Reviews of Kaingo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Photographers delight at Kaingo Camp
One of us had previously visited South Luangwa Park during the green season staying at Mfuwe Lodge. This time we wanted to go deeper into the park and chose Kaingo Camp for two reasons.
One of us was an avid amateur photographer and we both hoped to have extended encounters with leopards, the only one of the "big 5" that neither of us had seen at length in the wild. Most past reviews had indicated that wildlife viewing was excellent in the area of this camp area and in particular leopards sightings were very common. In fact the camp boasts a 95% sighting success rating. In addition Kaingo Camp had an excellent reputation of catering to photographers of all levels to include the use of a number of superb photo blinds. Within an hour of our first drive we could be included in the 95% of people who saw leopard with an extended sighting of a mother and cub in the late afternoon. We had two additional extended encounters at night over the next three nights of our stay.
Combined with those superb photo blinds our experience was excellent. Our guide Patrick always was accommodating to our needs and as we were the only people in the vehicle he helped us to mold the experience to fit our interest with extended visits in the hides, a great walking safari and of course the previously noted leopard sightings.
Added to that was the friendly family feel of the camp as a whole. Kaingo operates inside the park in a beautiful location along the Luangwa River. Power at night was provided by solar power and kerosene lanterns giving the camp at pleasant unpretentious rustic feel. With no generator to interfere with the night sounds you felt you were in a private remote location deep in the bush. But all amenities were still provided for with excellent meals and comfortable lodging including a lovely outdoor bathtub overlooking the river outside our chalet.
Traveling in October we were advised it would be hot. The vehicles were open top (there was an option for a top but we preferred not to have the top to improve game viewing and photography) so one must use protection from the sun. While it was hot and dusty on the trail and the landscape rather barren it was never unpleasant and it made the game viewing that much better as the animals congregated near the water holes. It was still warm at night but we had no trouble sleeping because the active schedule made you ready for a good nights sleep! (I recommend a silk sleep sack which was all the cover I needed at night. I wonder if a solar powered ceiling fan is possible? It would be a nice addition to help with the heat).
In fact another plus at Kaingo was the willingness to conduct 3 activities a day rather than the usual two. You don't have to do three but this was perfect for us as we have never been big fans of the prolonged mid day down times at other safari camps we have stayed in. Instead we spent mid day in the "elephant hide", built up in the trees, each day and had one particularly exciting day when a herd of elephants walked directly beneath us in the hide on their way to the river. Even when it was relatively quiet the elephant hide and the new river deck are great locations to spend time during the day between the morning and evening safaris.
If we were to have one small quibble it would be with the solar panels which were scattered about camp collecting power during the day. They didn't cause us any problem but they did detract a bit from the overall appearance of the camp which was otherwise very pleasant.
Kaingo Camp review
Kaingo is a fantastic camp in an amazing location. Derek and Jules Shenton are very involved with the running of the camp and it really shows. Tom and Ali kept us very well looked after. The guides, Patrick and Freya, were brilliant and we saw an amazing amount of game including several leopards.
The hippo and carmine bee eater hides are a great way to see them up close.
This is a camp for people who really like being on safari rather than lots of luxurious frills.
Kaingo Camp review
Very nice camp with extraordinary location overlooking the Luangwa river.
A lot of great activities that make you explore very well the area and see a lot of game. I'd like to thank everybody for the warm welcome and company.
The food was absolutely delicious and indeed too much!
Fabulous camp overlooking the Luanga river and close to some beautiful ebony forest groves. The camp staff couldn't have been more accommodating - Tom did an outstanding job keeping everything ticking over, while Alison seemed omniprescent and was always attentive. Freya was an absolutely superlative guide, more than ably assisted by James, Meyem and Nashion, finding anything and everything, even taking a small group out after dinner one day to revisit an earlier buffalo kill
The hides (one of the key reasons we chose the camp) are a short drive away from the camp, and a visit makes up the "third" (midday) activity. This makes for a long day, with little opportunity for a midday siesta (we're not complaining!). The hippo hide and the elephant crossing hide in particular were superb, and we could have happily stayed in each all day. Nice "small" touches - bean bags and dust covers for the cameras (the Shenton camps were the only ones to provide these).
