Reviews of Shiwa Ng'andu
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Family stay at Shiwa Ng'andu
We visited Shiwa Ng'andu with our sons aged 12 and 14. It was an amazing experience for us all. We chose to start our stay here, to gently introduce ourselves to the country in an environment where we would be looked after and safe. this worked well, we were able to rest up after our long journey before getting stuck into activities. We also had a sense that this was a uniquely interesting place - again, it did not disappoint.
Charlie and Jo were extremely friendly and attentive and looked after us very well. We particularly liked the coming and going of many visitors - including Charlie and Jo's daughter and friends. it felt like we were family house guests. It was very interesting to learn about life in Zambia. We always felt welcome and our requests responded to. The boys were also made to feel very welcome.
In terms of activities, we did a lot of birding walks, walks by the lake, walked to the top of the hill to the livingstone memorial. we also visited the hot springs (extra cost of $8 pp). it was a very relaxing introduction to our trip. We saw a lot of birds (nearly 100 species) and all the antelope on the farm.
Food was good, much produced on the farm. Learning about the history of the place from Jo was also fascinating. We could have spent longer reading the materials and diaries in the library but didn't quite have the energy! Early starts were needed for some activities but this was optional! A quite time after lunch helped us to pace ourselves.
Overall, a really interesting and unique experience in an amazing place with fantastic hosts.
Shiwa Ng'andu review
A beautiful location. Jo and Charlie are excellent hosts.
shiwa n'gandu review
This was a wonderful experience and made a really relaxing start after 24 hours of travel. We had not expected luxury accommodation so were not disappointed that the bedroom was a little basic - this was made up for by the the evening fires in the bedroom.
Charlie and Jo were the most hospitable hosts one could wish for and did their utmost to make our stay really memorable. Jo in particular brought the history of the place to life and was spared no effort to give us all the information we could wish for. Charlie was a great guide taking us to all the places of interest as well as finding lots of game viewing.
To say they were ideal hosts is putting it milldly, they made us feel part of their family and the experience was like a country house party. The food was good homely cooking though not gourmet, but the drinks were excellent, both spirits and wine.
Shiwa Ng'andu was the highlight of our trip
We wished we had stayed more than three nights as this was the highlight of our three week Zambia trip. The little bit of Surrey located in the Zambian countryside was even better than we imagined from reading "The Africa House"
Our hosts Jo and Charlie could not have been more welcoming and friendly and the dogs soon became our best friends, when it suited them. The house was amazing with the likely hood of finding zebra or horses on the front lawn.
The tours of the house and farm, visiting neighbors for afternoon tea, game drives and walks (we saw four blue duikers) and history lessons in the library were all great fun We enjoyed our meals both for the excellent food and the great company.
The fire in our room brought it to life. The plumbing for the shower was very efficient unlike the plumbing for the bath but we would not change a thing. We admired how Jo and Charlie run a large farm, maintain and renovate a large manor house while taking in guests. What a challenge.
We really wished we had stayed longer as we felt we were coming part of the family especially when we had to chase zebras off the runway to allow our plane to take off
We both loved, loved, loved Shiwa Ng'andu.
Charlie and Jo were wonderful hosts, the house has a wonderful feel, the history is fascinating, the community is so interesting, the wildlife great, and the dogs and farm tour such a bonus!
Remarkable experience - well worth it
We didn't read that carefully about what we were letting ourselves in for going to Shiwa. It isn't a plush manor house but is a totally absorbing and busy experience across so many dimensions. A unique piece of Zambian and British history, a wonderful location, quite extraordinary owners in Charlie and Jo, a massive farm operation and extraordinary archive of documents.
Charlie and Jo are fabulous hosts - how they run the farm, manage a game reserve, sort the archives, restore the house, care for 1,000 people living on the estate, work with NGOs to improve the facilities in the area and still be available throughout the day to be the perfect hosts is unbelievable.
We spent three days with them and it wasn't enough. Over breakfast, lunch and dinner with Charlie and Jo we managed to get a small insight to the remarkable place and Charlie's family. It is an incredible operation. We also met some of their friends - some passing through and some resident on the estate.
The meals were great, totally from locally produced ingredients.
Well worth the visit to see a totally different part of Zambia from the Luangwa Valley and to get to know in a small way a remarkable couple. We didn't have enough time in the archives and we look forward to reading Jo's account of life in Shiwa from Sir Stewart Gore- Browne's arrival to the current day. Keep writing Jo!
Shiwa Ng'andu review
We had a wonderful stay at Shiwa.
Jo and Charlie were wonderful hosts and the rest of the staff were very friendly and attentive. The house and grounds are a gem and the game and lake were very attractive and appealing.
A fascinating and wonderful place
Having read The Africa House, it was like a dream coming to Shiwa. Jo and Charles Harvey were marvellous hosts and guides. I loved the relaxed atmosphere, to get an insight into life at the huge estate, and of course, to hear more about S. Gore-Browne and his achivements. It was wonderful to see how well Jo and Charles looked after all the animals on the farm. Being an animal lover myself, I found it heart-warming; I shall never forget "the Paradise Gang" and the 5 dogs!
It was also interesting to visit the local school and hospital.
Shiwa Ng'andu review
Just an amazing place and an amazing family with amazing pets and attitude to life!
Lovely historic building and although Jo & Charlie will probably be collating the family archives for ever more their own history is equally impressive. Combining a colonial past with cattle farming and a private wildlife reserve might sound ambitious but it works and it just feels pure and crazy Africa. Walks are available and we were shown over different parts of the estate. Hearing Charlie's past hunting exploits are worth a visit alone!
Slightly surprised that some of our fellow travellers had never even heard of Shiwa. It's unique in so many ways and should have a great future. Highly recommended.
an old house with history and a huge farm
Shiwa surprised us as the activities on the huge farm are so interesting, and the village children such fun. People are busy all day and everywhere, and so quite unlike the quiet bushcamps in Luangwa Valley. No predators means easy walking around the farm areas and up the hill. There are wild mammals all around which include rare Sable, Sitatunga, Letchwe and Eland readily viewable. They organise swops with other private reserves so as to get a good balance of species. Jo is an excellent bird guide and took us all round the varied parts of their estate.
It has a fascinating history as a House with an English Tradition and the important role played by Gore-Brown towards Zambian Independence in 1964 with Kaunda. The archives are in good shape and photos and original documents abound. It has the original garden layout, trees planted to his design and many cool rooms. It is a lovely spot with hills, lake, lots of space, and a local village with school and hospital. Plenty to see and do and a 3 day visit works well as a minimum.
It was cold in early Oct because of the 1500 metres height, but fires are lit every evening in bedrooms and main areas. A fleece or jacket is essential even then, whereas in Luangwa valley it was 33C at least.
Jo & Charlie could not be more friendly and hospitable, and they really put themselves out to show us how they run a successful farm and wildlife reserve such as Shiwa. Their enthusiasm and energy amazed us. Long may they continue!