Potato Bush Camp has four tents...
Potato Bush Camp: Our full report
Potato Bush Camp is located in a game-rich area of the Lower Zambezi National Park, overlooking the confluence of the Chifungulu Channel and the Zambezi River. The camp is small but fairly luxurious, and is open for a longer season than other camps in the area.
Just a short distance downstream from its sister property, Sausage Tree Camp, Potato Bush is more affordable than its larger and more established sibling, and is open for much longer at the end of the year. Indeed, it has been built with rain in mind, with raised wooden walkways connecting each area of the camp, thus keeping your feet out of any mud. This allows the camp to operate comfortably during the early stages of the rainy season, until the beginning of January.
The main area at Potato Bush is set back a small way from the river and is raised slightly above ground level. Constructed from moulded stone, it is covered by a large canvas tent that is open at one side, giving guests a fantastic view of the Zambezi and the wildlife that comes down to drink. These views can be enjoyed whilst eating meals at the long wooden dining table, having a drink from the well-stocked bar in the corner, or while lounging on the comfy sofas during the afternoon.
A short dirt path leads from the main area towards the river, to a campfire surrounded by canvas director’s’ chairs. This is a lovely spot for after-dinner drinks, or a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise. The path then continues towards the river to the camp’s small jetty.
At the back of the main area, the raised walkway extends to Potato Bush’s four tented rooms. Each of these is well constructed, its sturdy wooden frame covered with a neutral-coloured canvas.
- Three luxury tented rooms have floors and partitioning walls made from the same orange moulded stone as the main area, and the rooms at Sausage Tree Camp. In each room, double beds are positioned in front of large doors at the front, allowing you to enjoy the views of the river from the comfort of your bed. These doors lead out to a private deck, which is a pleasant spot to spend the afternoon in a deckchair, or in your own private plunge pool, while at night, they are closed for extra security.
Each of the en-suite bathrooms has a semi-open shower with a large open window that lets you look out over the Zambezi while you shower. The bathrooms also feature his and her basins and a flushing toilet.
- A two-bedroom family tented room comes complete with a huge central living and dining area, a fully stocked fridge and a private balcony area, which is great for a family or a party of four adults. The balcony area includes a swimming pool and deckchairs for your afternoon siesta. Both bedrooms are en suite, with twin showers, claw-footed baths, his and hers basins and a flushing toilet.
Activities at Potato Bush focus on game drives (day and night), walking safaris, canoeing, scenic boat cruises and fishing. On our most recent visit in October 2014 we canoed down the Chifungulu Channel, spotting, elephant, lion, breeding herds of buffalo, crocodiles and many hippo. This channel is also excellent for birding, and highlights on our last visit included a close look at a goliath heron, and a yellow-billed kite being mobbed by white-crowned lapwings. The quality of the guiding is excellent, easily on a par with Sausage Tree Camp, the only difference being that activities at Potato Bush are shared with other guests, so you may not experience the same level of flexibility regarding your activities.
Our viewPotato Bush is a new camp, and has a lot to live up to when compared with it’s bigger sister next door, as well as some of the other excellent luxury camps in the Lower Zambezi. Potato Bush Camp certainly met and exceeded our high expectations when we visited. We found it very difficult to find any significant faults with it. It’s small and intimate and we loved the unique, unusual design, the variety of the activities and we think it’s run very well by a great little team.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend at least 3 to 4 nights to take maximum advantage of the variety of activities on offer.
Directions: The flight from Lusaka to Jeki airstrip takes approximately 35 minutes. From here, it’s around a 10-minute drive to the river, where a boat will transfer you to camp in about 40 minutes.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Although we didn’t get to sample the food at Potato Bush during our visit in October 2014, the food is prepared and cooked by the same staff in the same kitchen as Sausage Tree Camp, where we have eaten on multiple occasions and the food has been consistently excellent.
Just prior to your early-morning activity a light breakfast of toast, muffins, cereal, yoghurt and porridge is served around a camp fire on the riverbank, along with tea, coffee and fruit juices.
Lunch is served around midday in the main area of the camp.
Dinner is a three-course set menu, usually served at around 8.00pm.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are included, except for champagne and premium imported wines and spirits.
Further dining info: Yes
Solo Travel: Potato Bush offers a very personal experience in the Lower Zambezi. Activities and meals are shared making the camp very sociable, and there is no single supplement, making Potato Bush a more affordable option for solo travellers in Zambia than many other camps.See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia
Birdwatching: Potato Bush is great for birdwatching in Zambia, with land and water birds seen from drives, walks and canoeing. When last there, our best sightings included goliath herons, giant kingfishers, a Gabar goshawk and numerous fish eagles.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Wildlife safaris: Potato Bush is one of the few camps in the game-rich Lower Zambezi National Park itself. This location, combined with excellent guides and a variety of activities, makes Potato Bush one of the best camps for a wildlife safari in Zambia.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of four are welcome at Potato Bush Camp, but note that the minimum age for walking and canoeing in the Lower Zambezi National Park is 12 years.
Property’s age restrictions: There is a minimum age of four years of age.
Special activities & services: Children’s programmes can be arranged, including such activities as spoor tracking, and making candles and cards.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Potato Bush for sensible, mature children who are interested in wildlife and will understand the full safety implications of being in an area of dangerous big game.
Notes: Potato Bush Camp is located on the edge of the Zambezi River and within the Lower Zambezi National Park. There are no fences around the camp and dangerous animals do roam freely through the camp at any time of the day. The private plunge pools are not fenced. Parents must supervise children at all times.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: Power is available 24 hours a day. There are plug points in the tents for charging batteries.
Communications: There is no cell phone reception at Potato Bush Camp.
TV & radio: No
Water supply: Other
Water supply notes: Water is pumped from the Zambezi River and filtered for showers and baths. A jug of drinking water is provided in each tent, having been triple filtered and treated with a UV light. It’s not recommended to drink water straight from the tap. The showers are plumbed in with hot and cold running water, and there are flushing toilets.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The camp managers are first-aid trained. In an emergency guests would normally be evacuated by air to Lusaka and then possibly to Johannesburg.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are escorted to their rooms after dark, and radios are provided in the tents to summon help in case of emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers and a bucket of sand outside each tent.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included
Money: No exchange facilities are offered. There are no safes in the tents, but valuables can be stored in the office safe if necessary.
Accepted payment on location: In the unlikely event that you need to pay for something, cash payments in the local currency, kwacha, are preferred. However, Potato Bush can accept small amounts of US dollars (which are also fine for tipping), South African rand, UK pounds or euros in cash. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted, but take a bit longer to process as the payment goes through the head office in Lusaka.