Reviews of Lion Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lion Camp review
Despite a certain apprehension as to what to expect as Lion Camp is portrayed as a large “camp” somewhat removed from the more traditional safari camps, we were not disappointed at all. OK, we know that the accommodation is to be completely rebuilt during the next season, and it was, to be fair, in need of it, but the cabins were spacious and clean and very welcoming. Communal meals with good food. Good library.
Game drives were in vehicles with three rows of seats and on 2 of our 3 days there were six of us game viewing. This wouldn’t have been a problem if 2 of the passengers had followed protocol by not talking constantly. There was definitely a bias towards seeking lions and we had some excellent viewings, including part of the Hollywood pride trapping a leopard up a tree. We later watched it make a sneaky escape when the lions were dozing! Possibly the same leopard at the top of a tree waiting to catch guinea fowl as they came in to roost, while we enjoyed sundowners (she was successful on two separate occasions).
What a view!
The main feature at Lion Camp is the incredible view across the plains. It is ever changing as different animals visit the area and the view from our chalet veranda was priceless.
Simon our guide was incredible. He was so knowledgeable about every aspect of the Park and showed great patience with all our questions. We were lucky to have amazing sightings of lions and leopards, including watching a leopard eat an impala in a tree, whilst being circled below by hyenas. The amount of game we saw far exceeded our expectations.
The staff were all helpful, friendly and polite and the meals were superb. We would thoroughly recommend having dinner on your own veranda - it is a unique experience.
Our only negative comment would be that the management did not seem to want to spend time with the guests. Loraine was helpful but we did not meet any other member of the management team and only found out that Emma was not a guest when she wore a badge on our last day. She did not speak to us at all.
Expert Africa comments
Emma, from Lion Camp, responded to these comments. She wrote:
"Thank you for taking the time to complete the feedback, we value it as it helps us to improve.
Getting the balance right between ensuring the lodge runs smoothly and spending time with guests is not always easy, especially during peak season. I apologise for not introducing myself as the GM, but I do remember having a conversation with you. I am delighted that you rated your stay as excellent. I also want to mention that as a company we are committed to mentoring and promoting our Zambian employees, and I'm sorry that it wasn't clear that Oscar is part of our management team."
They don't call it Lion Camp for nothing!
We loved Lion Camp.
Again, it is a camp in a lovely position overlooking a small river/stream with lots of animals coming down to drink there . We also saw the Hollywood pride a little further off under a tree and generally mooching around. One female had cubs hidden away somewhere and we saw her walking between them and the rest of the pride early mornings.
There was a film crew there at the time and also a couple of fairly serious photography groups- so it's obviously a place that they know they can reliably see lions and leopards -which are sadly becoming harder to see everywhere.
The vehicles they use weren't my favourite as they have three bench seats which are a bit hard especially when going over rough terrain. The front row was OK but the other rows have a spare wheel on the floor which gets in the way a bit . No roof
Wake up call 5:30 , coffee, gloopy porridge, toast available, then leave 6am
Back by 10
Brunch at 11:15
Tea at 3:30
Out at 4
Stop for sundowners at 6
Night drive from 6:30 to 7:30
I like the early starts , but it might have been nice to have a packed breakfast during the game drive instead,as I wasn't that keen on the breakfast provided in camp. Generally just had coffee. Food at lunch and dinner was great however.
The camp itself was lovely , but they are having quite a revamp next year and they are hoping to build another property too ( not sure exactly where - they did tell me and I'm afraid I've forgotten)
The rooms are nice but they are all wood and very dark inside. Of course this might change.
I couldn't resist making suggestions for the refurbishment to Emma , the manager. ( I don't think she minded :) )
In my opinion they should open up the front of the rooms completely ( a la Mchenja) to bring in light and also give more room in the bathroom area as we found sharing one small washbasin and mirror was a tight squeeze when you're in a hurry to get out for your early game drive.
The raised walkways are useful as you don't need any escort between buildings.
We had great game viewings - and the guides were very knowledgeable.
Our guide was really excellent - I think his name was Simon ? Apologies if incorrect - I should have written this review sooner or made notes. Anyway, he had just moved from Mchenja and John ( our previous guide at Mchenja) had got his old job ! Small world.
