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“Fantastic introduction to Zambia” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris)

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Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris)
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South Luangwa National Park, Zambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Nottinghamshire
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Fantastic introduction to Zambia”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We have been fortunate to have stayed at a number of excellent safari camps throughout Africa and Kaingo delivered what you would hope and expect from a camp of this nature. What sets Kaingo apart is the staff, they all work so hard in making your experience here special and in turn this gives the camp a very special atmosphere which makes you feel at ease minutes after arriving.
Andrew was our guide for the four days we stayed and his knowledge and humour was a highlight of this wonderful stay. Couple this with Izzy and Yvonne ensuring that those moments you weren’t enjoying the wildlife were spent eating or drinking something delicious - we particularly enjoyed the lunches taken on our deck watching the Hippos getting a tan…………….we are still working on shedding those extra pounds.
Apart from the Game drives there’s the added dimension of the hides and for the more adventurous a night out up in the Elephant hide (thanks Peter) - an activity we would highly recommend. Simply put if you want to experience the true magic of safari and meet some very special people look no further than Kaingo – thanks guys for a great four days & two Pel’s………… brilliant.

  • Stayed June 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.
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, August 7, 2013
Dear "Travelling Birders"

All of us at Kaingo wish to thank you for visiting us in June, and for your very nice feedback here on TripAdvisor. We are delighted to read that you have enjoyed the activities, and found the meals delicious! We will pass all this to the team.

And topping it all up by your first sighting of Pel's Fishing Owl - well, we are so happy for you and hope you will come back for more!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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94 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Yardley, Pennsylvania
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

Kaingo is a delightful camp for animal viewing and photography, due in large part to the exceptional staff. We had three delightful nights with the congenial staff who made us feel right at home. Manager Izzy knew what we wanted before we did, and our guide Sly, seeing that we wanted to observe and learn more than just photograph wildlife, treated us to prolonged sessions viewing animal behaviors. Game abounds in the area surrounding the camp. We were fortunate to be able to see wild dog twice during our visit, and we had a very close encounter with a male giraffe. As other reviewers have written, the camp has a great location along the Luangwa River, very comfortable chalets, and private viewing decks where lunch is served if one is in camp at that time. We saw more than 130 hippos from the hippo hide. Unlike other camps, Kaingo offers three activities per day, the usual morning and evening walks or drives, and an opportunity to visit one of their hides. The only complaint I have is that they feed you 7 times a day, and the food is hard to resist! This is a place I will return to.

  • Stayed June 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
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ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, July 20, 2013
Dear SafariGail!

Thank you very much for your kind review on Trip Advisor! I'm so delighted to read that you have enjoyed our staff, our food (despite too much of it! ) and most of all the camp and the activities on offer. The sightings of wild dogs have been great so far this season, although unpredictable!

I'm so glad you will consider returning, and I hope it won't be too long before we can welcome you back to Kaingo Camp.

Sincerely,
Izzy
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gloucester, uk
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

Dave and I visited Shenton's Safaris in June 2011 and on the flight home had already decided to visit again as soon as possible. We were lucky enough to be able to do just this the following October - taking our son, Sam, with us.

As before, the family atmosphere at Shenton's is what makes these camps so special. The chalets at both camps are fabulous. The hide at Mwamba was just superb - I would say that it was a highlight of the holiday but in all honesty there were so many highlights of this holiday that we couldn't pick out just one (seven leopard sightings in ONE day!, close encounters with elephants - especially Jerry the ele wanting to join us for dinner one evening at Mwamba; hyenas, lion cubs and honey badgers). We thought that the sightings we had in June were good but the time we had in October really did exceed our wildest dreams.

