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Kaingu Lodge in Liuwa

Liuwa Kaingu

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#1 KaingU Lodge

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 08:30 AM

2016 we did our first 'proper' (i.e. paying guests) Liuwa/Kaingu package.  We ran two trips, both of which consisted of starting at Kaingu, then flying to Kalabo and having three nights in Liuwa and then flying back for a couple of nights at Kaingu. 

 

We obviously wanted to do a proper job on this one so the amount of gear that we took was staggering!  We wanted it to be as comfortable an experience as possible without actually building anything (which obviously we are not allowed to!).  Five staff, an open game viewer and our private vehicle and a trailer.  Myself & Julia (sous chef, solar and mechanical tech, shower water carrier and room attendants), Wina the Chef, Benny the front of house star and field guide Kaley.  We also engaged an African Parks scout for the local knowledge. 

 

Things have been so dry (as in not much rain at the beginning of the year) that the pools were almost empty and the wildebeest were not really grouped in the huge concentrations yet.  Despite this the sightings were great.  Consistent cheetahs and hyena.  Its such a special place. 

 

I am not going to talk much more, rather just show some pictures.  As always I like to show a bit behind the scenes.  For sure we can just show nice glossy pictures of wildlife, but speaking personally I am always interested in 'behind the scenes' a bit and how things work.

 

31096675451_90fe3a7976_k.jpguntitled shoot-10718.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Note even the Lozi stools on the game viewer for bedside tables and fireside drinks!  Oh and the ramps on the hand drawn ferry were kaput on one side, so the ferry had to be turned mid-stream and then I had to reverse off with a trailer in thick sand.  Fortunately I didn't mess up as there was a big audience!

 

Benny-Shoprite-1030x773.jpg

 

Benny went mad in the new Mongu Shoprite. To be honest we were all wandering around slack-jawed.  It is amazing. 

 

31210425965_0375438525_k.jpguntitled shoot-10737.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Typical Liuwa landscape. 

 

untitled-shoot-10690.jpg

 

Overnighting in the brilliant Liseli Lodge in Mongu.  We stayed in and watched TV (a rare treat), while Wina (who is a big lad) went into town and a bit mad.  he claims 30 castle beers.  I believe him.  That was his tips blown in advance....! 

 

30389575914_5c12d580f1_k.jpguntitled shoot-10758.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

More landscapes. 

 

untitled-shoot-10762.jpg

 

Chef Wina in front of his kitchen

 

31096783661_a19e0fa5e0_k.jpguntitled shoot-10772.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Julia's amenity assembly. 

 

30403634093_9089342a78_k.jpguntitled shoot-10777-HDR.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Guest tents for the first group. 

 

untitled-shoot-10766.jpg

 

Being in Zambia we of course totally over estimated our Nshima requirements and so lugged 20kgs of maize meal around Western Zambia....  Better safe than sorry!

 

30403667673_e6756696cc_k.jpguntitled shoot-10802.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

We even put brand new tyres on GV1 to take it to Liuwa.  You need decent tyres here.  Not in terms of grip, but in terms of a tyre that can be deflated (to deal with the sand) and not give problems.  BF Goodrich.  The best!  Okay, enough about tyres. 

 

31096925911_d682b19e25_k.jpguntitled shoot-10852.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Hyenas are famous for trying to eat tyres.  Not these ones though.  Too small and cute!

 

31067485562_5ab3655ffe_k.jpguntitled shoot-10869.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Your 'typical' Liuwa water hole life. 

 

untitled-shoot-10761.jpg

 

This is the tent you get if you are called Zarius and are a pilot.  Luckily he is quite small. 

 

30403892143_d35afb9f15_k.jpguntitled shoot-10905.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Kaley looking very worried. 

 

untitled-shoot-11101.jpg

 

Benny looking for wildebeests.  He took great delight in telling Kaley that "the guide is rubbish and as a guest he won't even be tipping one Kwacha".  Kaley took equal delight in pointing out that this was a staff drive and when the guests arrive he Kaley will sit around the fire with them and Benny will have to serve him! 

 

30403932233_f55bd60e9d_k.jpguntitled shoot-10942.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Wildebeest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Okay, now we need another 8000 please. 

 

31210855275_9e53b416e9_k.jpguntitled shoot-10945.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

7,999 to go.  Keep using the binos Benny. 