We also had an elephant visit us in camp . He walked through some short trees and shrubs to eat something he liked and knocked over the poles around the parking area. Apparently, they used to nail them in place, but he knocks them off so frequently that they now just have them laid in place on cradles.It was very exciting to come face to face , eye to eye, -( thanks to raised walkways)
with an elephant. Believe me , they look quite different than when you're in a vehicle.
I think the manager Emma ( ably assisted by Lorraine) run a lovely camp.
It was a bit bigger than our first two camps and we did feel a bit awkward on our first evening when everyone else seemed to be laughing and having a great time at the bar and we knew nobody. But by the next night - it was us laughing and having a great time at the bar with everyone. it just takes a bit longer to get to know a larger group of oeople.
We got to speak to Emma later on, but it might have been nice to have either her or Lorraine to welcome newcomers and help break the ice a bit. We were met by Oscar on arrival and I wasn't sure if he was the manager or our guide or what.
Anyway, by the time we were leaving we felt like old friends and had tears in our eyes as we waved goodbye.
The lodge is really charming and has a nice shop, a library area that is a quiet zone to sit and read or borrow a book.
There was always somebody around to provide cool drinks throughout the day - and a great pool to cool off in while watching the animals by the river.
All in all, we can't wait to return to Lion Camp.!
Awesome photography guide
This is a return visit (from 2010) and my, how the camp has grown in popularity. It it still an amazing location for game viewing, still serves some of the best food I've ever had on safari, and it seems people are catching on. I was pleased to see they have new vehicles, and a new team of very experienced guides. Our guide Meyam was a superb photography guide who had his own DSLR and understood positioning and light, and in particular understood that the best photography position is not necessarily right on top of the animal but to give it space to behave naturally.
He also caught on we were interested in birds, and spent plenty of time on bird identification. In general at Lion Camp I was also impressed with their prompt early starts in the mornings - great for photography. We had some wonderful sightings of lions and leopards, but also spent time with elephants and buffalo, and even caught a couple of honey badgers in daylight..
The only downside to Lion Camp has always been its more built up style compared to Zambia's more rustic bush camps, so I was very excited to hear about their plans for a bush camp which, if they get it right, should provide a perfect counterbalance to the style of the main camp. And come October I bet even the most hardcore bush enthusiast will secretly appreciate the guilty pleasures of an electric fan and a dip in a swimming pool.............
Return to Lion Camp
Mesmerising views from our verandah. Great game viewing with our very knowledgeable guide, Meyam.
Very few other vehicles on the tracks. As we visited Lion Camp 5 years previously, we had great expectations and were not disappointed.
Food excellent. Breakfast is taken round the fire in the centre of the lodge and well organised.
Big Bang for your Buck!
Lion Camp is, in my opinion, an excellent choice of camps in the South Luangwa. There are a couple of camps I liked better (Kaingo and Mwamba), but Lion Camp is extremely well-run and offers exceptional value for the money.
Location: It doesn't get any better than this! Lion Camp is located in the quiet, game-rich northern sector of the park, close to the aptly-named Lion Plain. The biggest variety and highest densities of game in the park are found here, along with very few other vehicles as it is quite remote -- what's not to love about that? The only small issue is that Lion Camp is not located on the river itself.
The rooms at Lion Camp are fine, and certainly comfortable, but not exceptional. They are small wood-and-canvas cabins built on stilts, and don't really bring Africa to mind. They feature balconies that overlook the camp waterhole and the plain beyond, so it is possible to view a wide variety of game directly from your room. One issue: The large, oversized chairs in psychadelic shades of lime green, orange and blue are absolutely hideous eyesores and should go....
Service at Lion Camp was friendly, efficient and impeccable.
The food at Lion Camp was outstanding! The buffet lunches featured a great variety of fresh, innovative offerings to satisfy all tastes, and the plated dinners were well above average. Excellent selection of beverages on offer, as well.
Once again, I stuck with game drives for all of my activities. There were four of us in the vehicle for the first couple of days, then three. Our guide, Andrew, was excellent. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable, he is a kind man with an infectious, happy personality and a good sense of humor.
The facilities feature almost everything one could want in a lodge. I would suggest, though, that if you are going to advertise wifi service to your guests (and I think that camps should, where it is possible), it be of better quality than Lion Camp offers.
