I've been longing to go back to Chiawa Camp since I stayed there in 1998, and am pleased to have finally returned. The river is still as beautiful as I remembered, but Chiawa has "grown up," with more tents, larger tents, 24-7 hot water and electricity, and 12 hours of internet.
The service is superb, and the managers (Stuart and Maddy and Van and Esmerelda) and staff are eager to please. We appreciated having great flexibility in our activities and schedule. Taking advantage of the wonderful river setting, we mostly opted for boat trips and were pleased that they could be arranged whenever we wanted them. The boatmen were also excellent guides, and our most frequent guide, Ruben, will soon sit for his guide exam.
The food is spectacular--not surprising since Van is a chef by training. He planned several special surprises, such as lunch and dinner on the barge for the two of us. These events required extra time and preparation, and we appreciated his thoughtfulness.
The tents are spacious and well equipped (with a few minor oddities such as faucets that barely clear the lip of the sink, making simple hand-washing a challenge). Some have limited views of the river because of vegetation, but we were pleased with our tent (#7) which looked out on both the Zambezi and a dry river bed where elephants, bushbuck, impala, baboons and vervet monkeys came to drink.
In truth, I missed the smaller, more intimate Chiawa Camp of 1998, but I enjoyed getting to know the new incarnation. And I'm very glad to have also visited its sister camp, Old Mondoro, which is very reminiscent of the "Old" Chiawa.
- Also Known As:
- Chiawa Camp Hotel
- Chiawa Camp Hotel Lower Zambezi National Park