Reviews of Chongwe River Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Five great days in the bush
This was our fourth visit to Chongwe and it has lost none of its charm and excitement. As always the staff made you feel special and went out of their way to ensure a memorable holiday. We celebrated our Golden Wedding this year and we were given a special dinner party culminating in a lively entertainment provided by all the staff.
The wildlife lived up to our hopes with good views of lion, leopard and all the other regulars (elephants,hippos,buffalo,impala and waterbuck) making their appearance both in and around the camp. The birds were plentiful (over 100 different varieties) and the tiger fishing was excellent with fish up to 11.5lbs.
We were accommodated in the Albida Suite which provided a wonderful ambiance and level of luxury scarcely credible in the bush. Michael looked after us royally and getting up at 5 a.m. was no great chore given his production of breakfast as the sun rose over the Zambezi.
Our guide Joseph was as good as any we have had on any safari and his knowledge of the flora and fauna was comprehensive. Additionally the care he took over our comfort and safety was outstanding.
All in all a wonderful location was supplemented by superb staff to produce another memorable stay.
Chongwe River Camp
Great Camp in all ways but what we particularly enjoyed was the variety of activities on offer. We especially enjoyed the river safaris and canoeing.
All the staff did everything possible to ensure all guests were able to have their preferences met and overall it was a really fun place to be.
Chongwe River Camp review
Service and staff were incredibly attentive.
Guide was very knowledgeable and obviously expert, but I would have liked a bit more communication of what he was doing to find the game, tracks, etc.
Location on the river was the most interesting of the trip and accommodations were incredibly good. Also was significantly cooler than arid region nearby. Water based activities were a very important factor in making this our favorite lodge .
a superb camp and experience.
The varied activity options make this an experience not to miss.Read more about the whole safari
Brilliant in every respect
Let's begin with the camp staff - welcoming, personable, friendly, helpful... just plain fun a lot of the time. This refers to everyone, from the guys who patrol the camp and deliver you to your tent at night, to the cooks, waiting staff and management.
Joseph, our guide, was great. A real teacher. We had a some very interesting conversations, about more than the wildlife. His knowledge about the wildlife was extraordinary - behaviour, tracking, dung!, and the animals themselves.
We did a walking safari with George... which was really interesting and enjoyable... but he talked a little too much about his political views which detracted from the experience in a marginal sense.
The camp has a view that changes every time you look. There is always something different happening on the river, on the opposite shore - and, frequently, within the camp itself. Elephant visited our tent every day - and, one evening, we had dinner with a hippo grazing only metres away!
Our tent was spacious and equipped with everything you could think of for this type of stay. The bed was extremely comfortable, the room felt very private and the outlook over the river always enjoyable and interesting.
If I could have said 'very good' for the food that is what I would have selected. The food was varied, tasty and well cooked without exception - the lunch on the riverbank after a game drive was special.
Marvellous stay at Chongwe River Camp!
I was delighted to return to this very special camp: I had high expectations from previous stays and must say I really enjoyed it again - it never disappoints!
The location at the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi rivers is truly amazing with fantastic wildlife sightings even from the camp itself. The entire staff is the most welcoming, friendly & professional team you can meet.
During my stay, I went on day and night game drives, fishing, canoeing, boat cruising and walking. All activities are excellent and the general atmosphere is just tremendous: Chongwe River Camp simply achieve the perfect balance of a relaxed bush camp with high standards.
The wild dogs happened to be right behind the camp the morning I went fishing..... As I missed them, I will just have to return again!
Lap of luxury down by the Chongwe River-side
A truly stunning location on the banks of the Zambezi, accommodated in the luxurious 'Albida Suite' with two double en-suite 'tents' separated by an al fresco living room (sofas of the utmost comfort) and dining room replete with handsome sideboards and the immaculate breakfast and evening cocktail services of Watson who, given the opportunity, would surely give Jeeves a run for his money. Top class service, and fried eggs and whisky porridge (breakfast!) beyond reproach.
Unusually, Chongwe River Camp is thoughtfully equipped with 'Fred and Ginger' mini-staircases, making it easier to step elegantly in and out of the safari jeeps on camp. The Albida Suite (fabulous bedrooms, with broad vistas onto the river and quasi al fresco bathrooms with steaming hot water for the shower and bath) has the communal bar and wfi a short walk away. This area is also shared with the occasional roving elephant - staff are highly attentive in escorting unwary guests including after dark when, after the merest moment, a member of the team was on hand to see me safely on my way be it in daylight or after dark.
The ebullient Flossie came by from time to time to check that all was well, in a way that was friendly, brief and never intrusive. Much appreciated.
