Preparing to write this review, we realized that we want to go back and visit Chiawa again! What an outstanding camp! The management, the guides and staff, the camp facilities, the activities -- all are first class.
When we visited in September, Samantha was serving as acting manager, assisted by Daniel and Joshua and all the other capable staff. This was the largest of the safari camps we visited in Zambia -- 9 chalets -- but in spite of its larger size, it operated very smoothly and catered to each guest's wishes. When we arrived, Sam asked us what we would like to do or see. When we said that we hadn't yet had our fill of lion sightings, that was exactly what they arranged for our first game drive. Our guide Spencer drove us to a distant location where he knew we had a good chance of finding a pride, and we weren't disappointed. We watched them sleep, left briefly to have our sundowners at a more scenic location, and then returned in time to watch the lions rouse from their daytime naps to head out into the darkness to hunt. Perfect!
The camp provides so many activities to choose from -- we experienced fishing, a canoe trip, a sunset pontoon ride, and game drives and walks. Doing a morning walk with experienced guide Paul was really a highlight of our trip. He has vast knowledge and makes even the smallest details interesting. We had to zigzag our path to avoid the many elephants in the area, and then came across a sleeping lion. Although Paul warned us that the lion would either run away or charge at us, we nevertheless felt safe because of his expertise (and the armed ranger walking with us.) After watching our small group, the lion chose to run away.
The food in camp was outstanding, and we were joined at dinner one evening by a large elephant who came up in the darkness and stood just outside the railing for several minutes. Another evening included a brief performance of their camp choir singing traditional songs -- beautiful! And we were surprised on our final night to be taken to a bush dinner set up in a stunning location away from camp. At that buffet dinner we were able to sample some traditional African specialties as well as Western style food.
The Chiawa tents are large and luxurious. We enjoyed having both indoor and outdoor showers. And the lighting here was better than at any other camp. You can actually read at night here. They recently added wifi access in camp, although they prefer that you access it in your tent rather than using your devices in the common areas. We liked that restriction!
You won't be disappointed if you book a stay at Chiawa (and its sister camp Old Mondoro). It was a fantastic experience.
- Also Known As:
- Chiawa Camp Hotel
- Chiawa Camp Hotel Lower Zambezi National Park