Reviews of Kaingo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
It was my fourth visit to Kaingo in as many years. I was a little wary, given the abrupt staff changes last year, but am happy to report that things were running very smoothly.
Kaingo is a wonderful place, with a stunning location, and I am very pleased to report that the food, which was very disappointing last year, was excellent once again. I thought brunch (rather than both breakfast and lunch in previous years) worked really well, with a lovely selection of breakfast-y things as well as delicious, fresh salads and quiches.
As ever, the game viewing was spectacular. Sylvester was an excellent guide throughout our stay, informative and friendly.
Kaingo Camp feedback
We had a wonderful time at Kaingo. Our guide (Patrick) was delightful, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Nothing was too much trouble and the staff in general were always charming and friendly. The chef went to all sorts of trouble to provide me with gluten free alternatives to bread, cakes and biscuits (I really couldn't eat it all - but it was delicious).
The game on view was stunning - we saw everything that we had hoped to see, plus a lot of other fascinating and wonderful things.
Kaingo, along with Mwamba Bushcamp, my next destination, was the highlight of my trip. Kaingo is an extremely well-run camp spectacularly located on the bank of the Luangwa. The staff are professional and personable, always anticipating their guests' needs. Of all of the camps I stayed at on this trip, these two had the overall best levels of service.
The level of guiding was spectacular. I was lucky enough to have Patrick as my guide for six days; he has so much knowledge of the South Luangwa bush, along with incredible people skills, that he should be declared a national treasure.
Kaingo is in a prime game area and sightings are spectacular, even at the beginning of the season, when water is available throughout the park and game isn't forced to congregate around the river or few remaining lagoons and water holes.
At first I was a bit let down by the cottage, which looked somewhat drab from the outside -- like it had been lifted out of a South African national park rest camp. However, one soon gets over this -- the cottages are enclosed by reed fences for privacy and there is plenty of open space in front, the interiors are delightful, and -- best of all -- each cottage has a magical, open air sala on the bank directly over the river! These salas serve as a wonderful spot to sit back and relax between game drives, read or just watch the crocodiles and hippos in the river, or elephants downstream, or the amazing bird life, or whatever wildlife appears on the opposite bank.
The catering was of a very high quality; brunches were served buffet style and were uniformly outstanding, while dinners were plated, 3-course affairs and a bit less exceptional than the brunches, but altogether very good.
Of the six camps I stayed at on this trip, Kaingo would be my first choice for a return visit....
Kaingo Camp review
Beautifully located camp overlooking Luangwa River. Very friendly staff and excellent guides.
Food OK, but "Executive Chef" giving us the menu each evening is a bit pretentious and un-necessary.
Kaingo Camp review
We enjoyed our time at Kaingo but we felt it suffered from poor management. The rooms were clean and comfortable and the game viewing was excellent but it was let down by poor attention to detail, though it improved noticeably when Derek Shenton was in camp.
The standard of the laundry was poor, it took us 2 days to get a new bar of soap in our room, and it was only when Derek arrived that he sat down with us and discussed the options for activities and made suggestions. Prior to that we had been given no real information as to what was on offer (or indeed that we had a bath!).
The food was disappointing. It was made worse by the pretentious announcement of what would be served at dinner. When we met for tea, invariably people said "Wasn't lunch awful?". The fruit salad was usually a mush and the coffee was always poor. We loved the porridge.
The guides were very good and very friendly, though we feel 6 per vehicle can be too many. We didn't make use of the midday activities as we did not feel they were suited to the heat of October and preferred to watch animals from our verandah. By African standards, the camp was pretty good. However, Tafika outperformed it in every way and is, I understand, a little bit cheaper
Kaingo Camp review
Generally this camp is pretty good and we certainly enjoyed our stay there and the guiding some of the best we have experienced.
However, at the time we visit Kiango they seemed to be going through a bad phase. The food was disappointing and uninspirational and the service a little wanting, although the staff were always happy, obliging and polite.
Hopefully, they will be back on track for next season.
Expert Africa comments
We have spoken to Kaingo regarding their food and service issues, which a few travellers have commented on over these last few months. Due to some unexpected staff changes, they had additional pressures and sadly this pressure effected the guest experience at the camp. They assure us that they are proactively sorting them out as a matter of high priority and we have no doubt that by next season they will be back on track.
The highlight of our trip. The location was excellent - right on the river bank, so there was always something going on to watch while you rested or had lunch on your private, shaded deck. The rooms were spacious and well appointed, with a large bathroom. As it was October, a ceiling fan would have been nice, but probably uses too much electricity which is solar generated.
Informal and friendly camp with good food. Each guest is provided with their own s/s water bottle which is filled before each game drive.
Our guide, Andrew, was one of the best safari guides we've had - very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and keen to share all this knowledge with us - we learnt so much from him. The area is justifiably known for its leopard population - we saw so many, including one with her young cub.
The other big plus were the hides - one for hippos at eye level, and one for the carmine bee-eaters nesting colony. Both excellent locations - could have spent much more time in each if we'd had more days.
Great guides and wildlife experience
Andrew was extremely knowledgeable and a great ambassador for Zambian wildlife. He was very enthusiastic and worked hard to give us a very enjoyable and rewarding visit.
A short but exciting stay at Kaingo Camp
We really enjoyed our short stay at Kaingo Camp. The locations is great and general atmosphere around the camp is excellent.
The only slight downside was the hut which was hot and did not catch much breeze, however the verandah overlooking the river was great. Our night int he elephant hide was well worth it, no elephants but lots of noises in the night!
We also enjoyed the hippo and carmine hides.
A wonderful time at Kaingo Camp
This Zambia safari was surely our best ever. We spent 8 nights at Kaingo, indulging in game drives (we ought to have done some walking but we have walked before and, as keen photographers, see more from a vehicle). We were never more than 2 per seat with a grand all-round view. Yoram and also Derek himself and Patrick found and positioned us for some great game viewing, ably assisted by Raban or Philimon as spotters. By staying more nights than is possibly usual, we covered so much ground and habitat and we built on our own bit of knowledge.
We visited the Mwamba and Hippo hides, plus of course the Carmine Bee-eater hide which is a fantastic way to spend time watching these colourful birds squabbling over nesting holes, poking their heads out like 'gossips' along a street, flipping sand out backwards and spraying all below.
We could not eat all that was provided, ONLY because it was so generous, but also delicious. Sky, the chef, and his team did us proud - not least a wonderful surprise bush birthday party beside the Luangwa river for one of us, with all the camp guests and staff present. Robyn so kindly made a birthday card.
Lisa (who also has her own business) had taken over temporary running of the Camp admin at short notice and was a star! She was full of good humour, from serving coffee before dawn until we all retired at night. In fact everyone was so friendly, helpful, full of smiles and jokes and couldn't do enough for us.
Early mornings on an open, moving vehicle were a bit chilly at first but, not a problem as blankets were provided and also simple but effective cloth covers to protect cameras from dust.
Not surprisingly, elephants and hippo would wander through camp, eating as they went; timid bushbucks would graze behind the cottages; colourful birds would gather on bushes or on stranded tree stumps to catch fish or insects. We would have loved to have stayed even longer.