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“True Safari”
Review of Luangwa River Camp

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Luangwa River Camp
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“True Safari”
Reviewed April 24, 2011

We have just come back from a two part honeymoon in Zambia. The first part being here at the lodge

We really wanted an authentic safari, not a one or two day drive in a part where the guides radio to each other where the animals are. We really wanted to feel we were the only people in Africa on safari! That might be wrong, but we wanted an "Out of Africa" experience.

Boy if you want that then come here. We seen so much and so many times and with the most amazing local guide.

As a honeymoon resort, the service was great, the team really friendly and nice, the lodge was spotless, we had a beautiful room.

We had a really lovely start to our honeymoon here.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank TWA_W4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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75 reviews from our community

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English first
big island hawaii
Level Contributor
98 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed December 24, 2010

This was my third time to LRL and it keeps getting better each time I stay there. The chalets are cool, comfortable and well designed with a large tub and seperate shower, comfortable beds and fine linens. The food is first class, the chef should be in a 5 star restaurant! The staff are friendly, helpful and knowledgable. There are two game drives a day with a down time in the afternoon heat to rest, swim in the pool or catch up on writing a journal. The highlight of the trip was a night spent under the stars in a mosquito net tent on the banks of the Luangwa River with guards and firepits to keep the wildlife at a safe distance. Easy access into the park which has an incredible amount of wildlife. Looking forward to my fourth trip to LRL at a future date.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Matnikstym V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2010

If you want to see real Africa, experience real safari and enjoy really warm hospitality, then you will love Luangwa River Lodge.

My husband and I had decided that we wanted to chose a safari spot for our nuptials but were put off by the 'processed' safari offerings in South Africa and Kenya. Having both been well travelled, we wanted to pick a location that wouldn't be jammed packed with tourists, but where we wouldn't have to compromise on luxury given that this was such a special trip for us.

Luckily we were not disappointed. Tom and Alison, the new managers of the hotel made our day (and entire holiday), absolutely wonderful. They thought about every little detail for us, specifically flying in flowers for me, organising a choir group to perform during our ceremony, creating a special menu for us and organising a spa surprise- Tom even conducted the service!! Granted, many other holiday makers reading this may not be considering a wedding so may think this detail irrelevant, but I think it summarises the high level of guest service and satisfaction that is the clear focus at Luangwa- nothing is ever too much for these guys.

The food we thought was extremely good. We enjoyed lunch with the other guests but often had dinner alone just the two of us, as we wished it- but the setting was always altered, a candle lit table being set in different parts of the lodge each evening. The menu was impressed (and we are used to London dining) and portions just perfect, I personally do not enjoy being fed 14 times a day but I do enjoy a hearty lunch and dinner, Luangwa suited our tastes perfectly. All of the staff were pleasant, polite, chatty and knowledgable. Drinks were free flowing.

However, all of the above aside, the most amazing part of the trip, was the safari. The resident guide Victor is something of a precious gem. One has to be in his company to understand what is so brilliant about him. Perhaps it was his genuine excitement, amazement and interest when we saw things out of drives, something we hadnt before experienced. We were used to South African drives where guides radio each other when they come across a lion and suddenly 4 buses arrive packed with guests snapping their cameras. There is no comparison with South Luangwa. Having spent 2 decades tracking poachers and patrolling the national park, Victor can spot an animal, bird, insect, from a vague footprint or through thick vegetation or from the corner of an eye. No walki talkies, no cheating- just a pair of binoculars and a lot of experience. His interest in nature becomes infectious, he drew us in with his stories, his knowledge and his love of the park and all things in it. He truly is a legend and i can't imagine that the experience would have been the same without him.

One of the other reasons that we loved Luangwa is that we were pleased to see that from Tom and Alison downwards, Luangwa employs 100% Zambian staff. Tom and Alison themselves have been residents in the area for many years and are heavily involved in community projects. This lodge that is not just about profit maximisation and certainly doesnt exploit any of its staff. Once you see how beautiful the area is, and how friendly and warm the people are, you will be pleased to see that the Lodge fits kindly into its environment and contributes something to the community.

This is a little piece of luxury that everyone should experience.

I shouldn't say this really but, whoever wrote that negative review must have been on another planet, glad that I didnt it influence my decision and miss out on this little part of heaven. Go!!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Georgie167
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2010

My wife and I have just returned from a five night stay at Luangwa River Lodge and it was with heavy hearts that we boarded the Land Rover with Victor at the wheel to take us back to Mfuwe and then on home to Jo'burg. This was my second trip and my wife's first.

