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“There's an Elephant on my Door Stoop!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bilimungwe Bushcamp - The Bushcamp Company

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Bilimungwe Bushcamp - The Bushcamp Company
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PO Box 91, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Oakland, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“There's an Elephant on my Door Stoop!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

Upon our arrival at Bilimungwe following a three hour bush drive, we were looking forward to lunch and a cold beer. Unfortunately, (but reflective of the fact that we were "not in Kansas"), we were held hostage in our beautiful camp chalet by three elephants who were enjoying pods from the adjacent tree. Camp host Tom finally gave us the "all clear" after twenty minutes and escorted us to the community verandah for a typically great meal. Tom was a wonderful and attentive host, much appreciated by one suffering from an attack of "tourista." The room was beautiful, and one can't help having a little bit of a Tarzan experience while enjoying a warm shower al fresco! But our favorite part of this wonderful camp was the guide Manda and the seriously weaponized Priest. Whether on bush walks or game drives, Manda was informed and eloquent. And when an irritable elephant trumpeted his disapproval of our presence and started a charge from about 60 yards, Manda showed him who was boss. Our nicest surprise came one evening at sunset when Tom met us half way through our game drive with camp chairs and delectable treats to accompany our nightly "Sundowner." As the sun retreated over the hills we raised our glasses to a land of wonders and an experience of gracious luxury.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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76 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

This was my first time doing a Safari and we started in this camp.

We stayed 3 nights here and then we moved to two other camps of the same company Bushcamp.

I fell in love with the room as soon as we arrived despite being a bit grumpy after driving 3 hours in the sun to get there – It is worth it! Beautifully decorated, great wooden work, amazing views, perfect location... I couldn’t believe where I was!!

The room has everything you need and the outside shower is one of the best things. However, I would have loved to have a bit more of cold water to drink in the room. I understand it gets really hot so the bottles get warm quite quickly so it is not a criticism

The food was delicious! Different ideas for brunch, lovely dinners and very tasty cakes at tea time. Never felt hungry!

But one of the things which made our staying there perfect was the guide Manda and Priest. Those 3 days we spent there were the days we learnt the most. The walking safaris felt more like an adventure and not a sort of walk in the bush. There is no time set it is more “Let’s go how it goes”. We had a walk of nearly 4 hours that although it was a killer we loved it. It was just incredible!! Made it very difficult for the other guides to compete with them. Now I know that if we go back I will get Manda as guide for all the camps we will stay in and if possible Priest as well - With them you feel safe even when you have lions, hippos, or elephant 15 metres away…

I really wish I could come back one day!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Oakland, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013

Bilimungwe was our first Bushcamp experience and it exceeded any expectations I had from the moment we drove up to find the entire staff welcoming us with ice-cold face towels and fruit juice. Tom, the camp host, is a charming young man who made us feel at home immediately, but the true star of the camp is Manda, our incredibly knowledgeable guide. Every game walk or drive brought opportunities for us to learn something new, from the life cycle of termites to the best way to avoid direct contact with unhappy elephants. The chalets are stunning; our favorite amenity was the second, outdoor shower; it's an amazing feeling to wash the soap from your eyes and turn around to find elephants, a giraffe, and warthogs gazing at you! In fact, the game drives were only marginally more exciting than simply watching animals in their native habitat living their lives mere feet away from our verandah. Meals were uniformly delicious; we especially loved our Mongolian barbecue served at a candlelit table in the field in front of the camp.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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citysearcher
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

All I can so is wow! We came to Zambia in August for our first ever safari and upon a fabulous recommendation from a friend who is a local, we chose the Bushcamp company. We were supposed to stay 1 night at Mfuwe, 2 nights at Bili and then 1 more night back at Mfuwe before departing, but loved Bili so much that we opted to splurge a little and stay a third night at Bili instead.

There are only 4 chalets, so really no more than 8 guests at a given time which makes for a wonderfully intimate safari experience. You will likely see no other cars on your game drives, making it feel that much more remote and special when you come upon a great animal sighting. Our last night we had an amazing lion hunting sighting right by our camp - what a thrill! Made even more thrilling by the fact that we were the only car there.

We also found that it seemed that all the guests at Bili had been repeat customers - almost as if they themselves were safari experts! Boy, did that make us feel like we sure picked the right place to stay! The staff is excellent - they really take care of you, serving excellent food and making sure your time is as perfect as can be. Manda and Francis were excellent guides, and Tom, the manager of the camp was super welcoming and made us feel right at home.

