Kalamu Bush Camp
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Kalamu Bush Camp is closed
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KALAMU BUSH CAMP - SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK, ZAMBIA
On a bend in the wide hippo-filled Luangwa River lies Kalamu Bush Camp, looking out over a wide sandy bed bracketing a ribbon of cool, blue water while crocodiles line its banks. Giant fig, mahogany and African ebony trees shade the small camp within the iconic South Luangwa National Park.
The Luamfwa Concession is located in the wild and uncrowded (with people that is!) southern sector of the Park. Whereas for the most part the Luangwa River forms the eastern boundary of the National Park, separating the protected area from communal land and game management areas where hunting takes place, in the remote southern sector it meanders westward and both banks are protected. It is here that the Kalamu camps can be found, on sites that are situated on the banks of the Luangwa River in a unique section of this exceptional Park, imparting a feeling of remoteness and exclusivity.
The highest concentration of wildlife is the Luangwa River and its rich vegetation. There are herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as dominant antelope species such as impala and puku. Other antelope include common waterbuck, bushbuck, eland, kudu, grysbok, oribi, reedbuck, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, sable and roan. Species such as Thornicroft's giraffe and Cookson's wildebeest occur nowhere else in the world and the area's leopard viewing is legendary. The main predators are lion, leopard, spotted hyaena and wild dogs. The dry season along the Luangwa River - when all game is forced to congregate along its banks as water resources dwindle elsewhere - is an experience every Africa fan should indulge in. High-density hippo populations dot the riverbanks while yellow baboon provide a contrast to their southern cousins.
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Accommodation consists of eight safari-style reed and canvas tents, each en-suite with both an indoor and outdoor shower. The camp's dining and bar area under a canopy of giant ebony trees and a pool and viewing deck area located to the side of the camp all offer spectacular views of the lagoon that may once have been part of the South Luangwa River.
South Luangwa is renowned as the best walking destination in Africa and guests have the choice to explore the Luangwa riverine vegetation and adjacent dambos on guided walks. Other activities include day-and-night wildlife-viewing drives.
• Guests can enjoy guided game drives or walks; a combination of the two is the most popular.
• Guided afternoon game drives with a night drive.
• Guided morning drives with the option of a walk.
• Birding walks/drives.
• Village tours - see a local village and watch traditional dancers.
• Day excursion to a natural hot spring.
The South Luangwa National Park covers about 9,050 square kilometres of the Luangwa Valley floor, which varies from about 500m to 800m above sea level. Near the banks of the Luangwa the land is fairly flat, and mostly covered with mature woodlands. There are areas of dense vegetation where bushbuck and leopard thrive and a number of large clearings that were once part of the mighty Luangwa River but were cut off, forming alluvium-filled oxbow lakes. Sausage trees with their pendulous fruit are often filled with the shrieks of Lilian's Lovebirds or Grey-headed Parrots, adding surreal character to these clearings, while towering Ilala Palms highlight the backdrop of riparian forest.
With the progression of the dry season, game concentrates close to the Luangwa River in increasing numbers as water sources further afield dry up. The Luamfwa area is not a place of huge herds but boasts an unusual diversity of mammal life and some spectacular birding. With relatively little human activity in past years, it is a true frontier that continues to surprise as its secrets unfold.
Buffalo and the often tuskless South Luangwa elephant are drawn to the river both for food and water. The yellow baboon and endemic Thornicroft's giraffe are often encountered but puku and impala are undoubtedly the most abundant residents. Common waterbuck, greater kudu, Sharpe's grysbok, spotted hyaena and wild dog amongst others can be seen here and towards the end of the dry season there is a chance of spotting Crawshay's zebra - a subspecies of the plains zebra that entirely lacks the shadow stripes of its more southerly cousins. Leopard occur here in considerable numbers.
One of the most entertaining residents of this area is the hippopotamus - found here in numbers unequalled anywhere else in the world, it regularly serenades guests to sleep with its repertoire of grunts, laughs and unintelligible croaks. Crocodiles too are commonly seen sunning themselves on the broad sandy banks of the Luangwa.
The birdlife is spectacular with numerous conspicuous species such as Saddle-billed, Open-billed and Yellow-billed Storks, African Fish-eagles and Bee-eaters being almost guaranteed. Lilian's Lovebird is found here in flocks of well over a hundred and Böhm's Spinetails, Western Banded Snake-Eagles and Collared Palm-Thrushes are some of the species that a visitor may be fortunate enough to see. Southern Carmine Bee-eaters arrive in August to dig their nest holes in the Luangwa's steep banks and Giant Kingfishers and African Skimmers can be seen plying the river for a meal of fresh fish.
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