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Kuyenda Bushcamp
Kuyenda Bushcamp
Kuyenda Bushcamp

Kuyenda Bushcamp: Our full report

Kuyenda is one of the more rustic and traditional safari bushcamps in South Luangwa National Park.

It's situated in the south of the park under a grove of evergreen Natal mahogany trees, next to the Manzi River – which during the dry season is usually just a sandy riverbed. The emphasis tends to be on walking safaris in an area that is good for game viewing, whilst also being in a quieter part of the park.

Kuyenda ideally takes up to six guests at a time, although occasionally there might be up to eight. There is usually only one guide here so activities re normally done as a single group, although extra guides can come in if groups can’t unanimously decide on an activity. These activities can include day and or night drive, and there’s plenty of wildlife to make these productive, but the main focus here is on walking safaris. We think that Kuyenda Bushcamp is situated in one of the best areas of South Luangwa for walking. There are a variety of areas to explore including open plains with quicksand bogs, palm islands, the banks of the Luangwa River and natural salt springs. There is usually plenty of wildlife to see, too: walking here really can be a big-game safari.

So the usual format is a morning walk, followed by an afternoon walk and a night drive – although exactly what happens when will depend on the other visitors as well as yourself. A night drive on a previous visit was particularly memorable, with three excellent sightings of porcupines, a lovely scops owlet and a curious white-tailed mongoose.

Kuyenda Bushcamp has four reed-and-thatch chalets. Three have twin beds and views of the Manzi riverbed from their large, mesh-covered windows. The fourth, set a little away from the rest, has a king-size bed, from which you can see an open plain favoured by herds of impala and puku, and occasionally visited by buffalo and elephant. Each chalet is simply furnished, with mosquito nets suspended above the beds, a hanging rail for clothes, a couple of chairs, and a large wooden trunk. A pair of canvas chairs stand outside. At night the rooms are lit with small portable solar lights, although these are not quite bright enough for reading.

At the back of each chalet, through a reed and mesh door, is an open-air bathroom with a sandy floor. Here you'll find a flushing toilet, twin handbasins and a drum shower, which is filled on request.

Kuyenda's thatched main area is deliberately simple, which adds to the rustic charm of the camp. It houses the bar, a sitting area with a comfortable white sofa, a small library of reference books and a dining table. A portable washstand and canvas basin to wash away the dust from the day is located nearby, and a campfire overlooks the plain beyond.


Our view

We are fortunate to spend a lot of time in the bush and Kuyenda remains a firm favourite of our team. The chalets are rustic – no mod-cons here – but they are quite comfortable and spacious. However, don't come to Kuyenda for the rooms – come for the walks, as the environment around here offers tremendous variety; the game, which is usually prolific and very relaxed; the hospitality, which is warm and feels more like staying with a family than at a hotel; and above all for the guiding, which is top-notch.

Maruska AdyeRowe

Maruska AdyeRowe

Zambia expert

Geographics

Location
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Ideal length of stay
Three nights is the ideal length of say at Kuyenda. This bushcamp combines well with any of its sister camps, Chindeni Camp, Chamilandu Camp, Bilimungwe Camp or Kapamba Camp. We also often combine it with Tafika: another small camp with top-notch guiding, which is in a contrasting area of the Luangwa Valley, much further north.
Directions
After an hour's flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe Airport, it is about 45 minutes’ drive to Mfuwe Lodge followed by a two-hour game drive through South Luangwa National Park to Kuyenda Bushcamp.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
The standard of food at Kuyenda Bushcamp is very good. Expect meals such as you might find at a good pub restaurant or country hotel where everything is fresh and home cooked under Babette’s watchful eye.

Breakfast is usually served as a buffet before the morning activity. A variety of cereals is on offer along with porridge, toast and fruit.

Lunch is also a buffet, incorporating a variety of salads, a meat dish (and a vegetarian option if requested) and a pie or quiche followed by fresh fruit. We missed lunch on our most recent visit in June 2015, but on a previous stay we enjoyed home-made fish fingers, sausages, bean salad, avocado and tomato salad, a large green salad and babooti, the South African version of a cottage pie. For dessert we had papaya and melon slices.

Dinner is usually three courses and is served either in the main area or out on the plain, under the stars, as on our last visit. We started with a spinach and feta filo parcel, followed by a particularly tender mustard-crusted pork fillet served with a light potato soufflé and vegetables. The pear and custard baked pudding was particularly delicious – at our request,
Dining style
Group Meals
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
No
Drinks included
Most drinks are included, apart from champagne and premium imported wines and spirits.

Special interests

Walking safaris
Kuyenda Bushcamp is surrounded by one of the best walking areas in the South Luangwa National Park. The environments are varied and the wildlife plentiful. Walking with the renowned Phil Berry in his own backyard is a particular highlight of walking Zambia.
See ideas for Walking safaris

Children

Attitude towards children
Children over the age of 12 years are allowed at Kuyenda.
Property’s age restrictions
For safety reasons it's not possible for children under 12 years old to walk in the national park. Children aged 12–16 years may be able to join walks, but this is only at the manager's discretion.
Special activities & services
None
Equipment
None
Generally recommended for children
We don't recommend Kuyenda Bushcamp for children. It’s a camp that is best suited to adults, particularly because of the emphasis on walking safaris.
Notes
Kuyenda bush camp is unfenced, and big game wanders through regularly. On one of our visits, there were hyena, elephant and buffalo in and around the camp during the night. Children must be closely supervised at all times by their parents.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Kuyenda Bushcamp

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Kuyenda Bushcamp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.

Buffalo

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Leopard

100% success

Lion

100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Wild dog

67% success

Aardvark

0% success

Eland

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Roan antelope

0% success

Sable antelope

0% success

Wildebeest

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
There is a small charging station in the main area, although power may be limited if there have been a few cloudy days.
Communications
Kuyenda Bushcamp is able to contact its sister camps and the office at Mfuwe Lodge via radio. There is no cellphone reception or Wifi at the camp.
TV & radio
None
Water supply
Transported in
Water supply notes
Hot water for the en-suite shower comes from a drum, which is filled on request. Each room has a flushing toilet.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The managers at Kuyenda are first-aid trained. The various safari operations in South Luangwa National Park sponsor a doctor who is based in the valley, and available in case of a medical emergency.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Guests are escorted between the main area and their chalets at night.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in the camp's kitchen and outside each chalet. Hoses are available elsewhere in the camp in case of fire.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Night drive

    Night drive

Extras

Disabled access
Not Possible
Laundry facilities
A laundry service is provided, except for underwear. Washing powder is available in all the chalets for guests who wish to hand wash any smalls or delicate items. Laundry is hand washed, dried in the sun and pressed with a charcoal iron. It will usually be returned the same day, but this depends on the weather.
Money
There are no exchange facilities and there are no safes in the rooms. However, valuables can be given to the managers for safekeeping.
Accepted payment on location
No currency or payment is accepted in camp and it is unlikely to be necessary, as almost everything is included in the cost. If there is a bill to settle then it is easiest to use US dollars or Zambian kwacha (cash) at Kuyenda's parent lodge, Mfuwe Lodge.

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