Island Bush Camp

Island Bush Camp: Our full report

Rooms
5 Bush chalets
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 4 reviews
Children
Best for 16+
Open
20th May to 1st November

Island Bush Camp is a simple camp in a very remote part of South Luangwa, a three- hour drive south of Mfuwe. The camp faces the Luangwa River, and focuses almost exclusively on walking safaris, though it also offers some limited game drives.

Most guests at Island Bush Camp start their journey at its sister camp, Kafunta Lodge, and many combine the two. This makes for an excellent-value safari, as neither camp is costly for the standard that they offer. From Kafunta it is a relatively long drive on bumpy roads outside the park to the bush camp. It is also worth noting that this isn’t really a game drive – though you might see some wildlife along the way.

Island Bush Camp is a simple property, with just five thatched bush chalets, all identical in build and style. Each is raised off the ground on its own wooden platform, and the front is completely open, creating a veranda of sorts, where you can enjoy a great view over the Luangwa River. You can even see the view from your comfortable bed! All of the chalets have twin beds (there are no double beds in the camp at all), a directors’ chairs and a small table on which there is filtered drinking water.

The open-air, en-suite bathroom is on the same level as the bedroom along a short walkway. It has a bucket shower that is filled with hot water once a day, a flushing toilet and cold running water.

The main area is a large, thatched and semi-open building facing the river. Here you will find a well-stocked bar, a big dining table and a lounge area with sofas and armchairs. In front, also facing the river, a number of directors’ chairs are positioned around a firepit.

Meals are freshly prepared in the camp’s open-air kitchen over a simple wood-burning stove. Ask for a tour of the kitchen – it is extremely interesting and adds to the marvel of the excellent food at Island Bush Camp. Meals are served either inside the main area, or outside next to the river. Either way, you can be sure that mealtimes are a sociable event – as are drinks around the campfire.

Though 4WD game drives can be arranged, activities at Island Bush Camp focus mainly on walking safaris, led by an experienced guide and an armed guard. At its maximum capacity the camp can take ten people, in which case guests are split into two groups for their daily activities.

Our view

Island Bush Camp is an excellent-value walking camp, in a very wild area far away from any other camps in the park. The chalets are very simple, and the experience here is quite rugged and outdoorsy. The camp will suit people looking for a real wilderness experience at a competitive price.

Geographics

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: 2 to 3 nights

Directions: Island Bush Camp is a three-hour drive south of Kafunta.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The food at Island Bush Camp was very tasty when we last visited in September 2015.

A breakfast of toast, cereals, fruit and porridge was served around the campfire. There was also coffee, tea and fruit juice available.

Lunch was laid out as a buffet to which guests helped themselves. We enjoyed pasta with meatballs in a rich tomato sauce and a fresh salad on the side. For pudding we were served a rich chocolate-and-orange mousse.

Dinner was probably the best of our three meals. The starter of corn chowder was very good and served with fresh bread. Then the main course of beef stir-fry was delicious, full of flavour and with very tender beef, served with rice, beans and carrots. The meal was rounded off with a smooth crème caramel.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included, apart from champagne and specially imported wines and spirits.

Special interests

Walking: Island Bush Camp is a simple, remote camp in the far south of South Luangwa National Park that focuses almost entirely on walking safaris lead by expert guides and an armed scout.

See more ideas for Walking in Zambia

Children

Attitude towards children: There is a minimum age of 12 years for walking safaris.

Property’s age restrictions: Minimum of 12 years.

Special activities & services: None.

Equipment: None.

Infrastructure

Power supply: None

Communications: None

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Transported in

Water supply notes: Island Bush Camp is sent borehole water from Kafunta, which is used for washing and also for drinking, although bottled water is available too.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a bush clinic with a nurse nearby, but the nearest doctor to Island Bush Camp is in Mfuwe. For emergencies there is an airstrip about 20kms away that is a 10-minute drive. There is a first aid kit at camp, and one is taken on all activities. The guides and manager are first aid trained.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are no security guards as such, but guests are still escorted to their rooms at night and there is a scout in camp at all times.

Fire safety: Island Bush Camp has fire extinguishers in the vehicles and sand buckets at the camp.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included. It is hand washed and line dried.

Money: There are lockable boxes in the chalets. Otherwise, guests may leave valuables in the safe at Kafunta.

Accepted payment on location: All payment is done at Kafunta.