Reviews of Chiawa Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Another Great Stay at Chiawa!
This was my second visit to Chiawa Camp, and I came away as satisfied as I was after the first visit. Chiawa Camp and its "bush camp" sister -- Old Mondoro -- show just how excellent a Zambia safari can be, when location, camp, activities and staff all exceed expectations. It is well deserving of its reputation as one of the best safari camps in Africa, and a camp that I would not hesitate to return to again and again.
Location -- Excellent! Fabulously situated on the Zambezi River, with panoramic views over the river and offshore islands and sand bars that never grow old. Combine this with a locale that is rich in game and you have a winning combination.
Rooms -- Chiawa's tented cabins represent the best of "Africa Chic," without going over-the-top. I love the open-fronted cabins and the spacious feeling of the accommodations. They are spaced far enough apart from each other that, despite the fact that there are nine cabins in camp, one feels a sense of privacy.
Service -- Top notch, all the way. I get the feeling that staff -- from the humblest "behind-the-scenes" staff to the guides and camp managers -- truly enjoy working here. Level of service is on par with what I receive at 6-star hotels in Thailand (where I live), here in the bush of Africa! Truly amazing.
Food -- Excellent, extremely high quality. It is mind-blowing what the kitchen of Chiawa does in the bush. My favorite food experiences here are the "brunches on the boat," floating down the Zambezi.
Activities -- One of the highlights of my stay was a canoe excursion through the nearby channel, where we came face-to-face with elephants, crocs and the odd hippo. Birdlife was simply stunning. The game drives lived up to their billing with everything major making an appearance, often in mind-blowing numbers (four leopard sightings on one afternoon game drive is simply insane!)
Facilities -- everything you could ask for, including decent wifi service (I know this is a vacation and I am supposed to totally "turn-off," but I am a business owner and appreciate being able to check in with the [sad] real world once in a while.
Overall -- CAN'T WAIT TO COME BACK!
lived up to expectations
Super camp , really fantastic guides and very helpful staff. Two comments,,,,,the first is my husband and I both hate communal dining, we didn't realise how much until we met an Antipodean couple who reinforced our gratitude to our ancestors who sent certain people to the colonies. The female of the species was "inebriated by her own verbosity" to the extent that she "delighted" the whole table with her opinions and experiences that at 9,0 the rest of us were waiting for her to even start her soup (we had all finished) she was so assured of her captivating personality.
The staff were dying to serve the meal and go to bed but "Rayleen" went on and on and on.....In the end my husband and I just left the table and abandoned the meal,. The second niggle was that we were told the evening meal was at 8, approx. One couple did not return until 8.45 and the rest of us had to wait. This is unacceptable, far too late to eat and get up at 5.30 in the morning , one did that at university, but not now!
To be fair once we had told the camp .manager of this they accommodated us, no problem, I do not want to give the impression that we wanted exclusivity, we are perfectly happy to dine at a reasonable time with the guides and/or the staff but some of our fellow travellers have an intellectual capacity below that of the animals we are observing, we have to accept their presence on the game drives but dining with them as well is purgatory!
Luxury on the Lower Zambezi
We first stayed at Chiawa five years ago, and were keen to return to the Lower Zambezi. Chiawa is a very luxurious camp, with the highest standards. It offers a wide range of activities on land and on the river, including canoeing and sunset cruises. We had two memorable walks with Paul Grobler: he is an outstanding walking guide, a true naturalist whose breadth of knowledge of the natural world is awe-inspiring.
The camp was excellently run by Peter and Anita, who produced some wonderful "Chiawa surprises".
Chiawa Camp review
Chiawa was a real shock to the system after Old Mondoro and Potato Bush where there were only three or four other guests at each. Going into the bar before dinner on the first day at Chiawa and seeing 14/16 people drinking G&T was a surprise. However, the camp was very well organised and the pre-arrangement of food and activity options worked very well.
Once you were out on activities you were not conscious of the greater number of guests in the camp. The location of our tent was excellent overlooking an area with regular visits from Waterbuck and Buffalo. The canoe trip was particularly enjoyable.
