Potato Bush Camp has four tents...
Potato Bush Camp: Our full report
Intimate and stylish, Potato Bush Camp opened in August 2012. Set well within the Lower Zambezi National Park in a game rich area, each of just four luxurious tents overlook the Zambezi River from beneath a canopy of shady mahogany, sausage and winterthorn trees.
Although relatively new to the area, Potato Bush is the little sister to its neighbour, a camp we have visited numerous times over the years, the well-established and excellent Sausage Tree Camp.
Potato Bush Camp has three luxury safari tents, although following our visit in October 2013 we think the term ‘tented’ may be a little deceptive as, to us, they didn’t feel like a tent at all! Cream canvas walls and a rosewood frame house cavernous rooms with yellow oxide ‘screeded’ floors. Lending to the air of light and space, large windows are lined with a fine gauze rather than glass and wide wooden doors that fold away during the day, lead to the shady veranda overlooking the Zambezi. Each of the rooms has a small plunge pool and quite contemporary, if a little uncomfortable, armchairs. Being in shade for most of the day, we found the pool water a bit icy for our tastes, even in the intense October heat. However, we particularly enjoyed a siesta in the hammock, which is big enough for two!
Inside, the open-plan rooms are simply, but beautifully furnished. To the one side at the back is a large double bed under a mosquito net supported by a lovely rosewood frame. On the headboard are electric reading lamps, a free-standing fan and plug points for charging batteries. Against the wall and within easy reach are luggage racks, ample shelves and a hanging space with bathrobes. To the front, facing a large window, is a large, squashy sofa and coffee table with magazines and drinking water.
To the other side of the room is the bathroom has twin hand basins, as well as a free-standing bathtub just behind a low wall. Leading off from here is the shower room, and to the back in a private cubicle is a flush toilet. Toiletries are provided and other thoughtful touches include mosquito repellent and bug spray, as well as chatengis (kikois). On a hot day, wet the chatengis, lay it over yourself and switch on your fan. A simple way to cool down, but very effective!
The fourth room, furthest from the main area, is a two-bedroom family tent. It’s similarly furnished, although one bedroom has a double bed, while the other has twin beds and each has an en-suite bathroom with bathtub, shower, flushing toilet and twin hand basins. The bedrooms are a little smaller than the others three tents, but they share a large central living and dining area so there is ample space for a family of four or two couples to share. There is also a fully stocked fridge and the private veranda is home to the small plunge pool and deck chairs.
All the tents are linked with the main area by raised timber board walks about half a metre off the ground. Expect lots of angular, clean lines, softened by fun touches such as a wooden canoe cut in half to make a bookcase, treetrunk handrails and an enormous hide covered trunk that doubles as a coffee table. To one side of the main area is a long, sturdy wooden dining table where most of the meals at Potato Bush are enjoyed. To the other side at the back is a bar - where you’ll be invited to help yourself if a member of the team isn’t around - and to the front with prime river views, is a cosy sitting area with plump chairs. In front of the main area is a fire pit, where we shared a drink and stories about our day before our excellent dinner.
Like it’s sister camp, Potato Bush Camp offers a range of flexible activities run by an excellent team and headed up by the camp manager and head guide, Charles Chanetsa. Charles has been guiding in this area of the park for over 15 years.
Activities include walking safaris, boat cruises, as well as day and night game drives in open 4WDs. On an afternoon game drive, we were fortunate to enjoy an excellent sighting of a pride of lions with their playful cubs.
Potato Bush also offers canoe trips guided by professional canoe guides down the Chifungulu channel. There’s usually a canoe guide in each canoe, although it’s also possible to opt to paddle yourself. The channels used for canoeing here have a high density of hippos and crocodiles and can be narrow, so those who opt to canoe must understand that these trips can be a little hair-raising, and that there is a higher level of risk involved here than there is for most game activities.
Fly-fishing and tiger-fishing are also offered, but on a catch and release basis. Both tackle and kit are provided.
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.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Tea & coffee is delivered to you by your personal along with your early morning wake-up call. Then a continental breakfast of toast, muffins, cereal, yoghurt, cold meats, cheese, fruit and porridge along with tea, coffee and fruit juice is then served prior to your early morning game activity. Those with heartier appetite can pre-order a cooked breakfast the night before.
Lunch is usually served at about 12:00 On our visit we had sosaties
of a tuna salad, green salad, grilled vegetables, quiche and freshly based
bread rolls. This was accompanied by Pimms & lemonade and followed by
cheese & biscuits.
Afternoon tea is then served before your afternoon activity, around 15:30 –
and involved a choice of hot and cold drinks, savory snacks and a freshly
Dinner is after your afternoon/evening activity, and possibly a
shower, at around 20:00. For starters we had pumpkin soup, followed by
fillet steak with roasted vegetables. Desert was crème caramel and glazed
pear! We couldn’t fault the food – it was really excellent!
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
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of four are welcome at Potato Bush Camp.
Property’s age restrictions: There is a minimum age of four years of age.
Notes: Children need supervision around the plunge pool and on all safari activities.
Communications: There is no cell phone reception at Potato Bush Camp.
TV & radio: No
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included