Old Mondoro is perhaps the only true bushcamp in the Lower Zambezi N.P.
Old Mondoro Bushcamp: Our full report
Old Mondoro Bushcamp takes its name from the Shona word for lion. It is a small and simple bush camp situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, overlooking reed islands where buffalo feed and hippos bask.
As there are only four bush chalets at Old Mondoro this simple camp has an exclusive, intimate atmosphere. Reed walls enclose each chalet on three sides whilst the front only has a waist-high wall, leaving the rest free for a great view. Canvas flaps are rolled down over these 'windows' at night or if you are feeling adventurous you can choose to leave them up. As the chalets are raised on stilts this is perfectly safe.
The interior is made up of two single beds or one small double bed, hanging space for clothes, a coffee table and canvas directors' chairs. An A-frame canvas roof with open ends covers the room, toilet and sink area. Then through a door at the side is the open air shower and huge stone bath with a view. New at Old Mondoro for 2010 is permanent hot water and electric lighting in the tents. However the lights are never turned on for you and in the evening storm lanterns are still dotted around the room. You need never use the lights if you want to keep the atmosphere of a bushcamp, but they are there should you need them. There is also a very discrete power point for charging batteries.
Chalets #1 and #2 overlook the Zambezi River, whilst chalet #4 overlooks a small dambo or lagoon. Chalet #3 has a view of both these environments. Each chalet has a covered private deck with a comfy day bed dotted with cushions and two armchairs set by a coffee table. During our last visit in June 2010 we watched countless birds, hippos and other wildlife from these vantage points.
Old Mondoro Bushcamp's main area is a large, open-sided structure with a polished stone floor and canvas roof. Next to comfortable wicker lounge furniture there is a small library with various reference books and novels. There is also a fairly well stocked bar and the communal dining table. Beyond this building is the campfire and beside this is the boat station at the Zambezi River's edge. Old Mondoro is a true bush camp without any electricity in these main areas; it's lit by storm lanterns at night.
This stretch of river bank is shaded by a beautiful grove of winterthorn trees. We recommend visitors enjoy this scenery, and the wildlife feeding in the open glades below, on a guided walking safari. Other activities offered at Old Mondoro Bushcamp are day and night 4WD safari drives, boat trips and canoeing on the Zambezi in two-man Canadian canoes.
Old Mondoro Bushcamp is situated in the far east of the Lower Zambezi National Park, an area shared with only two other camps – the old-style Ana Tree Lodge and the more luxurious Zambezi Kulefu Camp. This means that you and your guide can explore this wilderness without too much disturbance from other vehicles. An undertaking not as easy further west where there are more camps sharing their area with the various safari camps situated outside the park boundaries and self-drive visitors.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend that you opt for a 3-night stay here. Although you can make a visit here your only stop in the Lower Zambezi, Old Mondoro also combines very well with its sister-camp, Chiawa Camp for a longer stay in the park.
Directions: A short light aircraft flight from Lusaka or longer one from Mfuwe takes guests to Jeki airstrip. From there it is about a 50-minute road transfer to camp depending on what you see along the way.
Owner: Grant & Lynsey Cumings
Staff: Hosts: Leana & Etienne Oosthuizen. Etienne also guides here. Guide: Levy Farao
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at Old Mondoro can be compared to tasty home cooking – it is hearty and delicious. Breakfast is usually eaten around the camp fire at dawn. Various cereals, yoghurts, juices and fruit are offered. Porridge is cooked over the fire whilst fresh baked bread is toasted to order.
Lunch is usually a buffet served at around 12pm and often includes two salad options such as coleslaw and a green salad, a freshly baked flavoured loaf such as onion bread and a hot dish such as beef lasagna or bobotie (a South African dish made with lightly curried mince and egg). You can also opt to have a full English breakfast - we did this when we were last there in June 2010 and it was delicious.
At afternoon tea, tasty savoury and sweet snacks help fill you up till dinner time. We enjoyed mini pizza swizzles and cheese and bacon bites. There was also an irresistible chocolate cake.
Dinner is usually served at about 8pm, after a spot-lit night drive. On our last visit we enjoyed vegetable soup to start, followed by roasted chicken breast topped with a tomato relish and served with vegetable rice and butternut. Desert was a delicious sticky toffee pudding. On our second night we were treated to a barbeque cooked over the campfire, which included tender steak, spicy sausage, chicken and pork chops. This was accompanied by a salad and fresh baked bread.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Old Mondoro Bushcamp has most drinks in its well stocked bar, all of which are included in the price.
Solo Travel: Currently from April to June and in November, Old Mondoro waives its single supplement, making it particularly great value for solo travellers. You can see great wildlife without even leaving this popular camp, and its canoeing and walking safaris are amazing too.See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia
Walking safaris: Old Mondoro is located in a stunning grove of winterthorn trees, which make for wonderful scenery and also provide welcome shade. There is also plenty of wildlife in the area and so walking straight out from the camp is fantastic.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Old Mondoro welcomes children 8 years old and over. Walking activities in the bush are possible for children aged 12 and over. The decision on whether youngsters aged between 12 and 16 can walk is left to the discretion of the managers.
Generally recommended for children: No – this is a remote bushcamp better suited to older children and adults who can enjoy the walking in this beautiful area.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: The camp has radio connection with their guides and with its sister camp – Chiawa. Satellite email and phones are used for contact outside the surrounding area.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The guides at Old Mondoro have first aid training. For serious medical emergencies guests can be evacuated by aircraft.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are walked to and from their chalets after dark in case of any visiting wildlife.
Fire safety: Buckets filled with water have been placed outside each chalet in case of fire.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is offered for all clothing excluding ladies smalls. Washing powder and a small clothes line is supplied in each chalet.
Accepted payment on location: A stay at Old Mondoro includes all meals, activities and drinks. Only tips are extra and there is a camp tip box in the main area for this purpose. We recommend any tips are made in US Dollars.