Amanzi: Our full report
Opened in 2015, Amanzi lies on the banks of the Ngwenya Channel, looking across to the main Zambezi River ...... in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. As the easternmost camp in the park, it feels very remote, set in a quiet area between mopane forest and a winterthorn grove. The camp is small and luxurious, yet with a rustic feel, and offers a range of activities.
The smaller sister camp of Anabezi, Amanzi is for the most part set on a low ridge above the Ntwenya Channel, looking out to the main river and several of its islands.
With just four tented rooms, it’s a peaceful and intimate camp. The tents are spacious, their canvas roofs topping substantial structures of wood and canvas, with reed walls at the back and huge gauze windows in front. Each is raised on a wooden deck along the ridge, with views across the river.
Inside, the tents are furnished with either a king-size bed or two doubles, all within a large walk-in mosquito net. Mattresses are comfortable and extra blankets are provided for the cooler winter months. Dark wood complements the cream furnishings, and African textiles add a dash of earthen colour to the room.
At the furthest end of the tent is a large indoor bathroom, in cool cream concrete, with similar dark wood and cream furnishing elements. Separate shower and toilet cubicles are set behind a sink and vanity unit, with a variety of toiletries supplied. Wooden units house hanging and shelving space, kitted out with dressing gowns and slippers, and a small safe.
To the other end of the tent is a sitting area with comfortable armchairs, which overlook the surrounding countryside through the mesh sides of the tent. You’ll also find a minibar, a tea and coffee station plus kettle, and a desk with a multi-socket (UK and US) charging point. An outside deck has sturdy rattan chairs and a small table, though on our last visit, in June 2017, we particularly liked the cushioned hammock chairs that face the river.
Two of the tented rooms are set up individually, while the other two are connected at the back by a short walkway. Once the connecting doors are unlocked, these two tents can form a two-bedroom unit for families or small groups.
The tents are connected to the main area by a raised walkway which is lit at night, offering a bit more security to walk around (though you will be escorted to and from your tent at night by a member of staff).
The open-sided main area, incorporating a bar, dining area, and large deck, also overlooks the river. Along with rustic furniture and comfortable sofas, there is a tea and coffee station, complete with coffee machine and a jar of home-made rusks.
Steps from the main area lead down to river level, where you’ll find Amanzi’s infinity pool, along with an area of lawn (with relevant warnings about the resident hippos and crocodiles!) and a firepit with surrounding chairs.
The range of safari activities at Amanzi includes walking safaris, boat trips, fishing, canoeing and birding. Day and night drives are offered, too, and Amanzi does its best to have no more than four guests in one vehicle. There is also the opportunity to do a day trip through the Mpata Gorge.
On our last visit, we took part in day and night game drives and a boat trip, and were impressed with the high standard of guiding. The 2017 rains were later than in previous years, so the grass in June was still high and there was plenty of water around the bush. This restricted the game viewing a little, though we heard a lot of animals around, and still enjoyed good lion and elephant sightings. We also saw a large variety, and plenty of, plains game, including several antelope species.
Our night drive was particularly rewarding, with sightings of Pel’s fishing owl, porcupine, civet and the rarely seen honey badger. Given the fantastic game viewing we experienced around Anabezi during a previous visit in October 2014, we’d expect the game around Amanzi to be more abundant later in the dry season.
Amanzi is a stylish, yet rustic, comfortable camp in a game-rich area of the park. For those wanting a more intimate camp with great food, service and guiding, yet in a remote location, we think that Amanzi is an excellent choice.
Country manager: Zambia
- Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- We would recommend a stay of three nights at Amanzi, though guests who wish to partake in the full range of activities may prefer a longer stay.
- There are scheduled flights from Lusaka to Jeki airstrip, taking approximately 35 minutes, then the transfer to camp takes around an hour.
Alternatively, Kulefu airstrip is a 5–10-minute drive from the camp, with charters available from the majority of Zambian airstrips.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- During our last visit to Amanzi, in June 2017, we were impressed with the variety and quality of food available. The camp is able to cater for vegetarians, and to specific dietary requirements.
