(4 twin tents and 4 houses) PO Box 31253, Maunda Road, Lusaka; tel: 01 242083; fax: 01 295398; mob: 01 788910; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.hippolodge.co.uk
Hippo Lodge (GPS: HIPPO) stands on the site of the old Lubungu Camp, which was closed in 1992. Since then it was mainly used privately until about 2002, when its owners started to renovate it extensively. The camp is now run by one of its owners, the capable Bruce Whitfield, who ran Lufupa Lodge (which is barely 20km west of here) for many years in the late 1990s.
Hippo has four walk-in tents which aren't enormous, but are simple and pleasant – and covered with a shade roof. Each has an open-air, en-suite bathroom at the back, with a flush toilet, wash basin and hot shower. Inside are twin beds, each with a mosquito net.
The camp's more impressive rooms are the stone-built 'houses'. Each of these is different; all are quirky! The flagship is probably the double room with a swinging bed, suspended (50cm about the floor) from the rafters. Tremendous fun! This large room also has a huge sunken bath and an en-suite shower and toilet. There's another stone double room, built to an A-frame design, also en suite, and one of slightly more conventional layout. Both are individually designed and solidly built from largely local, natural materials.
The largest of the houses is a self-contained family house, complete with its own kitchen and, if requested, a chef. This can sleep two in a double room, two in a twin room downstairs, and a further two in an upstairs section. This really is a large family 'house', and all share a large bathroom.
Bruce is a good guide who knows northern Kafue well, and can organise a number of activities from here. A network of game-viewing roads has been graded in the area, and, whilst the game isn't quite as prolific or varied as further west, what's around is becoming increasingly relaxed. The team here conduct both day and night game drives. Walks are usually part of the menu, and for these you usually cross the river to explore the wilderness area west of here. This part of the Kafue has no roads in it, and is a lovely area to walk around – whilst the energetic can arrange a rendezvous with one of the lodge's boats. Within a kilometre of the camp is a marvellous natural hot spring, within which the team have used the area's natural stone to section off a part – making a natural sand-bottomed Jacuzzi.
Boat trips are a major feature, with fishing and birdwatching favourite activities, though there are a number of offbeat possibilities for the more adventurous. For example, if you want to sleep out on one of the islands at night, then the team will arrange for a fly-camp to be set up for you. When arriving at the camp, it's possible to be met at the Lubungu pontoon and boated downstream from there, stopping to camp on islands on the way. Or after staying here, if you want to continue to Lufupa 20km downstream, a boat transfer can be arranged.