Reviews of Flatdogs Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Excellent location, right on the banks of the Luangwa river, with elephant, giraffe and hippo free just to wander through the camp as they please.
This was quite a large camp/lodge by the standards of others in the area, but you wouldn't know it as the friendliness of the staff, and the way they went out of their way to make us feel at home, gave the place quite an intimate feel.
There was a real restaurant, so we could eat what we liked, when we liked and with whom we liked. Guiding from Ed, our guide, was absolutely first class. This was probably the busiest part of the park, but we only saw 2 or 3 other vehicles on each 4 hour game drive.
Really good value for money too compared to some of the other lodges.
We loved Flatdogs. We got a warm welcome when we arrived and this set the tone for the entire time we spent there.
Jess, Ade and Paulo and the rest of the team did a fantastic job in looking after us and their other guests. There were always people around before drives and to welcome us back, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and the food was excellent. Our luxury tent was large and comfortable with a great view of the river and had the added bonus of a fan.
The drives and our guide were excellent. We had the same guide throughout - Yotam - who picked us up at the airport and took us to our next camp. Although the trucks could take 10 people, there were never more than 6, and often fewer, so plenty of room to spread out and get good views. Although it's bigger than some of the camps in Luangua, it doesn't seem large, partly because of the layout which gives a lot of privacy and partly because food is available all day, so guests are eating at different times.
We wished we had stayed longer than our 3 days. Recommended.
Great flexibility at Flatdogs
Flatdogs was a the perfect first half of the trip, with its proximity to 'real life' outside the park, therefore a greater sense of the area and some of the issues presented by conservation of the wildlife. It was excellently run and the flexibility it offers is perfect for families - my 12 year old loved the pool and the ability to choose from a menu and decide on meal times. The staff bent over backwards to accommodate us, organising a walking safari for me and my son on our middle day of the trip and listening carefully to any thoughts or requests.
We stayed in both a luxury tent and a chalet and far preferred the luxury tent, which was stunning and felt more private and in closer proximity to the river - it had more of a bushcamp feel about it. The standard of accommodation was very high in both and the food was simply excellent.
The standard of guiding was predictably high. We were lucky in the way the vehicles worked out and we had a guide to ourselves for the duration of our stay, but I imagine we'd have had an excellent experience anyway. The guides were incredibly knowledgeable and we really enjoyed the smaller details and smaller wildlife as well as the spectacular bigger game.
Flatdogs Camp review
Great friendly team and fantastic with kids and food allergies.Read more about the whole safari
Great for a short stay with family
Flatdogs was very good for our family trip. I have been on many safaris but was taking 2 family members who had never been before. The family room was ideal, although the lack of bathroom facilities for the 3rd bedroom caused a bit of inconvenience. The accomodation was spotless and we never saw the cleaning staff as they managed to get the room done while we were on game drives so we were never disturbed. All the staff were friendly and helpful and our guide, Malamba, was very good.
We saw all the main game - leopards, lion, elephant, buffalo on the game drives and it was really exciting to see the elephants walk through the camp. Night drives were good, but I don't think we needed 4 of them as they got a little repetitive.
Food was good in that there was a great variety to suit all tastes and we liked the fact that meals could be taken any time of day, which gave us lots of freedom. However, service in the restaurant was quite slow and we had to wait quite a long time for breakfast.
The South Luangwa park is great for game with plenty to see but we found the overcrowding by vehicles a bit disturbing in that once a leopard was seen it would be quickly surrounded by as many as 6 vehicles. However, the guides were very good at giving way to each other so all clients got a view.
I would recommend Flatdogs for a family trip, but maybe not if you are a seasoned safari goer or couple and want a more secluded experience.
Great safari, great guide
Great stay. We were in the family chalet; we didn't have many animals roaming around nor blocking our comings and goings. The rooms were quite comfortable and the chalet was intimate.
The food was good. It was a good idea to have us order supper before leaving on safari for the afternoon and night drives.
Our guide Malama was great, very knowledgeable. We saw plenty of animals. The guides seem to know were they hang out. We started of in the morning earlier than in the other camps and had a longer break in the afternoon. They accomodated us to prolong a morning drive with sandwiches til almost noon.
Flatdogs Camp review
Great camp in a very convenient location. Very friendly and helpful staff with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Our luxury tent was superb with a great view of the river. Our guide Ed was excellent and provided a brilliant introduction to us as safari novices.
The only negative is that this is at the busier end of South Luangwa so there were a few times when we saw a lot of vehicles and some guides (thankfully none from Flatdogs) acting a little irresponsibly. This took the shine off our experience a little.
However this is still an excellent camp and brilliant value for money.
Great budget-friendly option
Great option for those who are on a tighter budget. Good hosts - Jess & Ade. Good accommodation - new tents with everything you need. Good food.
Last but not least, we had great safari experiences with Malama (our guide for three days). When I say "great" I do not mean that we had some exceptional sightings (though we saw quite a lot being particularly lucky with leopard sightings). With Malama and his assistants I am referring to their desire to show us as much as possible even if it required driving us further afield. Malama was really giving it his best and we could tell his affection for the place he was at. They were also trying hard during night drives.
We mentioned that we wanted to see bush babies and on our last night with him we must have driven for an hour looking specifically for them. No bush babies (perfectly fine with us: it's not a zoo, after all). However, Malama and the spotter showed us what real "tracking" is about when they found a leopard who was hunting high up on a tree. What impressed us were the combination of good tracking skills and dedication to do a good job.
It's worth mentioning that we liked the atmosphere at Flatdogs partly because the camp was not even half-full. They only had eight or ten guests including us. If the camp was full, it may have been different: busy, noisy etc. As we experienced it, Flatdogs is highly recommended. We'd stay there again. However, this area of SLNP is certainly busier than further North
Flatdogs Camp review
We chose Flatdogs on a room only basis as a relatively cheap start to the holiday in order to 'recover' from the journey to Zambia and not undertake a full set of activities
The only minor grumble was that the quality of the guiding on the game drives left something to be desired (compared to the remainder of the holiday). This however did not diminish the enjoyment of the start of the holiday.
Overall Flatdogs started our holiday in exactly the way we planned.
Even though we were only on a room only basis, they tried there best to accomodate my diet (diabetic) providing us with un-sweetened bread (+ marmite and butter).
Flatdogs Camp review
The tents were fine but the overall impression was that it looked a bit unkempt and scruffy.
A big plus was that we could order any food at any time of the day which is very convenient when going on game drives. I did not like the overpriced and cheap (cask) wine and the staff pushing you to order drinks all the time.