The large tents at Chindeni Bushcamp stand on raised wooden platforms.
Chindeni: Our full report
Located next to a large oxbow lake, Chindeni Bushcampis one of the South Luangwa’s most luxurious and well furnished bushcamps. Under the ownership of The Bushcamp Company it underwent extensive refurbishment in 2010, and has emerged modern and minimalist in style. Those looking for something stylish and contemporary will love this camp.
Chindeni is built underneath a shady grove of ebony trees overlooking Chayumba Lagoon, a large and productive oxbow lake that is often teeming with wildlife, with the towering Chindeni hills as an impressive backdrop.
The shared area consists of a sturdy split-level deck overlooking this lagoon, with the upper tier shaded by a suspended canvas roof. Under this there’s a large pine table where guests dine communally for lunch and dinner, although meals can also be taken on the lower level, out under the sky. The lower level also houses a lounge with low wicker armchairs, and deckchairs made from cow-hide. Dotted around are a variety of handmade side tables and stools, hand-blown glass vases and brass bowls. Though none of this matches as such, all are very stylish and simple, so work together really well.
There is also a small but well-stocked bar at Chindeni Bushcamp and though there is usually someone around to assist, guests are welcome to help themselves.
Chindeni’s four tents are built on raised wooden platforms, with the bedroom and the bathroom incorporated in one large open-plan area. Two of the rooms have twin beds and two have a king-sized, four-poster bed; all shrouded in mosquito netting. At one end of the room is a lounge area with stylish wicker armchairs and footstools. At the other is a lovely pale wood wardrobe for hanging clothes, and a writing desk. A wooden platform extends from the front of the tents where two hammocks are suspended, overlooking the lake. Animals are often drawn to this water, particularly towards the end of the dry season, and you’ll often be able to see as much wildlife during the afternoon from camp as you will on your morning and evening activities. Our favourite sighting from camp on our last visit in 2015 was a large family of elephants crossing the lake, and having a mud bath on the opposite shore.
In the bathroom, a range of toiletries are provided. There are twin sinks, a flush toilet and hot-and-cold rain-shower. The fittings are all very modern and of excellent quality.
The tents are certainly very stylish and beautiful, and thoughtful touches like kikois (an African sarong) and bathrobes make them extremely comfortable. However, we felt that the juxtaposition of the pale wood and modern fittings in such a remote and natural environment could be slightly jarring. Those who love contemporary style and an extra level of comfort while on safari will really enjoy the tents; those who prefer traditional bushcamps may like them less, and may prefer to stay in one of Bushcamp Comapy’s more rustic camps in the area such as Chamilandu or Kuyenda.
There are two activities a day at Chindeni, usually consisting of a morning walk, and an afternoon game drive that often extends into a night drive. There is flexibility with these arrangements though should you wish to change the order or make-up of your activities. On both of these activities you’ll explore the remote surrounding area, where the wildlife is good and there are very few other vehicles around. On our last visit in June 2015 we were able to spot leopard, hyena, giant kingfishers, porcupines and even the elusive aardvark on an evening drive, all without seeing another safari vehicle.
We also particularly enjoyed our morning walk where our guide taught us how to tell an elephants gender from its dung, which vines in the area you can get clean drinking water from and showed us some of the smaller animals in the bush, such as a ground beetle fighting a large spider. For those who are really keen on walking you can do a walking transfer to Chindeni’s sister camp Bilimungwe, a walk that takes approximately four hours.
Our viewChindeni Bushcamp is beautiful, modern and minimalist with great food and guiding. It’s location provides stunning views, and some of the best game viewing from camp that you’ll find in the South Luangwa. The description ‘Afro-chic’ is very apt, but safari traditionalists may find the design a little lacking in character, and may want to opt for a more rustic bushcamp instead.
Ideal length of stay: A very usual trip would be to combine Chindeni with a series of its sister camps: Kuyenda, Kapamba, Chamilandu and Bilimungwe. However, for more variety we'd suggest that you consider combining Kapamba, and perhaps one of its sister camps, with some of the camps on the northern side of South Luangwa – perhaps Tafika, Kiango or even the similarly luxurious Lion Camp.
Directions: It is a one-hour flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe airport, then a three-hour drive to Chindeni which is in the more remote south part of South Luangwa National Park.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: The Bushcamp Company
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we were last at Chindeni Bushcamp in June 2015, we thought the food was the best of all the Bushcamp properties that we visited!
Breakfast was a light continental offering with porridge, cereals, fruit and toast. Tea and coffee was also available.
After our morning activity we returned to a brunch of wraps for which we were able to choose our own fillings from a choice of beef, chicken, onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese, salad, hummus and guacamole. There was also a large pile of fresh and incredibly sweet watermelon for dessert.
There is usually an afternoon tea at 4.00pm with some very tasty, homemade, orange muffins.
Dinner is usually served around 8.30pm, after your evening activity. We started with a spicy and rich butternut squash soup that we very much enjoyed. As a main we had fried talipea, caught from Lake Kariba, with rice, green beans and braised red cabbage. For dessert we then had a very light and fluffy chocolate mousse.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks are included, apart from champagne and specially imported wines and spirits.
Further dining info: No
Birdwatching: A mixture of miombo woodland, riverine forest and plentiful lagoons means there is varied and prolific birdlife, making the area a great spot for birdwatching in Zambia. On our last visit we saw juvenile saddle-billed storks, several kingfisher species and numerous waterfowl.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 12 are accepted
Property’s age restrictions: Children under 12 years of age are not allowed at Chindeni, unless the whole camp is booked out by a family. No children under the age of 12 are allowed to walk in the park.
Special activities & services: No
Generally recommended for children: No – we can't recommend this camp for children under 16 years.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: There are no plug points in the rooms but electronics can be given to the manager for charging. In the event of several cloudy day, charging facilities may be limited, or charging could take longer than normal.
Communications: You should consider yourself out of contact during your stay at Chindeni; there is no mobile/cell-phone reception or email at the camp. However there is radio communication with Mfuwe Lodge for emergencies.
TV & radio: No
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: The showers and handbasins are plumbed in. Water is solar-heated so it may take a few minutes to reach your shower. Each chalet has a flushing toilet. The water from the taps is suitable for drinking, but bottled water is also available if you prefer.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The closest doctor is based at a camp by the Mfuwe Gate – which is about three hours' drive away. For serious medical emergencies Chindeni has links to flying doctors, who can evacuate patients to a hospital in Lusaka.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: A watchman or manager will escort guests between their rooms and main areas at night, in case of wild animals. Each room has a digital safe for valuables.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each room and around the main areas.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and clothes are hand washed, line dried and coal ironed. For this reason, Chindeni asks guests to wash their delicates themselves – and provide soap for this in the rooms.
Money: No currency exchange is available. There are no safes in the rooms, but if you are concerned then small items could be given to management for safe keeping.
Accepted payment on location: Chindeni Bushcamp is not able to take payment for any extras. Payments (eg: for extras such as champagne) are made at Mfuwe Lodge. At Mfuwe Lodge you can use cash in US dollars, euros, British pounds and Zambian kwacha. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted – though with an additional charge of 5%.