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“We struck gold for our first safari”

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Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“We struck gold for our first safari”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2013

We went to Mozambique and Zambia on our honeymoon as one of our dreams was to see the terrain and wildlife of Africa. We had stopped off in Mozambique for some lakeside beach action, and headed to Mwamba Bushcamp for our first safari experience, and what an experience it was. On the drive in from the airport we saw just about everything we had dreamed of seeing. Vic drove us in and was very patient as we got over-excited about every impala and warthog we saw, not to mention the giraffes, lions, zebra, hippos, crocodiles, elephants and varied birdlife that we saw, all before even reaching the camp.

The camp is small, with only three cabins if I remember correctly, and is right in the middle of the bush. The rooms were very nicely turned out and exceptionally clean, and the outdoor bathroom was excellent, we were even given hot water for the bucket shower, not that I needed it as the temperature hovered around 40 degrees celsius during our stay.

The staff were excellent, with a much appreciated laundry service, and the meals we had were uniformly delicious. As it was our honeymoon were were surprised with a private dinner in the lookout, which was not only romantic, but also gave us our first sighting of a porcupine.

We spent a lot of time with Patrick, the guide, and Peter, the spotter. Patrick's knowledge and obvious passion, mixed with his spotting skills and sense of humour, really made our drives and walks something special. On day one we saw lion cubs playing, lions hunting at the waterhole, a leopard, lions demolishing a puku, a monitor lizard squeezing in to a hole high up a tree, and so much more besides. The night drives were pretty spectacular, and kudos to Peter for spotting impossible things under the cover of darkness.

We also spent a lot of time in the hide at the waterhole, which is where we watched the lions attempt to get themselves some impala for dinner several times (they were foiled each time by the baboons keeping watch). We also saw elephants, hippos, lots of antelope and many birds, including the beautiful lovebirds, all converge around the waterhole in the space of a couple of hours.

The other hide, the hippo hide, was a wonderful spot to watch dozens of hippos do their thing, which amounted to a lot of wallowing.

Lunch was brought to our cabin each afternoon, and the breakfasts and dinners were all communal. Laundry was returned, all immaculate, within a day. The staff were all really friendly and accommodating. The location was exactly what you could hope for if you want to feel a little remote, and like being woken by the roars of lions. All in all, a wonderful place staffed by great people which made for an unforgettable maiden safari experience.

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank GavinCoughlan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 15 November 2013
Dear Gavin!

Congratulations again for your recent wedding!

Thank you very much for writing such an extensive review of your stay at our little bush camp Mwamba. I'm so excited that you had a great time, and that your first safari in Africa brought you such satisfaction!

Thank you for your compliments on the staff, the cuisine, rooms, Patrick and Peter, and most especially on the wonderful sightings you had.

We hope you'll come and visit us again, to celebrate an anniversary!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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60 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
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English first
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2013

This camp is a real bush experience being smaller and only taking six occupants. The welcome and service was very nice and the food extremely good especially in view of the remoteness. There is a lovely atmosphere set in the evening for dinner with lovely lighting effects.
Wildlife roams freely through the camp but at no time did we feel threatened....even if the elephant did steal the potatoes in the night.
There were loads of big game there and you could spend hours in the hide by the waterhole. It was like watching a wildlife documentary with constant happenings.
Our guide Meyam was outstanding, and his knowledge of animals and birds was tremendous. He went to endless lengths to try to get us what we wanted and in our case he succeeded every time. Having been on countless safaris we can vouch for this. Lorraine was a very pleasant host and she ran the camp very efficiently.
Things to remember though are that no wildlife can ever be guaranteed no matter how plentiful it may be. You still need an element of luck, and in our case we were well blessed seeing everything that we wanted to see plus much more besides.
It also helps if the other guests are considerate and pleasant.....lucky there also.
If you want Sheraton style luxury by way of a lodge or camp then this is not for you, but this is as clean and comfortable as you could ever get in a real bush environment. It is what it is...a bush camp.......and a very good one too. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and had a wonderful time.
If you are a birder like myself then I highly recommend the guides at Shenton`s. Most safari guides are great with mammals, but not so good on identifying birds. Shenton`s do have bird guide specialists who were keen birders like myself. They also went out of their way at the camp to make sure that I saw what I wanted for which I am very grateful.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Geoff G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 23 October 2013
Dear Geoff G!

Thank you for your very kind review following your stay at Mwamba Bush Camp. We are so delighted that you have had great wildlife sightings, and that Meyam was able to find those few rarities for you! Guides in South Luangwa have earned their reputation indeed!

We are also happy that you have enjoyed the camp atmosphere and remoteness - despite the ellie raiding the kitchen... again!

