Reviews of Chiawa Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
72 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Chiawa Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
Stewart was helpful when I discovered a mistake with my Zambian visa (later corrected), and the rest of the staff were delightful. The surprise dinner at Bedrock was a real treat. I can't say enough about this piece of paradise!" See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
"Chiawa - Just like the brochure"
The guides were very helpful and did their best but the animals were just not around for us." See all these reviews: 15n in Zambia; 4n in Malawi; 3n in Botswana
"My fourth visit to Chiawa"
The game drives were excellent. Our driver asked us what we wanted to do and he would always let us know where we were going. If news came through on the radio that another group from our lodge had found something interesting he would ask us first and we would decide as a group whether to go and have a look or to stay where we were. We saw lots of different animals (Including a leopard and her almost adult daughter up a tree) and some really great birds. We did a lovely boat trip on the river as well.
Night drives here are subject to a "no flash" rule. They use red lights to spot the animals. Before we went we bought a small role of red plastic lighting gel (like they use in theatres) to put over our flashes so we could still use them. This definitely helped the cameras to focus in the low light - although it's probably only worthwhile if you have an external flash for an SLR camera. The night drives weren't as good as those at Old Mondoro, but I think this is because the area has quite thick scrub so it's much harder to spot the nocturnal animals.
On our final night we all heard lions roaring very close to camp. We searched for them as we returned from our game drive. They were eventually located on the edge of the river where a dead hippo had washed up on shore. All of the guests at the lodge got onto a boat and we went and had a look from the river. There were 4 lions eating the hippo and trying to protect it from the circling crocodile. It was a brilliant final sighting to end our stay in Zambia." See all these reviews: 21n in Zambia
"Chiawa Camp review"
The variety of experiences available makes it possible for each guest to find a suitable activity. We did one walking trek with guide Paul, and it was a highlight of our trip. Seeing elephants and lions while on foot is a thrill not to be missed. The canoe excursion one afternoon was likewise exciting. And even the pontoon boat got us very close to elephants and crocs. And we both tried our hand at fishing, succeeding in getting a few nibbles but no catches.
The food was delicious, and we enjoyed the communal dining in this camp as we did at all the smaller camps we had visited. A large bull elephant invited himself to dinner one evening, approaching the dining area and standing a couple of meters away from us while we sat holding our breath and not moving. If only there had been a way to take pictures (without sending him into a panic), but the memory of watching that huge dark shape in the night will always remain. A surprise "bush dinner" on our last night gave us the opportunity to try a few Zambian dishes as well as the regular fare.
When our friends ask if we were frightened by those "up close and personal" encounters with elephants, lions and leopards, we assure them that while it is exhilarating, we always felt that our safety was the first priority of the staff and that they were very capable of keeping us from harm.
The regular camp manager was away while we visited, but Acting Manager Samantha did a wonderful job of keeping things running smoothly. She was ably assisted by Joshua and Daniel and all the other staff." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
"Chiawa Camp on the mighty Zambezi"
A larger camp with 9 thatched tents, so lots more guests and more names to remember: sticky name labels would have been useful! Very sociable atmosphere: mostly British and Americans, who came for the fishing.
A bird watcher's paradise: on one "cruise" down the river we saw 30 different species. Canoeing down one of the beautiful and peaceful canals proved to be an adrenalin experience with elephant, hippo and crocodiles at close quarters: not for the faint hearted although we were of course in capable hands (Paul). Fascinating to watch the elephants crossing the river to the islands." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia; 9n in Botswana
"Chiawa Camp review"
"Chiawa Camp Experience"
The camp is in a very good location fairly far away from other camps leading to a good safari experiences for those at camp. Very nice and sumptuous rooms with some nice touches of good views, nice large baths with good views across the surrounding area while you clean yourself. The camp well run run by the husband and wife team and offers a good range of driving, walking, boat, both motor lunch and canoe trips. Good touches include a nice location for lunch/dinner, white table service set-up when you are out on a game drive/walk/boat ride for your drinks or sun downer is a very nice touch, even a lunch time cruise/float down the Zambezi with fully set table and personal waiter service over a glass of wine of two.
Certainly try the canoe trip, this is very nice floating down one of the side channels of the Zambezi and viewing game/birds as you float along. My wife went on the motor boat cruise down the Zambezi and it was like "African Queen" with her floating along the Zambezi and being the only guest in a camp chair in the center of the boat spotting all the birds etc at her leisure.
Good game viewing but some places in this area of the park are more bushy than at Old Mondoro down river so their are more places for the animals to hide and harder to see/track some of the game. That said we had good sightings of most of the game species in the area. Also close viewing of game in camp with a resident elephant or two who appear to regularly walk through camp at any time of the day.
The walking guide Paul Grobler is an excellent walking guide and very passionate and enthusiastic. He's a good birder and even though this was at the end of our 2 week safari trip we managed to increase our bird count quite a bit in just one walk with him and as he spots the birds well it gives you just that bit more time to spot them and get your eye on them before they fly off, as they usually invariably do. Also Paul is very knowledgeable on most of the wildlife and game information so we leaned quite a bit from him.
Very nice and pleasant stay in a pleasant environment I challenge anyone not to enjoy a stay with a combination of Ciawa Camp and Old Mondoro." See all these reviews: 14n in Zambia
"Chiawa Camp review"
The camp managers were very cooperative in arranging our activities and early morning departure.
The canoe ride through the lagoon cutoff with guide Paul was a definite highlight.." See all these reviews: 14n in Zambia
"Excellent camp on the banks of the Zambezi"
The staff were very friendly and helpful. The food was good as were the facilities although we didn't fancy the look of the pool.
Dining facilities were very pleasant either under cover or out in the open as you wish and there was a very nice bar area.
One lunch was a surprise set up for just us on a boat; we cruised the Zambezi with waiter service - how exotic do you want to get?
The guides we had were generally very good and we especially enjoyed Spencer and Paul. The safari drives were comfortable, with just us on the vehicle, and we saw a lot of varied life." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia; 4n in Malawi
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