Bilimungwe’s extremely spacious four raised thatched rooms have been carefully designed to ensure the height of comfort whilst still retaining that authentic bushcamp feel. The tangle of mature mahogany trees that surround camp are echoed in the rich, wood interiors and the beautiful wooden furniture, handmade by local artisans. Bright African textiles bring splashes of colour to the elegant rooms. After an early morning game drive, head back to your room for a refreshing, open-air waterfall shower, or continue the wildlife spectacle from your private deck. Two of the chalets have twin beds (queen-sized beds), while the other two each have a king bed. Bilimungwe sleeps up to eight guests and is open from May to December.
As mentioned, they still retain a bushcamp feel, with half-height mosquito-gauzed reed walls allowing uninterrupted views and a free flow of air through the chalet. To one side of each chalet is a seating area with contemporary round cane chairs and a low table set with nature books and magazines. Doors that can fold away completely lead outside onto a massive deck, which runs the length of the chalet.
The waterhole directly in front of the rooms attracts numerous animals throughout the day, meaning the deck is a perfect spot to relax and do some game viewing from camp. Three of the rooms are in a semi-circle around the main waterhole which can result in a slight lack of privacy (you can easily see the deck of the room opposite), but one chalet is separate from the others, overlooking a different waterhole, providing much more privacy.
A reed wall separates the bedroom from a spacious bathroom, which has a flush toilet, twin handbasins carved into a beautiful, polished piece of mahogany, and a large open shower. A door from the bathroom leads to an outside open-air waterfall shower, beautifully crafted, and separated from the front of the chalet by a high curved stone wall.
The meals at Bilimungwe are of a good standard. While it may not be deemed “gourmet”, the chef and his team do provide an array of well-presented, tasty dishes which go hand in hand with the delicious cocktails served at the bar.
A buffet breakfast is usually served in the main area in time to watch the sun rise, before heading out on a morning activity. It might include cereals, fruit, muffins, hot porridge and toast made on the fire.
The morning excursion usually ends at about 10.30am so brunch is often at around 11.00am, although this is flexible and can be altered if you see something exciting out in the bush. Brunch is served in a variety of locations; this includes a variety of salads, freshly baked bread, a choice of chicken, farmer’s sausage and beef shish kebabs, all rounded off with fruit salad for dessert.
You might even be lucky enough to taste one of the mouth-watering pizzas on offer because Bilimungwe and its sister camps each have a wood-fired pizza oven, and once a week guests are invited to roll out their own dough and select their own toppings before handing it over to the chef to cook.
Dinner is usually comprised of three courses served at around 8.00pm. Dishes could include the unusual but tasty lemon and lentil soup served with freshly baked rolls, followed by a pork chop with potatoes and vegetables, with a chocolate and peach tart for desert. For something slightly different from the standard format, sometimes the camp puts on a braai with a great selection of grilled meats, vegetable kebabs, baked potatoes and squashes. There were also some more traditional dishes on offers such as nshima (a kind of maize porridge), a bean stew and a tomato relish.
In between meals you will need to save room for homemade biscuits with morning tea, fresh cakes with afternoon tea, and tasty snacks with sundowner drinks.
Here, the traditions of the African bushcamp meet elegance and style to create a stunning camp that feels like it has grown organically out of the surrounding landscape. Set beneath a huge mahogany tree, the heart of Bilimungwe is the cool, shady lounge area that looks out over one of the camps three waterholes. Settle down in a cosy armchair with a sundowner and relax as you watch an enviable display of spectacular birds and animals that clearly feel as comfortable here as you do. With the open waters of the Luangwa River also on your doorstep and a nearby plain where leopard prowl, it’s clear that this is a nature-lovers paradise.
Take advantage of the exceptional knowledge and charm of resident guide Manda Chisanga, and head out with him on a combination of walking safaris, day and night game drives, and sundowners on the river’s edge. In between outings, find a chair and enjoy the wildlife magnets that are Bilimungwes three permanent waterholes. Who needs satellite television when you have your very own ‘Bush TV’ to entertain you?
Thanks to the Bushcamp Company for providing some awesome aerial footage.
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