Puku Ridge: Our full report
Set high on a rocky ridge, Puku re-opened in late 2019, and has a stunning vantage point that’s unique in ...... the Luangwa Valley. From here it has easy access to good and largely undisturbed game-viewing to the south - as well as the busier areas further north, around Mfuwe, where the game is habituated and relaxed, but the visitors are numerous.
On the slopes of one of the higher hills in the South Luangwa, overlooking a large grassy plain grazed by plentiful herds of eponymous puku antelope, Puku Ridge probably has some of the best views of any camp in the Luangwa Valley. The only camp with comparable views is Puku’s larger sister camp Chichele Presidental Lodge, located one kilometer away on top of the same hill.
The new owners tell us that the camp’s facilities are being upgraded to the highest of standards and the service and guiding will be run to the same exacting criteria for which their Lower Zambezi camps have become renowned. Unique in design, the feature rich (think star-bed, private plunge pool - even custom built, near-silent air-conditioning for respite from the hottest months) Puku Ridge is being completely rebuilt yet with a lighter footprint. They believe that Puku Ridge will be that perfect blend of wilderness, luxury and responsibility for the location.
Activities will include day and night safari drives and guided walks. The camp is situated on the southern edge of Luangwa’s main all-weather road network, which means it can open and close much closer to the rainy season than other camps in the area, allowing guests to see the park at different times of the year.
The accent at the old Puku Ridge was always firmly on the ‘luxury’ part of safari. When its refurbishment is complete, we’re expecting Puku Ridge to take after its sister camps, Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro. This means equally high levels of luxury, but leavened with more respect for nature and a better game-viewing experience. Meanwhile every time we visit, we're reminded that looking over the Kakumbi Floodplain from camp gives Puku probably the best view in Zambia.
- South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- We recommend a two or three night stay at Puku Ridge. Consider combining this with its sister camps in the Lower Zambezi National Park – Chiawa and Old Mondoro.
- After being met at Mfuwe Airport, it is approximately three hours' game-drive transfer through South Luangwa National Park to Puku Ridge.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We have always been impressed with the quality of the meals we've had at Puku Ridge's sister camps in the Lower Zambezi, so we're expecting a similar standard at this new camp when it opens.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- A stay at Puku Ridge would include most drinks. Premium brand whiskies and spirits would incur and additional charge.
- Attitude towards children
- Children over the age of 12 will be welcome at Puku Ridge.
- Property’s age restrictions
- The minimum age at Puku Ridge is 12 years.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- We recommend this camp for mature, well-behaved children over the age of 12.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Puku Ridge
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Puku Ridge have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- The camp will be on mains electricity, and we understand plug sockets will be available in the rooms for charging 24 hours a day.
The camp will also have a power generator in case of power outage.
- There is cell phone reception at the camp, and we believe complimentary Wifi will be available.
- TV & radio
- The camp is in the bush so there are no TVs or radios here.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All of the bathrooms are plumbed in with flushing toilets and showers with hot water always available.
Water from the borehole that has been filtered is provided as drinking water in all of the rooms, although bottled water is readily available if you prefer.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The closest clinic is located in Mfuwe, a drive of a couple of hours. There is also a visiting doctor who is usually based at one of the safari lodges in the Mfuwe area.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- As animals sometimes pass though the camp, guests will be escorted to their chalets and around camp after dark.
- Fire safety
- Each of the chalets will have a fire extinguisher in case of fire.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service will be included.
Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.