Zungulila: Our full report
Zungulila is a small and incredibly isolated bushcamp in the remote southern sector of South Luangwa National Park.Owned by the Bushcamp Company and built in a more traditional style, the property is positioned on a raised bank above a natural spring, with views over an open plain to the Kapamba River beyond.
Zungulila Bushcamp has just four safari tents, each erected on a concrete platform, strengthened by a wooden pole frame and covered with a thatched roof to help keep them cool. Two of the tents, west of the main area, overlook a natural spring and the surrounding lush green vegetation. The other two, east of the main area, sit along a ridge and look out onto the flood plains of the Kapamba River.
Zungulila's safari tents are not overly large, but are relatively spacious. Each has four-poster king-size or twin beds, draped with mosquito nets. Thick Persian carpets cover the floors, and fabrics in bold natural colours such as russet and sienna add colour, without appearing gaudy. Simple, practical furniture carved out of rosewood includes bedside tables, a dressing table, storage chests and a standing storage unit. This ceiling high unit also acts as the divider between the bedroom and the en-suite bathroom. Here, you'll find a flush toilet and handbasin inside, as well as an outdoor handbasin, shower and even a mini sunken plunge pool on the deck – a welcome treat on a hot day.
Zungulila's thatched main area is set on a raised bank, enclosed on three sides by a waist-high reed wall, but open to the view at the front. The sitting area is furnished with an eclectic mix of furniture: old fashioned leather armchairs, wicker sofas with brightly coloured cushions, a rather modern-looking leather-lined bench and sturdy wooden travel trunks. The sandy floors are covered in persian-style carpets, which make it an incredibly comfortable area to lounge with your shoes off in the afternoon or evening. To the other side is a communal dining table, where guests might sit down to meals on very smart leather directors' chairs.
Off to the side of the main area is a 'boma' area with a firepit, while in front of that, where the bank falls away to the open plain, a large wooden deck extends out over the plain. It's a natural vantage point to watch animals that come to drink from the river or the spring that trickles directly below this bank – and in fine weather, it's also a great spot to dine under the stars.
The focus of the activities here is on walking safaris, and it’s even possible to walk between Zungulila and its sister bushcamp Kapamba. However, Bushcamp Company have put considerable effort into improving the road network in the area so it’s now possible to do proper day and night drives in the area. There are typically two safari activities a day such as walking in the morning when it’s cooler, and an afternoon drive which can continue into a night drive. Your activities can be flexible to a certain degree though, so not everyone has to agree on the same itinerary for the day. Each activity is accompanied by a professional guide, and walks also by an armed game scout.
Zungulila Bushcamp is in a beautiful, remote location within the park. The style of the camp sits in the middle when compared to the other Bushcamp properties – it’s simple and we love its eclectic, traditional feel, yet it’s also quite stylish with a few unexpected comforts like the mini sunken plunge pool on each private deck. With a slightly limited road network drives are possible in the area, but it’s the excellent walking safaris where the camp really shines.
- South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- We suggest two or three nights at Zungulila. For a longer safari, consider combining it with one or more of its sister camps in the South Luangwa, such as Kapamba, Bilimungwe, Chamilandu, Chindeni and Kuyenda.
- Most guests fly to Mfuwe Airport (about an hour from Lusaka), then the game-drive transfer through the park to Zungulila Bushcamp takes approximately 3–4 hours.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We only stopped at Zungulila for a short visit in October 2013, so didn't have any meals here, but from our experience at the other camps run by The Bushcamp Company, we'd expect delicious food.
The meals follow a similar format to these other camps.
Breakfast is eaten around the campfire or on the open deck in front of camp before the early-morning activity.
A buffet brunch is served at around 11.00am, after the morning activity.
Expect a treat for afternoon tea, which will usually be home-made cookies or a freshly baked cake.
A three-course dinner is served after the evening game drive, usually around 8.00pm.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- A good variety of soft drinks, juices, local beers, spirits and house wines are available at Zungulila Bushcamp, and all are included in the accommodation rate.
- Walking safaris
- South Luangwa National Park’s terrain, relaxed wildlife and excellent guiding make it the perfect destination for walking safaris in Zambia. The area around Zungulila is particularly good, as it’s remote with limited road access, and the environments are varied.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Zungulila welcomes children over the age of 12 years.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children aged 12 years and older are welcome at Zungulila. Younger children may be accepted by prior arrangement, but children under the age of 12 are not allowed to walk in the South Luangwa National Park. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 may join guided walks at the discretion of the camp manager.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- The emphasis at Zungulila is on walking and because children under the age of 12 are not allowed to walk in the South Luangwa, and older children allowed to walk only at the discretion of the guides and managers, we recommend this camp for children over the age of 16 years.
- Zungulila is unfenced, so dangerous animals can and do roam through the camp. Children must be under the supervision of their parents at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Zungulila
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Zungulila 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
- There are very limited battery-charging facilities but, in the event you need a battery charged, the manager would do this for you in the office. Some lights are solar powered; otherwise lighting is by paraffin lamps.
- Zungulila has 24-hour radio contact with its sister camps in the South Luangwa and with its base camp at Mfuwe Lodge. There is no cellphone reception or internet available here.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The showers in all four tents are plumbed in with hot and cold running water, as well as flushing toilets. The water is solar heated.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The guides are trained in first aid. The nearest doctor is in the Mfuwe area, about 3–4 hours’ drive away. In the event of a medical emergency, guests would be evacuated by air to Lusaka.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests are escorted to their chalets after dark by a member of the team.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are available in the tents and main area in case of fire.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- A complimentary laundry service is included, but for cultural reasons this does not include ladies' underwear; soap for this is provided in the tents. Clothes are hand washed and coal ironed, and will usually be returned the same day if weather permits.
