Chongwe River Camp is situated on the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers, directly opposite Mana Pools. The Chongwe River is the boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The camp has a wonderful view of not only the confluence of the two rivers but also the mountains of the impressive Zambezi escarpment. Situated under a canopy of albida thorns and surrounded by cool lawns, the 9 classic thatched tents are a good size, well appointed with ensuite open air bathrooms (8 with shower only, 1 with a bath too).
The bathrooms are an experience on their own. All fittings are made from natural materials found near the lodge and the front of the room have doors not zippers so they are easy to get in and out! There is solar power electric meaning that guests can now charge camera batteries and have lights in the rooms.
There is a swimming pool, large shady gardens and a comfortable lounge bar area. A variety of land and water based activities are on offer including game drives (day and night) and walks, canoeing, motor boating and fishing.
A normal day consists of an early morning activity followed by a hearty brunch and siesta time through the heat of the day, then afternoon tea and cakes followed by another activity and evening dinner.
Lion, leopard, buffalo, hippo, and elephant are frequently seen on activities. In between big game sightings at the camp, one can expect to see plenty other game such as impala, warthog, waterbuck, kudu, bushbuck, hyena and baboon. The area also has rarer species like honey badger, porcupine, aardvark, klipspringer and pangolin.
One of the most appealing things about Chongwe River Camp is the scenery from camp and surrounding the area - changing from riparian woodland to open plains and dense forest all with the backdrop of mountains and the mighty Zambezi make this area simply beautiful to immerse yourself into, away from the modern, western world.
The 'Albida Suite' on the edge of the main camp is in a gorgeous position on the river looking towards the mountains. This luxury suite consists of two large bedrooms share a central lounge and dining area with a private plunge pool. The luxury bedrooms are en-suite and have octagonal sides with 7 sides of gauze letting air through with a walkway to private garden areas. Bathrooms have a canvas roof but open to the bush with bath and showers.
The 'Cassia Suite' was built in the same style as the Albida Suite (but with only 1 bedroom) with a custom-designed octagonal room tent, this has gauze windows, which may be rolled up during the day, on seven sides of tents. The adjoining bathroom has a canvas roof with double basin, shower and free standing bath. A lounge is appointed with comfortable chairs and sofas. It is at the front of the suite alongside a private pool set at the edge of the river. This area is perfect for relaxing and a dining area allows meals and drinks to be taken in the suite or in the main camp.
[NOTE: Bushbuck Camp is no longer running].
This lodge strongly backs the Lower Zambezi Conservation Trust. They help with anti-poaching and a community education project.
"They did everything to make the stay enjoyable. So welcoming. Food and facilities fantastic. So much on offer to do from walks, boat trips, drives and night drives. Sam was a great guide who did all he could to find the wildlife. It is outside just outside the park so drives did not go that far into the park. You now have to pay $15 per person for landing at Royal airstip which we were not expecting."
I think the position of this camp is stunning, and possibly a deciding factor when trying to compare with other camps in Lower Zambezi. OK, it’s not actually inside Lower Zambezi National Park (it’s just across the small western boundary river), but I can see why David Livingstone apparently used it as one of his campsites!
I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 nights here but it wasn’t long enough. You really need 3 (maybe 4 ) nights to make the most of all the activities you can do here, and frankly I’d be happy to stay a week.
The staff are friendly, the meals are great, the guiding is excellent (thanks Patrick).
I was treated to a stay in Cassia suite which I thought was fabulous (and you get badly pampered!), but the classic tents are also very well done and comfortable, with equally good positions on the Chongwe River."
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499