This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Chikoko Tree Camp
Chikoko Tree Camp
Chikoko Tree Camp

Chikoko Tree Camp: Our full report

Chikoko Tree Camp is an exceptionally small, intimate and rustic bushcamp that overlooks the seasonal Chikoko ...

... River – a scenic, winding channel lined by shady ebony trees. It is set in a remote area of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park that is exclusive to walking safaris; there are no vehicles here to break the silence, and other visitors are rare.

Together, Chikoko Tree Camp and Crocodile Bushcamp (sometimes called 'Crocodile River Camp') form Chikoko Trails Camps: satellite walking bushcamps of Tafika.

Visitors at Chikoko stay in one of three rustic, two-storey reed chalets – so the camp accommodates just six people when full. Upstairs, under a canvas roof, the bedrooms have either a double or twin beds inside a walk-in mosquito net. Windows are simply open spaces within the reed walls, and directors’ chairs face one side, which is completely open, looking out across the dry riverbed or the adjoining plain. Solar power provides electric lighting for the rooms, and small hand-held solar lights are provided as back up.

Downstairs is a private bathroom with a handbasin, flush toilet and (hot!) shower. Basic toiletries are provided.

Meals at Chikoko are communal and very relaxed, taken either outside or under the thatched but open-sided central area. The kitchen team produces the most impressive cuisine from the simplest of bush kitchens, with the oven being just a hole in the ground! The well-stocked bar is always open on a help-yourself basis; cushions are scattered across wooden chairs and benches; and a couple of directors' chairs are set above the sand river, from which animals are often seen; we had a small herd of zebra passing through during our last stay, in June 2017. It's all very easy going.

As Chikoko's activities encompass purely walking safaris, with no vehicles allowed in the area, your luggage will be carried to and from camp by porters. (They'll walk separately; they won't be with you when you walk to camp.) You can easily walk between Tafika and Chikoko, or Chikoko and Crocodile, in three to four hours. During the dry season the river between here and Tafika is sometimes shallow enough to walk across; otherwise you'll be ferried across in a small boat. During our last visit, the grass was too high to walk directly from Tafika in safety, necessitating a road transfer to the river crossing, where we started our walk.

Walking safaris from Chikoko Tree Camp normally last about three–four hours, and are fairly leisurely, with a mid-morning or afternoon break for tea. The terrain is reasonably flat but occasionally uneven – so it's a good idea to bring sturdy shoes. That said, the focus is on seeing the area's great wildlife, and only a moderate level of fitness is necessary; these walks aren't designed as route marches or endurance tests!

The walking safari guides from Tafika are shared with Chikoko Tree Camp – guaranteeing the very high level of knowledge and experience that is a hallmark of this operation. Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable about the different animal spoor and plants that we saw along the way, and their tracking skills were fantastic: we followed a leopard’s trail for over an hour, finally getting a glimpse of him racing through the bush ahead!

Most guests arrive here from either Tafika or Crocodile Bushcamp as part of a longer walking safari, usually using Tafika as a more comfortable base at the beginning or end of their trip. However, if you're feeling really adventurous you can combine Chikoko with its more distant sister camp, Mwaleshi Bushcamp, in North Luangwa National Park.


Our view

Chikoko Tree Camp appears to be very simple, yet this belies a comfortable bushcamp run to very high standards. The walking guides are among the most experienced and best in the business, and you'll be amazed at the quality of food here given the simplicity of the kitchen. For those who love walking safaris, we would highly recommend Chikoko.

Megan Green

Megan Green

Zambia expert

Geographics

Location
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Ideal length of stay
If you want to plan a South Luangwa walking safari including Chikoko, it usually works best to start at Tafika for 2–4 nights, then head to one of the bushcamps – either Chikoko Tree Camp or Crocodile Bushcamp – for a few nights each. Often trips will then return to Tafika for a night or two at the end, although some will finish with a visit to Mwaleshi in the North Luangwa.

For more specific ideas and actual examples of trips like this, with prices and full details, click on some of the links to safaris on the Trip ideas tab, above.

