Reviews of Kaingo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A fitting finale
This time we reversed the order in which we stayed at Kaingo and Mwamba, deliberately choosing to keep Kaingo till last. This was because of its superb location on the bank of the Luangwa - what better place to have your lunch than on your own private deck overlooking the river, watching elephant, giraffe and antelope on the other bank, while hippos, crocs and various birds kept us engaged the whole time closer by.
Game viewing throughout our stay was excellent, and we were lucky enough to have Andrew as our guide. His detailed knowledge of the lions we saw, and interpretation of their activities, added an extra dimension to our enjoyment. Besides the lions Andrew's skills also brought us multiple encounters with leopards, both by day and at night. With all the animals we saw, Andrew placed our vehicle in the best position for photography, whilst at the same time taking every care not to distract them.
Beautiful river location
We enjoyed Kaingo very much - especially the setting, the individual decks overlooking the river, and the smart decor of the houses. Our guide, Patrick, was very good and even found us an aardvark. We also had a brilliant guide (Andrew) walking us from Kaingo to Mwamba. The hides were also extremely good, especially the hippo hide.
By comparison with Tafika, however, Kaingo (and Mwamba) felt more regimented. Walking was given less of a priority (e.g. it wasn't possible to walk in the afternoons). They also didn't allow quite enough time for people to shower/change before dinner after coming in the from the game drive (20 minutes wasn't really enough for us, so we felt a bit rushed). Having had a full breakfast at the start of the day at Tafika, Chikoko and Croc, I found it difficult to adjust to having just a muffin before the morning activity. But these are very small quibbles.
Out of Africa experience at the elephant hide
When we saw the Kaingo elephant hide during the day we wondered about our night there. However we relaxed when after dinner we went to spend a night there.
It was a beautiful night just before full moon. The bed had been made up beautifully and the whole area was covered in a great big mosquito net. Old suitcases were used for storage and the whole effect was fantastic, The bottle of Amarula was a nice touch, together with coffe, tea and water. A wonderful night
Great game viewing at Kaingo
Our excellent game viewing started on the journey from the airport. It continued right through our trip and reached a pinnacle on the last evening when after watching lion, we then had two good leopard sightings before we peaked by seeing an aardvark. Guiding from Sly, Patrick and others was of a high standard. We liked the hippo, elephant and bee-eater hides
The room was great and we loved our private deck overlooking the river from which we watched birds,hippos and crocks. We had daily visits from bush buck and the monkeys loved our hammock. Food was of a high standard, but never ending in its supply, we seemed to move from one meal or snack to the next, all day long
Service was very friendly, professional and we got all the activities we asked for. A lot of keen photographers were in camp and if photography is your interest then this camp is for you.
What impressed us most was the help, support and concern shown when one of us became ill during the night at the elephant hide. You could not fault Maxwell's and other's response. Forunately next morning there was a full recovery
This was my second stay at Kaingo and was again fabulous. Everything was superb especially the guiding. It was nice that Derek Shenton was in camp and we all got know him. He has an excellent sense of humor.
The cottages were very comfortable. I enjoyed staying out one night in the elephant hide and listening to all the sounds of the bush. The food was excellent and we were served no less than seven times a day.
I saw a pride of young lions inexpertly kill a buffalo, they began eating it when it was still alive and struggling. The poor beast's face had been torn off. I then watched two male lions fight when a young male attempted to join the pride. The younger one ran off.
I also watched two hippos fight until the younger one retreated.
The night drives were as expected the best one can have in Africa. I saw leopards two night out of three nights I was here,as well as genets, civets, porcupines, owls and more.
Great Place to see Predators !!!
Kaingo Camp is located in a more remote area of South Luangwa National Park at the bank of the river.
The chalets are spacious and nice and each chalet has its own litte veranda overlooking the river and great to observing wildlife and having your own private lunch there! At this wonderful camp there was nothing we could claim about. The guides were excellent and the hosts and the whole staff very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent and more than enough!
