Campfire sunsets at Shumba Camp are something else.

Shumba Camp | Kafue National Park Luxury Zambia Safari Lodge

Known for the tree-climbing lion that use surrounding trees as vantage points, Shumba Camp, a luxury Zambian safari lodge, has panoramic views of Kafue National Park. With the vast herds of antelope in the reserve, you’re guaranteed predator action, whether you’re swimming, relaxing over dinner or on your private deck.

The place

There’s something about Kafue National Park that reminds me of the Okavango Delta, not least because our journey to camp starts with a short mokoro ride. A quick game drive in a safari vehicle follows, and then we’re in the heart of the Busanga Plains, where Shumba Camp shares residence with numerous antelope and several prides of lion (after whom the camp named).Our guide points out the fig and palm trees that shade the camp, often used by these rare tree-climbing lion as vantage points. It’s the beginning of a tree-watching obsession, as I’m determined to see this in person!We enjoy a drink in the elevated dining area and bar – restful with muted colours of blue and beige – drinking in the 360-degree views across the termite and fig-studded plains to the miombo woodlands in the distance.My partner rattles off facts from the guidebook: the Busanga Plains cover 750 square kilometres and are one of Zambia’s most significant wetland resources. We call out bird species as we see them flit by, but the biggest thrill comes when we see a Lichtenstein’s hartebeest cross the plains right in front of us.

There’s something about Kafue National Park that reminds me of the Okavango Delta, not least because our journey to camp starts with a short mokoro ride. A quick game drive in a safari vehicle follows, and then we’re in the heart of the Busanga Plains, where Shumba Camp shares residence with numerous antelope and several prides of lion (after whom the camp named).

Our guide points out the fig and palm trees that shade the camp, often used by these rare tree-climbing lion as vantage points. It’s the beginning of a tree-watching obsession, as I’m determined to see this in person!

We enjoy a drink in the elevated dining area and bar – restful with muted colours of blue and beige – drinking in the 360-degree views across the termite and fig-studded plains to the miombo woodlands in the distance.

My partner rattles off facts from the guidebook: the Busanga Plains cover 750 square kilometres and are one of Zambia’s most significant wetland resources. We call out bird species as we see them flit by, but the biggest thrill comes when we see a Lichtenstein’s hartebeest cross the plains right in front of us.

The room

We’re guided along raised walkways to our tent, one of just six stylish canvas-walled suites shaded by a canopy of fig trees. We have our own viewing deck with a comfortable sofa where we can lounge and watch the action on the plains.Stepping inside, we notice the wooden floors and plush king-sized bed, which make our suite seem less like a tent than a hotel room. The use of natural materials and neutral colours blend with the surrounding environment, and the room décor strikes the perfect balance between comfort, luxury and minimalism.I walk barefoot to the bathroom, admiring the twin basins with copper fittings and the dark mahogany walls of the shower. Meeting up again in the bedroom, we begin changing into our swimwear – no words are required to agree that a refreshing swim before lunch is just what we both need!

We’re guided along raised walkways to our tent, one of just six stylish canvas-walled suites shaded by a canopy of fig trees. We have our own viewing deck with a comfortable sofa where we can lounge and watch the action on the plains.

Stepping inside, we notice the wooden floors and plush king-sized bed, which make our suite seem less like a tent than a hotel room. The use of natural materials and neutral colours blend with the surrounding environment, and the room décor strikes the perfect balance between comfort, luxury and minimalism.

I walk barefoot to the bathroom, admiring the twin basins with copper fittings and the dark mahogany walls of the shower. Meeting up again in the bedroom, we begin changing into our swimwear – no words are required to agree that a refreshing swim before lunch is just what we both need!

What sets it apart

With panoramic views of the Busanga Plains, Shumba Camp stands out for its unique location and the immense sense of space it provides. Luxury too, is apparent everywhere we go, but the real opulence is the opportunity and freedom to explore this vast wilderness.The guiding was excellent, and we enjoyed game drives around the plains, seeking out the famous tree-climbing lion (only to find them back at camp!) and seeing some of the park’s resident antelope – oribi, roan and puku – while a cheetah stalked them from behind.Floating across the plains in a hot-air balloon gave us the opportunity to see a pack of wild dog scatter a herd of red lechwe, taking down three of these antelope in one coordinated effort. After each day’s activities, we’d head back to camp for a refreshing swim in the pool, and then join the guests at the sunken fire pit to share experiences before dinner, where meals were often prepared and cooked in front of us. It was a completely immersive and distinctive safari experience.

With panoramic views of the Busanga Plains, Shumba Camp stands out for its unique location and the immense sense of space it provides. Luxury too, is apparent everywhere we go, but the real opulence is the opportunity and freedom to explore this vast wilderness.

The guiding was excellent, and we enjoyed game drives around the plains, seeking out the famous tree-climbing lion (only to find them back at camp!) and seeing some of the park’s resident antelope – oribi, roan and puku – while a cheetah stalked them from behind.

Floating across the plains in a hot-air balloon gave us the opportunity to see a pack of wild dog scatter a herd of red lechwe, taking down three of these antelope in one coordinated effort. After each day’s activities, we’d head back to camp for a refreshing swim in the pool, and then join the guests at the sunken fire pit to share experiences before dinner, where meals were often prepared and cooked in front of us. It was a completely immersive and distinctive safari experience.

At a glance

  • Intimate tented camp with swimming pool and six tented suites (including one two-bedroomed family tent) with panoramic views over the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.
  • Isolated location, private activities available (additional cost), complimentary hot-air ballooning for guests staying three nights or more (seasonal) and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris (additional cost), seasonal hot-air ballooning (complimentary for three-night stays, otherwise additional cost), birding, stargazing, swimming and seasonal boating.
  • Children aged six and above are welcome, with one two-bedroomed family suite. Families travelling with children under 12 need to book private activities, in advance. Hot-air ballooning has a minimum height of 1.3m and boating has a minimum age of six. Children under 16 years must share with an adult.

  • Intimate tented camp with swimming pool and six tented suites (including one two-bedroomed family tent) with panoramic views over the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.
  • Isolated location, private activities available (additional cost), complimentary hot-air ballooning for guests staying three nights or more (seasonal) and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris (additional cost), seasonal hot-air ballooning (complimentary for three-night stays, otherwise additional cost), birding, stargazing, swimming and seasonal boating.
  • Children aged six and above are welcome, with one two-bedroomed family suite. Families travelling with children under 12 need to book private activities, in advance. Hot-air ballooning has a minimum height of 1.3m and boating has a minimum age of six. Children under 16 years must share with an adult.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is the ideal time to visit Kafue, when luxury lodges reopen after the annual inundation. Water levels are still high at the start of this season, meaning game (including predators) is very concentrated and generally easier to spot. Rain is very unlikely, and fresh mornings and evenings are balanced by warm days. Although this is considered to be the peak season, Zambia’s ‘below the radar’ status means that you’ll never be in a crowd. Note that temperatures begin to rise significantly towards October, as the onset of the rains approaches.

As the rains arrive, black cotton soils in some parts of Kafue become saturated, making roads inaccessible. Most luxury lodges (especially those on Busanga Plains) close at this time, as rising water levels bring a temporary end to safari operations. This gives Kafue an opportunity to recover from any human impact (although this is minimal due to low visitor numbers), and is a period of renewal and renaissance for the park.

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