Kaingu Lodge Camping Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Kaingu we offer a camping experience second to none.  Grassy camping sites with private ablution facilities, hot water and some of the best river views anywhere in the Kafue.  The ambience is simply fantastic and many campers over the years have planned to stay two nights and ended up staying a week!   The advantages of not having dusty feet and being able to take part in guided activities are not to be underestimated!We are often asked very similar questions by people enquiring about camping so we have put together a small “FAQ” guide to Kaingu camping.

Do you provide ice?

No, we run a truly environmentally friendly lodge: all our power is supplied by solar power and we run a small freezer for ice production.  We sadly cannot produce enough to sell to campers.

Do you provide power hook ups?

All our power for fridges, communications, lights etc is all produced from solar panels charging a battery bank and then inverted to 220v ac.  We are constantly expanding and straining our system and so cannot offer charging facilities.  If you need to charge batteries than ask for directions and do a small game drive on one of our local loops.

Can campers use the lodge fridges to store food?

Sadly we have to say no.  We are very remote and food storage is optimised for our lodge bookings.  We simply cannot offer what limited space we have available.

Can you drink the water? 

Our water for washing, laundry and other non-potable use is pumped from the river using a solar pump.  I regularly drink the river water, but if your stomach is not used to it then we would recommend drinking bottled or filtered water.  Limited quantities of filtered water can be supplied depending on the lodge occupancy; this is at the management’s discretion.

Can campers do activities from the lodge? 

Yes, of course!  Boat cruises, fishing, game drives and walks are all possible.  Just ask or consult the activities sheets in your ablution house!  Our guides will always pop into the campsites and make plans for you to experience the area under their expert care!

Can campers use the lodge facilities?

Generally the answer is no.  Use of the lodge facilities is by invitation only and depends on too many variables (number of campers in the group, number of guests in the lodge etc) to have a defined rule.  Please do not be offended if we kindly and politely ask you to not be in the public areas of the lodge. Please remember that we are a small lodge that prides itself on privacy, relaxation and ambience.  Meals can be booked at the lodge but advance notice (when you arrive) must be given.

Can we buy bread from the lodge?

Yes!  We pride ourselves on some great bread recipes and you are more than welcome to order some loaves.

Is it safe to walk around alone? 

We are in an unfenced and wild area.  The original inhabitants of the area are still here: elephants, lions, leopards and hippos are regular visitors, residents and passers by.  There is a small walking trail to the rapids just downstream from the campsite, which you are welcome to walk to alone.  Please keep a good look out though and be aware of your surroundings.  Watch out on the rocks, which can be slippery as well as containing the occasional reptile taking a sunbath!  Please do not walk between the campsites and the lodge after dusk.  Staying here in our remote and wild area is entirely at your own risk.  For longer walks please consult us and arrange a guide.

Do park fees apply? 

As Kaingu is in the Game Management Area we do not have to pay park fees or levies.  The river (eastern bank) is the boundary though, so any boating or fishing will attract park and angling fees, which we will collect on behalf of ZAWA.

What is the policy on fishing at Kaingu?

We try to enforce a rule that what you keep you must eat in camp!  A couple of Silver Barbel fried in a pan over the campfire is sublime, but a pickup truck packed with bream is not on.  We try to encourage catch and release as a rule.  More information here: you really do not want to catch and release then we ask that anything you keep is for consumption in our camp only. Please bear in mind that if you do not have your own tackle then you can hire from us but there are charges for lost or broken tackle.

Can you do self-driven game drives from Kaingu?

Affirmative!  Just ask the management for a map and directions.  We have two interesting loops starting and ending at the camp, either of which are well worth doing on an early morning or evening.

Can we swim in the river?

No! There are some monster crocs…   Please ensure that if you are bank fishing or doing some ‘bouldering’ at the rapids that you stay well back from the waters edge.  In the hotter months we do create a small natural plunge pool in the rapids, which we use regularly.  The water is shallow enough that you can see the bottom and ensure it is safe before venturing in.

Can we buy fuel at the lodge?

No, all our fuel comes here in 20L containers and we simply do not stock enough to be able to sell.

Where are the nearest fuel stations?

