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“Family trip to Chiawa”
Review of Chiawa Camp

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Chiawa Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 23, 2013

Highlight of our trip to Africa! We look forward to our return to Chiawa someday. The staff was incredibly gracious and knowledgeable, the accommodations were perfect and the food delicious. The Zambezi was mesmerizing along with all that comes with it (hippos, enormous crocodiles, Tiger fish, canoeing, fishing, etc.). Our moonlit dinner was a great way to kick off our fabulous time at Chiawa. Thank you for making it so special.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank jenCharlottesville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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130 - 136 of 230 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Tent # 7 was best for us, with views of both the river and the dry river bed which was frequented by...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank LKMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2013

It was difficult to believe that I was having high tea, then cocktails and haute cuisine on the banks of the legendary Zambezi River as hippos shouted at each other and enormous crocodiles basked in the sunshine. I stayed first at sister camp Old Mondoro (half an hour boat ride downstream), then three days at Chiawa. The cabins at both camps were extremely comfortable, the guides were PhD knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, the game drives and walks were right out of a movie, and the camp managers were warm, welcoming and accommodating. On two occasions,when my interests varied from those of other guests, I had a driver and land rover to myself for four hours. It is easy to understand why both camps have so many repeat visitors.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank JimFromNola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Zambia is our favourite destination in Africa but this was our first visit to the Lower Zambezi area and we could not have picked a better itinery - first Chiawa for 4 nights and then onto the sister camp Old Mondoro for 5 nights. The camps are very different as is the widlife and scenery.
Chiawa is an extremely comfortable and well equipped camp. Although it is quite large with 9 tents positioned in a row along the river front it still has the intimate feel of a smaller camp. This was our 11th safari trip but the first place where we have found our fellow travellers contained so many repeat visitors - one couple were on their 13th visit!! The reason this camp is so special is the varied activities on offer - boat cruises, fishing, canoeing, day and night drives and walking in the bush plus the professionalism and friendliness of the staff. Nothing is ever too much trouble - your enjoyment is catered for tirelessly. It is not hard to see why people return time and time again.Special mention to Joshua one of the management team - his calm friendly manner hid a wonderful sense of humour. However all the staff are so approachable and enthusiastic - Wallace and Daniel both ensured we had marvellous drives, walks and sightings. Many interesting encounters with elephants, babies are so cute when they are still not sure how to use their trunks!! We were lucky to have a mating pair of lions.
Food was lovely and my vegetarian options always delicious. One evening we were suprised to find the camp had arranged for myself and husband Simon to have a romantic meal on a boat anchored out on the Zambezi (it was my 50th birthday trip!). Simply the best trip so far!

Room Tip: Stayed in Tent 6 - Lion - Tents 6,7,8 close to the new hide which overlooks the inner channel - gre...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank OnSafariAgain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

There can be no better place to start your Zambia experience than here at Chiawa. The amazing, mighty Zambezi on your doorstep is a contributory factor, the wonderfully appointed accommodation, certainly helps, but very importantly the attitude of all the staff in that nothing is too much trouble and they just want you to "get" Zambia is self evident. Starting the day with your early morning call with either tea or coffee and then breakfast around the camp fire by the side of the Zambezi, followed by the activities chosen for that day all adds to memorable days. Dining under the stars whilst moored in the middle of the Zambezi will never be forgotten as will the bedrock dinner. You could ask for nothing more and in fact we have every intention of returning in the not too distant future.

Room Tip: Every room looks out on the Zambezi, what more could you ask.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BrighteyesWestSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013

All the reasons we chose Chiawa were proven true. The staff, the rooms, the atmosphere, and the safaris were exceptional. Guides, Boaz and Daniel are true lion hunters. It was a true learning experience watching them track, anticipate the location, watch the other animal reactions, and find the lions I had hoped to see.

Managers , Es and Van, are hands on managers and always available and of course Joshua quietly doing all the unseen things that make it a great place. One can tell Es and Van enjoy their job, the way they are excited to be involved in all aspects of your stay.

Sitting on our deck and watching 3 elephants, one a youngster still figuring out the workings of his truck and flailing it in frustration was a moment that will stay with us forever. That's just one example of the animal interaction in the area.
The rooms are big, well decorated, the king size beds are great with perfect firmness, and the outdoor shower are a nice touch. We slept very well our three night there.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank steve100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

We are just returning from Chiawa camp where we spent 3 nights, but wished we had stayed a bit longer. It was really difficult to leave and go back to civilisation. Some places are special for only one reason, however Chiawa is unique for many of them.

First, the location of the camp, a remote bushy land that one discovers with delight after a short jet journey followed by a peaceful boat ride. The Lower Zambezi national park where it is nested is so well conserved that there is barely any commercial development around. It feels like you are the only lucky one to enjoy such a wild experience and get so close to nature. We were initially a bit worried that we wouldn't be able to spot much as we were going early May just after the rain reason when it's easier for animals to hide, but actually we saw many different animals and witnessed some of their most private behaviours like a lions couple on their marathon mating and a family of porcupines (extremely hard to spot!). The setting on the bank of the river also gives the opportunity to practice many more activities than your usual game drive, like walking, canoeing, fishing... I highly recommend the canoe safari in the channel. It is simply enchanting and you get to see so many birds, mammals and reptiles.

Then the camp itself and its indulgent private tents, which would have probably convince Robinson Crusoe to stay forever in the wild. What can I say? It is hard to imagine how they can provide such a level of comfort -if not luxury- in the middle of the bush. Their hot shower is ten times better than the one from our flat in central London! The service of all the meals was perfect, and I loved having breakfast at dawn in a circle around the campfire, the porridge was lovely and the experience magical. A great effort is put on fresh baking and all the treats that are offered for tea breaks are delicious. We were also surprised with an amazing group dinner in the bedrock with BBQs, which also gave us a chance to try local cuisine.

Last but not least, Chiawa is incredible for its people. From the bubbly SA couple who manages it, to the caring Joshua and then the great guides, featuring Zimbabwean wild life expert Paul who gives you the most comprehensive and passionate nature class ever- you can spend hours with him and never get bored, wish I'd had a biology teacher like him at school! Beyond all the friendly and professional staff, I must add that many of the guests were also quite endearing and it was a pleasure hanging out with them, some of whom have been regulars visitors since the creation of the camp in the late eighties.

All of this combined to the fact that Chiawa is still a family-ran camp gives it a true soul, and the only problem is that after this genuine experience any other safari trip will seem like going to Disneyland.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank AxelitaG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chiawa Camp

Address: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Location: Zambia > Lusaka Province > Lower Zambezi National Park
Amenities:
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Ranked #2 of 13 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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