(10 rondavels plus a house for self-catering) Busanga Trails, PO Box 31322, Lusaka; www.busangatrails.com. (GPS: LUFUPA) Overseas travellers should contact www.expertafrica.com
in the UK.
This relatively large lodge overlooks the confluence of the Lufupa and Kafue Rivers. It is the centre of activity in the northern Kafue, and the base for Busanga Trails. Access is easy. If you're coming from overseas, then Busanga Trails normally runs a shuttle service between the lodge and Lusaka on two days every week – designed to connect with BA flights from London. This takes about five hours, including a break for a packed lunch.
Alternatively, if you're driving, then after entering the park at the Nalusanga Gate, continue straight on until you cross the Kafue River at the Hook Bridge (GPS: HOOKBR), then take an almost immediate turn north from the tar road, past a game scouts' check-point. Follow that track about 44km northeast, ignore the right turn to Kafwala (GPS: KAFTUR), and continue for about 26km more to Lufupa .
Lufupa's accommodation is in simple, thatched, brick rondavels. These are large (having 3–5 beds), clean and comfortable, with en-suite (hot and cold) showers, toilets and wash basins. The lodge prides itself generally on a 'no frills' approach, so you won't be waited on hand and foot. It's just not that kind of place. However, there's always someone to help when you need it.
The dining room serves buffet-style meals and whilst there is little choice, the food is good. If you have any food restrictions, then these will be catered for very well. Tea and coffee are always available (help yourself) and there is a good, comfortable bar near to the small swimming pool. The lodge's atmosphere is friendly, casual and very unpretentious. For those with a 4WD there is a campsite here. Wood is supplied and there is a slipway for launching boats.
Activities are mostly by 4WD and boat, though walks can also be organised when requested. The lodge is large enough to run several activities at once, and an afternoon boat trip up either the Lufupa or Kafue rivers is excellent. The guides are highly adept at locating the area's wildlife, and especially the area's leopards, helping to make exciting night drives one of the lodge's chief attractions. (I have had consistently good reports of these since I last wrote about the lodge. Watching a leopard stalk by night is unforgettable, and Lufupa offers visitors one of the best chances in Africa of spotting these cats.)
Unlike most of the lodges in Zambia, Lufupa normally works in conjunction with fixed transfers which connect it with Lusaka about twice per week. These are always included with your trip as part of a package. Within their framework, you can book to stay at Lufupa, or Lufupa and Shumba (normally for two nights), or Kafwala, or all three camps. Effectively, you usually need to sacrifice some flexibility to visit Busanga Trails camps – but then they are good value. Busanga Trails are relatively unusual in that they attract an international clientele, whilst having fairly simple accommodation and facilities. Their secret lies in sensible pricing and a remarkable reputation for leopards.