Reviews of Mwamba Bushcamp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
129 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Mwamba Bushcamp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Mwamba Bushcamp review"
Perhaps our favourite camp because of the wonderful aesthetics of the camp itself, and the hide, from which we saw fabulous stuff. Guiding was excellent. Highly recommended.
Saw a leopard with her two cubs--which is apparently unheard of. From your list of animal sightings, I ticked off buffalo X3, elephant (too many to count), Giraffe X2, hippos (too many to count), leopard 2X different sitings, up close, lions (lots, and with kills), Hyena X1, porcupine X2, Honey badger X1, White Tailed Mongoose, Bushy tailed mongoose, Spotted genet, elephant shrew, crocodiles. I'm not listing the 'common' stuff.
Lots of birds, of course." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia; 10n in Zimbabwe
"Mwamba Bushcamp review"
I was the only guest there throughout the stay and they gave me the room closest to the hide. The Last Waterhole hide was a hive of activity. Lions came everyday, and there is a constant parade of animals quenching their thirst eg elephants, buffalos, hyenas, guinea fowls, impalas, vultures. Both day and night. Astounding.
No camp manager onsite with covid reorg (common trend it seems with satellite/sister camps, not just with Shenton) but they bring in an interim one from Kaingo Camp whenever a guest is on site." See all these reviews: 16n in Zambia
"Mwamba Bushcamp review"
The hide is a great asset at this time of year and I was lucky enough to catch lions coming down to drink. The hide is also great for those things that are normally a bit small to photograph well, like smaller birds such as Lilian's lovebirds coming down to drink.
The rooms are nice and I like the open air bathroom but the bedroom felt a bit enclosed- I prefer the more open style of some bush camps.
I think the main disappointment was the guiding. My guide seemed to lack enthusiasm and spend most of the drives chatting to the spotter and didn't really communicate much to ask me where I'd like to go or what I'd like to see, despite the fact that I know the area very well. We just repeatedly headed to areas where he knew the Kaingo guides had seen lions until I insisted on exploring some of the more scenic areas. His bird knowledge seemed a bit shaky.
I know Shenton's pitch themselves at photographers, but I wasn't overly convinced he had much understanding of vehicle positioning for photography either. I don't wish to sound overly critical as I've experienced a lot worse, but given Shentons have a reputation for top guiding I felt my experience was just average." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia; 10n in Kenya
Naturally we were incredibly disappointed to hear that you were not overly impressed with your guide. As you say, Shentons are renowned in the industry for our first class guiding. We have an above-average number of repeat guests who come back year after year specifically because of our guiding team and their photographic expertise.
Your experience was an exception to our normal high standards. We won’t attempt to offer explanations or excuses, only our heartfelt apologies that you left feeling this way and our assurance that the matter is being looked at by the Shentons and guiding team as we speak.
"Mwamba Bushcamp review"
The two camps make a great combination - see my Kaingo review for comments on the high quality of guiding and wildlife/photography orientation of Shenton Safaris - comments apply equally to Mwamba. Meals were very good, no wifi at this camp unlike Kaingo which has limited wifi access.
At the time of my stay, during COVID and fewer guests, vehicles and guides were shared between the two camps, and I had the same guide and private vehicle for the full 5 days.
Mwamba has a great hide, "The Last Waterhole" right adjacent to the camp, and you can walk over to it anytime. There is a steady procession of wildlife big and small visiting the waterhole throughout the course of the day, and the hide provides a great location for low angle photography. Also lots of opportunity for close photography of many bird species coming to the water.
There is also a raised platform a few km away available upon advance booking and additional charge for sleepout, which I visited during the day but did not overnight. While both platforms are no doubt amazing for a unique overnight, I would likely lean to the Kaingo experience rather than at Mwamba. But YMMV!
Kudos to Derek and Jules of Shenton Safaris - both camps are highly recommended, particularly for seasoned safari travellers and photographers." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia
"Mwamba Bushcamp review"
We transferred by canoe from Nsefu, and were met by Patrick on the other side of the river. Again, we were the only guests – great for us, sad for the camp. Our first morning and afternoon drives were pretty quiet. The area around camp was very beautiful with lots of birds and we saw beautiful flocks of love birds and our one and the only carmine bee eater of the trip. However, the night drive was action packed and we saw 2 leopards (our 4th and 5th of the day), genet, civet, and a scope owl.
The camp is hosted by the executive chef and we were joined by the host from Kaingo for tea and dinner where we had wonderful conversation. The staff at the camp seemed genuinely fond of each other and the atmosphere was fun and informal. Patrick had some very funny as well as harrowing stories, including one about being surrounded by lions during a truck breakdown. We also talked about the current COVID outbreak and the impact the pandemic has had on the tourism industry. All three of our South Luangwa guides trained together and know each other. They all took up farming last year. It breaks my heart to hear that such accomplished men had to take up subsistence farming to feed their families.
Next morning started out quiet again as Patrick showed us a beautiful ebony forest nearby. The place felt like a cathedral. We spent quite a bit of time watching a big flock of yellow bill storks near a pond. Then Patrick said let’s go check out a gully where one of the neighborhood leopards likes to hang out. Before he could finish his sentence, there was the leopard, who began stalking a couple of impalas. We watched for a long time but the impalas were always just out of reach.
