Reviews of Mwamba Bushcamp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
We took the opportunity to walk from Kaingo to Mwamba with Patrick and enjoyed this very much. Our luggage was taken by road.
Everything at Mwamba was excellent - like Kaingo, and we loved it. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. The accommodation was different but just as comfortable as the sister camp. However, it was more 'bushcamp' than Kaingo which was exactly the experience we wanted. Same high standards but slightly less formal. Of the two camps we preferred Mwamba.
The game drives were terrific and Ian went beyond the call of duty to make sure that we saw what we wanted. Endless enthusiasm and patience from him and Patrick. Many leopard sightings including the beautiful Kylie who didn't seem at all perturbed by our presence. We got some fantastic photos.
We had a wonderful time and we highly recommend Shenton safaris. Everything was well thought out and ran like clockwork. Both camps are a photographer's paradise and they cater for photographers by providing dust cloths and bean bags. It's these little things that make the overall experience so enjoyable.
We plan on returning!
Mwamba - great bushcamp
We chose to walk to Mwamba bushcamp from Kaingo (highly recommended) and were lucky to have Derek Shenton as our guide which we very much appreciated and seeing lions on foot was an added bonus.
Mwamba is a lovely small camp, with a great atmosphere and combines perfectly with Kaingo. Although a bushcamp it is very comfortable and we loved the chalets which are cleverly located, private and immersed in the bush. We saw elephant, impala, puku, baboons etc from our veranda. The open bathroom is wonderful and the view of the stars through the chalet skylight as the lions roared will live long in our memory. The camp host Debs worked tirelessly to make our stay special and our guide Mayem was excellent, extremely knowledgeable and accommodating.
Being a smaller camp with a single guide and six guests the activities need to be agreed in advance, this was not a problem, but perhaps this might be explained to guests on arrival to avoid confusion. We had wonderful game viewing, delicious food and great company. Finally, we loved being woken by the drums at Mwamba and Kaingo and the top drummer Zimba followed us to Mwamba - wish I had asked for a lesson!
Mwamba Bushcamp review
This is definitely a bush camp. The facilities are a bit primitive, but certainly “luxurious” for anybody used to a rougher sort of camping. While the chalets are reed and thatch, the beds are comfortable and the toilets flush. The showers are of the “bucket” variety and the staff is happy to fill it whenever you like given 15-20 minutes notice. I would suggest that they need to change the shower head to something that produced a bit more water and pressure than the current dribble. All the water was potable here. Tap water was completely potable.
What's nice about the chalets is that they have open skylights in the roof that are covered with mesh giving you a view of the night sky from your bed. The front porch has two chairs with a view over a channel of water (generally dry).
The common areas include a chitenge with a bar where most of the meals are taken. There are also other sitting areas, including one near the channel and another on top of a very large termite mound. All-in-all, this is a very comfortable bush camp. The camp is on solar power, and they do offer to charge your electronic devices, like camera batteries. All you have to do is leave your charger with the camp manager, and she'll take care of it for you.
When I was there, there was a resident group of baboons that commute back and forth in front of the camp every day; as well as, a number of elephants that would come by on occasion. Also, there were plenty of other wildlife – impala, puku, mongoose, etc. about camp.
The food was good. They do things a bit differently than the other camps I stayed at. They do tea at 6:00 a.m. (basically just beverages plus cookies), and then do a full breakfast (English) at 9:30 a.m., then a lunch after the noon activity, and then afternoon tea, and then a late dinner. All of the food was good and they certainly feed you enough.
The guiding was very good – and geared towards photographers. More than any other camp, the guides are sensitive to the needs of a photographer. They take care in positioning the vehicle, pay attention to the light, and have a pretty good sense of photographic opportunities. For example, we were driving around during the afternoon game drive, and the sun was setting and I was looking for a good setting for a sunset photo. Before I could say anything, the guide asked if we wanted to stop to get the setting sun behind some trees and had recognized a good spot for that. The guide was also able to recognize when a particular sighting was a bit static (e.g. a bunch of wildebeest just standing around not doing much of anything), and could tell when it was probably time to move on.
With other guides, I had to give quite a bit more guidance in terms of what I wanted photographically, but I rarely had to with the guide at Mwamba. He was also used to photographers who wanted to get our early and stay late, so he was always ready to go.
The game drive vehicles were good – standard Toyota Landcruisers with 3 rows of seats. They have a shelf in front of each seat to hold your belongings, as well as, bean bags for your camera. They also have dust covers for your lenses or camera. They also provided a step-ladder for entry or exit from the vehicle, though I tended to eschew it as I just used the standard step up points on the vehicle.
The two noon-time activities offered here were either the hide near camp or a visit to a nearby lagoon. The hide wasn't very interesting – hot, sweaty and not much action going on. I think it'll be better later in the season when animals come by for water, but nothing was happening on my visit. The lagoon was largely about birds, but again, I think June isn't the best time for this waterhole.