There are 2 activities in the morning and evening (including the very remarkable night drives where we saw many nocturnal animals including leopards and also hunting lions) and (if you like to do so) another activity arround noon before lunch. Your guide and an armed ranger will bring you to a hide where you can observe f.e. hippos from a very short distance and also elephants crossing the river. But we enjoyed most the carmine bee-eater hide which was "opened" from Derek Shenton with us because the breading season of those colorful birds had just started.
Kaingo Camp (and its sistercamp Mwamba) is often visited by professional photographers and also when we stayed at Kaingo there were 2 teams there. Each team had ordered a private vehicle in advance - so we were lucky to have another game drive vehicle just only for us!
The area around Kaingo is well known for predators and so we saw many lions including a pride of 18 individuals. We saw lions hunting, killing, feeding and (as one of many highlights!) fighting with other lions - it was so amazing. We also saw leopards - mainly at night - and also many hyenas (max. 13 at one place). Beside those predators of course there were also elephants and other big and small game in this beautiful part of the park not to forget many hippos and many, many big crocodiles!
So - in conclusion: Kaingo Camp is a wonderful place to stay with lots of activities and a fantastic wildlife around. If we will come back to Zambia we definitely will visit this camp again (maybe then in combination with its bush- and sister-camp Mwamba which was already fully booked when we tried to get there for this safari - one year in advance!!!!)
This was my second visit to Kaingo, and I was worried that returning just a year after a wonderful trip I might be disappointed.
I needn't have worried: the camp itself was a friendly and comfortable as ever (and the food was excellent), and the game viewing in late August/early September was unforgettable, thanks to excellent guiding by Meyam (and his scout, Maxwell). I suspect my third day there will probably never be bettered...
Incredible luxury and sensational game drives
Moving to Kaingo for the second half of our trip was absolutely the right decision - going further into the park and away from the busier areas near the main gate - despite losing the flexibility provided by a camp on mains electricity. After dragging my 12-year old away from the swimming pool at Flatdogs I was delighted that he loved Kaingo even more. We appreciated the quieter drives, the stunning ebony grove and the incredible standard of food accommodation achieved in such a remote place.
The staff were very kind and really looked after us. I was conscious that my son was the only child guest at that time, but he was made to feel very grown up and welcome (actually incredibly spoiled). We were thrilled with our walking safari and the range of wildlife we saw. Our hope of a good sighting of a honey badger was rewarded!
As usual, the guides were excellent, with encyclopedic knowledge and an ability to gauge the varying interests of the guests.
Entering the luxurious category?
Would rather have filled in 'Trip as a Whole First. Overall, with 7 previous trips to Zambia and others to Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, and many to SA over past 30 years, this trip was sensational and stunningly good. Any critisisms are minor and almost immaterial. The comparions prescibed by the nature of this form are against the other camps visited here, and not against previous experiences. 'Good' means slightly less than faultless (excellent).
We pick Shenton camps for their position in the park, their concentration on walking, supurb guiding. Derek & Jules Shenton was not at camp during our time there, which would put extra administrative strain on the staff present, but Izzy & Evonne coped excellently. The food was much more stylish than 10-20yrs ago.
Izzy was a competent hard working and welcoming manager, but Evonne as well as being dedicated and efficient was engagingly personable.
The guiding led by Patrick who also has a remarkable personailty and understanding of our ways given his background,i s first class.
We immediately expressed our interest in walking, but could not be accommodated on first morning-- hence slight downgrade on activities. This was rectified at Mwamba.
Amazing African Experience
Kaingo was amazing. On our drive from the airport we saw so much (including a leopard eating an impala in a tree, with a hyena sitting below waiting for scraps!). Our guide, Yorum, who was our guide for our time at Kaingo and Mwamba was excellent. As well as helping us to spot animals he told us so much, and helped us to track animals by recognising their footprints and dung! The safari drives were brilliant. Yorum listened to what we wanted to see, and tried his hardest to find it.
The food is fantastic - lots of it and an excellent quality. Izzy and Yvonne made us very welcome, and we really enjoyed everything about the camp. Although there was the need to mix over dinner and breakfast, having lunch on our decks was a welcome break - and a time to just be the four of us.