Reviews of Puku Ridge
Wildlife sightings and reviews
11 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Puku Ridge and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Puku Ridge review"
Puku Ridge is stunning. The tents, sitting on a hillside with a panoramic view of the plain, are new, spacious and attractive. A waterhole in front of the Lodge attracts many animals and birds in addition to those that feed and travel by on the plain.
Each tent has all of the amenities of a modern hotel room plus the sky bed for stargazing.
Grant, Annemie and the Puku Staff are awesome – talented, sincere people who by word and deed demonstrate that they truly care about their guests, employees and nature. The camaraderie and positive attitudes displayed by the group is inspiring.
Grant has 25 years of international experience as an executive chef. He has trained his kitchen staff and his influence is evident in the quality of food served at Puku – the best that we had anywhere during our entire trip.
Our guide Pius and spotter John (guide in training) were top notch. Pius has years of experience – some at Nsefu – and combines that with his knowledge and gift of storytelling to provide both an entertaining and educational presentation. He has an uncanny sense of his client’s interests as well as an ability to recognize great photo opportunities and put a photographer in the right place with the right lighting to get great photos.
By the time we reached camp on the first day, we had seen elephants, giraffe, impala, buffalo, fish eagle, monitor lizard, baboons and ground hornbill. While there we saw one Cookson’s wildebeest and several Crawshay’s zebra and Thorncroft giraffes. More species were observed here then at either Nsefu or Sausage Tree. A comprehensive mammal and bird list was available in our room." See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
"Luxurious Puku Ridge"
Some of our most exciting sightings were right in camp. We were just heading of for siesta when we heard, Lions in camp!, jumped into the vehicle and off to meet 2 male lions just behind the rooms. The last night there we excitedly followed a large pack of wild dogs through the property. Finishing the evening with a last gennet sighting, like the whipped cream on the sundae.
Speaking of whipped cream, a special mention for the food here. Wow. we enjoyed both the irresistible veggie and non veggie option at each meal. Except the last candle lit supper on our deck where we both had to have the beef fillet. As in all the camps the Zambia beef is outstanding.The food here was fresh, creative,gourmet, but not in a heavy way. (Not that we did not return home a little heavier ourselves)" See all these reviews: 16n in Zambia
"Puku Ridge review"
"Wonderful, intimate place"
The view over the flood plain was a highlight, with so many animals to see just from our dining table or private deck off our room/tent! The food was delicious and so special mention of the chef, William, who always checked in after every meal to see if it had been to our liking and who went out of his way to share a copy of a soup recipe I particularly liked.
We were given two special experiences while here - first, one evening our guide brought us to the top of a ridge where other staff had set up chairs and a bar and were waiting to serve us champagne as the sun went down (we had sundowners with the guide on other evenings but this one was "white tablecloth" level).
Second, on our final night, our guide brought us to a site where other staff had set up a BBQ and fire pit and lanterns. Here we shared a meal of Zambian food with the other guests staying at the camp. The surprise element of both these experiences and the care that went into executing them made them very special. This care and attention to detail characterized everything at Puku Ridge." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia
"Pleasant stay at Puku Ridge"
Furniture is a bit hotch potch but OK , and I can't say it bothered me personally but just thought I'd update the description FYI.
There was a very nice deck around a tree overlooking the floodplain - where we usually took our meals.
Very comfy beds
Robe and slippers
Wake up call 5:30 with Tea in room
Breakfast ( hot or cold) 6am
Game drive 6:30 tea at 9:00 return by 10:00
Game drive 4 - 7:30 with sundowners en route
Leaves 10:00-16:00 doing nothing though.
Might be better to go out at 6am, have snack breakfast enroute so could stay out longer ?
Transfer time from the airport according to EA is 3 hrs but it only took us 1.5 hrs and we drove through the river instead of taking the pontoon which was fun, but also indicates how much the river had dropped which isn't good for the animals.
Facilities- Mains electricity , hot and cold running water all times , hairdryer in room , floor fan
There is even a little gym box with a yoga mat and some light weights in it !
Unfortunately, I was rather ill for most of my time at Puku Ridge and I only have the notes I made on arrival to refer to.
The food that I saw seemed very good - probably the best of our trip and the staff were absolutely lovely . Personally, we didn't take to the manager during our stay who was called Evidence - but maybe that was just us. I was told by other guests that the other manager ( Levies) was away and they felt it changed the atmosphere of the place.
Our guide was Lamek ? ( apologies if misspelled but I was rather ill) He was very good and really knew his stuff .
