Reviews of Lion Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
25 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Lion Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Lion Camp review"
Our wildlife viewing experience while at Lion Camp was spectacular. We enjoyed lion and leopard sightings each day we were at Lion Camp. In fact, at 3 of our 5 dinners at Lion Camp we had lions walk by the patio where we sat. Our tented suite at Lion Camp was amazing in every detail. The wonderful king size bed was amazingly comfortable. The bed included a miraculous overhead air conditioning system that kept us quite comfortable as we slept. The in-suite shower was wonderful and the view from our private patio was fantastic.
All of the services at Lion Camp were exceptional. Our guide at Lion Camp, Simon, had very good skills.
We were happily surprised by the delicious food experience we enjoyed each day at Lion Camp. We enjoyed amazing fare at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The customer service team at Lion Camp was wonderful. The Lion Camp general managers, Vickie and Wayne went above and beyond to make us feel as if we were part of the family.
There is no doubt that when we return to South Luangwa, we will be staying at Lion Camp." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
"Lion Camp review"
Lion Camp is in a remote area of South Luangwa. It has just ten suites linked by elevated boardwalks with views over an oxbow river. Both in the main camp and from your suite animals and birds can be spotted up close. The camp is unfenced.
The main camp consisted of a large open deck with seating areas, curio shop, pool, bar, dining area and viewing deck. Very cleverly designed around existing trees with beautiful views over the river just metres away and the bush. There were frequent visits to the river from herons, storks, baboons, hippos, elephants and antelopes. Our hosts who managed the camp were Vicky and Wayne who were great company, good fun and very experienced, particularly Vicky's attention to detail at meal times. The food was delicious and any special requests were no problem at all. The staff serving were polite and extremely efficient.
Our room was very comfortable and spacious with a seating area, cool breeze system which operated over the bed, en-suite bathroom with indoor shower. Our deck overlooked the river and bush which was wonderful.
Game drives were eventful with great sightings of lions, elephants, baboons, puku, leopards, hippos, warthogs, giraffes, kudu and hyenas. Also, African fish eagles, grey herons, yellow billed storks, saddle billed storks, marabou storks, black headed herons, carmine bee-eaters and lilac breasted rollers. In 22 years of going on safari we have never seen two lilac breasted rollers viciously fighting in the dusty track for several minutes in what appeared to be a territorial battle - an amazing spectacle.
There were only four of us on the safari vehicle - two other guests with whom we got on extremely well. Our guide, Mukupa was also good company and joined in the fun we had on drives. He also did some very commendable work for his community in helping encourage families to send their daughters to school by demonstrating the benefits through theatre plays he wrote. He also, with the support of the camp, was involved in a 'buy a brick' project to build a clinic for his community.
We spent quite some time over a period of 2/3 days to immerse ourselves into family life of three leopards, two cubs and their mother. The two cubs were left to fend for themselves while their mother was away hunting. After watching the mother lose a kill to a hyena we eventually saw that she had made another kill which was good news as the cubs had been without food for at least three days. Just as we were wondering where the mother would take the kill a hyena rushed in from behind our vehicle and chased the leopard away and started to eat the kill. This would be disastrous for the cubs. However, another hyena appeared and for some strange reason they both ran off allowing the mother to drag the kill off deep into the bush and up a tree. The next day the mother had called her cubs to share in the feast.
After one of our morning drives we stopped for a surprise bush breakfast which was wonderful.
During our stay it was our wedding anniversary. Vicky and Wayne very kindly presented us with a beautiful coffee table book, 'Africa's Ultimate Safaris' and a bottle of pink champagne. A lovely gesture - thank you.
A special mention to Dottie who was the reservations manager - she was a lovely person with a great sense of humour. She helped us in contacting our previous camps & lodges to track down where I might have lost my wallet. It was found and delivered to us at Lion Camp - many thanks, again.
We really enjoyed our stay at Lion Camp and would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting the South Luangwa area. The camp is remote and bear in mind it takes a long time to get there by road from Mfuwe airport but well worth the trip." See all these reviews: 19n in Zambia
"Lion Camp review"
The honeymoon suite was outstanding. Our only regret was that there was so much else to do here that we didn't have time to sleep in the alternative outdoor bedroom, under the stars in this suite. This chalet is located far from the lodge area with unobstructed views over the lagoon from 2 angles.
The three game drives per day (morning, afternoon/night) with Donald exceeded our expectations. We chose on 2 occasions to substitute the morning drive for walking safaris. The walks provide an alternative perspective focusing on smaller species and tracking knowledge, while your senses are heightened to the potential for encountering the larger animals. We came across a leopard and cubs on our first walk with our walking guide Meyam and elephants with our second walking guide, Innocent. Large animals are viewed from a safe distance. Both walking guides were excellent.
Lion Camp also has a very nice photography hide at lagoon level. Good in June but we can't comment on photography ops from the hide when the lagoon is dry." See all these reviews: 15n in Namibia; 7n in Zambia; 5n in Rwanda; 1n in South Africa
"Leopardmania around Lion Camp"
The area is very rich in wildlife. The amount of leopards and lions is hard to beat anywhere else in Africa. Lion cubs were a regular sighting and even a leopard cub on one occasion, allowing me to spend an hour with no other car. Very exclusive encounter indeed. Very laudable are the walks. Truly enjoyed walking, learnt lots about animal tracks and animal behavior: it definitely activated all my senses and I must have been the most skittish creature in the bush. During the night drives I also encountered plenty of leopards, lions, porcupines etc.
Great food, great accommodation, great scenery, great people and a quasi-guaranteed sighting of leopards and lions...not much more to ask for. Looking forward to returning one day." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
"Lovely Lion Camp"
Wayne and Vicky are doing an absolutely first class job of running this lodge. Lion Camp pays attention to detail - the Boma dinner was a lovely experience.
The game drives were wonderful - we had Thomas, assisted by Max. We had our own vehicle for our family of four. Thomas selected some amazing places for sundowners!" See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
"Great game/setting; customer care needs work"
On our arrival, we were directed to the lunch "buffet," which was one dish and one salad that looked pathetic on the table. Optimistically, we thought, well, we’re at the end of lunch, so maybe other dishes ran out. Nope. We would learn that each meal had only one option. No “seconds” are offered. Our vegan companion had one particularly dreadful meal: basically all veggies, which is not enough fuel without protein. She asked for more to eat and Vicky returned from the kitchen to say there wasn't any more, and walked away without attempting any solution. We couldn't believe it. About 15-20 minutes later, they did bring out more food. But the encounter left a very bitter taste.
Vicky told us they work hard to avoid waste (which we applaud) and guests like her smaller portions; now she knows Laura needs more to eat. And indeed, Laura was provided with a double helping of quiche the next day. But on at least one day, they simply put out the same breakfast dish at lunch. What is promoted as around the clock coffee and tea is two thermal flasks of hot water and instant coffee and tea bags. I will say that the boma meal was great for three of the five of us, and the desserts were always excellent.
The staff was nice but passive, ineffective and inconsistent. For example, they didn’t always offer each person coffee at breakfast. Our friends did not have shampoo in their room upon arrival. When they asked Oscar, the head guy, he called housekeeping, then told them the shampoo was in their room. Which it wasn’t. It was a wasted 10 minutes or so questioning the guest instead of simply providing them with shampoo. In contrast, the bartenders were very good.
The room was comfortable and modern, with good lighting by the bed, and an attached sitting area. Surprisingly, there were no drawers or shelves, though the bathroom had lots of counter space. The deck was great, with a view to the river with hippos and elephants and more. But just a year after refurbish and our room had a very sticky door to the deck; the shower splashed all over the room beyond the small wooden frame; the toilet flush was sticky; the safe did not work electronically.
Their washer had a problem so they were reluctant to take our laundry but I insisted. “Just put it in a pile by the toilet,” Oscar said. Later we were told there was no washer problem—yet both Oscar and Dottie spoke about it (Dottie attempted to explain the problem!), discouraging laundry.
We really liked being able to come and go without a guide on the raised platform although we had a close encounter with an elephant in camp that was a little precarious. The pool at the lodge looked in need of cleaning but the view to the creatures at the river and bank was great. Lion Camp says they have WiFi everywhere, but it seems to be overstretched, resulting in poor service throughout the camp.
We met at 5:30 for coffee/tea, oatmeal and muffins before leaving at 6. Upon our return breakfast was offered with one entrée. Lunch was a “buffet” of one entrée and one salad. Dinner was plated with one entrée (except for one boma night). Sundowners were fine, with real glasses.
Our guide, Meyam, was very good. He worked hard for us, drove well, and was very knowledgeable if a little too serious. We had excellent game viewing, including being the only jeep to watch a mom leopard play with her cub for about 30 minutes, and sitting with a pride of lions as they patiently prepped for a hunt, which was unsuccessful.
On our last night, Meyam asked what time we would like breakfast before departing at 7. We said 6:15. The morning of departure, there was no breakfast. When I asked, they pointed to the usual minimal continental items! After I grumbled to Meyam and Oscar, we were served eggs and bacon around 6:40. It seemed clear to us they had no intention of providing a real breakfast for our departure.
