Nsolo Bush Camp
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
At a Glance
Sit quietly by the camp fire as the camp's resident buffalo come down to drink at the permanent water hole
Enjoy a wonderful riverbed dinner illuminated by just the light from spirit lamps and the moon as it rises
Take an exciting walk in the Luwi Riverbed, and spot a lion
Enjoy restful sleep in Nsolo's beautiful chalets, each individually designed on wooden decks with incredible views
Take a game drive to explore further afield and perhaps spot the African wild dog which occasionally visit
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Nsolo Bush Camp is open from May to November.
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.
To start planning your vacation to Nsolo Bush Camp
Nsolo Bush Camp is located on a sweeping bend of the Luwi sand river in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. The camp is nestled in a beautiful spot shaded by towering red mahogany trees and offers prime game-viewing, accompanied by your guide.
Nsolo Bush Camp was re-sited a few years ago, and now occupies a superb position on a large bend of the Luwi sand river, in a prime location for game. Lion and buffalo interaction is often seen, with the various prides in the area using the river bed as a thoroughfare. There is a small waterhole in front of camp where the buffalo come to drink and there are frequent clashes as the lion attempt to ambush the herds. It can be an exciting camp to visit!
The four rooms at Nsolo are all built up on wooden decks, built from reed and with high pitched, thatched roofs and large, open-air bathrooms. In front of each room is a separate viewing deck with comfortable chairs, and shaded by mahogany or sausage trees. The rooms are large and spacious, either with a king size bed or twin beds, and the bathrooms are creatively designed - each shower has a view of the riverbed!
The main area at Nsolo contains the bar, dining area and a small seating area along with a small library of reference books which also contains the famous Nsolo Diaries - written by Craig and Janelle Doria, who ran the camp at its inception. They are fascinating accounts of the daily life of camp and its visitors, and well worth a read when you have an afternoon to while away. In front of camp there is a fire pit and of course the sand river, where occasionally evening meals are set up - a dining table surrounded by lanterns and open to the skies.
The guide at Nsolo is the very knowledgeable Innocent Tembo who has been walking the Luwi river system for many years. Together with the scout, he leads the walking safaris from camp. As well as a large population of lion and buffalo, leopard can be spotted, sometimes during the day, and there is a hyena den fairly near the camp. Rare antelope such as Lichtenstein's hartebeest and eland can also be spotted, along with good numbers of elephant and the occasional giraffe, which don't generally venture further into the park than Nsolo. The birding is superb, with many raptors present (the camp has a resident lizard buzzard) and large numbers of owls, including the giant eagle owl and the tiny scops owl, being heard at night.
The activities at Nsolo focus mainly on walking safaris, there is an option to drive occasionally, but the roads in this area are few, and the area lends itself perfectly to walking and exploration. Guests will head out early in the morning when the temperature is cool and the animals are more active. Halfway through the walk there will be a stop for tea, coffee and cake, and then guests will return to camp for a hearty brunch at around eleven. After an afternoon at leisure, the afternoon walk departs at around 4pm, returning to camp in time for sundowners.
Nsolo combines perfectly with its sister camps - Luwi, the deepest into the park, and also on the Luwi sand river, Kakuli, which is on the confluence of the Luwi and the main Luangwa River, and Mchenja, which is on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa, sheltered in a towering grove of ebony trees.
There are four thatched chalets at Nsolo, each built on raised wooden platforms. The chalets are individually designed, and blend in beautifully with their surroundings. Inside there is plenty of space and areas for storage, and there is a large reed door leading through to the open air bathroom. In the front of each room is a large wooden deck with comfortable chairs, perfect for relaxing in the afternoons.
Children under the age of 12 years are not accepted at Nsolo Camp, as this is the minimum age for walking. Children aged 12 to 16 are able to walk if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. As the camp is in a wildlife-dense area, children are asked to be with an adult at all times.
The central chitenje (sitting area) has plenty of space to relax in. There is a small camp library with reference books to enhance your knowledge of the local area. and the bar. There is a water hole in front of camp providing endless game watching opportunities.
Nsolo Bush Camp is situated in one of the South Luangwa's more remote areas and hence there is only a limited network of roads in this area. As a result most of the game viewing activities revolve around walking safaris although short night drives are usually offered as well.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Nsolo is a simple but comfortable bush camp in the north eastern side of the South Luangwa national park over looking one of the tributaries. The reed and thatch rooms are back to basics but still have an outside bathroom with a shower, sink and flush loo. The rooms also had a small raised deck under the shade of a tree which I particularly liked giving a better view of the river.
Nsolo has a cosy and friendly feel to it. All the meals are eaten together as a group, breakfast is round the camp fire before going out on your morning walk and Lunch is taken in the shade of the tree. In the evening after the afternoon walk and night drive back to camp guests have a chance to freshen up and then all meet by the camp fire for a drink before dining under the stars and chatting about what has been seen that day.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
Generally, guests will walk from Luwi into Nsolo, a super walk which follows the course of the Luwi sand river, criss crossing it as you go (there may even be a trickle of water still in it). You'll pass by the Big Bend (also known as Musikizi Corner, after the mahogany tree there) which is almost certainly where you will stop off for your mid-walk cup of tea and cake.
At Nsolo you'll meet Shadrack Nkhoma (Shaddy), the head guide. He's a legend and I've known him since I was sixteen, and we first visited Zambia. Probably one of the best guides in the valley. His scout, Batwell, is lovely too - and a keen painter. I always take across a few painting supplies each time I visit. Shaddy will tell you all about the history of Nsolo - the camp was resited a few years ago and now has the most gorgeous position. Just four chalets, up on wooden decks, and a waterhole in the dry river bed in front. Buffalo and lion clashes happen fairly frequently. Walks are the order of the day here although Shaddy does occasionally, on request, run game drives from the camp as well.
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.
Mulberry Mongoose workshop
Take a trip to the workshop of Mulberry Mongoose, a local company which employs local women to create fantastic hand-made jewelry and accessories, while giving back to the community and the environment.
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, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
Nsolo Bush Camp is located on a sweeping bend of the Luwi sand river in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.
How to get there
10-hour international flight from London to Lusaka followed by a flight of 1-hour in a light aircraft to Mfuwe Airport. Mfuwe Airport is the gateway to South Luangwa National Park. From there it's an easy game drive lasting about 3 hours through the park to Nsolo camp.