The camp was fairly quiet, and I basically had private game drives until the last drive where two other guests joined me in the vehicle.
The hosting was also very good. Debbie was very accommodating and was trying to anticipate any needs and checking in how my stay was going. She also was fairly good at hosting during meal times and keeping the table conversation interesting and flowing.
This was probably my favorite camp mainly due to the photographic orientation of the guiding.
Expert Africa comments
Mwamba Bushcamp have taken note of this guest's suggestion regarding the showers. The team at Mwamba informed us that it is likely to be a combination of the pipes and shower heads causing the low water pressure. They are working on improving these now, and expect have an improved situation by mid-September 2011.
Mwamba Bushcamp review
Bush camp feeling is superb.
Small is surely beautiful !!
A very very dedicated and efficient camp manager ( Debbie )
Kennedy didn't leave a stone unturned to make our drives & walks a special experience.
The real Africa at Mwamba
We were made to feel welcome and at home immediately on arrival by camp manager Debbie and guide Patrick, together with their team. Whilst respecting our privacy and desire to experience the wildness of the South Luangwa, they expertly provided all the back up we needed to make our stay a totally unique experience and to get the very most out of our short visit.
Whilst the camp had only opened for the season the previous day, we could not have expected any better service or company. Debbie was a gem - we left after just two nights feeling we had made a real friend. Not only did she provide everything we needed and help us enjoy our surroundings to the full, but she adapted quickly to Richard's sense of humour (which can be an acquired taste!).
The chef and kitchen staff worked wonders to produce delicious food on the most basic of equipment - and the afternoon cakes were the lightest we have ever tasted!
Patrick, our guide,was such a mine of information about all the birds and animals - we learnt a huge amount and could really appreciate what we were seeing thanks to his amazing skills, knowledge and enthusiasm. Thank you Patrick for making our game drives better than we could ever have expected. Also thanks to Gideon, our scout, who reassured us when out on our walking safari and expertly wielded the spotlight during the night drives.
Our only comment would be that we would like to have been advised more on arrival about the inevitability of large animals in the camp at night. On our second night a male elephant came within feet of our chalet, and sounded as though he was going to munch his way right through the reed walls - which was quite a heart-stopping experience, and we were not sure quite when to panic and use the whistle - or run ! We did feel a little isolated in our chalet at this time, although assured next morning that had we needed to use the whistle our call would have been answered. We wanted to be in the midst of the wildlife, and the bushcamp was certainly the best experience we could have had, but having just arrived direct from UK and not being used to the behaviour of the animals, we feel a more detailed briefing might have been useful!
Otherwise, a phenomenal experience and one we would love to repeat in the future.
Mwamba Bushcamp review
Wow! We were the only guests, so it couldn't have been a more luxurious personalised experience.
With the assistance of our expert guides, wildlife viewing was excellent, whether from the vehicles, hides or when on walking safari.
In the bush at Mwamba
A small and intimate camp with a truly 'bush' feel. The wildlife viewing was fantastic, with elephants & lions seen from (and in!) the camp.
The traditional reed and thatch huts gave a feel of authenticity whilst still providing the necessary creature comforts.
Our guide, Patrick, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly and made the most of each of the many wildlife encounters. The pleasant and attentive staff looked after us extremely well, we really enjoyed our time here.
Possibly our best camp ever.....
We loved everything about this camp and are struggling to think of one we've preferred in Africa (and we've been to a lot of camps over the years).
As at Kaingo, the staff are all excellent and genuinely welcoming. Patrick is a truly exceptional guide, combining an infectious enthusiasm, enormous experience and a lovely, quiet sense of humour. The camp is away from the main river but overlooks a tributary with some water and has a charm of its own.
We also saw lots of game. For example, we were walking there from Kaingo but the scout, Gideon, spotted lion en route. With Patrick, we followed them to their kill and afterwards radioed for a lift as we'd diverted a long way off route! The excitement continued as we witnessed a lion pride ambush 200 yards on one side of the camp and, at another time, leopard sparring over his kill with hyena a similar distance on the otherside. With elephant walking through the camp and creating some havoc for the staff, there's almost no need to leave on drives....
Mwamba Bushcamp review
We loved Mwamba bushcamp, and we especially liked arriving on foot.
The rooms are perfect, with amazing open air bathrooms. We liked the fact that the camp is small, yet with open views on the dry river.
The guiding was excellent, and we observed a leopard eating its prey. Thanks to our great guide, we also got a feeling of how it amazingly fits together.
The cooking was fabulous, and the only suggestion would be to have a few more of those delicious cookies and salads for hungrier stomachs.
Mwamba Bushcamp experience
If this is camping .....!
How did they make all those amazing meals with those kitchen facilities?