Reviews of Kaingo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Very short stay. Very mixed guest.
We had an excellent guide, young British guy, Ian (born in Malawi) who was doing what he loved, and he was very good at it. He could actually pass on his love of the environment birds-animals-trees etc to us. And we had a "peeping Tom" experience with a lion couple mating.
Food was of good quality but a bit international/british.
Breakfast before the morning drive/walk was very light, tea only. Not much to walk on. Brunch when we came back. The walk was "a transport" of one guest to the bush camp. We were told 6 km in 2,5 h. No time to stop - look - listen etc. We brought it up with the guide and asked him to slow, which he eventually did.
Hides were of course super.
Kaingo Camp review
Kaingo is fantastic.
It feels wild and remote , and we saw an amazing amount of wildlife, including some ferocious hippo fights. Being able to watch hippos from the hide was incredible - though be prepared to duck if they are spraying! The night drives were spectacular, with our guides spotting a camouflaged and motionless leopard , and somehow seeing even the smallest things like elephant shrews. The walking safari was great (and followed by a surprise which I won't spoil!).
Three activities each day means you are busier than in other camps, with a bit less siesta time, but having lunch privately on your own verandah makes up for it!
Kaingo Camp review
A bit of luxury in the midst of the South Luangua Park. The cabins were well appointed, and lunch was served on our patio that are built over the river bank. This camp had the largest number of cabins, but the service was personalized. We were treated to a private and romantic dinner one night on our patio served graciously by the staff.
The afternoon activity could be spent at one of the hides - either the hippo hide or the elephant hide. On one of the drives we stopped at a hide at a lagoon and was treated to a small herd of zebras passing by.
The guides were very knowledgeable about the animals and the flora in the park that made the jeep rides most interesting. The guides worked together to report animal sitings and we were fortunate to see a leopard with cubs on one of the night drives.
Kaingo Camp review
The location is great, overlooking the river with lots of hippos, crocs and elephants. Having lunch privately on the chalet deck at the river was great. It was our 25th anniversary and they prepared the most wonderful candle-lit dinner on the deck by the river as a surprise. It was terrific!
The chalets were nice but, once the mosquito nets were down, there was really nowhere to sit. The outside bathtub was fun to use. The meals were good to excellent. Game viewing was a bit disappointing as we really like to see cats and are used to Sabi Sand, where there seem to be more reliable and better cat sightings. But game viewing was still good. Hippo hide is highly recommended as is the elephant crossing viewing platform. We enjoyed walking from Kaingo to Mwamba.
They washed female undies without comment but we later discovered that we should probably not have put them in the laundry as all the other camps we visited would not wash female undies. Expert Africa's information sheets should have stated that female undies would not be washed in Zambia and this information does also not seem to be in the Brandt book that we were given. This is in contrast to a trip we did to Namibia where the tour provider was very clear that no undies would be washed. A small point, but my wife would have packed more undies had she been better informed.
We were met by Patrick at the airport and had our first game drive on the way to camp. This wasn't what we expected but got the sun cream on, the camera out and enjoyed!
On arrival at camp we were welcomed and shown to our room where lunch was served on our deck. With hippos and crocodiles in the river there was plenty to enjoy. The drums called us for afternoon tea and we then headed out on our evening game drive. Ian was our guide for most of our stay at Kaingo and Mwamba. We found all the guides to be knowledgeable, patient and very helpful. This first day set the pace for the rest of our stay.
Breakfasts and dinners were a communal affair as is usual in camps. Food throughout our stay was delicious, plentiful and beautifully served.
Rooms were comfortable and spotlessly clean. Staff were efficient but very friendly.
We loved being wakened and called to meals by the drums. A real African experience.
We chose Kaingo and Mwamba because of the opportunity to use the photographic hides. These were very well situated allowing a close-up view of hippos and birds and were an ideal mid-day activity.
The camp has a great location on the river bank where we liked to sit and watch the wildlife.
The overall experience was superb. Two nights weren't enough!
Kaingo - perefect safari camp
Kaingo turned out to be everything we had hoped for and more. The camp has, in our opinion, found the perfect balance between remoteness, comfort, setting and serious game viewing, without resorting to the excessive luxury that seems to be the recent vogue in many camps.
The chalets are simple and comfortable and the combination of your own private deck and the more extensive main deck offer stunning views over the river, with hippos, crocs, other game, wonderful birds and to our excitement a leopard on the opposite bank during one short afternoon 'siesta'. The guiding of Ian, Patrick and Kennedy was exceptional and the game viewing terrific. We also particularly liked the fact that the animals came first and were never put under pressure even though the guides very ably positioned the vehicle to catch the light.
The central area is very attractive, the food extremely good and the light lunch on your own deck a very nice touch. The atmosphere in the camp was very relaxed and great fun thanks to Derek, Issy, Lisa, the guides and all the staff, who work tirelessly to optimise your experience. Access to the hippo and elephant hides as part of a midday activity was such a bonus and offered wonderful views and photographic opportunities. In addition, the willingness to take us at any time of day to get the best view of an interesting sighting such as elephants crossing the Luangwa was very much appreciated and added to the air of excitement in the camp.
We would recommend Kaingo v highly and hope very much to return.
