend a stay of three to five nights between Kutali and its sister camp, Chula Island.
- Kutali Camp is just a short drive from Jeki airstrip, a game drive of around 30 minutes, though the time taken varies depending on the wildlife you see along the way. From Jeki you can connect to or from a scheduled flight to Mfuwe, Lusaka and Livingstone airports.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Kutali has a basic kitchen serving simple but tasty and filling food when we stayed in October 2018. The team can cater for a range of dietary requirements, with advance notice.
A breakfast buffet was served around the camp fire at 5.30am, with fruit, toast, and jam, and porridge cooked to order over the fire, along with tea, coffee and juice.
Lunch timings are flexible, depending on the activities guests are taking part in that morning. We enjoyed a vegetable and pasta bake, steaks and a green salad from the buffet, followed by fresh fruit.
Dinner is a set meal and is often served under the stars. We started with onion soup, followed by chicken stir-fry and rice, and finished up with a delicious apple crumble.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Filtered drinking water is provided, and soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks are included. Premium wines and spirits can be ordered in advance, and will be an additional cost.
- Walking safaris
- Kyle Branch helped design the new National Guide Training Program in Zambia, and has a wealth of experience guiding walking safaris. The area around Kutali is remote, but with plenty of wildlife, and the island is perfect for exploring on foot.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Attitude towards children
- The minimum age for children at Kutali is normally eight years old. While they are happy to accept younger children, this would generally be as a private camp booking.
- Property’s age restrictions
- The camp will accept children of eight years and older. The minimum age for walking safaris within the national park is 12 years old.
- Special activities & services
- For children younger than 12, short nature walks within the camp can be arranged.
- None provided.
- Generally recommended for children
- We feel that, given the activities on offer, the age limit for walking safaris and the remote location of Kutali, this camp is not suited to children.
- Wild animals walk through the camp, and the Zambezi River, with hippos and crocodiles, runs alongside the camp. Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Kutali Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Kutali 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.
- Power supply notes
- Solar panels provide electricity for the camp, and there is a small charging station in the main area.
- Kutali is in a remote section of the Lower Zambezi National Park, with no cellphone signal. The camp has radio contact with its sister camps, and also satellite WiFi for emergency communications.
- TV & radio
- None available
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Flush toilets and cold-water basins are plumbed in, and bucket showers are filled with hot water on request.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The manager and guides are first-aid trained, with first-aid kits in both the main area and each vehicle, as well as on any walking safaris.
The closest doctor is in Lusaka, accessible via a 35-minute flight from Jeki.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- An armed scout is based on site, and guests are escorted to and from their tents after dark. Do be aware that the bathrooms are a short walk away from the tents.
- Fire safety
- Fire buckets are placed outside each tent, and there is a fire hydrant between the main area and kitchen.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is included; clothes are hand washed and line dried.
- There is a safe in the staff quarters where guests can leave valuables should they wish.
- Accepted payment on location
- There are no facilities to pay by credit card at Kutali, but cash payments for extra are accepted in US dollars, UK pounds, Zambian kwacha, South African rand and euros.
Other lodges in Lower Zambezi National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.