Unfortunately, we saw no lions at all at Puku Ridge , but that's the luck of the draw
Prior to our trip I had read many reviews saying how fantastic the game viewing was - so we were just a little unlucky, I suppose.
We did however see a leopard kill from start to finish , which was amazing.
Lamek then played a little trick on us and told us that after he sees a kill, he gets sad and just has to go back to camp immediately.
We said "Okay" - and he drove off - only to take us to a hilltop where a champagne sundowner had been set up for and the other couple staying at Puku Ridge. It was a fantastic end to our visit.
The view of the floodplain from camp was great and if I hadn't visited anywhere else I would think it was the bees knees .
I think if the place you stay has a view of water , it automatically makes it more attractive.
We usually saw puku ( of course), zebra, warthogs, impala, baboons.
However , the subsequent camps we stayed at I found to have better views . The water hole in front of Puku Ridge was reduced to a muddy puddle which was neither attractive or of much use to the animals.
I can thoroughly recommend Puku Ridge , but I have to say it wasn't my favourite place out of the three camps in South Luangwa" See all these reviews: 11n in Zambia
"Puku Ridge review"
For our honeymoon, we would choose Puku. Candlelight meals, impeccable food and service, but not much else to do with teenage boys. It was fun for two days, but longer would have been a challenge. Still, Levies and our guide, Alick, were top notch, and the game viewing was simply stunning." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia; 3n in Rwanda
"5 star look and feel"
The room is equally nice. I was in buffalo. The room is huge with amazing views of the plain. The outdoor shower is totally open to the wild life. I was able to watch a group of 8 elephants, a number of baboons and puku close up from my shower on one of my two days. It was the best of the 3 showers across my lodges for its feel and view. The room also has a large tub inside with a similar view but protected by screen. I meant to try it but ran out of time. The decor was inviting. The veranda was also fantastic with similar views to the main area and more or less spanned the entire room. The furniture was comfortable too. A nice plus that the others didn't offer was the shower cap and slippers.
The manager, Evidence, Limbi and the rest of the staff were extremely attentive, warm and professional. I appreciated that the primary guest facing people were local Zambians as the other lodges often seem compelled to hire foreign young white people to tend to the guests. I arrived with a cold and the staff were most accommodating including making me some special concoction of ginger and honey to try to soothe my throat. Unfortunately, as a result of being sick, I didn't get to have as much of their delectable cuisine due to lack of appetite. Unlike other lodges, puku ridge gives guests a choice of starter, main and desert as well as custom ordered hot breakfast. Tea break and sundowners are similar to the others. The food was top notch.
My drives at puku were okay. I had Elias one day and evening. He was very good and tried hard to have me see my priority animals. Elijah took care of me for a night drive and a transfer. While nice, he didn't seem to be as good about soliciting input/questions, finding animals not coincidentally next to the car or stopping for extended periods. It required me being a bit more assertive to ensure a good drive.
Reasons to stay: seeking more flexibility, quality time with a significant other or family (rooms are romantic and meals are not eaten as a group) , good game area, top notch food, romantic setting/room, demand high level of service and personal attention, seeking R&R." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia; 5n in Botswana
"Great game viewing from the camp"
My guide Lameck was very enthusiastic and even took us out straight after lunch one day to follow up a tip off about wild dogs which I was keen to see. No luck, but it was much appreciated that he put in the effort. The managers were also very friendly and professional, especially Claire, and they quite sensitively allocated a very hardcore birding couple their own vehicle.
The main thing I didn't warm to was the lack of communal dining which, as a solo traveller, I really missed. I was sat with another solo lady but it would have been nice to have managers or guides join us for at least some meals. I realise not everyone likes communal dining, but other camps seemed able to accommodate those who requested separate seating.
I also prefer vehicles with no canopies, as at the RPS camps and Tafika, but again that is a personal preference." See all these reviews: 14n in Zambia
"Puku Ridge safari"
Overall the game did not live up to what we had experienced on previous days staying in the northern part of the South Luangwa Park, which had been exceptional. We saw two pairs of lions (one pair male, the other female), a leopard in a tree towards dusk and on another occasion on the ground at night, and 2 male giraffes fighting, as well as many hippos." See all these reviews: 8n in Zambia
"Puku Ridge review"
Our Guide was not as personable or as knowledgeable as the others we dealt with, but the room and meal quality andservice was impeccable.
The setting of the Lodge was wonderful, but the overall number and variety of the animals and birds seen was perhaps a little less than our experience of Flatdogs and Lion" See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
Holiday styles & special interests in Zambia
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Zambia.
Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.