Kakuli is one of four seasonal bush camps owned by Norman Carr Safaris and it takes its name from the numerous old buffalo which inhabit the area - the "old Kakulis" - which was also the nickname given to Norman Carr in his later years. It's a simple camp, with five tented chalets under thatch, all overlooking the river. Set on the confluence of the Luwi river and the main Luangwa River, the camp overlooks several pods of hippos which, as the weather warms during the season and the river levels drop, become more and more vocal.
The chalets are luxurious in design and spaced along the riverbank. The bathrooms are large and open to the skies, and each room has a seating area at the front. Inside are double or twin beds, and plenty of storage space. The camp's main area overlooks a floodplain and is raised up on a wooden deck, with a bar and lounge section, and a large deck, perfect for game-viewing while enjoying a cool drink!
The game in the area is extremely good, with large populations of lion, some good leopard, and occasional sightings of wild dog. Spotted hyena are also seen very regularly, as are numerous breeding herds of elephant who often cross the river into the Nsefu Sector of the park, opposite the camp. There is also a known site for Carmine bee-eaters close to the camp, so in September and October guests are taken down at dusk to watch these little birds returning to their colony.
Activities here focus on day and night game drives and walks in the bush accompanied by a professional guide and armed scout. Generally, walks are taken in the morning when the weather is cooler, and game drives are taken in the evenings when they can, after a sun-downer drink by the edge of the river, become night drives. With the use of a powerful spotlight, nocturnal animals such as lion, leopard, hyena and honey badger can be found, and, on occasion, tracked as they head out to hunt.
Kakuli combines perfectly with its sister camps - Luwi, the most remote of the Norman Carr Camps, Nsolo, which is also on the Luwi sand river and Mchenja, set on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River and the most luxurious camp. We would suggest starting at Luwi and travelling through the camps to finish at Mchenja, which is a super spot to end your safari adventure.
Kakuli Bush Camp comprises just four spacious, traditional safari tents under shady thatched roofs, each with an open-air bathroom and are decorated with neutral materials. All of the tents overlook the river with stunning views up and down this hippo-packed stretch of the Luangwa.
A lovely thatched chitenje (sitting area) acts as the centre of camp. It is on a wooden deck overlooking the grazing lawn that leads down to the two rivers and is a perfect spot in which to relax enjoy a book from the 'library' whilst watching the river and the wildlife meander by.
Safari activities from Kakuli will usually be a mixture of game drives and walking safaris. Guests are able to decide each day if they want to venture out on foot or with the vehicle. Most evenings however, guests have the opportunity to explore the area after dark. This stretch of the Luangwa is fantastic for wildlife. It is bustling with predators and the best time to see them in action is during those first few hours of darkness.
When to travel
Zambia has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zambia's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game-viewing, the dryer months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb bird-watching at the end of the rains.
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Location and directions
Luangwa Valley, Zambia
Kakuli Bush Camp is situated at the confluence of the Luangwa and Luwi rivers in the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.
How to get there
10-hour international flight to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka. After a 70-minute flight from Lusaka, you arrive at Mfuwe Airport where you are met for a game drive transfer to camp, through South Luangwa National Park which takes approximately two hours.