We enjoyed our sunrise breakfast at individual tables on the deck, though if wished it can be served to guests around the fire. Available between 6.00am and 8.30am, it included a wide selection of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals, pancakes and porridge, with eggs to order, plus tea, coffee and fruit juices.
Lunch at Amanzi is served buffet style, usually around 12.30pm. We had the choice of roasted beetroot, marinated chicken, pork kebabs, curried cauliflower salad and cheese and vegetable quiches, accompanied by freshly baked rolls.
is served at 3.30pm, a time for tea or coffee, plus cake. Guests in camp during our visit had various allergies, yet we enjoyed a delicious dairy and nut-free iced lemon drizzle cake.
Amanzi will check your choices for dinner during afternoon tea; each course has two options, plus a vegetarian option if requested.
We chose courgette and parmesan fritters to start, then one of our team went for the herb-crusted beef fillet with roasted vegetables, while the other chose salmon and bream fishcakes with salad – and we were both impressed. To finish we both went for the poached pears in red wine, with crème anglaise, though there was also the option of a cheeseboard.
A good selection of South African wines was served with our evening meal.
- The varied vegetation types around Amanzi, plus its wildlife-rich location and knowledgeable guides, make it a great camp for birdwatching in Zambia. Birds can be seen from drives, walks and canoes. Our best sightings have included goliath herons, paradise flycatcher, malachite kingfisher, Pels fishing owl and numerous African fish eagles.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Attitude towards children
- Amanzi generally accepts children over the age of 12, but at their discretion the age limit is eight.
- Property’s age restrictions
- The age limit for walking safaris is 12, and for canoeing is 16.
- Special activities & services
- The camp provides guidebooks for children to use during the game drives.
- With adjoining tents linked by a walkway, Amanzi can accommodate a family of four. The fenced walkway between the two rooms is open to the air, so we’d suggest that parents should accompany younger children between the rooms.
- Generally recommended for children
- Activities are limited for younger children and so we feel that Amanzi is best suited for responsible and mature children over the age of 12 years.
- The pool is unfenced, as are the walkways through camp, and there are often elephants and other high-risk game in camp. We recommend that children are under parental supervision at all times.
- Power supply notes
- 90% of the camp’s power is generated through solar panels, backed up by an on-site generator, to provide power 24 hours a day.
Multi-socket charging points are available in the rooms and the main area.
- The camp has limited cellphone reception, but there is a satellite phone in the office for emergency use, and the camp is in constant radio communication with Anabezi. WiFi is available in the main lounge area.
- TV & radio
- Amanzi has no TV or radio.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Amanzi pumps water from the Zambezi, which is then filtered. The camp has plumbed flush toilets, and an electric geyser system for 24-hour hot water.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is always a medically trained member of staff on site. The closest doctor is based in Chirundu, a 30-minute flight from the nearby Kulefu airstrip, or a four-hour boat ride. In case of medical emergency, guests would be evacuated to Lusaka and then potentially to Johannesburg.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guards patrol the site day and night, and watchmen will escort guests to and from their rooms at night. Foghorns are provided in the tents to raise the alarm in case of emergency.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are located in the tents and also in the main area. Staff are trained in their use.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A daily laundry service is included at Amanzi, though ladies’ underwear is not included, for cultural reasons; washing powder is provided in the rooms for this purpose.
If you leave your clothes in the laundry basket provided, prior to the morning activity, they will usually be returned by nightfall (depending on the weather). Clothes are machine-washed and air-dried.
- Each tent has a personal safe, and there is also a safe in the manager’s office, near to the main area, for larger items. The camp is unable to offer currency exchange.
- Accepted payment on location
- Payment for any extras may be made in cash in US dollars, euros and Zambian kwacha. Amanzi also accepts both Visa and Mastercard. They do not accept travellers' cheques.
Other lodges in Lower Zambezi National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.