Hippo Lodge is an owner-run camp and is geared towards creating a personalized and intimate atmosphere that one would expect from a classic safari lodge. Bruce Whitfield, who has over a decade of experience guiding in Kafue National Park, will show you the magic of the bush with his extensive knowledge of African wildlife.
The lodge is situated on the east bank of the Kafue River, in the northern sector of the Kafue National Park, 100 km west-northwest of Mumbwa. Northeast of Hippo is the Lubungu ferry crossing on the old Kasempa road. Approximately 40 km downstream is Lufupa Lodge.
Hippo is a comfortable 4-hour drive from Lusaka in the dry season (May to mid-November) and the road is passable all year round for a reasonably high-clearance vehicle, although a reliable 4x4 vehicle is needed in the wet season (December to April). The Hippo airstrip lies less than 2 km from the lodge and is open in the dry season. A flight from Lusaka International to the camp takes no more than an hour and a half. This is the only airstrip in the area (1100 km long).
If you want to be closer to nature choose the secluded self-catering camp on the beautiful, wooded Lunga Island 25 minutes upstream, with 6 furnished en-suite safari tents and a fully equipped kitchen and braii area.
Hippo Lodge has a peaceful atmosphere heightened by its seclusion deep within the Zambian bush, far from the bustle of modern city life. Come and fish, go game viewing or simply relax on the deck and watch the waters of the Kafue flow by as the sun sets on another perfect African day.
Across on the western bank of the Kafue River, opposite Hippo Lodge is one of the most remarkable areas of Kafue National Park. It is a remote wilderness, virtually untouched by man, and teeming with seasonal wildlife; at night the sounds of lion and hyena are commonly heard. A morning hike through this pristine wilderness, escorted by a game-scout and experienced guide, and following well-used game trails, is a not-to-be-forgotten experience. Depending on the level of fitness visitors may walk from 5 to 15 km, experiencing many fascinating aspects of the bush, from the Honeyguide leading you to a bee’s nest to visiting the remains of a lion’s feast the night before to tracking game at seasonal pans.
Game viewing by open 4x4 vehicles, on extensive loops of bush tracks east of the river, is offered in the early morning, or late afternoon/night. As dusk falls the hunt is on to track down the elusive cats: lions, leopard and African Wild Cat. It is not uncommon for impromptu evening drive-outs to be made, following the sound of a nearby lion’s roar.
RIVER CRUISES & FISHING With so many kilometres of beautiful, wild, river to explore, boat cruises at any time of the day are a favourite. Game viewing from the river can be spectacular, especially in the drier months, when elephants cross the river, or when buffalo come down to the river to drink, not too mention that thirsty pride of lion! For experienced or even uninitiated anglers, a thrilling experience can be had with our local staff which are always willing to thread a worm, untangle knots and unhook your catch – later to be served for dinner! Species such as the famous Yellow Belly, Tilapia or Bream, Catfish and the African Pike are all found in the Kafue River system. Fishing tackle is available for guests, and boats with coxswain) are available for hire.
BIRDING SAFARIS Thanks to the Zambian Ornithological Society, Hippo Lodge and its surroundings is one of the best catalogued for birding in Zambia –indeed a bird watcher’s paradise. It is renowned for almost 300 species which have been recorded within the area including the African Finfoot, African Skimmer, Rock Pratincole, Crowned and Wattle Crane, Saddle-bill Stork, Racket-tailed Roller, Sharlow’s Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Crowned Eagle (which are nesting in camp) and the ubiquitous African Fish Eagle. For the avid birder, birding safari’s can be organized with one of our specialist guides.
HOT SPRINGS A natural hot spring, situated about a kilometre from the lodge, provides guests with a perfect opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate in unique sand-bottomed Jacuzzi – bathing at the spring is one of our most popular activities. A BBQ dinner alongside the spring, under the starry African sky, makes for an unforgettable evening.
ISLAND EXCURSIONS Trips to these small idyllic wooded islands within the Kafue River can be arranged in camp for the adventurous guest. These trips are entirely different bush experiences that never fail to excite!
OLD HIPPO MINE Hippo Mine was the first copper mine in Zambia, discovered in 1903, and now a National Heritage Site. A guided tour of the derelict mine and its artefacts are a fascinating historical insight into the endeavours and lives of early pioneers. Mining ceased in 1973.