Puku Ridge Camp
Puku Ridge Camp: Our View
Puku Ridge Camp has been a really well established safari camp in South Luangwa for as long as we have been inspecting camps there. But anyone who stayed at Puku Ridge in the past would not recognise the camp now! In 2019 Puku Ridge Camp was bought from Sanctuary Camps by Chiawa Safaris, a locally owned Zambian safari operator. Chiawa was one of the original pioneers of photographic safaris in Zambia and have operated the renowned Chiawa & Old Mondoro Camps in the Lower Zambezi Park for over 30 years. So adding a camp in South Luangwa to their portfolio is very exciting news indeed. What they have done with Puku Ridge camp is even more exciting! The old camp has been totally removed and a brand new camp has been built. It is absolutely gorgeous! Without doubt one of the most luxurious bush camps in South Luangwa, with features not usually found there. All rooms have their own sleep out Starbed, plunge pool, and air con. With only 8 rooms, Puku Ridge Camp is also small and intimate.
The location of Puku Ridge Camp is superb. The camp is located inside South Luangwa National Park, surrounded by the abundant wildlife for which this Park is famous. Puku Ridge Camp enjoys an elevated position on a rocky ridge - and enjoys probably the best views of any camp in South Luangwa. From this location they have easy access to the area close to the main Mfuwe entrance where the game viewing is superb - although this is the busiest area of the park. But Puku Ridge Camp can also do game drives into the much quieter, more remote southern section of the Park, where the game viewing is also excellent. We have yet to experience the game activities at the new camp but based on their Lower Zambezi camps, we are expecting the same outstanding guiding and a real focus on the safari experience.
The new Puku Ridge Camp is definitely one of the most exciting additions to the South Luangwa safari scene in recent years. It combines real luxury with a genuine tented camp ambience and access to excellent game viewing. Puku Ridge Camp is also competitively priced compared to other bush camps inside the Park, making it very good value for money. For clients who want to combine South Luangwa with the Lower Zambezi, Puku Ridge Camp would be a great choice. There are very good special offers available when Puku Ridge Camp is combined with Chiawa or Old Mondoro Camps.
Puku Ridge Camp: Quick Facts
- 8 luxurious tented rooms - en suite bathroom with indoor & outdoor shower and bath, private plunge pool and rooftop sleep out deck - plus air-conditioning and ceiling fans
- Superb location inside the South Luangwa National Park with outstanding views from its elevated position
- Day & night game drives as well as walking safaris offered
- Children 12 years and over welcome - although please note that there are no family rooms
- Wi-Fi available
- Perfect for honeymoons and special occasions
- About 90 minutes road transfer from Mfuwe airport
- Open from April to November, which is a longer season than most other camps in South Luangwa
- Very good special offers available for longer stays or when combined with Chiawa or Old Mondoro Camps in Lower Zambezi Park
Puku Ridge Camp: The Details
In a park that has become famous for its rustic and simple bush camps, the new Puku Ridge Camp offers something very different. It sets new standards of luxury for a bush camp in South Luangwa and is more like the luxury tented camps found in safari areas like the Okavango Delta. The 8 tented rooms are absolutely stunning. The very spacious bedrooms are stylishly furnished and have a lounge area with sofa and king size or twin beds. The attached bathroom is equally stylish with his and hers wash basins, a huge freestanding bathtub, and indoor and outdoor showers. The large 2 tier outside decking is the perfect place to relax and admire the views down and across onto the surrounding floodplains. But it is all the added features that also set this camp apart from other camps in South Luangwa. Rooms have mosquito nets as well as ceiling fans and ‘evening breeze’ air con units over the beds - which is a rarity in this safari park and very welcome during the extremely hot months of September to October. Every room also has its own private plunge pool and open air roof top sleep out deck with romantic Starbeds, again something that very few other camps in South Luangwa have.
The communal areas are also wonderful with a large lounge and dining area and options for dining either under the thatched roof or totally outside. There is also a telescope for stargazing and the boma area is perfect for pre or post dinner drinks around the campfire. A small waterhole is located in front of the lounge area to attract game close to the camp. And like the rooms, there are fantastic views onto the surrounding grassy plains. We are expecting both the cuisine, service and management to be of the same very high standards as at their long established sister camps Chiawa and Old Mondoro. Overall, a stay at Puku Ridge offers a very special and romantic bush safari experience.
Under its previous owners, we did feel that the emphasis was more on providing a luxury accommodation experience with less attention to the actual safari experience. With all the luxury on offer at the new Puku Ridge Camp one could be tempted to think that this would still be the case. However, we do not think that this will be indeed be the case. Grant and Lynsey Cumings, the new owners of Puku Ridge, are legendary in the Zambia safari scene. For over 30 years their camps in the Lower Zambezi have been setting the standard for guiding with a real focus on the safari experience, not just in Zambia but in the whole of Africa. We are expecting the same emphasis on superb guiding and a total focus on a very intense safari experience here as well. Day and night game drives as well as walking safaris will be offered and there is access to some superb game viewing areas. A short drive to the north will bring clients to the area close to the main entrance gate where the game viewing is excellent - although this area can be busy during the peak season. And there is also the option of going to the south to more remote and much less crowded areas of the park where there are very few other camps - and where a high quality game viewing experience is to be expected. Like the camp itself, we are confident that the game viewing and safari experience on offer at Puku Ridge Camp will not disappoint even the most seasoned safari guests!