Puku Ridge Tented Camp
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
At a Glance
Chichele's sister-camp, situated minutes from The Hill
Occupies one of the best sundowner spots in the Luangwa
Contemporary, stylish camp with quirky touches
Relax in the infinity pool in the heat of the day
Excellent game drives in the southern part of the national park
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.
To start planning your vacation to Puku Ridge Tented Camp
Puku Ridge Tented Camp, in the game-rich southern sector of South Luangwa National Park, occupies a commanding position on a hillside overlooking sweeping plains teeming with wildlife. A wonderful combination of luxury and excellent game-viewing
With views of the South Luangwa sweeping away to the horizon, Puku Ridge Tented Camp is considered to be one of the most stylish bush camps in the South Luangwa. Understated luxury with a few quirky twists, and an organic design fuse seamlessly to create this luxurious camp. The camp is set on a number of different levels with plenty of areas to relax and watch the gathering wildlife such as the patio deck with its hanging chairs, or the enticing love-seat overlooking the plains.
In keeping with its feeling of remoteness, the camp has just seven large and luxurious safari tents, with wide decks in front - perfect for game-viewing in the middle of the day. Each tent is spacious and has a comfortable living area, in and outdoor showers (with incredible views!) and an enormous double bed draped with a mosquito net.
Puku Ridge’s main area is thoughtfully designed; a series of rock pools cascade gently downwards, curving around the decks. Far below, on the Kakumbi plain, are two waterholes which are floodlit at night, giving guests the opportunity to see the night time wildlife come down to drink – lion and leopard are occasional visitors, as are hyena, civet and good numbers of elephant.
Activities here revolve around day and night game drives and occasional walks by prior arrangement – the wildlife is superb and relaxed in the presence of vehicles, so good close-up sightings can be expected.
Puku is a wonderful option in this southern part of the park and can be combined with its sister-lodge, Chichele Presidential, which is a mere half-kilometer away. Alternatively combine it with lodges in the northern part of South Luangwa to give a fascinating overview of this very varied part of Zambia.
Puku Ridge Tented Camp features six luxurious tents. They each have a private veranda which provide excellent game spotting platforms and breath taking views of the nearby floodplain. The beautiful en-suite bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor showers. The comfortable beds are draped in mosquito netting and overhead fans help to keep you cool.
Walking is the best way to see the bush around Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp and it is the best way to experience the sights and sounds of the bush. The experienced guides love showing guests the indicators of the wild, and teaching them about the signs of the bush. The accompanying armed game scout takes careful note of the wind to mask any scent. The area is home to 60 mammals and over 400 bird species, making it one of the top birding destinations in the world.
You can also embark on a driving safari to try and get up close to some of the bigger animals in South Luangwa. A truly memorable experience.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Puku Ridge is in a lovely spot a little raise above a flood plain which teems with wildlife. In front of the main area there is a watering hole which is floodlit at night so it was wonderful to be able to have dinner and watch game including a small herd of elephant move in to drink.
The seven tented rooms are very spacious and comfortable. Each room has an outdoor shower so you can either shower under the stars or just watch the game on the plains beyond. When I stayed here the tents were looking a bit tired, however they are being replaced very shortly and adding in extra windows so they are also better ventilated. They are also looking at adding in a swimming pool so guests will be able to watch the game while having a cooling dip.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
Puku Ridge Tented Camp must occupy one of the best positions in the whole of the Luangwa Valley - set up on a hillside overlooking spreading plains, the camp has commanding views right to the far side of Luangwa Valley. It's a stylish, contemporary camp, built to blend in with its surroundings and with an organic feel, and one of the only bushcamps in the Luangwa Valley (the other being Mchenja Camp, much further north) to be blessed with a swimming pool - so refreshing on those hot Valley days!
I've visited this game area many times before and it's fair to say the game is prolific - expect large herds of plains game and buffalo and a good sprinkling of predators including some great leopard and lion. Wild dog can be found here too.
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.
Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa & Lake Malawi
from $11900 pp 12 nights
- Float down the Zambezi river on a canoe or motorboat and gain a totally unique perspective of the wildlife around you.
- Both the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa have a thriving population of the endangered African wild dog, which are often spotted on game drives.
- Sink into tranquillity in your private plunge pool and gaze out over the floodplain in front of camp, which is a magnet for wildlife.
Location & directions
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
Puku Ridge Tented Camp is situated in a remote part of the South Luangwa National Park. Named after the elusive Puku antelope that inhabits the Kakumbi Dambo floodplain which the camp overlooks, Puku Ridge Camp is built on a hillside, providing stunning vistas of the floodplain.
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