South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Kapani is now closed and has become the headquarters of Norman Carr Safaris. There are other lovely options that are part of the NCS group in the South Luangwa to choose from. Please speak to our Africa specialists for alternatives.
At a Glance
Have a chat with Chitumbi the barman, a legend in the Luangwa Valley
Gameview from Kapani's extensive deck, suspended over a beautiful permanent lagoon
Enjoy superb guiding, with most of the Kapani guides trained by Norman Carr himself
Take a dip in Kapani's well-sized swimming pool during the heat of the day
Take an all day drive into the Park, exploring remote areas and seeing amazing game
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
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 drier 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.
Call us on to start planning your holiday to Kapani Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Luangwa Valley
Kapani is a lovely lodge situated on the banks of one of the Luangwa River's many ox-bow lagoons. It is located close to the main Mfuwe area of the South Luangwa, one of the finest National Parks in Zambia and renowned for its population of predators!
Originally the home of Norman Carr, pioneer of the walking safari in Zambia, Kapani is a classic safari lodge situated on a large ox-bow lagoon just outside the South Luangwa National Park. The Lodge provides an ideal and rather luxurious start to a safari in this region. There are four smaller and more remote bush camps which are seasonally erected in the park and owned by Norman Carr Safaris. Guests can combine drives from Kapani with walking safaris from one or two of the bush camps offering a true walking safari from camp to camp. The camps are situated along the course of the Luwi River, within easy walking distance from each other and all in areas renowned for their excellent wildlife. They range from the stylish simplicity of Luwi Bush Camp, one of the most traditional of all Zambia's bush camps, to the elegance and sophistication of Mchenja Camp.
Kapani Lodge accommodates a maximum of 18 guests in eight standard suites in spacious brick chalets with thatched roofs and walk-in mosquito nets, and a larger lagoon house offering spacious sitting areas and the added privacy of a large terrace overlooking the lagoon, where hippo wallow in the mud. Meals are served either outside on the wooden deck, overlooking the lagoon, or in the cosy library by a roaring log fire.
There is also a secluded swimming pool at the far end of camp where you can cool off in the heat of the day. Superb guiding is central to the Norman Carr philosophy and the team of local Zambian guides will introduce you to the outstanding wildlife viewing that the South Luangwa has to offer.
Eight standard suites are situated in spacious chalets with thatched roofs and balconies. Each has an ensuite bathroom, mosquito nets and a sitting area. For families or honeymooners looking for more space and seclusion, the Lagoon House is even more spacious and has wonderful views and a large deck overlooking the lagoon.
There are 8 standard suites which have a large airy double bedroom with en-suite shower and flush toilet. Each room has a lounge sitting area with bar fridge. There is space for extra child beds if required.
There is one Lagoon House which overlooks Kapani Lagoon and is more secluded than the other suites. There is plenty of room to add additional beds if required.
Norman Carr brought his children up in the bush and Kapani Lodge continues that legacy. As well as treats such as a pool and nannies to baby sit, the camp offers a full Lion Cubs children's programme, so youngsters can learn how to use and protect plants, to track and identify animals, to stargaze and to tell stories around the campfire. Staff will also take them into nearby villages where they can play football, try out local dialects, make clay pots, drum, and even take part in school lessons, should they fancy. Additional nights can be arranged in river camps for children aged 8 to 12, and in remote wilderness walking camps for the over-12s.
A thatched building in the centre of this luxury safari lodge houses the lounge and library. It is pleasantly cool in the hot weather and warm and cosy in the cooler months with an open fire. There is a secluded swimming pool to relax around between safaris and a well stocked gift shop with many locally produced crafts.
Kapani Lodge offers a wide range of activities such as game viewing in vehicles or on foot with expert guides who are longing to share their knowledge with you. There are also cultural trips to a nearby village and the local school which Kapani is heavily involved with. During the 'green season' safaris can be taken by boat on the Luangwa River or guests may tailor trips to suit themselves perhaps combining one or two of the above options.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Kapani is a great better value option in the South Luangwa, close to the entrance to The South Luangwa National Park. The cottages are simple but comfortable and are semi detached so are perfect for families with slightly older children.btyere is also a large swimming pool to cool down in during the heat of the day. Kapani has a fantastic deck where meals are often served down on the lagoon which is a favourite spot for animal to come down for a drink.
