Chindeni

Chindeni: Our full report

Rooms
4 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (92%) From 5 reviews
Children
Best for over-16s
Open
1 April to 15 December

Chindeni Bushcamp is one of the South Luangwa's most luxurious and well-furnished bushcamps. It underwent extensive refurbishment in 2010 and has emerged modern and minimalist in style. Those looking for something stylish and contemporary will love this camp.

Note that Chindeni combines naturally with its sister-camps, also run by The Bushcamp Company, mentioned below.

Chindeni's shared area consists of a sturdy split-level deck, built around a beautiful ebony tree and overlooking Chayumba Lagoon. On the upper level is a large pine table where guests dine communally for lunch and dinner, either under the canvas roof or out under the sky. The lower level houses a lounge with low wicker armchairs, and deckchairs made from cow-hide. Dotted around are a variety of handmade side tables and stools, hand-blown glass vases and brass bowls. Though none of this matches as such, all are very stylish and simple, so work together really well.

There is also a small but well-stocked bar at Chindeni Bushcamp and though there is usually someone around to assist, guests are welcome to help themselves.

Chindeni's four tents are huge. Each is of white canvas on a raised wooden platform overlooking the lagoon, with two hammocks on a veranda at the front. Inside, the bedroom and bathroom are incorporated in one large open-plan area. Two of the rooms have twin beds and two have a king-sized, four-poster bed; all shrouded in mosquito netting. At one end of the room is a lounge area with stylish wicker armchairs and footstools. At the other is a lovely pale wood wardrobe for hanging clothes, and a writing desk.

In the bathroom, a range of toiletries are provided. There are twin sinks, a flush toilet and hot-and-cold rain-shower. The fittings are all very modern and of excellent quality.

The tents are certainly very stylish and beautiful, and thoughtful touches like kikois (an African sarong) and bathrobes make them extremely comfortable. However, we felt they lacked character, and the pale wood was somehow reminiscent of an IKEA showroom. Those who love contemporary style will really enjoy them; those who prefer traditional bushcamps may like them less.

Activities at Chindeni Bush Camp usually consist of a morning walk and an afternoon 4x4 game drive that extends into a night drive. On both, you'll explore the remote surrounding area. There is only ever one guide in camp so it is hard to deviate from this formula, unless all guests agree on something different. It also means that at full capacity there can be eight guests on an activity together. Travellers who prefer more flexibility on safari will want to opt for a different camp.

Our view

Chindeni Bushcamp is beautiful, modern and minimalist with great food and guiding. The description 'Afro-chic' is very apt, but safari traditionalists may find the design a little lacking in character, and – with only one guide in camp – the activities are relatively inflexible.

Geographics

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: A very usual trip would be to combine Chindeni with a series of its sister camps: Kuyenda, Kapamba, Chamilandu and Bilimungwe. However, for more variety we'd suggest that you consider combining Kapamba, and perhaps one of its sister camps, with some of the camps on the northern side of South Luangwa – perhaps Tafika, Kiango or even the similarly luxurious Zebra Plains.

Directions: It is a one-hour flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe airport, then a three-hour drive to Chindeni which is in the remoter south part of South Luangwa National Park.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: The Bushcamp Company

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we were last at Chindeni Bushcamp in October 2010, we thought the food was the best of all the Bushcamp properties that we visited!

Breakfast was a light continental offering with porridge, cereals, fruit and toast. Tea and coffee was also available.

After our morning safari walk, we returned to a brunch of barbecued chicken drumsticks, potato salad, aubergine and tomato salad, sugar snap peas and freshly baked cheesy bread. All of the ingredients tasted incredibly fresh and were superbly presented.

We then had afternoon tea with chocolate cake before our afternoon and night drive. After that, a three-course dinner was served at 8.30pm. This started with a spicy butternut squash soup, which was very rich and tasty. As a main course we had peppered steak served with sweet potato mash, green beans and cauliflower, and dessert was an indulgent banoffee pie. After dinner all of the guests relaxed with a coffee and a nightcap before heading to bed with very full stomachs!

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included, apart from champagne and specially imported wines and spirits.

Further dining info: No

Children

Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 12 are accepted

Property’s age restrictions: Children under 12 years of age are not allowed at Chindeni, unless the whole camp is booked out by a family. No children under the age of 16 are allowed to walk in the park.

Special activities & services: No

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Communications: You should consider yourself out of contact during your stay at Chindeni; there is no mobile/cell-phone reception or email at the camp. However there is radio communication with Mfuwe Lodge for emergencies.

TV & radio: No

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The closest doctor is based at a camp by the Mfuwe Gate – which is about three hours' drive away. For serious medical emergencies Chindeni has links to flying doctors, who can evacuate patients to a hospital in Lusaka.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: A watchman or manager will escort guests between their rooms and main areas at night, in case of wild animals. Each room has a digital safe for valuables.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each room and around the main areas.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and clothes are hand washed, line dried and coal ironed. For this reason, Chindeni asks guests to wash their delicates themselves – and provide soap for this in the rooms.

Accepted payment on location: Chindeni Bushcamp is not able to take payment for any extras. Payments (eg: for extras such as champagne) are made at Mfuwe Lodge. At Mfuwe Lodge you can use cash in US dollars, euros, British pounds and Zambian kwacha. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted – though with an additional charge of 5%.