I was glad that Chinzombo was the last camp of the four that we visited in Zambia. It is gorgeous and comfortable--perfect for rest and relaxation, which is mostly what we did.
Our early morning game drive was uneventful until 8:30, but finally livened up. Our guide, Willie, suited us well and seemed to realize that we'd been "around the bush" a few times and didn't need to hear all the basics. One drawback is that there are lots of other camps and self-drivers sharing the same patch of the park--we saw a dozen or more vehicles during our morning drive.
My guided walk from camp was worthwhile in terms of both much-needed exercise and useful information. I think that one can never know too much about dung!
The camp itself was so inviting that it was hard to drag ourselves away. Our villa's deck had enough comfy lounge chairs and sofas that we could move from one to another and have shade all day. Note: be sure to look for sausage tree pods above and stay out of their line of fire until the staff can climb up and cut them down!
We enjoy lazy wildlife viewing from camp, but because the camp is set on a high bank of the Luangwa River, most of the animals you see are on the far bank--close enough to spot but requiring binoculars to see well. We were glad to find vervet monkeys in the trees above our villa and hear an elephant beside our villa one night.
The designers from South Africa have created stunning villas and public spaces, but in doing so forgot some practical elements. There are beautiful bath towels but simply nowhere to hang them to dry. Most of the space for hanging and stacking clothes is occupied by handsome leather boxes and decorative storage devices that are impractical for their purpose. Lighting is lovely to look at, but it's certain that no women were involved in the decisions about vanity illumination. There is a wonderful bathtub that would take hours to fill with its meager trickle of water, and the anemic water pressure in the shower makes washing your hair a long and vexing procedure. (The managers were aware and concerned and said that a solution was expected soon.)
Managers Wendy and Findlay, both Scots, are delightful and eager to please in their first experience with camp management. There was very little interaction among the guests, with each party having its own dining table. It appeared that both managers had to work extra hard to host tables and chat with guests, whereas in most camps, guests help entertain each other. The guides have been with the Norman Carr organization for many years and the staff was always friendly and helpful. We especially enjoyed Josphat, who seemed to be everywhere at once anticipating and attending to our needs.
The food was beautifully presented--sometimes delicious and always good enough. It seemed that the kitchen was still learning how much food to prepare since, on one occasion, lunch was nearly depleted by the time we arrived at 12:15.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chinzombo – the next generation of Zambian bush camps – “Wildly Luxurious” open June 2013.Back in the 1950’s Norman Carr dreamt of a unique way to experience the African bush; a way of interacting with the environment respecting both the natural landscape and local Zambian traditions - conservation through tourism. NCS is proud to take the next step in this continual process of innovation. Our architects, Silvio RECH & Lesley CARSTENS, the visionaries behind such gems as North Island and Little Vumbura, see Chinzombo as another step in the continued evolution of their luxury bush-camp design philosophy. Here, for the first time, modernist architectural forms are combined with the organic geometry and regional materials of indigenous Zambian building methods to create an entirely new type of bush-camp on the site of one of Norman’s original camps.Six spacious villas – one of which is designed to accommodate a family of five are nestled within the shade of ancient trees on a wildlife rich ridge which follows a C-shaped bend in the Luangwa River. Each villa is over 150sq meters, has it’s own pool and is equipped with wifi. The most senior members of NCS' legendary guiding team are based at Chinzombo. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Chinzombo - Norman Carr Safaris Zambia/South Luangwa National Park