Old Mondoro Bushcamp is a small, seasonal bush camp on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park. It seeks to provide an alternative to the luxury lodges that are increasingly the norm in Africa’s wild places, to recapture some part of the experience of the great 19th century explorers by focusing on the wildlife and wilderness in this remote part of Zambia. In reality, Old Mondoro offers the ultimate 21st century luxuries: a small camp, extraordinary personal attention, an isolated location in a vast and beautiful landscape, and a taste of the real Africa.
The camp is set in a grove of acacia trees on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park, about 10 km downstream from Jeki airstrip, near the Chakwenga River confluence. It is a beautiful site overlooking a maze of hippo-inhabited islands and channels. This part of the park is more open, characterised by wide flood plains and dappled glades of giant winterthorn trees that make it the best area for walking safaris in the Lower Zambezi.
Old Mondoro is a bush camp in the style of the old East African mobile camps, which were dismantled at the end of each season. It has four bush chalets and accommodates a maximum of eight people. The chalets are constructed of reed and canvas and equipped with comfortable beds, rustic furniture and paraffin lanterns (You can charge your camera batteries in the camp kitchen.). During the day, the chalets are open and offer wide views over the Zambezi and the lagoon; at night, canvas blinds are lowered for greater privacy. Each chalet has an en suite, open air bathroom with flush toilet, a basin and a bucket shower. There is a constant supply of cold water; hot water is delivered by wheelbarrow.
The camp is simple. Shaded by a Winterthorn tree, the main tent houses the lounge and dining area and looks out over the islands of the Zambezi; and there is an outdoor boma area where you would usually have the early morning light breakfast or a pre-dinner drink. The ‘back to basics’ concept stops short of the food: I think you will be amazed by the extraordinarily inventive, high quality cooking produced by the bush kitchen at Old Mondoro.
This is the best walking area in the national park - there are excellent areas for walking both right out of camp and just a short drive away - and walking safaris are the main focus at this camp. Typically, you have a light breakfast shortly after sunrise, leave for the morning walk and return to camp around 11 for brunch. After tea, you may go game-viewing by boat, by canoe or on a game-drive. Old Mondoro is named after a legendary white Zambezi lion, and you should see and hear lion during your stay. This eastern area of the park is outstanding for leopard, serval, and African wildcat, and for wild dog, which often den in the area. You should see large herds of buffalo, hyenas, and plains game like zebra and kudu. Pods of hippo inhabit the river channels and the birding is fabulous. Above all, large numbers of elephant make their home in this area – though, usually, you wouldn’t even have to leave camp to watch them. Old Mondoro is brilliantly managed by Roeloff and Helen Schutte, who have degrees in conservation. The camp is punctilious about safety and has an untarnished safety record.
If Old Mondoro is your first or only stop in the Lower Zambezi National Park, you would fly in to Jeki airstrip and game-drive the ten kilometres to camp. From Chiawa Camp, it is an exhilarating 45-minute trip by speedboat – or you travel the 35 km down the Zambezi by canoe. Alternatively, you can do a game drive to Old Mondoro.
Children over 14 years are welcome.