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“Best wilderness experience of our life”
Review of Kutandala Camp

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Kutandala Camp
Mijdrecht
Level Contributor
97 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Best wilderness experience of our life”
Reviewed November 5, 2009

Kutandala is the closest thing to the Africa experienced by early explorers, combined with excellent food and personal service. Rod and Guz run an outstanding small but comfortable and very exciting operation, far away from civilization and mankind.
Nature is not at your doorstep, you are living in it. Contineously surrounded by wildlife and wilderness, you will sleep, eat and walk. How Guz can produce 3* Michelin quality food under such primitive circumstances is beyong imagination.
Go there if you want to experience the real africa, as long as it lasts....

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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1 Thank bymy141
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
swindon
Level Contributor
183 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2008

This camp is literally in the middle of nowhere, with no other camps or human habitation within miles, and accommodation is in rustic "huts", albeit with en-suite bathroom, hot water for showers and a mosquito net to keep you safe from the wildlife! We spent six fantastic nights at Kutandala, and the whole set-up is superbly run by the owners, Rod and Guz. Rod has been guiding in the Park for many years, and his experience, knowledge and enthusiasm are awesome. We have been on walking safaris many times before, but with Rod we found ourselves face to face with lion, hippo, buffalo and elephant, all very close, but always confident in Rod's ability to read the animal's behaviour (not to say that the adrenelin was not flowing on a few occasions!). The wildlife in this Park is tremendous (a herd of more than 600 buffalo seen more than once) and we had elephants visiting the camp on several nights, eating part of the roof of our room on one never-to-be-forgotten (and sleepless) night. But it is also the knowledge of the smaller things, such as insects, birds, animal tracking and the whole range of flora and fauna which, in our opinion, makes Rod one of the best guides we have ever encountered.
Must also mention his wife Guz, who achieves the impossible with regards to food, especially considering where we were. The temperatures rose to over 40 celcius during the day, dropping a little at night, yet sorbet appeared on the menu, and was wonderful, as was the chocolate cake produced at tea-time. Without listing all the wonderful meals, suffice it to say that it would be difficult to dine better in any 5 star restaurant (and as we were eating dinner out in the open we were able to see far more than just 5 stars).
This camp is probably not for the first timer to Africa (though it is very safe) but if you have been on safari before, either in a vehicle or even on foot, and want a little more remoteness, excitement and an intimate interaction with the African bush, get yourselves out to Kutandala, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed - we certainly were not.

  • Liked — The remoteness, coupled with quality service
  • Disliked — Leaving!
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank foresthouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New England, USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2008

This was my first trip to Africa and I didn't know if I would ever be able to return, so I wanted it to be the best experience I could arrange. I was not disappointed. I did a lot of research about safaris and concluded that I wanted a more intimate African bush experience than the regular safari fare. The walking safaris seemed the type I was looking for and that led me to Zambia, the home of walking safaris.

I was after much more than just close-up photographs of the usual big African mammals. As a retired wildlife biologist I wanted to walk into the bush and experience the animals on their terms. To accommodate this goal I looked for a very remote area, with few camps and great wildlife. This led me to North Luanga Park and the Mwaleshi River. This million-acre park has only three camps, each about 20 miles apart. Access is by the Mwaleshi airstrip, a dirt clearing with a windsock. I choose Kutandala Camp because of its remoteness, its philosophy of adhering to the principles of walking safaris, and their reputation for excellent cuisine and rustic yet comfortable accommodations.

Rod and Guz Tether are the owners of this small four-hut camp on the banks of the Mwaleshi River. Huts are made from indigenous grasses with thatched roofs and smooth earthen floors, but they are spacious and comfortable, with great views of the Mwaleshi River. Flush toilets and warm showers are a plus. See the Kutandala web site for more on accommodation details.

The meals and service are just wonderful. I have rarely eaten so well, even when compared to some of the finest hotels I've stayed at. Guz does a terrific job of coordinating the meals and services at the camp, plus raising two small children and a baby! The additional pleasure of her family only added to the already comfortable and domestic feel of the camp. Several nights local guests arrived for a visit and I had some wonderful conversations with Claire, the head of the Frankfort Zoological Society of Zambia who just "dropped by" to stay a few days because "everybody knows that Kutandala has the best kitchen of any bush camp in Zambia." I would expand that to any in Africa. Candlelit dinners under the huge Mahogany tree were not only delicious, but had the added advantage of wonderful conversations with Rod, Guz and their guests.

But I was there mainly to experience the African bush and its wildlife. There are two bush walks everyday: one starting after breakfast at 0700 to about 11 or 1200 or so, then lunch under the Fig tree by the river, a leisurely afternoon siesta, then an evening walk for a couple of hours until sundown. Evening drinks by the river, which were interrupted several times to make an orderly retreat before the local bachelor elephants that like the thick grass by the camp. Candlelit gourmet dinners under the huge mahogany tree and recounting what we'd seen on the previous walks. Each day passed like a pleasant dream.

For about half my stay I was the only guest in camp, and I had a unique opportunity to be with one of the best guides in Africa. Rod obviously loves to impart his wealth of knowledge of the African bush and its wildlife, and at the end of my stay, I felt as if I had attended an intensive master class on African wildlife, taught by a patient and very knowledgeable instructor. There seemed no end to his depth of knowledge or his pleasure in the imparting of it.

Just before I left Rod asked me to write something in his guest book. Pressed for time, I tried to think of the many wonderful experiences that I'd had the previous week. There were just too many to write down. What was the irreducible kernel of my experience at Kutandala Camp? I thought for a moment, and then I wrote: "Thank you for giving me Africa eyes." The way I see the world will never be the same. At Kutandala Camp, I really saw Africa.

Michael L. Hoel

Helpful?
6 Thank mhoel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Kutandala Camp

Property: Kutandala Camp
Address: North Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Location: Zambia > Northern Province > North Luangwa National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in North Luangwa National Park
Number of rooms: 3

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