We hope now that you will come back, for more!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
46 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 September 2013

We spent three nights at Mwamba in mid September after being at Kaingo – the other Shenton property in the area (see review). It is quite different – smaller – three seasonal cabins and more of an “out there bush experience”. The service was good and the food was excellent.

There is a hide very nearby over a waterhole which is fantastic for watching birds and elephants, impala, baboons, etc and for photography. We spent a great deal of time there. Excellent for birderwatchers by the way.

We did find the chalet we were in (the farthest out) to be much hotter than we had expected with very little air circulation. It was quite hot when we were there and there was little respite other than wearing wet clothes in the afternoon and – unfortunately- to sleep. We thought that adding a fan or some sort of air circulation device would have helped immensely. There were also “some” tsetse flies around which are a menace at any time.

If you are looking for an authentic bush experience though, this is "out there in the bush". Just be aware of the potential for heat as you get into the end of Sept/ and especially Oct and choose your times.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Michelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 5 October 2013
Dear Michelle S!

In addition to posting your feedback for Kaingo Camp, we are very grateful that you have taken the time to also review Mwamba Bush Camp.

We are very delighted to hear you had a great time sitting at the waterhole hide, it offers such fantastic photographic opportunities indeed.

As for the chalets, we are sorry to read you found them too hot, with little air circulation. We've had a very hot month of September, and the best remedy is indeed to wrap oneself in a wet kikoi to keep cool during siestas and at night. The little fans we have installed at Kaingo are not showing good results and we are investigating other system.

Hopefully this will improve for your next visit!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
223 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2013

I stayed here for three days. The carmine bed eater's hide was delightful. I also enjoyed tha camp's hide as one saw a variety of birds and wildlife from it. The Lillian's lovebirds were particularly spectacular. As it Kaingo the night drives were particularly special. I not only saw leopards and lions, but a lovely serval and honey badgers. I'll never forget a pride of lions tearing apart a zebra in the darkness.
The walks were also excellent and one learns a about the bush. It also feels good to get out of the vehicle. Andrew and of course Patrick were both superb guides.
One truly feels like their in the bush due to the construction of the huts and their outdoor showers. But don't worry nobody else can see you showering as you're protected by a fence. One hears all the sounds of the bush at night.
The food was excellent and as at Kaingo you get fed no less than seven times a day. Marleen was a lovely hostess and couldn't have been more kind. Yes I'll be back but I don't know when.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank africanman_840
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 13 September 2013
Dear "Africanman_840'

Thank you for also taking the time to post your review of Mwamba Bush Camp, as you did for Kaingo Camp. Very much appreciated.

I'm delighted that you had added the bush camp to your second visit, and that you plan on coming for a third time! That is fantastic.

Mwamba is a special place with the light structure, bushy style and photographic hide. I'm so glad you enjoyed all, and the cuisine as well. Your feedback will be shared with the team.

Sincerely,
Izzy
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firenze
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2013

a very lovely experience at Mwamba Bushcamp, stay only 2 night but I had great gamedrives and lovely bush walk. Expectional the Hide!!!. Great guide Myem. So cute to sleep with the open-roof, complety safe with the mosquito's net, you can ear all the sound of the bush!!! Hyenas...lions...and others!!!
Stephane

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank stephane m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 13 September 2013
Dear Stephane,

Thank you very much for adding this review following your stay at Mwamba Bush Camp.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the room layout with the big skylight, it makes it quite special indeed. And most particularly the photographic hide within camp, overlooking the water hole. It is also my favorite place comes August!

Hopefully you will get a chance to come back soon.

Sincerely,
Izzy
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2013

Although more basic, rustic and 'open' than Kaingo, Mwamba camp still utterly delivers in every single way to provide a level of comfort, quality and service that I'm still staggered about so many months later.
The main camp is based around a tree (with the bar table literally wrapped around the trunk) with the chalets splintering off in an arch. Once again, considering the limitations of the environment, terrain and the logistics, I was completely satisfied with everything the camp had to offer. The rooms were well thought out and the bathroom / shower area is a fenced outside area which, although left you open to attack from bugs, was a great way to make you feel more immersed in the bush. Nothing says Africa like showering with a Vervet monkey watching you overhead!

The standout for this camp, which gives it a unique twist over Kaingo, is it's hide. It's a bit small and was incredibly humid but the range and consistency of animals visiting the waterhole we overlooked was incredible. Elephants, lions, varying antelope, monkeys and dozens of different birds kept us entertained and photo-happy for the countless hours we spent there. Absolutely loved it!

