Reviews of Old Mondoro Bushcamp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Old Mondoro Bushcamp review
This was my least faveourite out of the 4 camps we stayed at. However, its location on the Lowere Zambezi was one of the nicest and the terrain was idyllic.
The reed cabins could have been a bit larger and as we had our son in the room, it was a bit cramped. I loved the bucket/shower concept. All 3 of us had no problem sharing one bucket and enjoyed a hot shower. The host couple was lovely and he was really disappointed that we did not see more game and in particular leopard. We also enjoyed a white linen lunch in the bush which was quite special. We also went for sundowners on the boat and there was a lot of hippo activity in the water.
The hostess was quite involved with the menu and even made her own ginger beer for the guests to try. We did not have the same guides for our 2 day stay and I really think that it is shame as you do not develop the same repoire you might have by only having one guide. Also, the guides do not know what has previoulsy been said on the last safari outing.
Is there a better location - anywhere?
Locations by water always offer something extra. Here at Old Mondoro the 'open aspect' lodge perches on the bank of the Zambezi with an attendant orchestra of hippo to ensure the right atmosphere. But take a look round 180 degrees and there is a wonderful open wood of winterthorn within which we were able to enjoy stalking leopard one evening and hyaena on a kill another morning.
Whilst game may be more abundant at the other end of the park, here it is much more visible, especially with Levy as your guide - and you are likley to have the seclusion of private viewing. River activity here is excellent - and you must take a trip down 'corocdile alley' with Andrew.
Mondoro is a bush camp, but there is comfort a plenty. However, there may be some changes in place for the 2010 season, including new managers when John and Lana move on, so you will need to ask about these.
On the banks of the Zambezi
Lana and John made us very welcome. Levy and Morat showed the level of expertise we had by now come to expect.
This was more relaxed - no middle-of-the-day activities, and later starts in the morning.
The boat transfer between Old Mondoro and Chiawa was "made" when we came across a family of elephants swimming across from Zimbabwe; hearts were in mouths while we willed the baby to make it to dry land - it did.
Old Mondoro review
There was less game than usual here but we got a magnificent view of 2 leopards. One came and ate the remains of a kill in a tree very close to us.Read more about the whole safari
All of the staff at this lodge were great - laid back, but very professional, helpful, and friendly.
I did not have any luck here with seeing cats, but the canoe trips were great and a real highlight here. Excellent bird life and lots of wildlife along the river. Guides were very knowledgeable and respectful for the welfare of the wildlife.
Meals were excellent.
The peace of Old Mondoro
This is a great bushcamp with a superd Karma all of its own. It is very simple with just 4 Huts situated on the river bank.
You have the feeling of being so far away from civilisation and have just the bush and the sounds of Africa to keep you company.
Our 3rd visit to this camp and it never disappoints.
A gem in the bush
The remote and rustic feel of this camp was supurb. The views from the chalet and the dining area were second to none.
The powerboat transfer from Chongwe continued an excellent acquaintance with the Zambezi, which was furthered during our stay at Old Mondaro. The drives were also great, especially the "adventure" drive to a reported leopard sighting.
Both the domestic and guiding staff were extremely hospitable and knowledgeable. We were especially delighted to be treated to a bottle of champagne on arrival and a private dinner, later, on our verranda, overlooking the river, an adjoining channel and the bush beyond.
Old Mondoro review
Wonderful, quiet camp right on the river. John and Lorna made us feel right at home. We particularly enjoyed canoeing on the Discovery Channel... and sneaking by the massive and curious hippos. The evening cruise was also delightful.
Would have enjoyed doing a bush walk... but there was no armed guard available during our stay a Mondora.
Old Mondoro review
Wonderful location, right on the Zambeze, with elephants trundling lazily through camp to drink in the river. Fantastic birds and altogether a great atmosphere. Also, very easy to get to - an easy 45 minute drive from Jerky airstrip, which made it a great place to start after our trasfer from the overnight plane.
Apart from the wonderful elephants, he game in this area was not good - impalas galore, but we did not see any cats. The night drives did produce some interesting owls though.
One worrying thing was that our scout appeared to have malaria and really looked very unwell on our walking safari; it felt like management did not take this very seriously - at one point I was told he was just being lazy. Compared to the Shenton camps we stayed at later, the management attitude to 'staff' appeared far less inclusive, which made us feel uncomfortable at times. The managers were very pleasant to the guests however.
I am a now completely converted to bushcamps and would encourage others to go to Mondoro.
Expert Africa comments
The game scouts who escort walking safaris in the Lower Zambezi are seconded from the park’s Wildlife Authority to each camp, and usually rotated on a 2-week basis.
In this case, a scout who had just arrived at Old Mondoro to escort walks appeared unwell. This put the new managers, John and Lana, in a tricky spot – with a choice between trying to conduct the walk with the scout who they had been sent, or cancelling it – and risking upsetting the clients.
They asked the scout about his health, as he seemed very frail to them. He assured them that he was fit and able to conduct the safari. They assure us that they would never have agreed for him to walk if he had been ill with malaria.
In the event, they chose to walk, and lighten of the situation with a few jokes. Once out walking, they realised that they had made the wrong call – as the scout was more unwell than he had said. They’ve now learnt from it. In the event – this was the wrong choice: this walk should have been cancelled before it began. Back in camp, when they returned, Lara gave the scout some medicine before calling the Wildlife Authority to arrange for a relief scout.
So when our travellers note the managers ‘not taking the scout’s illness seriously’ – we now understand that, in fact, they were trying to make light of a situation that they knew was quite serious. They now realise that their levity wasn’t wise – and they should have just let the travellers know what was happening before cancelling the walk.
oustanding bush camp safari
This is one of best bush camps we have stayed at.
Well laid out on Zambezi, great management and staff who took care to always be of service without being obtrusive. Outstanding guiding with tremendous care to be informative and point out both the "Big" and the "Small". Diverse activities - walking, game drives and river trips with the excellent guiding, or relaxing in camp, made this camp a great experience with no reservations to recommend to others.
This is a camp that gives you an authentic feeling of the bush in Africa. Comfortable but not OTT.