To see if there's space, check Chikoko's availability here.
Directions
From Mfuwe, it is approximately 1½–2 hours by road to Tafika. A flight from Mfuwe to Lukuzi airstrip (near Tafika) takes 15 minutes. From Tafika you walk to Chikoko, taking about 3–4 hours.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
On our most recent visit in June 2017, we were very impressed with the quality of the food, especially given that meals are cooked in the bush kitchen's 'oven' – a hole in the ground surrounded by hot coals! Vegetarians can be catered for, as well as most allergies or particular food requirements.

A light breakfast is usually served around the campfire before the morning walk, and consists of toast, yoghurt, cereals, fruit, ham and cheese, together with tea, coffee and juices. Eggs are available upon request.

We enjoyed lunch in the shady main area at midday. This included a refreshing grapefruit starter, followed by marinated pork, an aubergine and cheese tomato bake, a variety of salads and freshly baked white and brown bread, plus a selection of very tasty pickles and chutneys. Pears in red wine sauce complemented the lunch nicely.

For afternoon tea, at 3.30pm before the second walk of the day, we were offered fresh tea and coffee and crumbly jam-filled biscuits.

Dinner was served shortly after we returned from our evening walk, at about 7.30pm. The camp serves a set menu, and on our last visit we enjoyed a starter of tomato soup with croutons, followed by delicious roast chicken, served with roast potatoes, butternut squash, green beans and gravy. Decadent profiteroles completed the meal,

Special interests

Solo Travel
Walking safaris at Chikoko Tree Camp are with other guests, and well-informed guides. The camp is small and intimate with communal meals, and the low single supplement adds to its attraction for solo travellers in Zambia.
See ideas for Solo Travel
Walking safaris
Chikoko is run by Remote Africa Safaris, a company with considerable experience of running walking safaris in Zambia. The lack of roads and vehicles, and the camp-to-camp trails, make this one of the best spots for walking in Zambia.
See ideas for Walking safaris

Children

Attitude towards children
ChikokoTree Camp welcomes children 12 years and older.
Property’s age restrictions
Minimum age of 12.
Special activities & services
None
Equipment
None
Generally recommended for children
We would recommend Chikoko for mature, well-behaved children over the age of 12.
Notes
Children must be under the constant supervision of their parents.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Chikoko Tree Camp

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Chikoko Tree 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.

Hippo

100% success

Buffalo

80% success

Elephant

80% success

Zebra

80% success

Lion

78% success

Giraffe

67% success

Wild dog

33% success

Spotted Hyena

30% success

Roan antelope

22% success

Wildebeest

20% success

Leopard

11% success

Pangolin

11% success

Sable antelope

11% success

Aardvark

0% success

Eland

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
Chikoko has battery-charging facilities in the main area, though staff will remind you not to leave anything charging overnight, as hyenas apparently have a tendency to chew on anything left out!
Communications
There is no cellphone reception or WiFi here, although the camp is in constant radio contact with Tafika – which has excellent communication facilities.
TV & radio
None
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
The handbasins are plumbed in and each chalet has a flushing toilet. A jug of hot water will be brought to your chalet and left by your basin each morning. The bathrooms have bucket showers, and these will be filled with hot water ready for your return from the afternoon walk.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
There is a doctor in Mfuwe, about one hour’s drive from Tafika. For medical emergencies,Tafika has links with a flying doctors’ service.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Your guide, as well as the camp staff, are all in camp with you.
Fire safety
There are sand buckets outside each chalet as well as in the main area.

Activities

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

Extras

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 each chalet. Note that clothes are hand-washed and coal-ironed – so we suggest that you don't have very delicate items laundered here.
Money
No exchange facilities are provided.
Accepted payment on location
No money is required at Chikoko. Payment for any extras may be made at Tafika in cash in UK pounds, US dollars, euros and Zambian kwacha, or by Visa or Mastercard, though this will incur a 4.5% fee. They are not able to accept travellers' cheques.

Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Tafika

Tafika

Tafika is one of the best camps in Zambia: naturally built, with few apparent luxuries, but actually very high quality. Service and food are excellent, but the real focus is on top guiding skills and wildlife experience.


98% (275 reviews)
Nkwali

Nkwali

In the heart of South Luangwa, overlooking the river, Nkwali is unusual in being open year round. It offers great safaris; a high standard of food, service and care; and an excellent springboard for Robin Pope's various safaris in the park.


96% (203 reviews)
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp is a small, owner-run camp in a quiet but excellent game area of the Luangwa. Photographers will particularly appreciate the camp’s series of wildlife hides.


96% (188 reviews)
Nsefu

Nsefu

One of the Luangwa's oldest camps, Nsefu is a great safari camp in a remote, beautiful and game-rich location with top-rate guiding.


98% (166 reviews)
Tena Tena

Tena Tena

Tena Tena is one of the Luangwa's best camps in a beautiful location – it's very small, feels very remote and 'in the bush', is run exceedingly well and has top rate guiding.


95% (137 reviews)
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba is a small, fairly simple, owner-run bushcamp in an excellent game area. It offers first-class walking, 4WD safaris and great game hides; come for excellent guides and a real bush feel.


99% (126 reviews)
Crocodile Bushcamp

Crocodile Bushcamp

Crocodile Bushcamp is a great little rustic bushcamp built to high standards that focuses on excellent walking safaris, with the emphasis on top wildlife guides.


98% (82 reviews)
Kapani Lodge

Kapani Lodge

Just on the south-east side of the national park, Kapani Lodge is the base camp for Norman Carr Safaris, one of the Luangwa's oldest safari operations. It's also a very solid safari camp that has retained lots of character, and runs very well indeed.


95% (80 reviews)
Mchenja Bushcamp

Mchenja Bushcamp

Set in a shady ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa, Mchenja is a smart tented bushcamp. It combines well with Kakuli and Nsolo – its sister camps with a focus on walking safaris.


98% (63 reviews)
Kakuli Bushcamp

Kakuli Bushcamp

Beside the Luangwa River, Kakuli is a comfortable tented bushcamp offering 4WD safaris and walking safaris – the best of which are camp-to-camp walks linking Kakuli with its nearby sister camps.


97% (62 reviews)
Flatdogs Camp

Flatdogs Camp

A relatively big but very good safari camp, Flatdogs offers value for money with great guiding and good food in a comfortable, relaxed setting.


98% (61 reviews)
Luangwa River Camp

Luangwa River Camp

Luangwa River Lodge is a small and consciously stylish lodge in the Mfuwe area, overlooking the Luangwa River and the South Luangwa National Park beyond – an area renowned for great game.


96% (60 reviews)
Nsolo Bushcamp

Nsolo Bushcamp

Nsolo is a small, comfortable bushcamp overlooking one or two pools in the usually dry Luwi riverbed. It concentrates on walking safaris in an interesting and diverse area, led by a knowledgeable guide.


97% (52 reviews)
Kafunta River Lodge

Kafunta River Lodge

Kafunta is a laid-back, friendly and good-value lodge on the outskirts of South Lunagwa National Park.


96% (39 reviews)
Luwi Bushcamp

Luwi Bushcamp

In a remote part of the South Luangwa National Park, Luwi is a rustic bushcamp whose emphasis is on walking safaris with great guiding and a chance of seeing some rarely seen and elusive antelope.


93% (38 reviews)
Robin Pope Safaris bush-camp

Robin Pope bush-camp

RPS bushcamping in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia


99% (25 reviews)
Lion Camp

Lion Camp

Lion Camp is an established and comfortable camp with a swimming pool, located near to the game-rich Lion Plain in the northern part of South Luangwa National Park.


94% (22 reviews)
Robin Pope Safaris walking safari

Robin Pope walking

A seven-day Robin Pope Walking Safari in South Luangwa National Park starts and finishes at a permanent camp, with five days walking between comfortable mobile camps.


98% (21 reviews)
Kapamba Bushcamp

Kapamba Bushcamp

In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Kapamba is a small and very comfortable bushcamp offering good walks and game drives.