In conclusion: We loved the game and the setting but were quite disappointed by the customer care." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia; 4n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
We contacted the camp regarding their feedback on the meals in general and on vegan dishes for one of the party. Vicky, who is responsible for meal planning and overseeing the kitchen, advised that she met with these guests upon arrival to talk over the requests passed on by Expert Africa prior to their stay. She described that as a rule the camp team offer a lot of fresh salads, vegetables and vegetarian soups and that they prepared a special vegan dish with every meal. Their lunch meal typically includes one main dish, a fresh salad and a baked item each day. It is designed to be a light meal as it is served only a few hours after brunch – a full breakfast served after the morning game drive. Whilst this would work well for guests already at the camp who were well fed mid-morning, we can understand why it might seem insufficient for new arrivals where lunch is their first meal at the camp.
Vicky is very apologetic over these guests experience. She would have liked to have understood the group’s needs better during her initial conversation with them, and she has learnt from this experience. She notes that after the initial issue, the offerings were adjusted to try and better fulfil the guests’ requests, and she regularly checked with them to make sure everything was satisfactory.
Vicky also apologised that two of the guests didn’t get shampoo in their room when they asked. She explained that the rooms are serviced daily and items checked and replenished where needed. If guests use up items quicker and require them to be replenished more than once a day that can certainly be requested. She asked us to pass on her thanks to these guests for bringing their experience to her attention and noted she will be certain to check more regularly and closely on their room servicing.
She clarified that Lion Camp’s washing machine was not broken and explained that when guests check in to Lion Camp they are advised of water and electricity limitations, but Vicky assures us they never refuse laundry. Lion Camp, like many of Africa’s safari camps, is a remote, totally self-sufficient camp with purified borehole water and solar electricity supplied via batteries. They offer round the clock electricity, hair dryers, charging points and evening breeze cooling in the rooms – all of which use a lot of electricity. To enable them to control their usage they have to be careful with application of equipment on an hourly basis, including the use of their washing machines. For this reason they ask guests to put together a limited amount of items to be laundered each day. Vicky is very sorry if this message was miscommunicated and misunderstood. She says there was certainly no reluctance to assist with laundry on their part.
Vicky did note that there was one further unfortunate incident over meals whereby their guide joined the group for dinner on their last night. During the meal early morning breakfast requirements were discussed, but the guide forgot to share the details with the kitchen team. Luckily they begin their day early and as soon as the guests asked about their breakfast a plan was made. However, Lion Camp is sorry that the guests were put in a situation where they had to repeat their requests.
Lion Camp was especially recommended to these guests as their key focus for their safari was wildlife viewing, especially of predators, and that is what this area of South Luangwa National Park offers. So it was wonderful to hear that they had the special experiences of spending time watching a leopard play with her cub and a pride of lions attempt a hunt.
"Lion Camp was just perfect"
Every day a new variation on the menu that was perfectly prepared." See all these reviews: 8n in Zambia
"Lovely Lion Camp"
Management did make every effort to make our stay comfortable and accommodating - and that is much appreciated! There had been a fire in the staff quarters a couple of days before our stay and yet the staff continued to provide great service
We were less than impressed with the management's professionalism. On a couple of occasions, the manager yelled at a staff a member in front of the guests. It made me feel very uncomfortable. It seems there is some tension between the staff and management - and that is not something guests should be able to easily observe.
We felt our guide was a bit distracted and not very enthusiastic compared to other guides we had." See all these reviews: 11n in Zambia
"Lion Camp review"
Wayne and Vicky are great hosts. Food exceptionally good.
We mainly had Maiyam as our guide who is very knowledgable. Also had Simon and Thomas - both very good." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia
"Lion Camp review"
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Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
One of the best camps in Zambia, Tafika is naturally built, combining excellent service and food with top guiding skills for a superb wildlife experience.
On the banks of the Luangwa River, with its own access to the national park, the intimate Nkwali is open year round.
Small and owner-run, the riverside Kaingo occupies a a quiet but excellent game area, with a series of wildlife hides and a focus on photography.
One of the Luangwa's oldest camps, Nsefu is a great safari camp in a remote, beautiful and game-rich location with top-rate guiding.
Small, remote and owner-run, Mwamba offers first-class walking, 4WD safari drives and superb hides, with excellent guides and a real bush feel.
One of the Luangwa's best camps, in a beautiful, remote bush location, Tena Tena is very small, exceedingly well-run and has top-rate guiding.
