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.
- Also Known As:
- Chiawa Camp Hotel Lower Zambezi National Park