Luwi Riverbed Sleepout

Luwi Riverbed Sleepout: Our full report

Max 4 people
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 1 review
All year

For a really adventurous night out in the bush, the Luwi River Sleepout allows travellers to sleep out for a night under just a mosquito net in the sandy riverbed beside a campfire. Guests are cared for by a senior guide, an armed scout, a chef and a camp assistant.

Although none of the Expert Africa team have been on a Luwi River Sleepout, we have been able to put together a good description from one of our travellers who experienced the trip in June 2009:

The sleepouts start in the afternoon – after a delicious afternoon tea, you set out with your scout (generally Batwell or John Saili – both very experienced and knowledgeable scouts) and your guide (generally Abraham Banda – one of the senior guides at Kapani). Following the winding Luwi River, you reach the spot where camp will be set up, usually on a sweeping bend of the dry river bed. Then it's all hands on deck as you collect firewood and the camp staff build a series of fires – a few around the periphery of camp, and one in the centre. Then it's time for sundowners, and you'll enjoy a cold beer, or gin and tonic as the night draws in.

Supper is a friendly affair – generally a braai (barbecue) over the fire, cooked by the guide. It's simple, delicious fare, eaten on your knees, sitting on a seat made from an old log. You then have time around the camp fire with a tea or coffee, listening to the night noises and chatting with your guide and armed scout.

The camp does have a “loo-with-a-view" – situated a short distance from the main camp and lit with spirit lanterns, this is a long-drop loo with a throne, surrounded on three sides by canvas walls. You'll be escorted to and from this.

Water is provided for washing faces and brushing teeth, then you climb into your bedroll, a comfortable mattress on the ground with sheets and blankets. A mosquito net, oblong shaped, is set up over the bedrolls.

During the night, the scout and the guide are always around the fire, resting but generally keeping an ear out for any inquisitive animals, as you sleep soundly under the stars.

The following morning, you'll be given warm water to wash your face and brush your teeth, and after a light breakfast of toast, tea and coffee, you'll set off walking to your next camp. By the time you arrive, all your luggage will have been brought there and you can continue your Luangwa Valley journey.


Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: One night only, which can be taken between any combination of camps – although we feel that it's ideal when taken between Luwi and its sister-camp Nsolo Bushcamp.

Key personnel

Owner: Norman Carr Safaris

Staff: Camp/Lodge Manager: The guide for the Luwi Sleepouts is usually Abraham Banda. Guide: Additional guides are brought in from Kapani Lodge if needed when Abraham is not available. Chef: Abraham usually cooks the meal over the camp fire!

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: On the Luwi sleepout, the food is usually very simple, and cooked by your guide over the open camp fire.

Dinner is a braai (barbeque) over the fire, with a main meat course (chicken or beef), a selection of vegetables and usually baked potatoes, cooked in the embers.

In the morning, breakfast is very simple before your early morning walk to the next camp. Usually you'll have toast, tea, coffee and perhaps fruit juice.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Yes except champagne and imported wines and spirits.


Property’s age restrictions: No children under 12.

Notes: Children under 12 years are not allowed out on guided walks.


Power supply: None

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctor is based at a clinic near Kapani (about 1½ hour's fast drive) For emergencies one would need to be airlifted to Lusaka or Jo'burg.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The scout and guide stay with you all night. If any animals approach too closely, they will handle the situation.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: No Laundry Facilities

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