94% (17 reviews)
Luangwa Safari House

Luangwa Safari House

Luangwa Safari House is a vast and very smart four-bedroom house specifically designed for families and small groups, and offering an exclusive and flexible safari experience.


100% (14 reviews)
Chinzombo

Chinzombo

Opened in early June 2013, Chinzombo offers luxurious and stylish accommodation with very high levels of service and excellent guiding.


98% (13 reviews)
Kuyenda Bushcamp

Kuyenda Bushcamp

Kuyenda Bushcamp is a classic bushcamp with particularly delightful hosts and offers top-class walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.


98% (13 reviews)
Bilimungwe Bushcamp

Bilimungwe Bushcamp

A smart bushcamp with four very spacious chalets, Bilimungwe offers interesting walking safaris in pretty riverine woodland, as well as day and night safari drives.


95% (12 reviews)
Kawaza Village

Kawaza Village

Kawaza Village – beside the South Luangwa National Park, offers guests the rare opportunity to appreciate local village life. Visit for a few hours or stay overnight.


95% (11 reviews)
Robin's House

Robin's House

With your own expert guide, private vehicle, chef and valet, the two-bedroom Robin's House offers an exclusive, flexible safari experience – and is open year round.


94% (10 reviews)
Three Rivers Camp

Three Rivers Camp

In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Three Rivers Lodge is being constructed by the confluence of three of the valleys rivers.


94% (10 reviews)
Mfuwe Lodge

Mfuwe Lodge

In a game-rich area close to the South Luangwa’s main Mfuwe Gate, Mfuwe Lodge is relatively large by park standards, but it’s stylish, modern and family friendly.


90% (10 reviews)
Island Bush Camp

Island Bush Camp

Island Bushcamp is a good-value, rustic, walking-only camp, in arguably one of the most remote parts of the South Luangwa, well away from all other camps.


100% (9 reviews)
Puku Ridge

Puku Ridge

Puku Ridge is a luxurious designer camp set in a stunning location, high on a hill overlooking a floodplain within South Luangwa. Explore from here on 4WD safaris and walks.


93% (9 reviews)
Chindeni

Chindeni

Chindeni Bushcamp is a very modern and minimalist camp, which is a far cry from your traditional bushcamp and unlike most of the other camps in South Luangwa.


94% (7 reviews)
Chamilandu Bushcamp

Chamilandu Bushcamp

A very comfortable little bushcamp, Chamilandu has a picturesque setting by the Luangwa River, with a range of habitats that can be explored on foot and by 4WD, day and night.


100% (5 reviews)
Mwamba Camp-out

Mwamba Camp-out

The Mwamba-Camp Out allows you to have an incredibly adventurous night in the bush, sleeping under mosquito nets with activities led by some of the best guides in Zambia.


90% (4 reviews)
Zungulila

Zungulila

Zungulila is a small, comfortable tented bushcamp with an emphasis on walking safaris, in the remote southern section of the South Luangwa.


93% (3 reviews)
Chichele Presidential Lodge

Chichele Lodge

Chichele Presidential Lodge stands within the park on a hill with superb views. Its hotel-like, air-conditioned rooms and child-friendly attitude make it ideal for families or those who don't want to get too close to the bush outside.


100% (1 review)
Luwi Riverbed Sleepout

Luwi Riverbed Sleepout

For an adventurous night in South Luangwa National Park, come and sleep out in the bush, around a campfire, with an experienced guide and game scout.


100% (1 review)
Mapazi Camp

Mapazi Camp

Mapazi Camp is a basic safari camp in the far north of the South Luangwa, with walking safaris led by renowned guide Deb Tittle.


No reviews yet
Shawa Luangwa Camp

Shawa Camp

Due to open in June 2020, we’re expecting Shawa Luangwa Camp to be a small, intimate and rustic camp, with a good location in a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park.


No reviews yet
Chikunto Safari Lodge

Chikunto

Chikunto Safari Lodge is a new property in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park, sitting on a peninsula of land created by the meandering Luangwa River.


No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa