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All reviews lower zambezi game drives the river canoe trip old mondoro dry river bed keep coming back ground hornbills hippos snorting mighty zambezi attention to detail surprise lunch lion sightings sabi sands large bull elephant small group game viewing experience
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Reviewed 10 September 2015

We stayed at Chiawa Camp for 4 nights. The combination of a well-maintained camp, excellent tented accommodations, an outstanding range and quality of activities, meals beyond compare, and the AMAZING staff, makes it easy to strongly recommend Chiawa.
Each day began with a personal wake up that included tea and coffee delivered to our tent. They made it very easy to select our daily activities, and they go out of their way to personalize each experience. I suggest taking advantage of all the activities “we did”. A list of our activities included. Morning drives, walking safari, canoe adventure, river tour, afternoon and evening drives, and even some fishing.
Out tent 9 was amazing with a great view overlooking a river bed they entered the Zambezi. Sitting on our deck in the afternoon and early evening we witnessed many animals making the daily trek to the water. (A partial list included elephants, wart hogs, impala, majestic kudo’s as well as others).
We had the opportunity to tour with several guides over this period and all were extremely qualified, informative and truly concerned for your safety and quality of experience. It was especially pleasing to see the reverence they have for the land and the wildlife. I have not listed specific names as it would truly be a shame to leave a name out. On a side note even though this is the busiest time of year we never had more that 1 or 2 others in our vehicle game drives. (Many drives were just my wife and I). So no fear of crowded jeeps!
Meals are truly remarkable. A VERY creative daily lunch and dinner menu will please anyone, and interesting treats throughout the day are always an excellent diversion. It is a daily surprise as to where a meal may be served. Ours included a dinner in the bush, a white linen lunch on boat with a private attendant, as well as a private surprise dinner at our tent deck secretly arranged by the staff to celebrate our anniversary. Thanks to the Choir who shared a song or two each evening.
The management and staff is to be congratulated. Service is of a very high level yet done in a friendly family not ”staunch” way. Everyone no matter what their position is there to see you are cared for and have whatever you need, before you even know you need it.
We saw all the game we expected to see including leopards, elephants, buffalo, lions, hyena, impala, baboon and many more. It was always exciting to see the regular afternoon visit in camp by the elephants seeking their “biscuits”.
I could not rate our experience any higher. All items mentioned above made this into a remarkable experience.
UPADTE: After this camp we went to several others in Zambia and Botswana. Some may be considered higher end camps, and were great experiences on their own for various reasons, but the combination of everything at Chiawa made it our top choice! Chiawa had the most well done meals and treats, best guides overall, great camp feel, and best quality of activities and surprises outside the game drive.

Room tip: Room 9 - great layout and location. Great animal life, good separation from other tents , amazing views
Date of stay: August 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank joe d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2015

I had read that Chiawa was one of the best managed camps in Africa, and all I add is that it is!
It is almost perfect in every way. The tents are beautiful, with showers inside and out, luxurious bedding,
and fluffy towels. The food is wonderful, with fresh fruit and vegetables, and choices at every meal.
Our last night, after a short boat ride, we had dinner out on an island, under a full moon, with torches lighting the way! It made for a magical evening.

The game drives were some of the best I've been on, with delightful guides who always tried to please.
There were Lions, a herd of Cape Buffalo, plus Kudus all on one game drive. Elephants, Impalas, and Waterbucks
grazing in front of our tent everyday, and Hippos talking to us at night!

The location on the Lower Zambezi with islands in front of the camp where the Elephants and Hippos
go to graze, takes your breath away, it is so beautiful.

This was my sixth trip to Africa, and Chiawa is one of my favorite camps. I will go back, and stay longer.
Three days was not nearly long enough.

Date of stay: August 2015
Thank GTH46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2015

We arrived at Chiawa upriver from their satellite camp Old Mondoro, which we absolutely loved. We found that although it was a little larger and there was a bit more luxury at Chiawa, it had exactly the same vibe. Everything was of the very highest quality - the guiding, food, service - and there was an extremely happy atmosphere with very congenial guests. I congratulate the Cumings family on organising a perfect environment. I should explain that it was a deliberate choice on our part to go to family owned camps - rather than the large corporate set-ups, particularly in Botswana - and we feel that Chiawa fully justified this.

Tess and Dave ran everything superbly well, taking into account the wishes and quirks of all the guests with great friendliness.

Game driving and walking were superb - we discovered the two leopard cubs - I think now well known, - and spent an extremely enjoyable time videoing and simply watching. One failure however - your guides failed to produce me an aardvark, although I gather they rarely come out before midnight!

What makes Chiawa and Old Mondoro different is the situation on the banks of a large river. We had canoeing (brilliant), a surprise lunch mid river on a pontoon boat, and of course sundowners on the boat. The visit was full of surprises, including the great braai at Bedrock.

Although luxurious, we were always in close contact with the wildlife. Elephants in camp, spending our arrival afternoon watching a family of eight elephants right in front of our verandah, a leopard under our tent. No boredom!

All in all we absolutely loved both Chiawa and Old Mondoro, and would strongly recommend a combination of the two camps. This is our fifth time on safari, and we have stayed at some superb camps in our time. We have however never repeated any of the camps, but we would be sorely tempted to return to Chiawa and Old Mondoro.

Date of stay: August 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Peter B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2015

Others have already shared many of the same things we did. The rating doesn't go high enough for the truly excellent staff who make the camp so exceptional! The activities are wonderful, the animals are plentiful and the food is delicious. Everything was outstanding.

Date of stay: August 2015
Thank DeniseH216
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2015

We were on our sixth trip to Africa and first to Zambia. This was our fifth of six "camps" on this trip and ranks right up in the top five of the 35 camps we have visited. The river setting is stunningly beautiful with an abundance of animal and bird wildlife. The year had been very dry, so the river was an even bigger attraction than ever for the animals. Anita, Peter and all of the camp personnel were warm and welcoming and went out of their way to make us feel as we belonged. The game drives were very good with a wide array of wildlife morning and night! The big find for us was a superb viewing of the African Civet which we had only glimpsed on previous safaris. Just about every animal except the Cheetah can be found in the Lower Zambezi NP. The river safaris are not to be missed as you see lots of critters on the islands in the river and can get very close without alarming them. There were more hippos here than in all the rest of the camps we have visited combined!

Anita had us in the "Honeymoon" cottage at the very end of the trail int he camp, so we enjoyed the seclusion and privacy as if we were the only ones in the camp! Several times we had to detour along the river as there was a rogue elephant bullying his way around the grounds. The staff was always vigilant and kept us well out of harms way!

One night my wife and I were treated to a candle lit dinner for two, anchored out among hippos alone on the river, hands down the most romantic evening ever in Africa!

Thanks Anita, Peter and everyone else working at Chiawa for making this such a wonderful African experience! (Peter, hope the leg is getting better!)

Room tip: The Honeymoon suite is the most private and quietest.
Date of stay: July 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank James W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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