Chikoko Tree Camp
Chikoko Tree Camp is an excellent small, rustic bushcamp that concentrates on walking safaris, and is run by a top-quality operation.
Big Lagoon Camp
Big Lagoon Camp is a great little rustic bushcamp built to high standards that focuses on excellent walking safaris, with the emphasis on top wildlife guides.
Kapani Lodge is now the main office base for Norman Carr Safaris, one of the Luangwa's oldest safari operations.
A relatively big safari camp, Flatdogs offers value for money with great guiding and good food in a comfortable, relaxed setting.
Luangwa River Camp
Luangwa River Lodge is a small and consciously stylish lodge in the Mfuwe area, overlooking the Luangwa River and the South Luangwa National Park beyond – an area renowned for great game.
Beside the Luangwa River, Kakuli is a comfortable tented bushcamp offering 4WD safaris and walking safaris – the best of which are camp-to-camp walks linking Kakuli with its nearby sister camps.
Set in a shady ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa, Mchenja is a smart tented bushcamp. It combines well with Kakuli and Nsolo – its sister camps with a focus on walking safaris.
Nsolo is a small, comfortable bushcamp overlooking one or two pools in the usually dry Luwi riverbed. It concentrates on walking safaris in an interesting and diverse area, led by a knowledgeable guide.
Kafunta River Lodge
Kafunta is a laid-back, friendly and good-value lodge on the outskirts of South Luangwa National Park.
In a remote part of the South Luangwa National Park, Luwi is a rustic bushcamp whose emphasis is on walking safaris with great guiding and a chance of seeing some rarely seen and elusive antelope.
Robin Pope bush-camp
RPS bushcamping in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Robin Pope mobile
RPS mobile safari camps are at the heart of their set-itinerary walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park, which start and finish at a permanent camp.
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Kapamba is a small and very comfortable bushcamp offering good walks and game drives.
Puku Ridge is a luxurious designer camp set in a stunning location, high on a hill overlooking a floodplain within South Luangwa. Explore from here on 4WD safaris and walks.
In a game-rich area close to the South Luangwa’s main Mfuwe Gate, Mfuwe Lodge is relatively large by park standards, but it’s stylish, modern and family friendly.
Kuyenda Bushcamp is a classic bushcamp with particularly delightful hosts and offers top-class walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.
Luangwa Safari House
Luangwa Safari House is a vast and very smart four-bedroom house specifically designed for families and small groups, and offering an exclusive and flexible safari experience.
Opened in early June 2013, Chinzombo offers luxurious and stylish accommodation with very high levels of service and excellent guiding.
A smart bushcamp with four very spacious chalets, Bilimungwe offers interesting walking safaris in pretty riverine woodland, as well as day and night safari drives.
Chindeni Bushcamp is a very modern and minimalist camp, which is a far cry from your traditional bushcamp and unlike most of the other camps in South Luangwa.
Three Rivers Camp
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Three Rivers Lodge sits at the confluence of three of the valleys rivers.
Kawaza Village – beside the South Luangwa National Park, offers guests the rare opportunity to appreciate local village life. Visit for a few hours or stay overnight.
With your own expert guide, private vehicle, chef and valet, the two-bedroom Robin's House offers an exclusive, flexible safari experience – and is open year round.
Island Bush Camp
Island Bushcamp is a good-value, rustic, walking-only camp, in arguably one of the most remote parts of the South Luangwa, well away from all other camps.
The Mwamba-Camp Out allows you to have an incredibly adventurous night in the bush, sleeping under mosquito nets with activities led by some of the best guides in Zambia.
A comfortable little bushcamp, Chamilandu has a picturesque setting by the Luangwa River, in an area with a range of habitats to explore on foot and by 4WD.
Zungulila is a small, comfortable tented bushcamp with an emphasis on walking safaris, in the remote southern section of the South Luangwa.
Currently undergoing renovations, Chichele Presidential Lodge stands high within the park, with superb views, and is due to reopen in late 2022.
Luwi Riverbed Sleepout
For an adventurous night in South Luangwa National Park, come and sleep out in the bush, around a campfire, with an experienced guide and game scout.
Opened in June 2021, Shawa Luangwa Camp is a small, intimate and rustic camp, with a good location in a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park.
Mapazi Camp is a basic safari camp in the far north of the South Luangwa, with walking safaris led by renowned guide Deb Tittle.
Chikunto Safari Lodge is a more traditional property in the South Luangwa National Park, sitting on a peninsula of land created by the meandering Luangwa River.