Chiawa Camp is a superb, family-run camp on the banks of the Zambezi River. In our opinion, it enjoys the best location in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Here you will find the atmosphere of a traditional Zambia bush camp combined with vintage 1920s-style safari tents. With its lavish complement of staff, renowned guiding and generous infrastructure, Chiawa offers an exceptional level of choice and flexibility so you can make the most of your stay.
The permanent waters of the Zambezi draw increasing numbers of animals to its banks in dry season. Abundant elephant, buffalo and hippo can be seen at really close quarters on the many lush islands and river bank. Regular sightings of predators such as wild dog, leopard and spotted hyena hunting the impala and other antelope make for exciting game drives. There are also a number of large lion prides.
The area is rich in birdlife, with almost 400 recorded species, including a number of species of eagle, bee-eater, stork and a wide variety of waterefowel.
Chiawa Camp has nine tents. The six spacious and secluded luxury safari tents are set under thatch on elevated decks with great views across the Zambezi. They are elegantly furnished in classic African safari style, with comfortable beds, quality cottons, mosquito netting, brass electric fans, solar powered lanterns and power points for re-charging camera batteries. The lovely honeymoon tent has a Victorian bath with a view and a double shower. Two extra large superior tents provide a king-size bed, lounge area, roll-top bath and double shower. All tents have a flush loo and basins, with hot and cold running water always available.
Set within a grove of mahogany and acacia trees, guest facilities include a comfortable lounge, the bar, an elevated observation deck, the dining area, and an open-air breakfast boma. The viewing hide, up in a Mahogany tree, is a tranquil spot from which to watch the Zambezi; or you might prefer the river view from the plunge pool. A small fleet of quality vessels is tied to the jetty, ready for the many river activities.
Chiawa has a reputation for some of the finest bush cuisine in Zambia. Under the expert guidance of ex Rovos Rail executive chef, Craig Warland, and passionate foodie, Barbara, you can look forward to beautifully prepared, innovative and fresh meals. Chiawa offers a variety of dining spots both at the camp, in bush locations or on a boat in the middle of the Zambezi. Breakfast, brunch and lunch are hot and cold buffets. Afternoon tea is usually served on the viewing deck, just before the afternoon game activity. Dinner is served by the camp fire, under the stars; or on a sandbank in the Zambezi, if it coincides with full moon.
Canoe down a scenic channel, gliding along with the gentle current, sitting low in the water at eye level with Jacanas and Egyptian geese, and then pause as a hippo splashes in the distance.
Morning and afternoon game drives in open 4WD vehicles offer opportunities to watch and photograph big game and birds. Night drives provide the chance to spot nocturnal animals like civet, genet and porcupine and to encounter some of the larger predators on the move.
The river safaris take you through the islands of the Zambezi. Often, you will see hippo out of the water and the buffalo and elephant that swim across the river to reach these verdant oases.
A bush walk gives you a close-up experience of the bush. You are accompanied by an armed ranger who shares his knowledge of the fauna and flora and his tracking skills.
At present, Chiawa is the only camp to offer professionally guided sport fishing in the Lower Zambezi National Park. The waters are free from netting and fish are abundant. The famous tiger fish is a great attraction; and, since fishing places are strictly limited, we advise intending fishermen to book in advance. The best months for tiger fish are September – November.
Chiawa Camp welcomes children of 12 years and over. Younger children may stay by special arrangement. Children under 12 may not go on bush walks or on canoes; and a private vehicle is recommended (at additional cost).
Children must be supervised at Chiawa. The camp is unfenced, so elephant and buffalo wander freely through the camp; and it is on the Zambezi River.
The guides and boat hands at Chiawa are well trained and very good with children.
The Cumings family is passionate about the protection of the Lower Zambezi. Grant is the founder and vice-chairman of Conservation Lower Zambezi, http://www.conservationlowerzambezi.com.zm an active non-profit organisation committed to the protection of the wildlife and habitat of the Lower Zambezi National Park. It places particular emphasis on anti-poaching measures, community education, guide training and elephant and wild dog research. All Lower Zambezi safari operators collect a conservation levy of US$2 per guest per night to support this work.