Special thanks of course have to be given to the wonderful, wonderful staff - not just to Patrick, Meyem and Sylvester for the fabulous guiding but also to Izzy, Noelle. Rob, Brent, John and James (oh, and Derek of course!). Everyone works so hard to ensure a good stay here, nothing is too much trouble and the guides really do work their socks off to get the best game viewing possible for you. If you want an exceptional safari experience with people who genuinely care about the wildlife and environment and who are dedicated to making your stay as fabulous as possible, then Shenton's is for you.
This was our second visit to Shenton's and we are already hoping that a third visit is possible in the future.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
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ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, May 22, 2013
Dear Dave & Jenny,

Thank you so much for your very kind review of Kaingo and Mwamba. It has been a treat having you the first year, and the second year, and we all look forward to having you back - as soon as possible!

Most sincerely,
Izzy
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Melbourne
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

Shenton’s Kaingo & Mwumba camps are what Africa is all about. We first visited here in August 2010, the trip was amazing and it was totally finished off to perfection by a 6 night stay between both the camps which totally surpassed all our expectations. So much so, on the outbound drive to the airport we were already talking about when we would be back, September 2012 as it turned out!
If you want 5 star glitz & glamour & air con don’t stay here – if you want a real African experience with people who care this is the place to be. The remote location, great staff, super knowledgeable guides & trackers, relaxed friendly atmosphere, very comfortable accommodation, jaw dropping landscape & wildlife encounters just blew us away.
We’ve stayed in various places in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe all lovely but it’s the “realness”, the personal touch of Shenton’s that sets it apart. Arriving here again this time was like coming home, there were hugs all round from those that were still here from last time and new friends made in the 8 nights we spent here.

The guiding here is second to none; Patrick & Meyem are fonts of knowledge and will happily try and find your “bucket list” from the big Cats to the smallest bird or insect & everything in-between, if it’s out there they will do their best to get you that photo opportunity! The hides are brilliant and if you are lucky enough to be there during the Carmine season you will be left speechless by their display. The individual decks are a great spot to relax and watch the crocs & hippo's about their daily business. The bath was a fantastic way for us to cool off in the heat of the day. We ate like royalty everyday the food was just so fresh and delicious – not an easy job given the remoteness of the camps.

We walked between camps and were well rewarded with close encounters with elephants, Buffalo, and lion. We never felt unsafe (and not just because the exceptional Gideon was there with his gun!!) we kept a respectful distance but it was magical to be out of the vehicle and on ground level with these magnificent animals. Brent is totally at one with nature and the environment, he has so much knowledge about the bush and its goings on it was super special walk – a real highlight.

We were lucky enough to witness lions hunting & on a kill on our last night in camp. Yes lions sleep for a big part of the day and some might find them a little boring to watch – not me though I love them. We had spotted the Mwumba Pride having an afternoon nap, I commented to my husband I could just get out of the car and cuddle one they just looked so sweet!!! I was of a totally different opinion a few hours later when we caught up with them again after dark and on the hunt for their dinner. A hunt & kill is not for the faint hearted but it’s an experience that totally took my breath away and left me wonderstruck. We were all in awe of these beautiful beasts and their efficiency and sad for the little Puku who was dinner. When the Hyena arrived with their whooping and laughing it sent the chills through us all – a totally unbelievable experience. This was just one of the many amazing experiences we had during our stay, Derrick the owner took us out one day and we were lucky to come across huge herds of elephants crossing the dry open planes heading to water, there must have been 300 in all and it was just beautiful to watch their silent march and interactions with each other.

I could go on and on but I had better stop! We will go back in a few years that’s a given. I will say though - do yourself a favour, go and have your own experience, you won’t regret it.
Vikki & Darren

  • Stayed September 2012, 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.
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, December 8, 2012
Dear Vikki and Darren!

Thank you so much for choosing to stay at Kaingo and Mwamba again on your return visit to Zambia, and I am delighted to read that your second visit was a success, and that you may come to see us again! This time I will make sure to be there too, as this year I was away when you actually came. Shame on me!

Thank you also for sharing your pictures, and please do keep on sending some to us too!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Kaingo was the only disappointing place we stayed during our three week safari in Zambia. We felt a bit like it was a place run for the convenience of the managers rather than the pleasure of the guests. At no time were we asked what we wanted to see and what our interests were - we were just told which jeep we were in and off we went. The only time we got to choose our activities was in the middle of the day when we got to pick which hide we wanted to visit.

