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“How do they keep getting better?”

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Kakuli Bush Camp - Norman Carr Safaris
Kingscote, South Australia, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“How do they keep getting better?”
Reviewed 10 September 2013

Each camp we go to seems to excel itself in providing views, accommodation and food. We just can't decide which camp we prefer and ,really, why should you have to? We stayed for 3 or 4 nights at each camp as we found that by doing that we were able to 'settle in' and relax and really take in what each camp had to offer.
Our view from our room here over the Luangwa river was spectacular and the room was enormous! We had the usual giant, comfortable bed that we love, an ensuite and separate toilet, plus another room that we used as a change room. What a fantastic hut/chalet it is!
We didn't bump into Dixon this time as he was out and about and we saw him miles away (he's the 'almost' resident bull elephant) but we did see elephants at the watering area drinking plus all manner of other animals and birds.
Sam and the staff were brilliant (again!) and the food was exceptional.
Can't wait to come back!!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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60 reviews from our community

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English first
Herts
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2013

We stayed at Kakuli for one night, having walked across from Mchenja. Although, on balance, we preferred the accommodation in Mchenja, everything about this camp was of a very high standard, including the food, the facilities and the setting with a view over the river and lots of hippos. Sam, the host, was very good and we really enjoyed his company.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank RMFHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2013

We had 2 nights here after a sleepout night and 2 nights at Luwi. Our overall experience with NCS in this time was first class. You might pay more but you get high staff/guest ratios, better qualified/experienced staff, excellent facilities and the advantage of the isolation (especially Luwi) of the bush. You will not see another person/vehicle. Our view of high end in Africa is small scale, bespoke product that that gets you as close to the action as possible and you get that with NCS together with the backing of an organisation that has good infrastructure and logistical support. The team at Kakuli were excellent. As in other reviews Aubrey proved an outstanding guide, knowledgeable and engaging. He managed our teenage children better than we ever have, shooting questions at them and setting them challenges. Our walk with Aubrey was really memorable including a staring competition with a lion and lioness, but was really around stories about small creatures which you wouldn't notice on a drive and which all play an important role in the ecology of the bush. We have experienced better game viewing elsewhere but the walks are a very different experience to your normal drives as is the sleep out which we also highly recommend.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank blah1025
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moab Utah
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2013

See my reviews of Kapani Lodge, and Luwi and Nsolo bush camps.

After Luwi and Nsolo, we just assumed that Kikuli would be crazy awesome, as well. I'm afraid if I go on about it too much, I'll be accused of being a bought off reviewer. However high your expectations, you will not be disappointed.

The rooms over look the Luongwa river, full of Hippos, crocs, and many birds. Oh, and from the porch of the 'bar', elephants, Impalas, waterbucks, bush bucks, many more birds, and 3 leopards in one day, though, again, past results are no guarantee of future performance.

The staff is ridiculously attentive in a friendly non-intrusive way. The guides set the standard all excellent guides aspire to(the same at Luwi and Nsolo, as well). The food, if possible, was better than at the other camps. To be sure, Kikuli had plenty of advance warning from Luwi and Nsolo about our favorite dishes, so every meal was a smorgasboard of all the previous fave's, plus some new ones. The setting, on the Luongwa, guarantees non-stop wildlife action. The game drives were not as private as the other two camps, I think we saw 2 or 3 other vehicles each drive, unlike near Kapani and the park entrance, where other vehicles were seen often. However, the game drives were as awesome as the others, with Lions mating, stuffing themselves on a Buffalo, lounging, as well as the usual warthogs, Impalas, etc.

The rooms were awesome. Have I mentioned how comfortable the beds are? I don't think I have. They are the most comfortable beds in the world! They must have memory foam or something on top, because they are delicious. Oh, and when its cold at night, like it was at Luwi, you'll find a hot water bottle in your bed inside a fuzzy cover. Oh,yes, one other thing, at night you'll hear Hippos doing their delightful grunting call, and lions calling, if you can stay awake. Which I couldn't, I slept like a rock.