There are fuel stations on the M9 road at Mumbwa (coming from Lusaka) and Kaoma (coming from Mongu).  Fuel is also available in Itezhi Tezhi town wither from ZESCO or from Isaac (0979785303) Nabuzoka.

Can we pay by credit card?

Yes, we have a credit card terminal and you are welcome to pay that way.

Can we bring our boat and launch it at Kaingu?

We really do not want people bringing boats.  The river is very rocky and we know to our cost just how hard it can be on motors, props, gearboxes and even hulls.  We have learned (most) of the rocks the hard way…  This is a unique part of the river – it is absolutely not a big slow lazy river with benign sand and gravel.  This place has hidden rocks the size of busses! The only place to launch a boat is downstream from the lodge, and we have learned that boats buzzing up and down past the lodge chalets is not really welcomed by our other guests.

Can you recommend other camping destinations in the Kafue apart from Kaingu? 

In the interests of being as impartial as possible we really recommend that you research various trip reports and expert advice from the BEST online resource about 4×4 travel in the Kafue and indeed the whole of Zambia: Bradt guide to Zambia is by far the most comprehensive guide book and we recommend it as it has lots of brilliant detail about the whole country and the Kafue.  Absolutely invaluable.

Can we rent camping equipment at KaingU? 

Unfortunately not.  The overwhelming majority of campers come fully equipped so it makes no sense for us to keep equipment tied up for this purpose.

Getting to Kaingu Campsites: 

In 2013 the ‘spinal road’ through the park was completed, this means that 99% of our lodge guests come this way and take a boat transfer to the lodge.  Now in 2014 the D769 (Itezhi Tezhi road) is being rehabilitated to asphalt standard!  This is absolutely fantastic news for campers who obviously cannot use the spinal road and leave their vehicles at our car park in the National Park.  Work on the D769 has started and grading is progressing really well.  Already the journey to the lodge has benefited massively.The ‘river road’ is a scenic track which basically runs from Itezhi Tezhi town up the side of the river, past Kaingu and on to Mu-fungata and eventually Mukambi Lodge.  This track was traditionally maintained by commercial hunters, and with the demise of hunting this track has not been maintained for two years.  We have taken a decision (in light of the D769 being upgraded) to focus on our access from there and the spinal road in the park (mostly lodge guests) and therefore we are currently not recommending use of the river road if you want as smooth a drive as possible.  It is quite passable in the drier months, but very rough going in places.If you require directions from any other routes then please consult the directions page on our website: from Lusaka via the Itezhi Tezhi Road:Travelling time about 5 ½ hours• Make sure to refuel before you leave Lusaka, as the only possibilities to re-fuel are at Nangoma Mission or Mumbwa. And even then fuel availability is not always guaranteed.• From Lumumba Road in the Lusaka CBD, take the Great West Road towards Mongu – this is the “Mumbwa Road” (M9).• 151km from Lusaka, you reach the Mumbwa turn-off. If necessary, go into the town to refuel, otherwise bypass it and continue on the M9. A further 30km on you will pass through the Nalusanga Gate at the entrance of the Kafue National Park.• At the 220km mark of the M9 (GPS: S14°58’16.4” E26°27’04.4”) turn left (south) onto the Itezhi-Tezhi road.• After ±50km on this road, you reach the ZAWA Mweengwa Wildlife Check Point (GPS: S15°16’32.3” E26°14’56.7”). 3km further on from this point (GPS: S15°17’56.0” E26°14’09.2”) turn right (West) at the KaingU Lodge/Puku Pans signs.• Travel 25km along a bush track to the next KaingU Lodge sign (GPS: S15°12’02.1” E026°04’18.6”) and turn left (South). Continue on for ±18km, crossing the Mweengwa Pole Bridge and follow the signs into the KaingU Lodge camp.It is recommended not to travel faster than 30-35km per hour on these bush tracks due to rocks and stumps in places close to the edge of the road. At the tsetse control point stop for 5 minutes. Then spray under the wheel arches of your vehicle in short bursts with the spray can provided.Travelling time about 5 ½ hours.

Map of the Kafue and directions to KaingU

Our Lodge is situated in the Namwala Game Management Area (GMA) on a spectacular and remote stretch of the Kafue River. The Kafue National Park, just opposite the lodge and only a 10 minute boat trip away, offers abundant game viewing.