Both guides had a severe case of what I call "Big Cat-itis" where they focus on lions/leopards to the exclusion of everything else. This is such a shame as you miss so much on a game drive by ignoring the smaller things. It also contrasted badly to the two previous camps we were in - Mwamba and Takifa.

We kept being taken back to the same group of lions on every game drive. However, most of the time they were asleep - and lions lazing under a tree get a bit dull after a while. I'd much rather watch a group of baboons for an hour than a group of lions. However, I wasn't given the choice. We just sped straight past things like baboons.

The night drives here were also disappointing compared to the other camps that we visited. All the animals we saw were much further away and more skittish.

The hides were also a bit of a disappointment. We went to the hippo hide twice, but the hippos were a considerable distance from the hide so you don't get an up close and personal view like I was hoping for. The elephant hide was nicely positioned up in a tree at a point where the elephants cross the river. However, on the day we were due to go to the elephant hide we had been told to meet in reception at 12:30 which we did. We waited around for about 15 minutes for someone to appear and eventually they did and we were asked "Why aren't you at the hide?". Apparently the elephants had crossed early and the other guests had gone over at 12:00 but no-one came to get us so we didn't know. By the time we got to the hide the elephants were half way across the river and travelling away from us (so not great for the photos). It would have been lovely had we seen the whole thing but the best bits happened before we got there - which was frustrating. Once the elephants had finished crossing we were told "that's it - we're going now" without being given any option to stay longer - despite only having been there for about 20 minutes. At no stage was there any apology for messing us around.

It wasn't all bad. We saw lions, hyenas, a leopard up a tree with a kill (actually very close to Mwamba bushcamp and found by Patrick - the Mwamba guide), it just wasn't as good as it could have been, which was deeply frustrating.

There are very tame bushbucks and vervet monkeys in the surrounding bush at the camp. We were nearly joined by a vervet monkey in the bath on one day.

The rooms are ok - although they don't let much breeze in so they get VERY hot. The outside bathtub is a nice touch and lovely in the hot weather. The food is mostly average - although we did get the occasional really nice dish. But there is no choice - you just get what you are given.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, December 4, 2012
Dear "WildlifeFan01",

Thank you for posting this review on TripAdvisor, I had responded to the review you had posted for Mwamba, but I hadn't seen this one yet. I'm quite happy that you are opening up and giving us an honest feedback, although it is quite a shock to us to read some part of it, as it really is not the feeling we imagine our guests walking away with.

I'm sorry you chose not to share this feedback with us directly, and if you would like to, I would really appreciate a personal email as well, as some items in your feedback need to be addressed more seriously than on a public website. I am not allowed to give you our contact information but you can chose to email me directly via our website.

Our first priority is of course the comfort of our guests, and the satisfaction of their safari with us! Not something we oversee at all, and that is where your comment about the operation being a convenience for managers is quite worrying. I am sorry you felt that way. We have appointed a safari manager this past season specifically to make sure all guests were given choices for activities and special interest. It has obviously not been dealt as intended while you were with us.

Our guides have the reputation to be the best in the Valley, and again this can only be discussed if I know the guides in question, so a personal email would be appreciated. They are in no case dedicated to seeing only cats, this usually results from a requests of other guests, but this particular case may have been different.

I totally agree with you that lions sleeping are one of the most boring thing you can see on safari, and I apologize if the guides you had did not spend time enough with other wildlife. They should always be aware of what their guests are looking for.

The incident about the mid-day visit to the ellie hide is a serious one. And again, not what we promote. It will be addressed as the ones above.

On a final note, regarding the meals, that is true that we function as a "table d'hote" with a fixed menu, which is based on a 10 day rotation, and we try to offer the most variety considering the limited or inconsistency of supplies coming to our camp. But we take special dietaries very seriously, and we would have hoped to know that alternatives were needed. Don't be afraid to ask on your next visit - this will make things much easier for all of us.

