Chiawa Camp was the first safari camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park. It is still owner-run by a descendant of the pioneering Cumings family. Offering superb luxury, beautiful surrounds, an unusually varied array of game-viewing activities, some of Africa’s finest guides, superb hosting and service, it’s easy to see why Chiawa has won so many awards over the years.
- The pioneer safari camp in Lower Zambezi
- Owner-run by the Cumings family
- 'Best in Africa' award-winning guides
- An array of activities: game drives, bush walks, canoeing, boating, angling
- Luxurious, sumptuous safari tents with incredible views
- Game-rich area: lion, leopard, elephant, hippo
- Evident dedication to guests, staff, local communities and conservation
- Shady plunge pool
- Curio shop
Chiawa Camp is seasonal - open only in the ‘dry season’ from mid-April and mid-November.
Chiawa camp has nine luxurious Meru-style tents, all beautifully fitted and set on wooden platforms with superb views; spaced far enough away from each other to ensure privacy. Every comfort is provided, including free WiFi, king-size beds with lovely linen, en-suite bathrooms with hot & cold running water, indoor and outdoor showers.
The first six tents look out over the Zambezi River and are closer to the main lodge. Tents number seven and eight are a bit bigger with thatched roofs providing deep afternoon shade. Tent 7 overlooks both the Zambezi and Chowe Rivers, and Tent 8 overlooks the Chowe River (often dry).
Tent number nine is furthest from the main lodge and set high up on a hill, very private and with superb views over the Zambezi River and its floodplains.
Relaxing, Cool Main Area
The double-storey lodge offers uninterrupted views over the Zambezi River. Built mostly from local materials, it is pleasantly rustic. There’s a downstairs bar, two separate lounges and a mini library and natural-history display. Upstairs, you’ll find another comfortable seating area and viewing deck, complete with telescope. There’s also a shady plunge pool to cool you down.
The food is superb at Chiawa and usually served in the separate dining area overlooking the river, or sometimes enjoyed alfresco under a shady tree, or beneath the stars or on the camp’s motorised pontoon.
Spoilt for choice of Game Activities
Chiawa has a team of excellent and enthusiastic guides that will go the extra mile to enrich your safari experience. Daily activities range from open vehicle game drives (day and night), walking safaris, canoeing and boat trips. If you’re keen on fishing, you can try your hand at catch-and-release using fly and usual tackle (with artificial bait).
An elevated viewing platform overlooking the confluence of the two rivers, and two strategically-placed hides offer additional game viewing – and photographic – opportunities.
Game is plentiful in the area and you can expect to see lion, leopard, jackal, wild dog (if you’re very lucky) and a host of other plains and lesser creatures. However, there are no giraffe, wildebeest, rhino and cheetah resident in the area. For twitchers, Chiawa offers both land and water birds with hopeful sightings of giant eagle owl, spur-winged geese, kingfishers and many Goliath herons. Of course, the carmine bee-eaters are sight to behold – usually from September to November.
Active Involvement in Conservation
Chiawa's team is a founder member of Conservation Lower Zambezi, an NGO intent on reducing poaching and abuse of resources in the Lower Zambezi.
Daily flights from Lusaka connect to the nearby Royal Airstrip (35 min flight). From there, it’s a 20-minute 4x4 transfer, followed by a 20-minute boat ride to Chiawa.
Our Take on Chiawa Camp
Chiawa is right up there with the favourite, best-run camps in Africa, as their consistently good reviews – and awards – confirm. Their staff are unobtrusive yet intuitive in knowing how to give you the best possible stay. Nothing seems like too much trouble. A combination itinerary with their sister lodge, Old Mondoro, makes for an unforgettable safari experience.
- All accommodation, meals and beverages (local brands)
- Professionally-guided game viewing drives (day and night), bush walks, boat trips, canoe trips and angling
- Transfers between Chiawa Camp and Royal Airstrip
- Government taxes
NB – Walks and canoe trips restricted to guests of 12 years and older.
- Air/river transfers to/from Lower Zambezi
- Park angling permits
- Airport departure taxes, hotels and meals in Lusaka
- Private vehicle /boat hire
- Park fees and conservation levy
- Gratuities, visa fees, personal extras
- Premium-brand drinks and champagne