The Lodge is a leisurely 45 minute drive from the airport and if you're lucky you'll see a herd of elephant on the way. In our case we saw a flock of a few hundred Carmine Bee Eaters - the colours were amazing.

Two game walks brought us the reward of a fleeting glimpse of a leopard and a great view of a pride of seven lions. The small things are what really catch your attention though, birds, insects, small mammals and of course the things the animals leave behind.

The lodge itself is nestled on the edge of the Luangwa River. We were there at the end of the dry season so it was a short walk and boat ride across the river to the game viewers and the park itself. The rooms are beautiful as is the central dining area with its splash pool and of course bar - the Mosis are always ice cold.

Alison, Tom and Victor, the management team, are wonderful, nothing is too much trouble and Victor seems to know every animal, bird and plant in the park. The food is great and plentiful -save some space for the fantastic sundowner snacks provided as you sip your G&T's whilst the sun dips behind the horizon and you watch the hippos make their way out of the water for their evening meals.

All in all a brilliant place and brilliant people. Next time we go we'll make sure Victor finds us the ever elusive Pels Fishing Owl. We'll be back - and that's a promise!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Pimbernie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2010

What an amazing lodge in a beautiful location, right on the river's edge. The safari's started early with a 5:30 am wake up call and another safari at 4 pm but it was well worth it to see all the animals and you could opt out of one or two if you were shattered. We got to see Lion's, Leopards, Elephants, Impala, Buffalo and the list goes on and on. We also managed, with the help of Victor (our guide), to recognise all these animal droppings by the end of our visit, which I suppose might prove useful in Essex one day. The villa's are open with a fine mesh covering the windows and doors which meant you really felt that you were in the open Arican bush. We had elephants at our window 4:30 am munching on the trees in our garden. Victor is a real treasure to this lodge and his knowledge of all the animals was superb, he had a great sense of humour too. I really enjoyed the early morning walks in the bush with Victor and the 'man with the gun', which he didn't need to use, thank goodness.

We enjoyed sharing our lunch / dinner with Alison, Tom and Victor, the food was superb, staff extremely friendly and helpful.

Say 'Hi' to Henry the giraffe if you should go.............Victor will explain.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank barb5374
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devizes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
183 reviews
173 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2010

A lovely lodge in a beautiful position and a very comfortable cabin with good mosquito net, emergency torch/light provided (nowhere else we stayed did), lovely bathroom with huge sunken bath, private boardwalk to a private sitting area by the river bank. Simple but tasty food enjoyed while watching elephants lumbering past the lodge! The lodge is on the opposite side of the river to the National Park, and the vehicle is left over there, with a little boat to take you over to the lodge. The southern part of South Luangwa has a number of jeeps from other camps/lodges driving around the same circuit, so you are unlikely to have an interesting wildlife sighting to yourself. But the animals are more relaxed than in the northern part of the park where they are a little bit more skittish, and there is an incredible variety and number of animals and birds.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MyrtleWiltshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wherever our feet are
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 1, 2010

Just go! Don't question it, if you go any where else you will be missing out on so so much. The Allison, Tom, Victor, and rest of the team have create the best safari experience - not just at the lodge - but in the drives and walks too. Victor really is the best guide in the park.

Food is outstanding. The boat and river crossing that start each day (a feature which means you are directly into the best parts of the park unlike the other lodges) is a treat in itself. The lodge and chalets are stunning and are true luxury. The game, predators, big game, bird, reptiles, and all the other small but fascinating animals - as well as the habitats - are in such abundance that simply sitting quietly for 5 minutes will lead to a Leopard walking past or a giraffe posing, or elephant and lion getting on with daily life right in front of you, etc. The tracking skills of the guide team where amazing.

Definitely will be going back - in fact we now see no reason to go to any other lodge or park - this has everything.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank dbellerby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Luangwa River Camp

Property: Luangwa River Camp
Address: Plot 8553 | Mfuwe, South Luangwa National Park E6, Zambia
Location: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 46 Specialty Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Luangwa River Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All the comforts of a 5 star lodge, yet with all the intimacy, tailored activities and flexible mealtimes you come to expect from a bushcamp as we only cater for up to 10 guests at any one time. We specialise in both driving and walking photographic safaris (with an armed escort scout and guide) so to maximise your bush experience at your own pace with safety and pleasure being at the forefront of any activity conducted. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Luangwa River Camp Hotel South Luangwa National Park
Luangwa River Camp Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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