Being a photographer herself, Freya was very conscious of good positioning of the vehicle, optimising use of the available light. As our main interest was in photography, this helped enormously in ensuring great drives. Meals were excellent, although we felt sorry for the camp staff on several occassions when only a couple of us turned up for lunch. Derek and Jules were very welcoming, and we were delighted to have been in camp while Marianne Shenton was there - what a lady!
Highlights - the buffalo kill, the tree climbing lions, the leopard sightings, the hippo and elephant hides, the relaxed hyena, the buffalo "stampede", watching the tiny elephants trying to use their trunks, the porcupines and gennets, and the walk to Mwamba - this is a "must do". If there was a grade above "Excellent" Kaingo would receive it!
Kaingo - Loved The Hides
Again Really enjoyed our time at Kaingo. Compared to many other trips this camp would have compared excellently. Unfortunately in comparison to Kapamba and Tafica it was up against incredibly good competion!
Probably the most beatiful part of the Lower Luanga, but also the busiest area that we went to - 2/3 vehicles from Kaingo, plus Norman Carr Safaris (and others?).
Very disappointed with the antics of one of the Norman Carr vehicles which charged in whilst two of Shenton's vehicles were quietly watching a Leopard Hunting. It was made quite clear - lights off or with infrared when on, and warning indicators - that something was happening and the need to approach with care. In stead they charged in and the Leopard lost its prey having been just about to strike.
Excellent guiding from Patrick and Freya.
Kaingo Camp review
Guiding is excellent and front of house staff very helpful. Choice of activities excellent. Can be tiring trying to do everything on offer - but just say no to one of the three activities on offer!
Both this camp and their bush camp are well suited to keen photographers - sturdy bean bags are provided in every vehicle as well as dust covers for cameras. Guildes are experienced in positiong vehicles for the best views. Vehicles are not overloaded with guests and so it is easy to take photographic equipement with you on the drives. Well worth staying in both camps.
Hides at Kaingo Camp
A very friendly and relaxed atmosphere to the start of our holiday. The hides were fantastic getting close to the hippos made it possible both to film and photograph them at close quarters but to also observe them in a safe position.
The Carmine Bee Eaters were brilliant in colour, sound and activity, and not an experience that will be forgotten easily. Thank you to Derek and Jules and all the staff for the food, the service and the administration.
The game drives and guides were exceptional, each day provided more and more spectacular events ending with four lions confronting a hippo over the use of a tiny pool, (why lions would want to drink hippos bath water we've no idea).
the hippo and bee eater hides were brilliant. the camp was simple but comfortable. the biggest drawback of our time there was that in 3 days we had 4 different guides. they did work hard to get us our leopard and we finally got a brief view in the twilight on our last drive.
we appreciated the bush brunch- a nice surprise. overall we didn't feel entirely happy at laingo and that was probably due to the disruption of having so many different guides
Great for Hippo,Carmines,Lion and Eles
Kaingo had some fabulous facilities, both the Hippo hide and the Carmine Bee Eater hIde experience were very special. We also had great Lion and Elephant views/photo opportunities. Food was delightful and the accomodation and service fine.
Experience was spoiled somewhat by having to go on a game drive with Alison (the camp manager) one night instead of Derek Shelton (he had a cold) and not having one guide for our stay at the camp, we had 3 separate guides for the other drives.
We did eventually see a Leopard on the last drive, light not good enough for photos.
Kaingo Camp review
All aspects of the camp were first rate. Lovely relaxed atmosphere, very professionally run.
Tom as camp manager particularly good.
Guides and scouts all excellent.