I look forward to hearing from you on a personal email, if you chose to do so.

Sincerely,
Izzy
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Divonne, France
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

We had the pleasure of spending time at Kaingo and Mwamba with 'KayHBee', the previous reviewer - her account is so accurate, comprehensive and eloquently put that I will keep my own short and sweet! 
We had 3 great nights at Kaingo before moving on to Mwamba, its sister bushcamp. The chalets are attractive and cosy, boasting an XL outdoor bathtub, and we loved having lunch on our private deck overlooking the Luangwa river. The setting is really picturesque, between the river and an ebony forest. The 3 hides (hippo, elephant and carmine bee eater) are a fantastic idea and very cleverly designed - all safari camps should have them! Whether you are into photography or not, you can easily spend a few hours there, it is fascinating being able to watch the wildlife so closely and be right in the middle of the action!
Great guiding, great service, can't fault anything. A big thank you to Noelle for her bubbly personality and to Izzy who runs the camp so efficiently (so nice to chat to you in French!) - it was a pleasure meeting you both!
This camp is primarily a photographer's dream but also perfect for all wild life lovers. 

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Dear Nadege!

MERCI for posting your review of your recent visit to Kaingo on TripAdvisor! It is a great pleasure to read that you have enjoyed your stay, the setting, the wildlife and the team!

I will make sure to share the comments with our staff.

It was delightful to spend some time with you and speak French indeed! All the best for the cold winter.

Sincerely,
Izzy
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Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

Why we chose Shenton’s: 1) there was a good chance we’d see decent leopard sightings; 2) I wanted a small operation, preferably family and Zambian owned; 3) I wanted to feel close to nature but did not want “basic”; 4)I wanted an operator who is clearly committed to the local community and conservation.

I was very happy with my choice of Shenton Safari and we stayed for 4 nights at Kaingo then walked over to Mwamba Bush Camp for another 4 nights.

Accommodation: Lovely – we had one of the “honeymoon” chalets, with outside bath; a hammock; and a private and shaded terrace to which lunch was delivered every day – all of these overlooking the Luangwa River. The inside was well appointed, room enough for the time we spent inside. The bathroom was fine with a decent shower for which hot water was always “on tap”. There was washing powder, soap, shampoo and insect repellent available. The terrace seats were ridiculously comfortable and induced drowsiness almost immediately. The whole place was spotless. There are no electrical outlets in the chalets – lights are solar. I was concerned about using the bath but I was reassured that the water supply is plentiful so I went ahead and can recommend it – bring your own bubbles.

Communal areas: The bar/dining area was under thatch and this is where all the guests took breakfast and dinner together. As there are only 6 chalets, the number of guests means there is never a crowd. There is a very comfortable viewing terrace over the river where afternoon tea is taken prior to leaving for the afternoon game drives/walks. Ideally placed with a spotting scope and reference books. There is also a charging hut where there are plentiful sockets for recharging batteries and laptops. It was a blessing to be able to enjoy the sounds of the bush without a generator humming in the background.

Food: Plentiful and always delicious. Heralded by the drums – different tempo depending on the time of day. We were encouraged to make ourselves at home. The lunch being served on your own terrace is a nice touch and allows for some much needed downtime at the hottest part of the day. The water is supplied from the camp’s own bore hole and is crystal clear with a lovely spring-like taste.

Efficiency: Everything seemed to run smoothly – the staff were all kind and enthusiastic even towards the end of the season. Laundry was done and returned every day. There was always hot water. The camp has quite a big base station nearby where there are workshops and I guess the bore hole for the water supply. There is a considerable number of staff who you don’t see but who nonetheless work really hard to ensure that your stay is everything you want it to be. Although it all seemed to be well organised, this was not at all at the expense of the prevailing atmosphere of homeliness and friendliness.