 

untitled-shoot-11182.jpg

 

Benny and Wina upset the campsite boss man by moving his table so it could be a drying rack beside the kitchen.  The guy went off his trolley, banging on about 'regulations are everywhere'.  Fortunately we got into his good books by using a compressor to blast out a choked shower drain.  After that we were all friends again.  So much so that at the end of the trips he got left the 15kgs of maize meal that we couldn't finish plus dregs of wine boxes.  Oh, and we paid his wife to do the washing up. 

 

untitled-shoot-11146.jpg

 

Tent interior.  Please do note the carpet. 

 

31210920855_ea8dc416ab_k.jpguntitled shoot-11005.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Zebras.  At sunset. 

 

30390077264_e8cc2f5ce5_k.jpguntitled shoot-11030-Edit.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Discussions about the day. 

 

30390242024_3bfb67df47_k.jpguntitled shoot-11045.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

"Our" dining room.

 

31211234905_102525150a_k.jpguntitled shoot-11067.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Short tailed eagle in the trees by our campsite. 

 

30844189490_4db40b52d2_k.jpguntitled shoot-11142.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Guest tents.  We kept numbers to a maximum of 6 per group. 

 

31211453465_e67ee80bdd_k.jpguntitled shoot-11193.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

I always say that I would go to Liuwa JUST for the landscapes.  And it is true. Yes, we did bring ponchos. 

 

30844250050_c043836b0b_k.jpguntitled shoot-11220.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Julia dressed for dinner.  I was well impressed.

 

31097739291_bee22a3dfc_k.jpguntitled shoot-11279.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

For the second group we were up at Katoyana and there were a lot of reedbuck around.  The guests saw cheetah trying (and failing) to hunt them at the pools 1km from the campsite. 

 

untitled-shoot-11287.jpg

 

We went out mid-afternoon to try and find the cheetah.  For some reason Benny found Johan's photo technique funny.  Luckily Johan lives in Lusaka and comes to Kaingu a lot so is tolerant.  We don't expose 'normal' guests to ridicule by our staff, but there is nothing normal about Johan.  Back in July he chased Nyambanza through the kitchen while wearing a gorilla mask.  Hmmmm. 

 

30844289340_b2c2d27b02_k.jpguntitled shoot-11326.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Katoyana also yielded a lot more wildebeest. 

 

 

31176031036_6f745aec2c_k.jpguntitled shoot-11358.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

31211506005_5c4b63d11f_k.jpguntitled shoot-11381.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

There really is nowhere else in Zambia like Liuwa. 

 

30390590834_71a688bcec_k.jpguntitled shoot-11419.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

With the wildebeest birthing there are lots of side striped jackal around. 

 

 

31068306122_fbafef2cd7_k.jpguntitled shoot-11386.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Liuwa is also a fantastic place to see Oribi.

 

30844341170_05a663d246_k.jpguntitled shoot-11619.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

More Oribi. 

 

31176061686_9b516595ae_k.jpguntitled shoot-11507.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Lilac breasted roller at mid day. 

 

31097826091_269e3cacfe_k.jpguntitled shoot-11668.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

Martial eagle making the Oribi nervous! 

 

31068359202_d3221d3fff_k.jpguntitled shoot-11710.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

The Katoyana lounge and dining room. 

 

untitled-shoot-11100.jpg

 

Changeover day = staff drive. 

 

untitled-shoot-11743.jpg

 

Packed up and done and dusted. 

 

31068322462_52170c21ff_k.jpguntitled shoot-11459.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

30844375000_d2622cbdff_k.jpguntitled shoot-11714.jpg by G Dickson, on Flickr

 

 

Guest comments:

With the Kaingu team we also did a 3 days bush camp safari at Liuwa Plains. Magnificent horizons, lots of Wilderbeasts and zebra's, many birds. The camp site was beautyful and tents and beds were as clean as possible. Very cosy dinners in the candle light at night. I certainly recommend to do the combination (if you visit in November) of Kaingu Lodge and Liuwa Plains (6 days).

 

Just thought to forwadr you the feedback of XXXX x2. They are not so with emails etc so she called me and we chat for an hour. They LOVED it!!  Liuwa Plains they found really fantastic , it was a ‘little Serengeti’ experience they said. The endless plain and of course less animals in numbers but they have seen plenty. They saw the herds of wildebeast growing day by day due to the birth of many calves. Jackhals, hyena’s, vultures and they even saw a cheetah with a cub! De tents were just fine, neatly kept with camp beds with ironed linen, excellent food and good guiding and friendly, helpfull staff.