Kaingo Camp review
We appreciated to enjoy for KAINGO drives & walks the same very motivated guide as in Mwamba ( Kennedy )
In KAINGO the planning of activties is very accurate.
It gave a busier feeling after Mwamba, but nevertheless very pleasant lodge.
( Sounds quite logic : we were the only guests in Mwamba, and Kaingo was fully booked ! )
Kaingo-a real bush safari experience
We arrived to find a South African-organized photographic "workshop" (6 people) in progress-not ideal from our point of view as the only "outsiders" there. However,our hosts at Kaingo had already recognized the potential discomfiture and problems which might arise and thoughtfully gave us our own vehicle and guide throughout (Kennedy), as well as staggering the set-out times for the morning and evening safaris.
Kaingo is in a beautifully remote location in the game-rich northern section of South Luangwa ,and it was really special to have such a vast area to traverse, virtually all to ourselves. Accomodation in your own bungalow with river frontage and deck was as good as we imagined, although it would have been nice to have a ceiling fan if that were possible with the solar power system.
The variety and quality of the food which we were given was first class and we do hope that Lisa can be persuaded to stay to serve up such delightful fayre to future guests. On the evening of the 29th May - our 46th wedding anniversary - we were treated to a surprise private champagne dinner on our riverside deck-a really memorable occasion!
Wildlife viewing, including some of the more unusual creatures, was quite exceptional - even the elephant which appeared immediately outside the window of our bungalow while my wife was having a shower! !zzie and Ian organized things very efficiently for us, Patrick has much accumulated bush wisdom, and Kennedy is a knowledgable guide as well as being a very personable young man. Grateful thanks to them all!!
Total tranquillity at Kaingo
We transferred from Mwamba to Kaingo on foot, which turned out to be a wonderful experience - being so totally immersed in the vastness, quietness and wildness of this beautiful area was totally unique for us and we will always remember leaving Mwambe as the sun was rising, sharing three hours in the magical early morning light with our guide Meyem and scout Charles. Meyem provided such detailed and interesting information as we walked through different areas, ending up in a lush valley full of impala and a couple of nosey buffalo, before walking into Kaingo camp to be greeted by the whole team. We would recommend the walking transfer to anyone - it's the way to go!
Kaingo was just as wonderful as Mwamba, although so different. The setting overlooking the Luangwa river was perfect and the determination of the staff to maintain the privacy of the guests to enjoy the environment was very much appreciated. During our three nights in Kaingo, hippo and leopard were seen in the camp by the staff, and it was impressed upon us not to wander out of our chalet at night and to be alert at all times - welcome advice after our experience at Mwamba. Richard was in heaven with several pods of hippos visible (and audible!) from our deck, and the hippos hide was a real highlight of our trip.
The number of activities daily was really good, and it was always possible to do just exactly what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it (although we did have to dash off in the middle of breakfast to watch the elephants crossing the river as clearly they were not going to wait for us). The staff were the friendliest people we have ever met and we truly felt as though we were part of a Kaingo family. Sadly we did not get to meet Jules and the children, but really enjoyed our chats with Derek and congratulate him on running such excellent and unique camps.
We really appreciated the slight changes to the pattern of the day - a surprise sundowner "party" on the banks of the river during one of the game drives, and bush brunch in the ebony forest will always be remembered. The food generally was unbelievably good - the kitchen staff are rightly very proud of their facilities and the food they produce, and it's good to know most of it arrives fresh from their own vegetable garden near Mfuwe on a regular basis. We could have gladly coped with one meal less a day, but it would be hard to know which one - lunch on the private decks was such a great idea. Lisa is to be congratulated on running the catering and administration side of the camp so efficiently and professionally
We have to give a BIG mention to the guides, Meyem, Kennedy and Ian who live and breathe the Luangwa and took us on such incredible journeys, often taking off into the bush to track down a leopard or lion, but always with the interests of the animals uppermost in their minds. Never could we have dreamed we would see so many different animals and birds in a few short days - culminating in the excitement of the hippo being eaten by a pack of lions and scores of crocodiles and vultures on the river bank (a gold star to Meyem for his driving bravado on this one, getting us to the perfect viewing spot with more than a little difficulty!).
Overall - the perfect safari and one we would love to think we might enjoy again at some time in the future. We drove up from Mfuwe with a couple who return regularly, and we can see why. However, our one complaint is the nature of the transport to and from Mfuwe. Whilst this forms part of an arrival and departure game drive, which is most enjoyable (especially on arrival), we did feel very vulnerable in this vehicle on the road from the park gate to the airport. This is not at all a reflection of our drivers, who were both excellent. However being so high and open, with no restraints, we felt that had the driver needed to brake or swerve, we would have been thrown from the vehicle, which did not encourage us to relax. We did notice other camps using more enclosed jeeps for this journey, and this would have been our preference.
Kaingo Camp review
This was excellent, just what we had hoped for. The camp struck a perfect balance of feeling close to nature and providing creature comforts.
The staff were uniformly good at their jobs, charming, helpful but not intrusive. The guiding and activities were excellent - as there was always a guard as well as the guide driving, there were 2 pairs of expert eyes spotting. Excellent viewing of mammals large and small, and birds. Wonderful photo opportunities.
Very professionally run. Full marks.