Reviews of Luwi Bushcamp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Luwi Bushcamp review
Very enjoyable but, as it is purely a walking bush camp, two days is probably enough. Super staff.
What a shame that Mouse suffered a bout of malaria whilst we were there - but she was great. Paul collected us from Mfuwe International (!) and also guided us during our stay - very good.
Cotton wool at Luwi
Our experience at Luwi was mixed. We arrived at nine o'clock in the morning after the drive from Kapani. Apart from eating, our next activity was at 15.45 almost seven hours later. There was little to do at the camp as the safety arrangements were, in our opinion, restrictive and assumed we had absolutely no idea how to behave in the bush.
With the obvious exception of the guides and scouts we had more bush experience than the camp staff having travelled reasonably extensively, travelling and camping unscorted in big game areas and having many 'interesting' encounters.
There is a great hippo pool with a hide overlooking but we were not allowed to stay there alone without a 'minder'. This arrangement did not work well - I think I managed a 30 minute stay - and the first few hours at Luwi were very frustrating - essentially sitting and waiting for the opportunity to actually do something. Unlike kapani there was little to maintain interest in the dead hours.
Apparently the restrictions on staying at the hide had been introduced when a visitor was lucky enough to have elephants visit the vicinity. He enjoyed the experience and we would also have enjoyed the experience. Sadly my diary entries refer to the camp as 'Stalag Luwi'.
On the walks we went out as a group of six,ourselves and a group of four italians travelling together. After the luxury of having our own guide in Kapani we found that this became a bit wearing. Groups of four stick together as a group of four and we inevitably found ourselves at the back of the group very quickly. This prevented significant contact with the guide and we lost sighting and photo oportunities also. The group size of six was particularly frustrating when other pairs went out as a group of two. Why not two fours? We raised our concern and disappointment with the camp staff but this made no difference.
We finally got a change in approach when we raised the same concerns at Nsolo and our host (Pria) took action. Whilst at Kakuli the GM, David Wlson, spoke to us and apologised for our experience. He also agreed with our view of managing the risk from wildlife encounters in a more thoughtful and less defensive manner. If you want to have any sensible bush wildlife experience then there is inevitably an element of risk, but it needs to be managed, not avoided. If you want to avoid risk altogether then stay at home and watch 'The natural world' etc. The roads are more dangerous than the animals.
Expert Africa comments
We’re sorry that these travellers had such a mixed experience at Luwi Bushcamp. We relayed their comments to the camp and Dave, the General Manager of Norman Carr Safaris (NCS) replied:
“I thought I would just reply to you concerning the below feedback from the clients. I did indeed meet them at Kakuli to redress the issue. The bottom line is that they really did not like/get on with the Italian family.
Unfortunately as we were solidly booked it just so happened that they followed each other through all the camps. They did not pay for a private Guide and vehicle and due to how busy we were, we were unable to put on a guide specially for them until they got to Kakuli.
With regards to their comments on safety - it is an issue which I will not compromise on given the litigious nature of our society and the long standing reputation of professionalism in our company.”
We do understand that obeying safety rules can be frustrating, but we feel that they are vital to follow. With regards to the hippo hide, we would be unhappy if NCS took clients there without a guide or scout to accompany them. The hippo hide is on the edge of the Luwi permanent lagoon, and is often visited by wildlife – from elephant, to hyena, and even lion and leopard on occasion. Hence we are pleased that a member of staff is always present.
Safety rules, much like the safety talks at the beginning of an airline flight, may seem superfluous. However we are pleased that NCS maintains these, and would not ask them to change their methods in this regard.
We understand the frustration these clients felt when they arrived at Luwi to find that their next activity was in the afternoon. We have asked NCS to consider a later transfer to the bushcamps in future, perhaps after a morning activity and brunch at Kapani.
With regards to the arrangements for guides, clearly this didn’t work well – and we’ve discussed it with NCS to try to ensure that the same issue doesn’t happen again. We understand that the other groups had already been at Luwi for a few days, hence had already been on a few specific walks, which is why these clients were integrated this way. Sadly, the camps were full, so there was not a third guide available to guide them. We were pleased to hear that NCS made arrangements for a private vehicle for these travellers when they reached Kakuli and Mchenja.
The last word
After reading the above, our travellers commented further:
“Thanks for the feedback. However, it is important to address one misinterpretation. It is incorrect to say that we did not like or get on with the Italian group. They were very nice, like minded people and we got on very well.
Our point was simply that the group dynamic did not work on a walking safari. We do believe that six is too large a group for this activity and in this particular case mixing an 'established four' with an 'established two' did not work.
On the safety issue I accept your point on protection from litigation but, as a practicing professional safety and risk consultant, I do still feel your precautionary approach was over-protective. Anyway, we had a great time with Norman Carr Safaris.”
Even more remote at Luwi
For remoteness and feeling well and truly in the bush, Luwi was exceptional. The accommodation was excellent.
Our guide, Brian could not have been more informative when asked questions.
As with other camps, the food and service was always first class. Lots of game sightings.
A very relaxed, enjoyable stay, beyond our expectations.
Luwi Bushcamp review
Fantastic hostess (Theresa)
Just the two of us one night and provided candlelit dinner at our hut
Lagoon and hide fantastic!
Some great experiences on our bush walks.
Brian proved a real character and a great Guide
Luwi Bushcamp review
Our second visit to Luwi and the accomodation, food etc were as expected.
Unfortunately we felt that although very knowledgeable and personable, our guide Sam always seemed to be in a hurry and we felt that we were being rushed through game drives and walks without the attention to detail shown by all of our other guides.This did not make for a satisfactory experience.
Luwi Bushcamp review
Theresa and Paul combined to make this a really nice stay, but again, the abiding memories are thanks to the animals - to hear a lion roaring just yards from the room at 4.30 am is truly awesome as the saying goes.Read more about the whole safari
First bush camp - Luwi
After seeing all the animals from the safari drives based from Kapani it was awesome to be able to see the animals and country from a different perspective on foot. Thoroughly enjoyed the walking safaris and the knowledge of our guide (Sam) under the watchful eye of our scout (John).
The second nights escapades are a great example of the amazing sitings we had, following sun downers and hitting the showers we suddenly got a call of the wild from the local Lion pride. Not everyone can say there first lion siting was with shampoo in their hair.
Fantastic food and service, Rosie one of our hosts only helped to make our stay more comfortable. Thankyou to all at Luwi.
Great - superb for walk and drive safaris
This was the first taste of bush camp and we were thrilled by it all. Had some close encounters with animals which were thoroughly enjoyable and had superb guide Sam (sometimes seemed a little touchy) but his humour was overriding feature.
Everyone so thoughtful and helpful.
Food/rooms all great.
Luwi Bushcamp review
Lovely initimate atomosphere. We had the camp to ourselves on the first night. Terese was the best hostess of the tour and Luwi provided the highest level of service, Jason in particular was outstanding.
Sam was the best guide in that he had an interactive style which encouraged active engagement of us.
The second evening ws enlivened by the arrival of a Channel 5 "Rough Guide" film crew. Norman Carr representatives (Christina and Dave) were most solictitous about the Intrusion of the film crew but we enjoyed it as an addition dimension to our stay.
Middle of nowhere - great!
The rooms were quite 'rustic' but enhanced the experience greatly.
Sam the guide was excellent (recurring theme) and we had some wonderful sitings including leopard, huge crocadile and large bull Elephant. And not forgetting the ancient Baobab tree.
The walks were very informative and thoroughly enjoyable. Staff also arranged candle lit dinner for us - thank you.