- There are no safes in the tents and the camp does not offer any currency-exchange facilities.
- Accepted payment on location
- The usual currency for tips is Zambian kwacha or US dollars. In the unlikely event that payment for anything else is needed, this would be arranged through Zungulila's sister camp, Mfuwe Lodge.
Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
One of the best camps in Zambia, Tafika is naturally built, combining excellent service and food with top guiding skills for a superb wildlife experience.
On the banks of the Luangwa River, with its own access to the national park, the intimate Nkwali is open year round.
Small and owner-run, the riverside Kaingo occupies a a quiet but excellent game area, with a series of wildlife hides and a focus on photography.
One of the Luangwa's oldest camps, Nsefu is a great safari camp in a remote, beautiful and game-rich location with top-rate guiding.
One of the Luangwa's best camps, in a beautiful, remote bush location, Tena Tena is very small, exceedingly well-run and has top-rate guiding.
Small, remote and owner-run, Mwamba offers first-class walking, 4WD safari drives and superb hides, with excellent guides and a real bush feel.
Chikoko Tree Camp
Chikoko Tree Camp is an excellent small, rustic bushcamp that concentrates on walking safaris, and is run by a top-quality operation.
Big Lagoon Camp
Big Lagoon Camp is a great little rustic bushcamp built to high standards that focuses on excellent walking safaris, with the emphasis on top wildlife guides.
Kapani Lodge is now the main office base for Norman Carr Safaris, one of the Luangwa's oldest safari operations.
A relatively big safari camp, Flatdogs offers value for money with great guiding and good food in a comfortable, relaxed setting.
Luangwa River Camp
Luangwa River Lodge is a small and consciously stylish lodge in the Mfuwe area, overlooking the Luangwa River and the South Luangwa National Park beyond – an area renowned for great game.
Beside the Luangwa River, Kakuli is a comfortable tented bushcamp offering 4WD safaris and walking safaris – the best of which are camp-to-camp walks linking Kakuli with its nearby sister camps.
Set in a shady ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa, Mchenja is a smart tented bushcamp. It combines well with Kakuli and Nsolo – its sister camps with a focus on walking safaris.
Nsolo is a small, comfortable bushcamp overlooking one or two pools in the usually dry Luwi riverbed. It concentrates on walking safaris in an interesting and diverse area, led by a knowledgeable guide.
Kafunta River Lodge
Kafunta is a laid-back, friendly and good-value lodge on the outskirts of South Luangwa National Park.
In a remote part of the South Luangwa National Park, Luwi is a rustic bushcamp whose emphasis is on walking safaris with great guiding and a chance of seeing some rarely seen and elusive antelope.
Robin Pope bush-camp
RPS bushcamping in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Lion Camp is an established and comfortable camp with a swimming pool, located near to the game-rich Lion Plain in the northern part of South Luangwa National Park.
Robin Pope mobile
RPS mobile safari camps are at the heart of their set-itinerary walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park, which start and finish at a permanent camp.
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Kapamba is a small and very comfortable bushcamp offering good walks and game drives.
Puku Ridge is a luxurious designer camp set in a stunning location, high on a hill overlooking a floodplain within South Luangwa. Explore from here on 4WD safaris and walks.
In a game-rich area close to the South Luangwa’s main Mfuwe Gate, Mfuwe Lodge is relatively large by park standards, but it’s stylish, modern and family friendly.
Kuyenda Bushcamp is a classic bushcamp with particularly delightful hosts and offers top-class walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.
Luangwa Safari House
Luangwa Safari House is a vast and very smart four-bedroom house specifically designed for families and small groups, and offering an exclusive and flexible safari experience.
Opened in early June 2013, Chinzombo offers luxurious and stylish accommodation with very high levels of service and excellent guiding.
A smart bushcamp with four very spacious chalets, Bilimungwe offers interesting walking safaris in pretty riverine woodland, as well as day and night safari drives.
Three Rivers Camp
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Three Rivers Lodge sits at the confluence of three of the valleys rivers.
Chindeni Bushcamp is a very modern and minimalist camp, which is a far cry from your traditional bushcamp and unlike most of the other camps in South Luangwa.
With your own expert guide, private vehicle, chef and valet, the two-bedroom Robin's House offers an exclusive, flexible safari experience – and is open year round.
Kawaza Village – beside the South Luangwa National Park, offers guests the rare opportunity to appreciate local village life. Visit for a few hours or stay overnight.
Island Bush Camp
Island Bushcamp is a good-value, rustic, walking-only camp, in arguably one of the most remote parts of the South Luangwa, well away from all other camps.
The Mwamba-Camp Out allows you to have an incredibly adventurous night in the bush, sleeping under mosquito nets with activities led by some of the best guides in Zambia.
A comfortable little bushcamp, Chamilandu has a picturesque setting by the Luangwa River, in an area with a range of habitats to explore on foot and by 4WD.
Luwi Riverbed Sleepout
For an adventurous night in South Luangwa National Park, come and sleep out in the bush, around a campfire, with an experienced guide and game scout.
Opened in June 2021, Shawa Luangwa Camp is a small, intimate and rustic camp, with a good location in a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park.
Currently undergoing renovations, Chichele Presidential Lodge stands high within the park, with superb views, and is due to reopen in late 2022.
Mapazi Camp is a basic safari camp in the far north of the South Luangwa, with walking safaris led by renowned guide Deb Tittle.
Chikunto Safari Lodge is a more traditional property in the South Luangwa National Park, sitting on a peninsula of land created by the meandering Luangwa River.