Crocodile Bushcamp is a very rustic camp which blends in perfectly with it's surroundings.
Crocodile Bushcamp: Our full report
The tiny and stylishly rustic Crocodile Bushcamp – also known as Crocodile River Camp – is one half of a pair of bushcamps, known as Chikoko Trails Camps, that occupy a remote walking-only section of the South Luangwa National Park. Made of reed and thatch, and rebuilt every year after the rains, it’s one of the simpler camps that we feature.
Crocodile is paired with Chikoko Tree Camp, and together they act as satellite walking camps for the slightly larger Tafika Camp. All three are operated by Remote Africa Safaris, which is owned and run by one of the Luangwa valley’s top walking safari guides, John Coppinger, who is often based at Tafika.
Crocodile Bushcamp itself stands beneath a tall grove of evergreen ebony trees, overlooking a large open pan (known locally as a 'dambo'), which was once the course of the Luangwa River. There are numerous depressions in this open area that often contain water during the early part of the dry season. This provides green plants and nutritious grazing for the game, so wildlife viewing from camp can be excellent.
Accommodation at Crocodile consists of three rustic, reed-and-thatch chalets – so this little bushcamp takes just six people when full. The chalets are set on a slightly raised side of the dambo, where the ancient riverbank used to be. Inside each are twin beds, or a double, covered in brightly coloured African fabrics, with a chair and sofa by the large open window with a good view of the bush. Attached is a private open-air bathroom, its sandy floors covered in reed matting; it has a washbasin, flush toilet and (hot!) shower.
Crocodile's main area is partially covered, with a small, well-stocked 'help-yourself' bar as well as a little library. In the centre stands a large round table laid at mealtimes with linen, glassware and crockery. Everyone eats together, usually out in the open. At the front, a small seating area with a couple of comfortable chairs and a sofa provides a good vantage point for wildlife watching during the afternoon. On our last trip in October 2014 we were able to spot a warthog and her five (incredibly small) young, and a leopard drinking from a waterhole.
Activities at Crocodile Bushcamp concentrate solely on walking safaris. There is just one road in the surrounding area, used exclusively for bringing in supplies and for emergencies. Porters will carry your luggage to and from camp (who always walk separately; they won’t join you on any walking safaris). Walks normally last about three–four hours, including a mid-morning or afternoon break for tea, and are fairly relaxed. The emphasis is on taking your time to observe the area’s wildlife, and a moderate level of fitness is fine. The terrain is broadly level but often uneven underfoot – so sturdy shoes are a good idea.
The top guides from Tafika are shared with Crocodile Bush Camp – guaranteeing the excellent wildlife knowledge and experience that is the hallmark of this operation. Most guests arrive at Crocodile from Tafika or Chikoko Tree Camp as part of a longer walking safari, usually starting or ending at Tafika. You can easily walk between each of these camps in about three to four hours. For an aerial view of the three camps, see the satellite map of the area. If you want to venture further, then these camps combine well with their more distant sister camp, Mwaleshi Bushcamp, in North Luangwa National Park.
Our viewThough the structures of Crocodile are deliberately rustic, the standards of guiding here are exceedingly high – and even the food is top-notch (which is quite remarkable when you see the kitchen facilities). The bushcamp's emphasis is firmly on enjoying the wilderness, the environment and the game. For those of us who love walking safaris and remote areas, it is one of the best places in Africa.
Ideal length of stay: In the dry season, it's perhaps most popular to start a safari in the South Luangwa at Tafika for two–four nights, and then head to the bushcamps – Crocodile Bushcamp and Chikoko Tree Camp – 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 North Luangwa. To check if Crocodile Bushcamp has space on the dates for your safari, click on the 'camp availability' link on the right-side of this page.
Directions: From Mfuwe Airport it's approximately 1½–2 hours by road to Tafika. From here, guests walk to Crocodile, taking about 3–4 hours. A flight transfer from Mfuwe to Lukuzi airstrip (Tafika) takes 15 minutes.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Owner run – John and Carol Coppinger
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The small kitchen team at Crocodile Camp produces really excellent cuisine from a remarkably simple bush kitchen. This includes delicious freshly baked bread cooked underground in the wood-fired 'oven'.
On our last visit in October 2014 we arrived in time for a buffet lunch of spaghetti bolognese with fresh baked bread and fresh salad from Tafika’s vegetable garden. Dessert was a light and tasty Amarula and fruit mousse.
After returning from the afternoon walk, we were served dinner: a green bean soup, followed by beef fillet with potatoes, vegetables and a green salad, and rounded off with a tasty chocolate mousse.
A very early morning breakfast is served around the campfire. On our visit there was a choice of cereal, toast and a cold platter of ham, cheese, pickles and tomato, as well as tea, coffee and juice.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included in the rates. Note that fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs, are charged as extras.
Further dining info: No
Solo Travel: Walking safaris at Crocodile are with other guests, and well-informed guides are keen to share their knowledge. The camp is small and intimate, and the low single supplement adds to its attraction for solo travellers in Zambia.See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia
Birdwatching: Overlooking a verdant dambo Crocodile Bushcamp is in a great location for birds, with first-rate guides who know their birdlife. Even sitting in the lounge with some binoculars provides a great opportunity for birdwatching in Zambia.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Walking safaris: Located in a remote area with great game and no interruptions from vehicles, Crocodile is one of the best camps for walking safaris in Zambia. Top walking guides, and porters to transfer your luggage between camps, add to the experience.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Crocodile Camp welcomes children 12 years and over.
Property’s age restrictions: Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to take part on a walking safari.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: We recommend this camp for mature, well-behaved children over the age of 12.
Notes: Crocodile Bushcamp is very remote and is not fenced in, so animals do roam freely through the camp. With walking being the only activity there is nothing else here to keep children occupied.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: There are no battery-charging facilities, so make sure everything is fully charged before you arrive here.
Communications: There is no cellphone reception here although the camp is in radio communication with Tafika – which has excellent communication facilities.
TV & radio: No TVs or radios
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: The handbasins are plumbed in and each chalet has a flushing toilet. The bathrooms have bucket showers, with hot water brought in the morning and on request.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a doctor in Mfuwe, about an hours drive from Tafika. For more serious emergencies Tafika has links with a flying doctors service.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Both your guide and the staff are in camp.
Fire safety: There are sand buckets outside each chalet as well as in the main area.
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 chalets. Clothes are hand washed and coal ironed – so we suggest that you don't ask for very delicate items to be laundered here
Money: No exchange facilities are provided
Accepted payment on location: No money is required at Crocodile. Payment for any extras may be made at Tafika, which accepts both Visa and MasterCard, as well as cash in UK pounds, US dollars, euros and Zambian kwacha. They do not accept travellers' cheques.