Zambezi Expeditions

Zambezi Expeditions: Our full report

Rooms
6 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 3 reviews
Open
1 Apr to 30 Nov

Zambezi Expeditions (formerly known as Zambezi Lifestyles) offers simple accommodation in Mana Pools National Park. The camp is an unusual cross between a mobile camp and a permanent lodge, being set up at the beginning of each safari season in on of the national parks campsites along the Zambezi River, where it stays until the end of the season. The camp is then broken down and reassembled in a different campsite the following year. The overall style of the camp allows guests a mobile experience in a stationary setting.

Zambezi Expeditions offers simple accommodation but luxury service in a fantastic setting. The overall feeling of the physical camp is reminiscent of colonial safari camps from a bygone era, although the real focus of the property is on the safari experience rather than overly stylish accommodation.

With six simple tents Zambezi Expeditions is a small and personal camp. The tents are quite small compared to the rooms at other camps in the park (a necessity considering hey have to be taken down, moved, and stored at the end of each season), but they are tall enough to stand in, and have enough space to comfortably fit twin beds, and some small canvas wardrobes. The en-suite bathrooms are accessed through canvas flaps at the back of the tent and include a flush toilet, and an outdoor bucket shower that is filled up in the evening or on request. There is also a washbasin, for which hot water is provided in a thermos flask in the morning and evenings.

The rooms are located either side of a simply but well furnished open-sided mess tent, with a dining table and small lounge area. The sides of the tent are open, allowing views of the river. The overall feeling of the area is quite rustic, and very much feels like a moveable campsite. However, a well stocked bar and a large fridge do afford some luxuries, such as bottles of ice-cold Zambezi lager.

Activities at Zambezi Expeditions include canoeing in Canadian-style fiberglass canoes. Such trips will always be led by a fully qualified and experienced canoe guide, and you can choose to held paddle, or just enjoy a leisurely float downstream. On our last visit in October 2016 we were able to get incredibly close to an elephant grazing on one of the many islands in the middle of the Zambezi, before stopping in a shallow section downstream for sundowner drinks. While a trip down the Zambezi can be a very quite and relaxing experience, it’s important to note that the river is home to a large number of hippos, and some large crocodiles, some of which you can end up having close encounters with. Canoeing here isn’t for the faint of heart.

Game-drives from the camp and walking safaris are also possible from camp, although these are often combined, jumping out of your vehicle with an armed guide to follow lion tracks, or approach some of the well-known elephants in the area, sometimes to within 10m.

On our last trip to Zambezi Expeditions the camp was located in front of a shallow channel of the Zambezi. After being carefully checked for crocodiles and hippos we took an afternoon swim in this section of the river, providing a very welcome respite from the October heat.

Our view

Zambezi Expeditions offers the basic wilderness experience of a mobile camp, combined with some of the more important comforts of a more permanent property. The camp provides a simple but comfortable base from which to focus on a superb safari experience, with flexible activities on offer and top-quality guiding.

Geographics

Location: Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Ideal length of stay: There is a minimum of 2 nights stay at Zambezi Expeditions. We would suggest a two night stay combined with Kanga Camp, or three to four nights just at Zambezi Expeditions.

Directions: Flights from Victoria Falls into Mana Pools can be arranged and from there it's a game-drive to camp.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: African Bush Camps

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: On our first visit to Zambezi Expeditions in 2016 we found the food to be varied, delicious and filling.

A light continental breakfast is offered around the campfire before the first activity of the day. This usually consists of hot porridge, cereal, fruit and toast.

Lunch is served on return from the morning activity, usually around 11:30. We were served a buffet of slow cooked spare ribs, potato salad, green salad, and freshly baked bread, with a refreshing fruit salad for dessert.

Before the afternoon activity high tea is served in the main tent, where you will find a sweet and savory snack, and a large jug of iced tea.

Dinner is served around 19:30, and is usually a three-course meal. On our last visit though we enjoyed a buffet of chicken curry, vegetable curry, rice and poppadums, with an array of homemade pickles and chutneys. We then had a slice of very tasty lemon tart for dessert.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are included at Zambezi Expeditions, but fine wines and spirits are charged extra (although these may need to be requested in advance).

Further dining info: Individual dining is available on request, as well as private dining outside the entrance of your tent.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: The camp aims to run entirely on solar, but they do have a generator back-up. There are electric lights in the rooms, but no plug sockets for charging electronics. There is a charging point in the main tent.

Communications: There is no WiFi available in the main camp, but it is available in the camps small office for use in emergencies only. Depending on the camps exact location there can be sporadic mobile signal.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: The camps water is pumped from the Zambezi River and filtered multiple times. Bottled of filtered water are provided in the rooms and in the main area.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Kariba, a few hours’ drive away. The nearest airstrip is 20 minutes’ drive from Zambezi Expeditions, which makes an emergency evacuation much quicker.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Lockable bags are provided for valuables which can then be given to the camp manager for safe keeping.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are dotted around camp.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: It is possible to have all laundry done at the camp, which is included in the nightly rate. It is usually returned within 12 hours during the summer months (September to November) and 24 hours in the winter months (April to August) when it takes longer to dry.

Accepted payment on location: No credit cards are accepted at Zambezi Expeditions. Cash is accepted in US Dollars, GB Pounds and South African Rand.

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