Once again, the staff were brilliant from our guide to the cooks to the camp managers / hosts we met. They all made the experience more personal and unique - I've never come away from a holiday feeling as if I've left friends behind! A true gem of a camp and that of a golden crown that is Shenton's Safaris. I'll be back out as soon as I possibly can!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank iamsam103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 14 August 2013
Dear "Iamsam103"

In addition to your review of Kaingo, I wanted to thank you for also taking the time to add a review for our bush camp Mwamba. Very kind indeed.

I'm so happy you enjoyed the set up of the camp, being more bushy and authentic.

You will be happy to learn that we have made the hide at Mwamba MUCH bigger now, you may actually have seen pictures on our July newsletter. It's really roomy, but I'm afraid there is not much we can do about the October heat!

I hope this is one more reason for you to come and visit again!

Sincerely,
Izzy
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
96 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 November 2012

We spent two nights at Mwamba. They really should rename this place Leopard camp. We saw at least one leopard on every single game drive from Mwamba. On one night drive we had six separate leopard sightings. Our guide (Patrick) was excellent. He made a point of showing us some of the smaller animals (eg a chameleon) and birds as well as the big cats. We really appreciated this and it certainly makes the game drives much more interesting. Night drives here were excellent with several honey badger sightings.

The hide at Mwamba is brilliant (much better than any other hide we were in during our trip). It is right by a waterhole and it is the only water for quite a considerable distance so attracts a huge variety of animal and bird life during the dry season. We saw 3 lions, impala, bushbuck, fish eagles, sparrowhawk, lovebirds, lilac breasted rollers, plus many other species of birds.

The rooms here are fairly basic and the insect life is extremely prolific. If you can't deal with bugs then choose somewhere else to stay. We were there in October at the end of the dry season and the rooms got incredibly hot - we didn't get a lot of sleep as it was just too warm. If you are staying here during the hottest part of the year then bring a sarong with you that you can wet and sleep under - they were provided in some of the other camps and it makes such a difference. The food was simple but perfectly edible (note that if you stay at the sister camp, Kaingo, you get the same dishes there).

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank WildlifeFan01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShentonSafaris, Manager at Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp, responded to this review, 27 November 2012
Dear "WildlifeFan01",

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this detailed review following your stay at Mwamba Bush Camp. I am so happy you have enjoyed Patrick's guiding as well as the incredible activity at the hide.

It is really the place to be in October - if you can stand the heat!

I'm so sorry that you have found the rooms to be too hot. With the large skylights in the roof we hope that the air circulation is sufficient, but it is true that with the temperature being so high at that time of year (October), it is hard to keep it cool. The idea of providing sarongs is a great one that we will keep in mind. We have some for sale at Kaingo, but we should promote their availability more at Mwamba too.

And you are right about the meals, we have an ongoing menu at both camps, which is based on a 10 day rotation (will be 14 next season), so unless you stay over 10 days you should not have the same meals when staying at either camp. I wish however that your description would have been higher than "simple", this is certainly not the standards we want our guests to remember; we are addressing this for next season as well. Stellar is what we want our cuisine to be (with the limitations of being in the bush of course)! The rooms will also be revamped a little bit, although we don't intend to change the atmosphere which is quite special.

Again, thank you for this very constructive feedback, and we hope to see you again in South Luangwa.

Sincerely,
Izzy
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Additional Information about Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp

Property: Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp
Address: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Region: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #30 of 43 Speciality Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In addition to Kaingo Camp, Shenton Safaris operate Mwamba Bush Camp, providing an opportunity to explore the park's heartland. Wonderfully remote and peaceful, the site is a relaxed 3-hour bushwalk or 20 minute drive from Kaingo. Both walking safaris, and game drives (day and night) are offered from Mwamba. Set on the banks of the Mwamba River, a tributary of the Luangwa, the camp, sited under huge evergreen ebony trees, enjoys shady views of perennial water-holes, both of which have hides perched over them for fantastic photographic opportunities or simply quiet times viewing the animals. Mwamba takes only 8 guests in 4 reed and thatch chalets, uniquely designed with two soaring skylights (protected by mosquito gauze) set into the roof allowing you to experience sleeping under the stars. These four bungalows have huge outdoors ensuite bathrooms with flush toilets and hot bucket showers. Our lighting is all solar powered and the complete absence of generator noise means nothing interferes with the morning chorus or the midnight howls of the hyena. The accommodation reflects a thoughtful balance between back-to-nature simplicity and essential comforts. Meals are of the same high standard as Kaingo, and the bush-style dining and bar area or "chitenge" is set under the deep shade of huge ebony trees entwined with python vines. A spectacular sundowner spot on top of a large termite mound and a glowing campfire under the night sky completes the camp's friendly and personal atmosphere. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bush Camp Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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