The area covered by game drives overlapped with that covered by Potato and hence six nights between the two was probably too many.
The camp has a lovely spot right on the Zambezi within the national park. We loved the camp, the staff were great and we really enjoyed the variety of activities - we drove, walked, went on a canoeing trip which was wonderful and went out on the boat.
Game viewing, particularly on drives, was fairly quiet. To be fair, there was an abundance of certain animals, in particular elephants, it was just that we didn't see the variety of game we have seen in other places. This may have been bad luck or possibly the time of year?
Very good guiding yet again and guides were on rotation as at Tafika so you had a different guide for each activity.
The food was excellent and the lunch and dinner we had on the water were particular highlights. The bush barbeque was fantastic - the blackened beef is something we will long remember!
Chiawa Camp review
A much bigger Camp than the Sister Old Mondoro. But an unforgettable stay at a wonderful place on the banks of the Zambezi. Tent No. 9, was wonderful.
Great Statt and excellent activities with a lot of opportunities on the water, which has encountered to several unbelievable wildlife sightings. Lunch on a Cruise Boat with Champagne etc.....and so on.....Luxury pur!
Great Camp in a Fantastic Park
Chiawa Camp was the first of six I stayed in on my Zambia safari, and what a great start it was! The camp is simply stunning, and the "tents" as comfortable and aesthetically pleasing as can be, given the remote location. Luxurious extras, like twin his-and-hers vanities and a ball and claw bathtub, will surely please the "comfort queens" of the safari world!
The common areas are outstanding, as well. Well-designed, with plenty of space to stretch out, relax or socialize in.
Service is outstanding, without being over-the-top. Camp staff are efficient and genuinely friendly, and no request goes unanswered.
The quality of guiding is very good, the vehicles comfortable and in good shape. Sightings were not as frequent and animals not quite as abundant as in some parks, but ... that said, we had incredible, high-quality sightings with Chiawa! Watching a mother leopard and her eighteen-month old female cub play and interact in a tree, then groom each other on the ground, then call and greet the eighteen-month old male cub when he came home from his walkabout, is something I'll never forget! Nor another female leopard grooming her two, tiny cubs! Lower Zambezi Park truly deserves it reputation for leopard sightings!
The only small criticism I have regards the dinners, which were a bit uneven. The brunches (served buffet style) were outstanding, beverages on offer outstanding, but the dinners -- plated, 3-course affairs -- came out a bit flat, in my opinion. There seems to be a need to offer haute cuisine; as we are in the bush I am not sure why the catering folks don't simplify things and serve food that is perhaps more appropriate for a bush setting.
That said, the culinary highlight was a full moon BBQ (braai) set up and held on a small island in the middle of the Zambezi River -- truly magic!
Chiawa Camp review
Great camp despite being the largest we visited. We would not have liked to stay anywhere bigger.
We did find the number of hosts ( Peter, Anita, Tess and David ) plus the presence of the owner Grant, a bit overwhelming given that the camp is only twice the size of Tena Tena and Old Mondoro.
We have been married for 44 years , so it was very sweet of them to put us in The Honeymoon Suite!
Guides, as everywhere, were great company and very knowledgeable on game drives and over meals.
Lovely camp by the Zambezi
We enjoyed our stat at Chiawa, particularly the water activities. Sundowner on the Zambezi was lovely and the canoeing was really good.
Guides were helpful and gave us a lovely experience of a leopard. We stayed at the honeymoon tent which was really comfortable, if a bit hot and airless.
A rather smart camp did not quite have the "bush" atmosphere of others - maybe we should have stayed at Old Mondoro?
Wonderful camp on the Zambezi
Tents were delightful. Spacious, very clean and very well equipped with a great attention to detail.
Beds very comfortable and facilities excellent. Food was excellent. Camp activities were varied and very well organised. It was easy to choose an activity to suit and the guides were very helpful at tailoring activities, e.g. when one of us wanted to go birdwatching.