As to the safari proper, amazing to see the 'beyond 3D' expanse and depths that Zambia's landscape has to offer, with all the associated wildlife and surprises. In navigating this unknown we were treated to the skills and enthusiasm of George and Troy whose expertise and patience knew no bounds. Particular appreciation to George who not only kept his - and our -calm in the face of the occasional flat tyre but who swiftly plucked my errant blackberry from the depths of the Zambezi and, aided by some dry rice provided by the main house (a Troy top tip) soon saw it back to working order. George's enthusiasm and alertness found us switching in the small hours from a planned boat trip to a mad dash in the jeep in pursuit of rare wild dogs - a new sight even for our most seasoned travellers, while Troy kept us calm in the face of unexpected attentions (nobody's fault) of an unhappy she-elephant. Perhaps unfortunately we didn't indulge in a canoe trip on this visit - just don't ask what happened to his binoculars and bird book!. Some really fabulous teamwork between two very knowledgeable, capable, professional - and charming - guides.
The bulk of our party stayed in the main house where we were treated to excellent buffet lunches of the highest quality and a choice of main course for dinner. in our case this was usually served on the patio, a little way from the kitchen, so (given the cool breezes of the evening) it might be helpful to warm the plates in future. No such attentions required, however, for the Mongolian-style barbecue which marked our final evening to the fabulous sung accompaniment of our various hosts. Particular culinary plaudits to the dessert chef whose pastry throughout was some of the finest I have ever tasted (and portions easily fit for two).
Chongwe emphasises engaging local staff and training them up for new roles; all were attentive while unobtrusive and took great trouble to meet our requests. The leadership team, Billy and Ben, are a year in and swiftly attended to any issues that we (as a large, and possibly occasionally demanding group) raised. Chongwe River Camp proudly displays the various awards it has won over recent years and, through sustained focus on detail, there is every opportunity for this young couple to sustain that success.
Chongwe River Camp review
Chongwe is in a beautiful setting, on the confluence of the Chongwe and the Zambezi rivers. The water activities were superb. Bird sightings from the boat were outstanding - a bird lover's paradise. The canoe trips were extraordinarily tranquil, even with crocs on the riverbanks and hippos in the water.
While the game sitings were good, they were a long way from camp, but accessing them by boat was great fun. The negative though, was canvas roof on the land cruiser. We understood they had been added to provide comfort for guests, but they really restricted the view, especially with 6 guests onboard. And although there were several excellent guides, there weren't enough experienced ones to cover the number of guests and activities on offer.
While beautiful, the style of the tents was the most hotel-like of the places we stayed. We realized that we prefer more authentic bush camps. The atmosphere around the communal table in the evening was lively and fun and the food was excellent.
My favourite.. Chongwe River Camp!
I could not wait to get back to Chongwe after staying there 2 years ago and once again was not disappointed. It remains my favourite camp with the perfect balance between gorgeous location, great comfort & service, extreme friendliness of the entire team, fantastic activities, and superb wildlife - even in the camp itself.
Fishing is brilliant (I was very pleased with a 19bs tiger fish, my best so far!). The river cruises are a lovely way to relax after some intense fishing! Canoeing is most enjoyable. On the morning game drives, I was hoping to see Wild Dogs as sightings are frequent beside the camp, but didn't this time. However, we spotted Samango monkeys, which was also exciting.
A very special thank you to CJ, Yvonne, Sam, George and the rest of the team for another memorable stay & brilliant time! I will definitely return again
Earned Our Highest Recommendation
Chongwe River Camp was one of our favorites. The accommodations were very comfortable, the staff was friendly and welcoming, the meals were lovely, delicious and tasty, the “surprises” were classy, the range of activities was varied, and the guiding was excellent.
The roomy tented cabins are well spaced providing a sense of complete privacy. Hippos, elephants and baboons are uninhibited by the camp layout and move freely through camp to the Chongwe River at its confluence with the mighty Zambezi River. Sunrise, looking out across the languid Chongwe from the sitting area in front of our cabin while sipping coffee, was exceptional.
We enjoyed plentiful game on our driving safaris, including a leopard with an impala kill, a mating pair of lions, and amazing elephant encounters. Canoeing on the Chongwe was a great way to experience the river, giving a humbling perspective as to the size of the crocodiles basking on the shore, as well as an opportunity to observe the monitor lizards and water birds. Tiger fishing on the Zambezi was supposedly running a little slow (October is reportedly the best time), but we managed to land several nice sized fish, including a 17 pounder, whilst losing more than we caught. The hike to Chongwe Falls and bream fishing below the falls was an unexpected highlight.