Chamilandu Bushcamp: Our full report
Chamilandu Bushcamp is a small camp set in the shade of some tall African ebony trees, perched on the bank ...... of a winding section of the Luangwa River. The owners of the camp, Bushcamp Company, have invested in making it stylish and comfortable, whilst working hard to retain a traditional bushcamp feeling, with the reed and thatch chalets completely open to the outside. ** Note that Chamilandu will be operating on an exclusive-use basis for the 2021 season for a minimum of four guests.
There are just three spacious chalets at Chamilandu Bushcamp, each set well apart, with uninterrupted views of the river and to the Nchindeni Hills beyond. Each is thatched, and raised about two metres off the ground on a timber platform. There are reed walls on three sides but the front of the bedroom is completely open, leading to a private viewing deck where comfortable chairs face the river. Although still very African in style the interiors are both contemporary and chic. Black mosquito netting works well with the neutral colour scheme and high-quality but simple furniture. Each room has a king-size bed, or two small double four-posters.
A curtained doorway leads through to an open-air, en-suite bathroom, where a low front wall ensures a great view over the Luangwa River. Each bathroom has double basins, a flush toilet and a large open 'his and hers' shower. Discreet solar panels behind each chalet provide lighting and hot water.
At the centre of Chamilandu, just metres from the riverbank and enclosed on three sides by a waist-high reed wall, is the main area. Here, contemporary furniture, such as hanging wicker chairs, moulded wooden stools and low-slung sofas, is set on sandy floors, reinforcing the camp's rustic feel. A dining table is surrounded by directors' chairs, and there's a well-stocked bar and small library, too. The high thatched ceiling provides a convenient roosting place for epauletted fruit bats, which you'll often spot hanging from the rafters.
Overlooking the river, the campfire is lit in the mornings to cook porridge and toast at breakfast, and in the evening as a gathering place for pre-dinner drinks. Away from the river, a substantial thatched building on stilts serves both as a hide, with a vantage point overlooking a small lagoon where animals often come to drink in the heat of the day, and as a shady lunch spot. .
Activities from Chamilandu Bushcamp consist of walking safaris and day and night game drives in a variety of environments, including riverine forest, mopane woodland and open floodplains. These attract a diversity of wildlife, from plains game such as Crawshay's zebra and impala, to wetland animals like puku and waterbuck, as well as the shyer species that prefer the riverine thickets, like kudu and leopard.
Many guests at Chamilandu choose to walk between Chamilandu and one or more of its sister bushcamps, which include Kuyenda to the north, and Bilimungwe to the south.
There are typically two activities a day at Chamilandu, a walk in the morning when it’s cooler, and a drive in the evening that can be extend into a night drive. As a smaller camp, accommodating a maximum of six people, you will eat all meals communally and often be with the other guests on activities. However there is some flexibility built into the activites, should you wish to do two walks or two drives a day, or go on an alternative activity to the other guests in camp.
We were unable to stay at Chamilandu on our last visit in June 2015, but on previous visits we’ve enjoyed early-morning game walks following an open floodplain scattered with relaxed herds of puku, impala and zebra. That afternoon, following another walk and sundowners along the riverbank, a vehicle was sent to collect us to complete the activity with a night drive. We were fortunate enough to see a leopard stalking a small herd of puku across an open clearing – although on this occasion he was out of luck.
With just three large chalets and a remote location, Chamilandu is a lovely, intimate bushcamp where you don’t need to compromise on luxury. The camp has cleverly managed to keep a classic bushcamp feeling without sacrificing modern comforts such as hot showers, good food and comfortable furniture. If you are looking for a rustic but comfortable camp in a wilderness area then Chamilandu would be a very good choice.
Country manager: Zambia
- South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- A two- or three-night stay at Chamilandu is ideal. Note that the camp combines naturally with its sister bushcamps: Kapamba, Chindeni, Bilimungwe, Zungulila or Kuyenda.
- From Mfuwe Airport, a game-drive transfer through South Luangwa National Park takes approximately three hours to reach Chamilandu Bushcamp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- The food served at Chamilandu Bushcamp is good quality, imaginative and tasty, made up of a variety of dishes using fresh ingredients.
At breakfast, usually eaten around the campfire before the early-morning activity, porridge and toast are prepared on the open fire and a buffet table is set up with a choice of cereals, yoghurt, fruit, spreads and juices.
At around 11.00am, after the morning activity, a buffet brunch is more like lunch than breakfast. We weren’t able to enjoy any meals here on our last visit, but on a previous occasion we had a selection of Thai-style chicken strips, a leek and onion quiche, and beetroot, carrot and bean salads. Dessert was a tasty and refreshing fruit salad in Pimms with mint.
For afternoon tea, we were spoilt with a freshly baked chocolate cake before our second activity.
A three-course dinner is served after the evening game drive. On our last visit, we enjoyed a starter of creamy mushrooms on toast, followed by beef fillet with a mustard sauce on a bed of parmesan mash and green beans. The meal was rounded off with a delicious sticky toffee pudding.
- Walking safaris
- With good guides, varied terrain, and the ability to walk to several of its sister camps, Chamilandu is a very good choice for a walking safari in Zambia.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Chamilandu is happy to accommodate children 12 years and over.
- Property’s age restrictions
- 12 years and older are welcome at Chamilandu. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 may join guided walks at the discretion of the camp manager.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- No. Chamilandu is a remote bushcamp with quite an adult atmosphere so is suited only to older children with a high degree of maturity. Those with children may prefer to stay at Mfuwe Lodge, which is more suitable for family groups.
- Chamilandu is not fenced, allowing animals to pass through the camp. These animals are wild and can be dangerous, so children must be under their parent's supervision at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Chamilandu Bushcamp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Chamilandu Bushcamp 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
- There are no plug points in the rooms but electronics can be given to the camp manager for charging. In the event of several cloudy days, charging facilities may be limited, or charging could take longer than normal.
- Chamilandu has 24-hour radio contact with its sister camps in the South Luangwa and with its base camp at Mfuwe Lodge.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The showers and handbasins are plumbed in. Water is solar-heated so it may take a few minutes to reach your shower. Each chalet has a flushing toilet. The water from the taps is suitable for drinking, but bottled water is also available if you prefer.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a doctor at Mfuwe Lodge, sponsored by the various safari operators in South Luangwa National Park. Chamilandu has links to a flying-doctors service for serious emergencies.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests are escorted to their chalets after dark. There are no lock-up facilities in the rooms so we recommend that you hand any valuables to the manager to keep in the camp's lock-up facility.
- Fire safety
- Water hoses and fire extinguishers are available throughout the camp in case of fire.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A complimentary laundry service is included, but this does not include ladies’ underwear; soap for this is provided in the rooms. Note that clothes are hand washed and coal ironed.
- No exchange facilities are provided.
- Accepted payment on location
- The usual currency for tips is Zambian kwacha or US dollars. In the unlikely event that payment for anything else is needed, this would be arranged through Chamilandu's sister camp, Mfuwe Lodge.
Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.