Activities: One of the attractions of the Shenton camps is that 3 activities per day are on offer rather than the more standard two. Although the jeeps are kitted out with 3 benches, the maximum number of guests per vehicle is 6 – we didn’t have that many very often. The previous evening the activities are worked out between the guests and the ops manager. Morning and afternoon walks and game drives are on offer. A visit to one of the hides is the mid-day activity (with the exception of the carmine bee-eater hide which is late afternoon). The hides are designed to let you get up close to the animals and birds. Designed with photographers in mind, but a great experience too for those who don’t carry huge lenses, or who prefer just to watch. The sundowners were lovely especially as we then carried on straight into the night drives which are really quite special.

Guiding: There are quite a few guides all of whom have different styles. Regardless of style, I found the quality of the guiding to be simply exceptional. I expected them to be knowledgeable, skilled and experienced – and they were - but what shone through consistently like a beacon was their enthusiastic enjoyment, passion and commitment to guiding and to sharing the South Luangwa NP and all its life with their guests. The guides were also accompanied by an armed ZAWA scout in the evening who also served as a spotter and lamp operator. These scouts were also exceptional. Both guides and scouts showed over and over their empathy and understanding of the natural world. Guides do need you to share your interests with them and they were good at asking and enquiring. They were also very good at positioning the jeeps for the best lighting for shots and viewing. I can’t commend these folks highly enough.

Experience: We saw a huge variety of wildlife from large to small. The natural beauty of this part of the park is breathtaking. The ebony forests, the arid dead trees, the glorious green of the sausage trees, the white of scattered bones, the river itself which was receding daily during our visit. And of course, the birds and animals. We had fantastic sightings. We saw just about everything, often for long spells when we just sat and watch in wonder. We experienced the thrill of watching lions and leopards hunt, we heard lions chasing impala past our jeep in the dark. We discovered that the wildebeest and zebras really are different here. And the elephants – they were so active and hugely watchable. The hippos made an indelible impression and they were the sound of that part of the holiday for me. Seeing a Pel’s Fishing Owl and 2 Pearl Spotted Owls in the same night was a particular highlight, as was seeing a croc catch a fish. We spent a night in the elephant hide. Going to sleep up high, under the stars with a welcome breeze then waking up and having the whole dawn to yourself as the sun starts to rise and sends its rays scattering over the river is really special.

Summary: this was probably our best ever holiday – the combination of a fantastic setting, exceptional guiding, great organisation really meant that everything pulled together in a hugely satisfying way. I had some anxieties about the communal dining aspects – I’m not the most social person – but these were quickly dispelled by the skills of the camp host (Izzy), the safari ops manager (Noelle) and the like-minded nature of the other guests who were lovely. Photographers are very well catered for indeed with the guides being very aware of position and lighting. Kaingo is pitched at photographers, but do not let this put you off if you are, like me, a point-and-shoot type or someone who prefers to watch. You get close enough to get some good shots – and some of the guest who were there at the same time as us didn’t have cameras at all. If you have a similar set of requirements to mine and really want an intimate and immersive as well as a fulfilling experience then I can’t think that you would find a better match in South Luangwa – except possibly Mwamba Bush Camp which is also run by Shenton Safari.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris), responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Dear "KayHBee"!

Thank you so much for writing such a detailed review about your stay at Kaingo! I can certainly use your skills in my marketing!

I'm so delighted to read that all your expectations were met, and that you had a lovely time.

I do apologize for the lack of bubble bath in the jug near your bathtub! I wish I could blame it on the monkeys instead, but it is definitely our mistake for not having the bottle refilled in due time.

Next time you come and visit we'll make sure everything is up to par!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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Additional Information about Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris)

Address: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Location: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 40 Specialty Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kaingo Camp is a privately owned and run safari camp located deep in the South Luangwa National Park. Set alongside the perennial Luangwa river, the 6 chalets have an outdoor bathtub and private viewing deck. Kaingo Camp, and its sister bushcamp Mwamba, have a unique set of observation hides offering unmatched opportunities to watch and photograph wildlife. The rates include 3 game viewing activities per day, and all meals and beverages. The rates are per person, per night. Kaingo and Mwamba are seasonal camps, and are opened from May 26th to October 31st. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris) Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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