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Musango Safari Camp

Musango Safari Camp is an exclusive owner-run camp located on a wooded peninsula on the western edge of the Matusadona National Park, at the mouth of the Ume River.

The excellent Musango Safari Camp is a step back in time, where the traditional values of personal hosting and good guiding are prioritised ahead of fancy accommodation and modern conveniences. Owner and professional guide Steve Edwards has a long history in the park and is passionate about the area, and he and his wife Wendy make wonderful hosts. The accommodation is perfectly comfortable, but fairly simple by today’s standards, and the central areas have the welcoming feel of an established safari camp. In short, it is ‘old school’ and appeals to travellers looking for a relaxed stay with exceptionally warm hospitality, rather than a luxury safari experience. Game viewing can be productive but the best activities are boat cruises, birding and fishing. We think a few days taking it slow at Musango offers a really good contrast to the big game areas of Hwange and Mana Pools, especially for anyone keen on birding.


Accommodation for around 18 guests is in six tented chalets and two Honeymoon Suites, housed under large A-frame thatch roofs, on a stone plinth. The tented bedroom area has twin beds and doors leading on to a small verandah with two chairs. To the back of each tent is a dressing area and en suite bathroom which is semi-open air with stone walls, under the thatched A-frame. All the tents face east over the lake and the rising sun. The two honeymoon suites are furthest from the main area and are larger, with a king bed, stone patio and private plunge pool. The accommodation is comfortable and well-maintained, but not luxurious or modern.

Central Areas

The central areas include a large double storey thatched area housing the dining, bar and lounge areas as well as an upstairs lounge and viewing deck. There is also a small swimming pool and outside dining area overlooking the lake. A curio shop houses a selection of crafts supporting local businesses and the ‘museum’ which showcases an impressive collection of fossils, stone age and iron age artefacts and other specimens all collected on the concession.


Wi-Fi – No
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

Kariba is the largest man-made lake in the world and covers some 5500 sq.kms (about 2100 sq.miles). It is around 220 kms long, and around 40 kms at its widest. Built in the late 1950s to harness hydropower for both Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), the dam wall straddles a gorge of the Zambezi River between Kariba (Zimbabwe) and Siavongo (Zambia). The dam wall is impressive, particularly when the gates are open.

The formation of the lake has a chequered history. During its formation, Rupert Fothergill, a local senior game ranger, initiated his ‘Operation Noah’, saving thousands of animals from the rising waters. Many local people, particularly the Batonka, were also displaced and forced to live elsewhere. However, hydro power was produced and a flourishing fishing industry also gathered momentum. Even today, the twinkling lights of the many Kapenta rigs can be seen at night as they gather in their haul.

Covering a large proportion of the southern shoreline, the Matusadona National Park was established as a non-hunting reserve in 1963 and proclaimed a National Park in 1975. The Park is largely inaccessible and extends over the upland area above the lake. Vegetation varies from grassland on the upper reaches to woodland (often destroyed by elephant) on the lower slopes leading to the foreshore. This habitat variation provides for a wide variety of animal and bird life. Larger mammal species include elephant, lion, leopard, zebra, waterbuck, buffalo, hippo, kudu and impala. Unfortunately, rhino are now seldom seen, and giraffe are not found north of the escarpment. Eland, sable antelope, and roan antelope occur in the escarpment hills. Crocodiles of impressive size inhabit the water’s edge.

Although the shoreline ecosystems are constantly evolving, a wide variety of water fowl, herons, storks, waders, plovers, jacanas, the African finfoot and others inhabit the region. The haunting cry of the fish eagle often echoes across the waters. Other raptors include the bateleur, black eagle, harrier hawk (gymnogene), and a variety of falcons, hawks and owls. Additional general species include kingfishers (grey-hooded, malachite, brown-hooded, giant and pied), bee-eaters (carmine, little) as well as orioles, starlings, barbets and shrikes.


Whilst there is the option of entering the official Matusadona Park, most of the activities take place on Musango’s extensive private concession area bordering the park. Activities include game drives (by day), guided walking safaris, boating safaris, specialist birding safaris, and fishing. It is also possible to visit a local fishing village for an insight to the ways of the local BaTonga people. Notable discoveries of dinosaur fossils have been made on the concession and guests can visit the fossil sites during their stay, as well as early stone age tool sites.


Musango is open all year round, though game viewing is best from June through to October.

Musango welcomes children of all ages. While they can provide extra beds in some of the rooms, the existing tents are not huge, so families staying in the same tent would find the accommodation very ‘cosy’. There is also the option to set up a little tented bedroom for children on the patio of one of the rooms, for more adventurous children. Fishing, walking, boating and looking for fossils may appeal to families with older children, but in general we wouldn’t push Musango as a natural destination for families with younger children.

Musango Safari Camp is actively involved in conservation efforts as well as supporting the local community. Many of the staff employed at the camp are local and have been trained by Wendy and locally produced crafts are sold in the camp’s shop.