Perched atop a high ridge in the Luangwa Valley, Puku Ridge is a ‘semi-tented’ camp with an extraordinary view over Zambia’s Kakumbi Floodplain. Recently rebuilt from the ground up, the camp has significantly upped its conservation-mindedness without compromising on luxury.
The communal areas at Puku Ridge are dominated by large expanses of multi-levelled dark wood decks built around trees that continue to protrude. Tables and chairs are arranged around a sand fire pit and lanterns are placed at intervals to lend atmosphere to the already-spectacular views. Meals can be taken either outdoors or inside in the thatched dining area, bar, and lounge. Décor is classic-safari-meets-contemporary-hotel.
Food and service
Puku Ridge has two sister camps in the region – Chiawa and Old Mondoro – both noted for their high standards of service and cuisine, and the story is no different here. Service in-camp is friendly and meticulous; guides are excellent; and menus are high-quality and adaptable, with evening meals paired with first-rate wines. Meals are available either in the restaurant-style dining area or on the private deck of individual tents.
The semi-tents at Puku Ridge are extraordinary in their size, luxury, and style. Each of the eight offers panoramic views from a large lounge and bedroom (double or twin), from a private balcony deck with loungers, from the private plunge pool, or from a star bed above. Continuing the theme from the main area, the décor skilfully combines local arts and crafts and modern luxury. Facilities are ensuite and include both indoor and outdoor showers, a freestanding bathtub for soaking, and twin basins.
The wilderness around Puku Ridge teems with wildlife including elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, zebra, and giraffe, and can be explored either on guided walking safaris or 4×4 game drives –day or night, with the latter including sundowners.
In its new incarnation, Puku Ridge offers the luxury for which it has long been known with a newly conservationist mindset focused on sustainability and minimized footprint.