Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp: Our full report

11 chalets
Traveller's rating
Good (79%) From 108 reviews
All year

Pioneer Camp is situated just outside Lusaka, twenty minutes from the international airport - and this location is key to why we sometimes recommend it. If you have an early morning flight out of Lusaka, then spending your last night here might make sense. It's in a fairly rural setting, which contrasts sharply with the city-based hotels as an option for a stop-over.

The camp is a simple, rustic camp, with comfortable en-suite accommodation in thatched chalets. Don't expect this to be very luxurious – the beds are comfortable, with mosquito nets, the electricity works in the chalets, there is hot water in the bathrooms and there are flush loos. However as this is generally used as an overnight stopover before the early British Airways flight, don't expect it to be on the same level as the camps in Zambia's national parks. It's a simple, inexpensive camp for a stopover in Lusaka.

The camp has a largish main area with a long bar, a few comfortable chairs and a television, usually tuned to BBC World News. Paul, the owner, and Alfred, the manager, can generally be found behind the bar and are affable and friendly hosts, always ready for a chat or to help travellers. The beer is cold, there's a good selection of soft drinks and spirits, and there is a fire pit outside the main area with chairs.

A few steps down from the bar is the restaurant area. Pioneer has a small menu for evening meals – vegetarians are catered for, with various pasta dishes, or you could try the famous Pioneer T-bone steak – which is enough to feed a small army! When I travel with a friend, we usually share one of these – and there are still leftovers!

It's worth mentioning that there are a couple of friendly dogs around the camp – a little Jack Russell and a larger young puppy.

Our view

Pioneer Camp is a simple, laid-back camp which works well for an inexpensive stopover in Lusaka to connect to the BA flights. If you don't like large, impersonal hotels, and don't mind quite simple, rustic accommodation, then this is a good option.


Location: Lusaka area, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: One night - the lodge is suitable for stopovers.

Directions: From Lusaka, take the Great East road to Airport Roundabout. Continue as if going to Chipata. Police block after 1km, turn right down dust road and follow the signs. The whole journey will take 20 – 30 minutes.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Paul Barnes

Staff: Alfred Mumba is the friendly manager and driver, Sonile Tembo is the receptionist.


Attitude towards children: Children are very welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Special activities & services: There are some good walks around the camp, a swimming pool and a rope swing. If you wish to have your children looked after there is a member of staff who can do so.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: There is a camp phone that clients are able to use, free WiFi access at the camp, and good mobile reception throughout camp.

TV & radio: DSTV in the Bar – but BBC World Service is also available.

Health & safety

Medical care: If a client needs urgent attention the camp provides transport to the nearest hospital which is 20 mins away.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: There is an electric fence surrounding the property. There is a guard on duty 24 hrs. The fence is connected to an armed security company which is contracted to arrive within 10 minutes of any disturbance.

Fire safety: Staff are trained for a fire situation. There are fire extinguishers placed around the camp.


Disabled access: On Request

Money: The rates fluctuate a lot. Pioneer always offers a good rate which averages the banks and exchange bureaus.

Accepted payment on location: Currencies accepted are Zambian Kwacha, American Dollars, Pounds, Euros Currently Pioneer don't accept credit cards or foreign cheques.

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