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“Chiawa Lives Up To The Hype!”
Review of Chiawa Camp

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Chiawa Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Chiawa Lives Up To The Hype!”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

I was told by many people that Chiawa Camp was absolutely fantastic, but was very wary... I've been really let down in the past. NOT THIS TIME.

Chiawa was everything you could want: courteous, efficient, responsive, luxurious... you name it. From the moment we landed at the Royal airstrip after a bumpy and hot flight from Lusaka, they were waiting with chilled wash clothes to refresh, cold drinks and a friendly face. The service never wavered, with wonderful attention to detail, and the accommodations were excellent. We had missed a pride of lions by the river bank on the way into camp, so a guide rounded up a boat immediately after lunch during the staff's down time, grabbed my wife and I, and took us to see them... completely unscheduled and above the call. We were literally 20 meters from a pride of 5 young male lions and got amazing photos.

The Lower Zambezi is truly amazing and we saw so much wildlife starting with a huge elephant just minutes out of the airstrip. Literally hundreds of elephants and hippos, seemingly at every bend in the road / river - we got some of the most amazing photos. Crocodiles galore, warthogs, eagles... you name it. Only giraffes (who haven't lived in that area on record) and rhinos (poached out) were missed. Game drives were excellent with greats guides, the night game drive very unique (and I really appreciate their use of red spotlights to protect the animals)... but, the river game cruises were the highlight for me. Floating up next to a 12 meter + long crocodile on the shore only 10 meters of the side of the boat was thrilling.

The food was spectacular and the staff top notch. Tea and coffee served at your room for your wakeup call was a great touch. The facilities were charming: our "tent" had an indoor and outdoor shower, a claw and ball bathtub, king sized bed, two sinks, couches, etc. Not a single mosquito bothered my sleep (tents are mosquito proof, plus spacious mosquito netting over the bed)... and I have to say, waking up from a nap, looking out from your bed and seeing a wild elephant in the river just 40 meters away is spectacular.

We've got photos that National Geographic would be jealous of and memories to last a lifetime. I would recommend Chiawa Camp to anyone. For best range of animals, plan 2 day or so at Chiawa then 2 days at the Old Mondoro camp as well to get the best range of animals.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank BobtheBuilder13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Surrey
Level 5 Contributor
28 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2012

We stayed at Chiawa for 4 nights and cannot speak highly enough of our experience.
The camp is positioned along the banks of the Lower Zambezi and you arrive via a short boat ride and 1 hour flight from Lusaka.
Every day threw up new experiences and surprises, including a candle lit BBQ, champagne lunch on the Zambezi, canoe safari, walking safari and hugely knowledgeable guides who found amazing game for us to view.
Our tent (honeymoon) was stunning, with every comfort catered for. The bathroom is outside with roll top bath, shower, 2 basins and unobstructed views of the Zambezi. Whilst inside is designed with understated luxury: huge comfortable bed, sofa, dressing table and electricity for charging up cameras etc. There's also a small plunge pool by the main mess to cool down in during the heat of the afternoon.
Chiawa offers a free daily laundrey service, excellent meals (breakfast, brunch and dinner with all dietary requirements catered for) and a first class Management Team who really do take pride in ensuring all guests receive an experience they'll remember forever.
So to sum up; we left Chiawa knowing that we will definitely return and recommend this camp without any hesitation.

Room Tip: The Honeymoon Suite - but it is a walk from the main camp!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank HRawson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Our first camps , we love it !
All was fantastic , guides, room, service, food .
Every little attention were amazing , the lunch on the river , the surprised dinner in the national park with candles .
Games drive , the children and I love it, everyday was new scenic and animal.
We felt really special, and we would love to go back !
We met a lot of people who are coming every year in Africa , for us it was the first time but we can not wait to go back!
PS : my children were 13 and 17 great age for this trip

Room Tip: All have a great view if you like nature and don't like big hotel !
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sandrine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bakewell, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2012

Our stay in Chiawa Camp was far too short to experience everything on offer, but was long enough to leave us wanting more.
This is a very well appointed camp verging on luxurious – certainly after two weeks in walking camps - with a large comfortable tent, electricity, hot water and even a bath with a view of the Zambezi. The food was good, and on our last night we enjoyed a meal in the bush with a braai and a range of traditional Zambian dishes.
We only managed two drives with Boaz as our guide and had a wide range of sightings including Lions at night and in the morning; we also saw a lot of Elephant with very young calves, Python, Porcupine chased by an Elephant, Buffalo and a wide range of birds. On the water we had good Hippo sightings and got close to a very calm Malachite Kingfisher.
All together an excellent experience thanks to Johan, Judy, Sam, Boaz and all the team that looked after us so well.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank PeakTravellers12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Michigan, United States
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2012

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.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Fred G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yamba, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2012

We (two couples) stayed at Chiawa Camp for four nights Mid September. The owners have been able to combine luxury with rustic bush and produce a really amazing camp where guests can feel at one with nature but still have luxuries such as hot water and electricity. The tent was very spacious and immaculate and cannot fault a thing. There was many activities on offer and we thoroughly enjoyed them all. The game drives were awesome and catching numerous Tiger fish during our stay was a highlight. The staff were all wonderful and nothing was too much trouble and the food was awesome. We had regular visits in camp from 'Lumpy' a bull elephant and it was truly amazing standing within a few metres of such a majestic animal. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Georgie2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

We have read about Chiawa Camp for several years and decided to make that our destination for our 25th anniversary. We could not have been more pleased ! The staff, especially Johan and Judy (the managers) were exceptional. The accommodations were fantastic as well as the food. So many activities to choose from, we loved the canoeing, game drives (with Daniel and Spencer) and my husband loved the tiger fishing (with Isaac and Clement). The candlelight dinner on the Zambezi, dinner at the dry river bed,river cruises, and the Chiawa Choir is something we will always remember. So much game to see, elephants, zebra, llions, leopards, hippos, crocs, impala, porcupine, civets, genets, fish eagle, carmine bee eaters, it was just unbelievable. The location is beautiful on the banks of the Zambezi. We met so many nice people from many countries, some that we hope to keep in contact with. I could think of one thing that we would change, Hoping we can return.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank bspTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chiawa Camp

Property: Chiawa Camp
Address: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Location: Zambia > Lusaka Province > Lower Zambezi National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Lower Zambezi National Park
Hotel Class:4 star — Chiawa Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 21
Also Known As:
Chiawa Camp Hotel Lower Zambezi National Park

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