Finally, my only caveat about Lion Camp: It is a relatively large camp (9 rooms) for this part of the South Luangwa park. When full, it is a bit busier than I would prefer. So one must weigh the value of a smaller, more intimate camp versus the low price that Lion Camp offers.
Great Safari at Lion Camp
Absolutely loved our stay at Lion Camp. Would highly recommend it to anyone considering visiting.Read more about the whole safari
Wonderful big game at Lion Camp
It was a wonderful camp & we managed to see two separate lion prides in our 4 nights at the Camp. We also saw plenty of buffaloes, elephants & especially leopards among other game.
The staff did everything to make our stay enjoyable & comfortable & the meals were excellent. However, we found that having both lunch & dinner communally was a little bit too regimented. We felt that having just one meal together would have been fine.
The Guides were some of the best that we have had in all our Southern African trips. The Walking & Night Safaris were simply superb & the best that we have experienced.
Expert Africa comments
After reading this feedback, Lion Camp's manager, Emma, replied:
"Many thanks for your feedback, we are glad you enjoyed your stay. I'm sorry that private dining wasn't mentioned as an option during your welcome briefing. It could have been arranged easily in the evenings."
The place to go for lions
This was my 3rd and final lodge in Zambia.
The lodge is beautifully designed with a combination of wood and brightly colored fabrics.
The setting is magnificent with plenty of puku, bush backs, impala, baboons, kudu and elephants wandering about in the landscape just outside the main dining area/room verandas. I even heard a lion during the morning hours last night.
I was put in the honeymoon suite which offers a nice corner view. However, it was probably the smallest of my three lodges and couldn't compete with the Puku Ridge view.
Our guide, Hendrix, knows the area and is eager to please you with your first lion sighting.
No better place for lions. In my first 24 hours, I saw two large prides of lions (more than 10 lions each) and 4 adult males. I also saw a herd of maybe 500 buffalo which offered the opportunity to witness both a pretty intense fight between two of them and a number of lions stalking them in an unsuccessful attempt at a kill. Of course, all the other animals are here as well although much of the focus is on the lions. It seems like there may be somewhat fewer elephants, giraffes and zebra here than further south.
The lodge has a communal orientation with all guests eating together with the hosts and guides at a large dining table in the main veranda and once a week all the guests meet at a common spot on the river for their sundowner. A drum calls guests to meals and tea time, which is a delightful component of "lodge life." The communal feel is different than at Nkwali, however. Nkwali is a bit more relaxed with greater camaraderie across the staff and between the guests. Here, people put on dress shirts for dinner and cross group conversation was more forced.
Why stay: groups of lions doing their thing! Fits image of what a high-end African safari lodge experience would be like
Dislike: Across my entire safari, Most lodges employed white foreigners to serve as host or Camp Manager. Given my orientations, I would have preferred local people to be in senior staff positions. Lion Camp, in particular, felt a bit colonial. There wasn't much camaraderie between the foreign managers and the local staff and, while it is difficult to explain, it felt like the staff held more of a secondary status. This made me a bit uncomfortable.
Beautiful camp hidden in quiet part of SL
Lion Camp is a great place hidden in the northern part of the South Luangwa Park. The camp has a fine ambiance, nice and friendly staff and is beautifully decorated. The rooms are quiet, lovely designed and have a great view on the lagoon filled with water. This means that you will see wildlife every moment of the day. Elephants, hippo’s (and others) can even wander through the camp. And if you are lucky a kill is made on the plains in front of the camp. Food is amazing also for vegetarians as myself, not only diversity but also the use of spices and fresh ingredients.
Dining together of visitors, guides and staff makes a nice mix of people and stories from all over the world.
Being on safari here you will meet no people from other camps which means you are completely alone in the bush, at least I was. Guiding is done with expertise and very pleasant. You can choose between walking and driving, also night drives are made and they are very special.
I saw lions and leopards with cubs, elephants, giraffes, lot of birds and all kind of antelopes.
The team of Expert Africa is not too keen on this camp as I read in their own review, I think it is time for a new perspective and hope they pay the camp another visit. I am happy to have been here and would like to visit again if possible. Thanks Lion Camp for the pleasant stay.