Giles Trotter (Staff)
I am a little biased having worked at Kapani in the early 90's but having visited Kapani last year with my family I can honestly say it changed almost beyond recognition and all for the better.
The staff could not be more helpful and friendly, the food was superb and the atmosphere both relaxed and sophisticated.
Physically the lodge has changed with wonderful new rooms, a new bar and deck area but the greatest change is the service and flair with which the lodge is now run. There is a real sense of nothing could be too much trouble and that the team go to every length to ensure that the experience was tailored exactly to our needs, when and where we ate, how our game viewing was organised, who guided us and the overall experience totally flexible.
For our family Kapani was the perfect base. The children loved the pool and the chance to meet other children, at the local school and staying at the lodge, and Aubrey whose endless stories and humour kept them spell bound - they still talk about him almost 2 years on.
The game experience is perfect and one quickly tickes off all the big game which takes all the pressure of the remainder of the holiday, allowing one to soak up the experience and enjoy the detail and excitement of discovering some of the smaller and rarer species. The game viewing is so good from Kapani that on our first drive we saw Leopard on a kill which it dragged up a tree, wild dog, lion mating, elephant, buffalo. Perfect although it almost made us complacent and take some of the big game for granted. Its not always so good though!
The night drives are a really unique experience of the Luangwa. Its not just the nocturnal species such as porcupine, genet, hyena, aardvark etc it is the fact that the bush comes alive at night. The lion and leopard start to hunt, the hippo leave the water, the antelope become alert and skittish, the hyena get excited and the stars become impossibly bright.
The only negative of game viewing from Kapani is that one is not alone and one will meet other vehicles and at night the beam of the spot lights can be seen from afar. But this is nothing compared to some places in Africa and is why one should combine any stay in the Luangwa with time on one of the bush camps where the experience is totally pristine.
From Kapani we were lucky enough and had enough time to stay in each of the bush camps coming back to Kapani in the middle. This was my highlight and the children were wide eyed with adventure. We walked, talked and relaxed for 6 days without meeting another soul - we were charged by elephant and stared down the nostrils of a buffalo. Experiences that I will treasure all my life and I hope for my family - and on reflection totally safe, although the adrenaline does get the heart going! We after all in a vehicle and armed when the elephant took umbridge with us.
We had a wonderful wonderful holiday in the Luangwa valley and could not recommend Kapani and its bush camps to any family. Thank you all.
Game Drives in the South Luangwa
Game drives are the most common way of exploring the African bush. A vehicle allows you to cover distance quickly and comfortably and offers visitors the best opportunity of getting very close to wildlife in a safe and controlled way.
Green Season Game Drives
The Green Season, Rainy Season, Emerald Season, Secret Season - what ever you decide to call it, this is a beautiful time of year to be on safari. Activities are rarely disrupted by weather and the bush is full of life.
Green Season Walking Safaris
Walking in the African bush is a special experience at any time of the year, but the opportunity to walk in somewhere like the Luangwa Valley in the Green Season is a treat for even the most experienced visitor to Africa.
If you get the opportunity to head out after sunset you should take it. The bush transforms under the cover of darkness as the nocturnal wildlife gets going. Using a spotlight your guide will scan the bush for eye-shine picking out some great action.
Private photographic guide South Luangwa
Spend a day (or more) in the company of a professional wildlife photographer to hone your skills and make sure you take back some fantastic photos of your safari in the South Luangwa.
Location & directions
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Kapani Lodge is situated on an ox-bow lagoon in the Mfuwe area, just 5 minutes outside the South Luangwa National Park in Eastern Provence, Zambia.
How to get there
10-hour international flight to Lusaka followed by a 1-hour flight to Mfuwe airport. It is then approx 40-minutes by road, in and open game viewing vehicle, to the lodge.