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“Pleasantly surprised! Some of my best days in Malawi”
Review of Kazuni Safari Camp

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Kazuni Safari Camp
Mozambique
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Pleasantly surprised! Some of my best days in Malawi”
Reviewed 13 November 2013

I visited Kazuni camp together with four friends and after reading some reviews we expected the worst, but decided to go anyway, since the reserve itself sounded wonderful. But we have been surprised in a very positive way. We took only two chalets, since the beds were big enough that two of us were able to share one. There are only four chalets (all looking directly at the lake), meaning that there are never too many people around (which is in my oppinion welcome, when one wants to observe wildilife). Beds were clean and comfortable and all had mosquito nets (even though there were basically no mosquitoes at that time). It's true, they have some issues with water, but this is not very uncommon in Malawi in general - we had shortage of water for shower even when we stayed in a very popular hostel right next to the lake, after we left Vwaza! However, when there was no running water, we were always provided with buckets of clean water.
There is a nice dining place where one can eat his lunch and in the meantime spot a herd of elephants coming close to the lake, as we did. We brought our own food but were immediatelly asked by two men working at the camp if we want them to prepare it for us. So each day we just agreed when we want to eat, and they cooked delicious meals for us. They also always made us tea or coffee, whenever we wished for it. They asked no payment for it in the end! But we gave them some tip anyway, since we were really happy with their service.
We had no "trouble" with the locals, nobody asking for money or following us... in fact, there were no local people in the camp, except those who work there.
We decided to go for a walking safari the first afternoon, just after we arrived. Our guide was a very nice man (with uniform and rifle...) who took us on a 2 hour walk. Even though we weren't lucky to see any bigger animals (but we saw plenty later, just while staying at the camp), the walk was very interesting, since our guide gave us plenty of inofrmation on all possible small creatures, traces of animals in the sandy road, trees and other vegetation, and people's beliefs in connection to all of those. We liked it so much, we decided to go for another walk next morning, in to the other direction. This time our guide was another men, a bit less talkative one, but he nonetheless answered all our questions and told us plenty interesting things... we saw herds of impalas and kudus and monkeys and on the way we removed many animal traps which were apparently set by local people. All in all we found both walks very interesting.
When we were not walking around we were just relaxing around the camp, observing hippos, elephants, various types of antilopes, monkeys, birds, warthogs, etc. On the day before leaving man from the entrance gate came to the camp as we agreed on arrival to agree about transport back to Rumphi. Next morning there was a matola waiting for us in the camp and we were driven to Rumphi at a very fair price.

So, in short, the place is really just magical. Camp really isn't the top end type of accomodation, but I really can't complain about it and people working there at all, in fact they were so kind and did such a good service, that it was easy to forget the fact that there was no running water a couple of hours per day - which was just the only disadvantage of the camp. There was nothing to complain about. Except the fact that we wished we could stay longer...

Hopefully some not so good reviews about this camp won't scare too much visitors away... In my opinion place really is worth visiting. In the end more guests also means more money for improvements.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kajtku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Brussels, Belgium
Level 5 Contributor
82 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2013

We decided to stay here and it's a beautiful place. Chalets are with view on Kazuni Lake. Elephants come by during day, evening and night. They walk by your chalet. You hear the hippo's in the water. It's so nice.

Price was 6200 kwacha for one night.

Only it's a pity that this place is so badly maintained. I asked at the entrance gate if chalets have hot water. Answer was yes. Reality: shower was broken (even no cold water), toilet doesn't flush, no water at sink. Local people bring buckets with hot and cold water to shower and flush the toilet. Afterwards I heard the place was like this for already 2 years (locals said shower was broken since "yesterday" haha). I thought at first it was only our chalet, but I checked the chalet next door and there was also no water.

Place is just by the entrance gate, so not hard to find. Bring all food with you, because there is nothing to buy or eat there.

There are people (locals from near village??) that bring wood and are following you everywhere you go. Sometimes it's like stalking, since they appear suddenly on your chalet door early in the morning (there is no window, the chalet has chicken wire as seperation with the outside). These people are just desperate for getting money from tourists. They even suggest themselves to give them money. I found this stalking and following a bit disturbing to be honest. When we left they kept following us till the exit gate...

I heard later that the Dutch people (Jorrit) that manage Mathunka in Rumphi, officially applied for concession of Kazuni. It might be good for the place if they got new, efficient and organized management. The place is in desperate need of renovation!! The camp site seems to be in a even worse state.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Maya D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NL
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2010

Situation
Weird is the first word that comes to mind. Disorganised is the second. The site was under construction, there was no hot water, or no water at all, there were showers that couldn't be turned off (so we had to look for the main tap), the man who introduced himself as a guide/ranger had uniform nor rifle, right behind the camp site was a very noisy village, were the only thing 'for sale' was (very expensive) beer and... well, total lack of management. According to the camp guide, Kazuni had just been taken over by some businessman from Lilongwe, who 'would be here tomorrow, maybe even with materials to fix the showers...' We were there for two nights and of course we never saw any manager at all. All in all, it was a funny, slightly uncomfortable situation.

Service
Well... in a way there was no service. Before long we knew, if staff came in our direction, something would be wrong or there would be an odd request. An example: the guide asked us if we wanted to have a drink in the main lodge. We thought, well, OK, fine. Next thing he needed a ride towards the 'main lodge' (which wasn't finished at all) and all he had there was a few warm sodas in a storage room. Sigh..

Accommodation
I know I am in Africa, I know that there is always something 'under construction', but at this place... everything was. Which is not necessarily problematic, but in this case it was combined with uncomfortable service and steep prices. That ís problematic in my opinion.

Location
The bright side was, that we just pitched our tent on a nice shady spot, close to a cooking unit, and simply enjoyed the view on Kazuni Lake, a herd of elephants, baboons, many beautiful birds, squirrels and lots of hippos who came out to graze at night... The spot is nice, the tsetse traps worked (we didn't see one tsetse fly, though they are present deeper in the reserve (where there are no tsetse traps), the animals are still wild (no stealing baboons or vervet monkeys) and there are not many tourists around.

Food & beverage
Depends on what you bring... apparently you cannot buy anything out there, except maybe the private beer-stock from some entrepreneurial local. There are places to cook on wood fire.

Activities
Well, we didn't try anything 'organised', but the good thing of Vwaza (actually of Malawi), is that you can pretty much go ahead and do what you like. Nice things we did in Vwaza was walk around the camp environment and on the flood plains a bit, and do our very own game drive. We got out of our cars on a flood plain and before long we were surrounded by animals. Hippos in the water, antelopes to the right, warthogs to the left, and behind us a baboon and a bit further some kudus. In short: a nice park for some independent game encounters. Although we did prove that it ís possible in a sedan... best done in a 4x4 I guess.

Worst: the camp
Best: the reserve

All in all
The reserve is beautiful and full of game, but the camp is a mess. Apparently there are some camp sites without facilities or staff in the reserve. In the present situation, I would prefer those.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Hedgehoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Kazuni Safari Camp

Property: Kazuni Safari Camp
Address: Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve, Chilumba, Malawi
Region: Malawi > Northern Region > Chilumba
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Chilumba
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Kazuni Safari Camp Malawi/Chilumba

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