I can't really begin to describe how wonderful the experience was - I think it is just best experienced in person! I wouldn't hesitate one bit to recommend Bilimungwe to anyone seeking a first, second, or 20th safari experience.

Room Tip: All rooms are great!!!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

Bilimungwe was our second stop of three at the Bush Camps, and we liked it the best. Our chalet (#1) was furthest was furthest away from the main dining/meeting area, with an enormous deck overlooking a large watering hole. Elephants, wart hogs, baboons, impalas and various other animals came to drink during the day and night, giving us a private reserve amidst the park. The king sized bed was very comfortable and the mosquito netting quaint, although we never saw any of those creatures. Each day consisted of a 5:45 wake up, 6:00 breakfast (toast, jams and butter, cereals, coffee & tea, etc.) followed by the morning game drive/walk into the bush. You never knew what to expect so seeing giraffes nibbling on trees up close, stopping to photograph elephants grazing, tending their young, coming upon lions resting by the river, spotting a leopard playing with a baby impala (before the kill, which we interfered with), watching baboons run with their tails in the air, and observing hawks, cultures, water birds, eagles, etc. made for an outstanding morning. We stopped to rest midway on our 2 1/2 hour walk to snack on tea, water and different cookies, then headed off again for more up close and personal animal viewing. My wife and I took literally thousands of pictures which we now have to cull down to a manageable size so we can show them. Brunch (really lunch) at 11:00 followed with delicious salads and foods you would expect in a big city restaurant. Then, time to rest, shower, indoors or out (hot water provided by solar hearing) and nap even, before the afternoon tea preceding the next game drive at 4:30. Climbing in and out of the range rover provided more exercise than we would get in a gym. The bush camp is in the South Luangwa National Park, with the Luangwa River bisecting it at times. This required crossing the river on sand bridges, which allowed great viewing and picture talking of water birds, many of them beautifully colored. We spotted Owens, cormorants, crown cranes, sandpipers, eagles, vultures and many more. Stopping for a "sundowner" every night for drinks and snacks, while we enjoyed a magnificent sunset made it seem like we were on a Hollywood set, although it was all real. One highlight was enjoying the sundowner directly in the river, with chairs, table filled with goodies and the magnificent sky and scenery as accompaniment. Truly impressive. Then, as darkness fell off hunting the nocturnal animals--leopards, hyenas, porcupines, mongooses, the elusive advaark, etc. Then, tired but happy, we returned for our nightly scrumptious dinner, elegantly served, as if in a 3 star restaurant in Paris. Escorted back to our private chalet, we settled in for a lovely few minutes of reading or sudoku, before sleep overtook us. The 3 days we spent here were some of the best ever on vacation!

Room Tip: They're all great
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

Camp Bili was our first ever bushcamp experience and it did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded expectations in every respect. Our living quarters was far nicer than many high end hotels we've stayed at over the years and the watering hole adjacent to it was routinely visited by large numbers of elephants, giraffe, warthog, hyena, baboons and many species of native and migratory birds. And then there were the safaris. Both walking safaris and driving day and night game drives. All simply spectacular. Combine that with a camp staff that has as its sole purpose your total satisfaction with the safari experience and your comfort and a gourmet dining experience in the bush. There is also a bush spa at Bili, believe it or not. So, carve out some time during siesta for a massage; you will not regret it. What more could you ask for? Three cheers for Camp Bilimungwe!!

Room Tip: The bushcamp only has 3 or 4 lodges, accomodating 6 or 8 guests total. Every lodge fronts onto a po...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bristol
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

Had a wonderful 3 night stay at Bilimungwe camp. I love it here becuase of the central watering hole. The elephants and other wildlife come to drink RIGHT outside your room. It's possible to (literally) lie in bed and see elephants! While we were there, Tim was the camp manager. He was very helpful. Steve was our guide. The food was great, and people were so friendly. We also had opportunity to do some bushwalks with Mulenga and Matthews. This place is SUCH a treat - didn't want to leave. The wildlife really is outstanding and there's a reason I keep coming back.

Room Tip: All four have great views of the central pool.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bilimungwe Bushcamp - The Bushcamp Company

Address: PO Box 91, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Location: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 41 Specialty Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Bilimungwe Bushcamp - The Bushcamp Company Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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