 

And a small video we made:

 

https://vimeo.com/193321129

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Treepol

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 09:31 AM

@KaingU Lodge this looks fantastic, something for my future travels.


Edited by Treepol, 09 December 2016 - 09:32 AM.

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#3 Geoff

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 09:41 AM

Some nice pics.

 

With all that infrastructure (new pontoon & thatched dining huts etc) it's gone way upmarket since I visited. I loved the landscapes but I feel the game viewing is less than stellar. 


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#4 TonyQ

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 10:09 AM

@KaingU Lodge

It looks brilliant - thank you for posting!


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#5 Game Warden

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 12:28 PM

@KaingU Lodge The logistics of transporting materials from one location to another looks like quite the adventure...


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#6 optig

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 01:00 PM

@KaingU Lodge This is a fabulous report of a scarcely known location. Yes,I would like to visit Liuwa Plains to see the migration in 2013.


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#7 KaingU Lodge

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 01:06 PM

@Game Warden

 

It was and is!  Although Liuwa access has changed massively due to the completion of the causeway across the Zambezi floodplains.  I once did it in serious mud and rain and it took 3.5 hours.  It now takes 20 minutes and 25 bridges..  serious project.  This is the bridge over the actual Zambezi:

 

Zambezi bridge.jpg

 

But still, when you get to Kalabo the first part is a bit of a mission, and to be honest the sand was really churned up (there is a fair amount of construction stuff going into the new Time & Tide camp) this year.  Pulling a trailer through it was not easy going.  But the biggest mistake (and there was nothing we could do about it) was that we had to move sites for the 2nd group.  Katoyana is a nicer site and further North, but to pack up all the tents and general gear was a mission.  Next time = one site for the duration. 

 

Great fun though (mostly).  And a very good team building thing trip as well.  Benny in particular was outstanding.  A young guy who initially we met as he was cutting Mukwa planks in the GMA.  He is now doing a diploma in hotel management.  I have big hopes for him. 

 

 


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#8 ice

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 03:32 PM

@KaingU Lodge This is a fabulous report of a scarcely known location. Yes,I would like to visit Liuwa Plains to see the migration in 2013.

 

I'm not sure you will be able to see the migration in 2013...that is, unless you've found to travel through time...


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#9 Kitsafari

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 04:16 PM

@KaingU Lodge where were you early this year when I was making my plans for Kafue-Liuwa combo?!!? in the end, they fell through and I ended up in Gonarezhou,which was a great replacement indeed. 

 

But now something to keep in mind for the future. 

 

oh, btw, Liuwa looks beautiful still. you didn't mention lions - you didn't see them?


Edited by Kitsafari, 09 December 2016 - 04:17 PM.

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#10 egilio

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 04:26 PM

Great to see this! Liuwa is close to my heart! :)


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#11 Caracal

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 05:08 AM

Love those landscapes with their far horizons - great animal shots and like @Kitsafari interested to hear any update on Liuwa lions.

 

Julia is indeed setting a high standard for Liuwa dinner dress !

 

Looks like you were all having a great time along with the guests. 


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#12 Botswanadreams

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 06:14 AM

@KaingU Lodge

Thanks very much. It brings nice memories back in my mind. We spend a fantastic 6 nights in Liuwa in 2012. We took a ranger with us and it was our big lack. Without him we never had find all this nice pools with the hyenas in for cooling down. What about Lady Liuwa and the other Lioness with the cabs? Are they doing well?

 

As I remember right Tom Heinecken told us that you was expected to arrive the day after we left KaingU in November 2012. So we missed to meet each other one day.


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#13 KaingU Lodge

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 05:40 AM

There are two brand new cubs (about 8 weeks old)!  We and our guests didn't see them, but to be honest we (as in staff) didn't really have time.  The guests were not that keen on lions (well, they would have liked to see them obviously, but the trip was not lessened by not seeing them and they didn't seem to want to spend a long time looking for them).   Actually the fact that the huge herds were not yet around was more of an issue! 

 

There will be an African Geographic report about Liuwa Lions quite soon.  Friends of ours were there just after us doing this and they have some amazing pictures.  Stay tuned. 


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#14 Soukous

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 01:15 PM

well done @KaingU Lodge


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