FLATDOGS CAMP - SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
Flatdogs is a very popular camp located just outside the South Luangwa National Park and is just an hour’s drive from Mfue Airport. With 19 rooms and chalets the camp is quite large but there is lots of choice of accommodation from chalet rooms, luxury and standard safari tents to two very unique private houses – Jackalberry Treehouse and the top level Crocodile Nest with its own pool overlooking the river.
The camp suites all types of budgets and offers a fantastic restaurant with a good range of a la carte meals and there is a swimming pool on site. Owners Ade, Jess and Paulo are on site to welcome guests and the camp has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and good guiding.
Flatdogs is located near the main gate of the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Access via Mfuwe Airport and the camp is around 1 hour’s drive from the airport.
There is a variety of accommodation at Flatdogs to suit all budgets – we recommend staying at the private Croc Nest or Jackalberry Treehouse which both have two bedrooms.
CROCODILE (CROC'S) NEST – 1 TENTED HOUSE WITH TWO BEDROOMS
The Croc Nest has been set on a deck looking onto the banks of the Luangwa River with lovely river views. This huge, tented structure has been split into two ensuite tented bedrooms at either end of the house both with either one king or two twin beds with space for a third bed inside each bedroom if required. The two bedrooms both have semi-open air bathrooms with hot showers, flush toilets and basin.
The bedrooms both lead into the living room/dining area in the middle of the house which has sofas, soft chairs and a dining table as guests in the tented house will be welcome to eat privately at the house if they prefer. The living room and both bedrooms open onto an outside deck and sitting area and there is a private swimming pool built into the deck which also looks onto the river.
The house is on mains electricity so easy for charging camera batteries and other items as well as having electric fans and a fridge for cold drinks. Guests staying in the tented house will also have a private guide and their own safari vehicle so they can plan their activities depending on their particular interests.
JACKALBERRY TREEHOUSE – OPEN FRONTED TREEHOUSE WITH TWO BEDROOMS
Set in a private spot away from the rest of camp, the Jackalberry Tree House is made up by three joined platforms built around three mature Mchenja trees (African Ebony or Jackalberry tree). There are two ensuite bedrooms with an open sitting/dining deck inbetween them.
The bedroom platforms have romantic and rustic four poster beds (one queen and one king which can be split into two twin beds), open front walls and uninterrupted views of Africa. Each bedroom has an open air bathroom platform down a short flight of steps with hot shower, flush toilets and basin.
A large sofa, armchairs and throw cushions are spread out on the middle deck for relaxing during the heat of the day and watching the game which wanders past the house. There is also a dining table and chairs should you prefer to dine at the house and a fridge and bar are provided in the Treehouse as well as tea and coffee-making facilities. Your safari guide will plan collection times from the house and your preferred activities.
The Tree-house is on mains electricity and has UK style 3-pin rectangular plug sockets for re-charging cameras or laptops. Giraffe, bushbuck, puku and elephant are commonly found all around the Treehouse and it is wonderful to wake to the sounds of elephant feeding below you or having a mud bath from the waterhole in front of the house.
LUXURY AND STANDARD ENSUITE SAFARI TENTS
There are seven Luxury ensuite safari tents, six of which are pitched permanently on the banks of the Luangwa. These made-to-order tents have a thatched roof for extra shade, ensuite facilities (hot shower, flush toilet and basin) with a canvas half roof over the bathroom, full-sized beds with sprung mattresses, large mosquito nets and all bedding and towels provided. The tents have electric lights, a fan and charging points for camera batteries. There is also a room safe and tea and coffee making facilities.
Six of the luxury tents including the family tent look straight out onto the river, one tent (tent 11, the honeymoon tent) has plenty of privacy and looks out onto a pretty lagoon which attracts plenty of birdlife as well as elephant for their daily mud baths and giraffe and bushbuck when they are thirsty.
The Family Tent (a luxury tent) is a little different to the others, this is a specially designed tent which has space for a double bed and two single beds, both with large mosquito nets and with a large bathroom at the back of the tent, shared between the family. The family tent is set on the riverbank with lovely views of the river.
There are 3 standard ensuite safari tents which are much smaller and simper and have open air showers, toilet and basin. They have comfortable beds, mosquito nets, charging points and electric fans and are ideal for those on a budget.
WILDLIFE AND ACTIVITIES
South Luangwa has many herbivores three of which stand out as being endemic to the area. Thornicroft’s giraffe has different markings to the giraffes in the rest of southern Africa. Elephant and buffalo are numerous with both having the freedom to wander throughout the GMAs (Game Management Areas or conservation areas) surrounding the park and the park itself. With no fences allowed in the GMAs the camp is regularly visited by these large herbivores. Antelope, especially impala, bushbuck and puku, are also present in large numbers.
The main predators in the Luangwa Valley are lion, leopard, spotted hyena and wild dog. Lion, hyaena and leopard are commonly seen with wild dog numbers on the increase and although traditionally they used to only be seen in the rainy season they are now seen more regularly and in larger numbers throughout the year.
Morning Game drives - leave camp at 0600 after a light early breakfast of toast, cereal, yoghurt, tea and coffee from 0530. Safaris are in open game viewers so that you have an all-round view of the birds, trees, wildlife and beauty of the Park. Midway through the drive there is a tea/cold drink stop so you can stretch your legs and you usually return to camp at around 1000 depending on the season.
Afternoon/Night drives - leave camp at 4pm for your afternoon safari after tea in the courtyard. Your safari guide will aim to stop at a scenic spot just before sundown so you can enjoy sundowner and once the sun has set you will continue on with a spotlight operated by your spotter who looks for interesting nocturnal creatures that you are unlikely to see during daylight hours. There is a chance to see nocturnal birds like night-jars, owls and bat hawks as well as nocturnal mammals such as honeybadgers, civet, genet, porcupine, leopard and hyena. Afternoon drives return to camp at around 8pm which the National Park's gate closes.
Walking Safaris - the South Luangwa is well known for its walking safaris. You guides will explain the smaller details of the bush which you can see, hear and smell when on foot - from bird calls to alarm calls to trees and plants which have medicinal uses and tracks of wild animals. Walking is usually enjoyed in the mornings when the temperatures are cooler but can be enjoyed through the year for longer periods during cooler months. Each walk is usually 3-4 hours long at a gentle pace.
Kawaza village visit - Kawaza Village is really a living working African village where the local residents have agreed amongst themselves to invite visitors into their lives with no tourism hype at all. They then use the money raised by visitors and donations to pay for orphans’ education, teachers’ salaries at the school and other village projects. The project has won the Silver Otter Award as the best rural tourism project worldwide. During the visit you can see and help villagers preparing maize for meals, drying sorghum, making “hooch”, hoeing the fields, building houses and also visit their local herbalist/medicine lady as well as the Kawaza school, meeting the teachers and pupils.
Overnight stays at Kawaza are also possible for a more in-depth experience meeting the villagers and spending the night in a traditional local hut. If the village visit is chosen to be done instead of either a morning or an afternoon game drive then there is no charge for the transfers for groups or four or more. There is an extra cost to visit the village on top of the transfer.
FLATDOGS IS CLOSED DURING FEBRUARY AND MARCH EVERY YEAR
THE CAMP WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN OF ALL AGES. DO NOTE THAT ONLY CHILDREN AGED 12 YEARS AND OLDER CAN PARTICIPATE IN WALKING SAFARIS.