That afternoon / evening we saw beautiful zebras, elephants, and yet another leopard. This was the night for our special “star bed sleep-out”, and it was beyond amazing. The “star bed” is a tree house under mosquito net and the most romantic “room” I have ever seen. Catherine and Johan cooked a delicious meal for us over the camp fire which we ate under a full moon. After dinner, we were left alone to sleep under the moonlit sky with the hyenas calling all night.
Next morning Patrick came by, started a fire, and made coffee and breakfast. We set out for walking safari from the camp. We walked at every camp and this one was my favorite. We visited a series of waterholes, approached a big herd of buffaloes on foot, and saw 30+ Cookson wildebeests. These were new animals for us. They were gray and very handsome animals when compared with the regular gnus.
Soon it was time for our last game drive of South Luangwa. Even though we had seen scores of leopards, we had not seen a single lion after 7 days. I also had a running joke with all the spotters that evening drives were “porcupine time”, knowing chances of seeing one is low. I would say “porcupine”, and they would say “elephant shrew”.
On this evening, we came to a fork in the road, and Patrick said his instincts told him to go one way. Shortly after that we saw another truck, which were only the second truck we saw for the entire 3 days. They had seen lions, so we followed their direction and soon found 2 moms and 3 large-ish cubs feeding on a zebra. We got quite close, and it was a bit disturbing to be “surrounded” by lions after dark just like in Patrick’s story. We’ve been close to lions, but never so many and so close while dark. I think it’s scary because you can’t see them all. I keep imagining one creeping up on me.
Feeling happy that we finally saw some lions, we started heading home. Suddenly, Patrick shouted “Porcupine!”, and sure enough there was one on the road right in front of our truck. Our first porcupine ever! Moments later a second one ran across the road. It was beyond believe that we saw lions AND two porcupines on our very last game drive!
This was our 4th safari, and every trip has been the “best” in its own way. But no place has filled my heart like South Luangwa. The beauty of the land was stunning and animal sightings were exciting, but I think it was the guides that made our experience so special. It was a privilege to spend time with these soulful, smart and funny men. We can’t wait to go back again." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
Incidentally, we spent a night at the Mwamba Star Bed and loved it. It was pretty much a moonless night and we spent a long time just lying in bed looking up through the mosquito netting and the silhouette of the tree branches above to a spectacularly starry sky. Would do this again in a heartbeat." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia; 4n in Malawi
"Three Nights at Mwamba in Early July"
A stunning sighting of herds of eland, wildebeest, and zebra together and a large breeding herd of roan antelope.
A bush camp that is taken down at the beginning of the rainy season and rebuilt in May of the following year!" See all these reviews: 8n in Zambia; 7n in Botswana
"Remote, wonderful Mwamba Bushcamp."
There is a good emphasis on photography: a photographers' hide overlooks a water hole on site from which I saw an elephant (I needed a wide angle to take the picture he was so close), and numerous birds and impala, and there are other hides a short drive away to visit. The open vehicles allow for unrestricted viewing and come equipped with camera pods for long lenses to rest on. The game drives and our walking safari rendered numerous sightings, with Andrew identifying sounds and tracking with expertise.
Lots of leopard, hyenas, lion (+ cubs), giraffe, Cookson's wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, mongoose, kudu and an eland. Plentiful bird sightings: fish eagles, hawks, vultures, storks, heron, ibis, snake eagles, Egyptian geese, lilac breasted rollers, blue eared starlings, love birds, ground hornbills and guinea fowl - wonderful! The night safaris allowed for late returns with sundowners supplied for the photogenic sunset stops.
My only recommendation would be to consider red filtering the night safari lights (photos easily corrected in a software programme) and I've found the animals don't seem to notice the lights as much. My thanks to our excellent hostess, Yvonne, and her attentive staff who on our penultimate night went to the trouble of preparing a romantic supper for us on a viewing platform lit up with candles and torches - a lot of work much appreciated.
Glorious experiences!" See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia; 4n in Malawi; 2n in Zimbabwe
"We love Mwamba Bushcamp!"
We were also going to stay at the sister camp Kaingo so we chose to get away from the river routes and go inland while at Mwamba. This provided good sitings of Buffalo, Wildebeest and Eland and we were fortunate to follow the Mwamba-Kaingo pride over a two day period as they pursued a head of Buffalo. We had Sylvester (Sly) as our guide and benefitted from his deep understanding of the wildlife and his uncanny ability to predict its behaviour!
Shenton Safaris offer the opportunity to walk between Mwamba and Kaingo and we would recommend this option - we saw plenty of game - including the Mwambe-Kaingo pride - a different experience when on foot - and we may have walked off some off the excellent food!" See all these reviews: 11n in Zambia
"Still a favourite after all these years..."
Chalets now have charging stations of their own (as well as a fan, which I didn't use) but haven't lost their rustic allure. Sly was, once again, a reliably strong guide with a nose for leopards (we saw seven different ones in three days).
Sighting highlights also included large herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as lions hunting and feasting." See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
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