The managers at all these camps are graduates of European hotel schools, and speak several languages. They are all warm, personable, and anticipate your needs rather than reacting to situations. Part of what made this trip so fantastic was all we had to do was enjoy ourselves.

Here is the biggest glitch: Our first day at Kikuli, when we went to shower, there was a 'pop' noise and the water never got hot. By now, we knew you just turned on the hot water and waited for it to get to your room, about 5 or ten minutes. They have a well pumped by solar, and the excess gray water feeds plants around your chalet. After 15 minutes and still no hot water, I went and told the first person I saw what had happened- the 'pop' and still no hot water. While my wife and I organized our stuff, we heard some rustling between our room and the boiler, and about ten minutes later we had hot water. That is about the biggest glitch in ten days.

Oh, here's another negative, our partners all want us to greet them with appropriately thermo-regulated towels when they arrive home, and have hot water bottles in bed on cold nights, and make 4 or 5 main vegetarian dishes to choose from at home. Norman Carr, you set the bar too damn high!

Room Tip: Enjoy discussing with your friends why your room is better than theirs, looser buys drinks. Oh, SNAP...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Moab_Dave1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
240 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2013

Once again, I return to what is my favourite 'bush camp' in the South Luangwa valley. There is no better combination than, Kakuli, Aubrey(senior guide) and Batwell(scout) to deliver close encounters whilst on walking safari but under safe guidance.
The water was high enough to traverse many of the tributaries when on boating safari and so provided excellent photo opportunities with varied wildlife and birds.
This was the emerald season at its best.
The luxury tents are well planned, plenty of space and natural light and beautifully situated overlooking the river.
The food here was excellent and all the team were very efficient at their work.
Fantastic sunsets, great game viewing and I will never forget the brunch prepared for me on top of the riverbank under the shade of an ebony tree, cooked English breakfast to order avec a 'G and T' in hand. Fantastic!

Room Tip: Go with the flow. I have stayed at each of the tents/chalets here and each one has that special feel...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank 111TWIGAMINHAAFRIKA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Croydon, Surrey
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 March 2013

This was our second camp and it was perfect. The manager, Katie was absolutely wonderful. When one of our party was ill, she arranged for a boat to take him to the locum doctor. No fuss, just brilliant organisation. On our last day there, Katie organised a English cream tea, with scones etc. That evening we had a wonderful meal with her and Benny the chef did us proud. We had the odd visitor, but unfortunately it wasn't Dixon, but what wildlife did appear made up for not seeing him. The river was fairly low, so there was a slightly restricted view of the wildlife, but that didn't mar our enjoyment of the trips. This is a bird-fancier's paradise. One could sit at the bar area and watch the wildlife. A bit too hot for me to go on any walks, but our friends did and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Room Tip: They are all within easy reach of the bar area.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank lainey6477
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Watford, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2012

We spent 3 nights and just like the other 3 camps it did not let us down. Aubrey, Amy, Batwell and the rest of the team made our stay memorable. Aubrey went out of his way to to make sure we saw as much as we could on the drives. We also learnt so much on a walk, it was a shame it was so hot as we couldn't walk for long. The view from the rooms and bar area was superb and so relaxing just sitting and watching Lions,Giraffe's, Wart Hogs, Impala and not forgetting Hippo's all within feet of each other. Also with the Elephants walking and feeding in the camp everything was fantastic. Thanks all at Kakuli.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Tina L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kakuli Bush Camp - Norman Carr Safaris

Property: Kakuli Bush Camp - Norman Carr Safaris
Address: Luangwa River, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Region: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #26 of 44 Speciality Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Kakuli Bush Camp - Norman Carr Safaris 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
‘Kakuli’ means old buffalo bull – this beautiful camp has four traditional walk-in safari tents each with outdoor en-suite bathrooms made from natural materials. The bar and dining Chitenje forms the centre point of camp and, along with the rooms, is on an elevated stretch of river bank overlooking a wide grazing lawn/lagoon that follows the Luangwa River. The views from Kakuli are spectacular with the camp having regular visits from elephants, leopard and antelope. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kakuli Bush Camp - Norman Carr Safaris Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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