CHONGWE RIVER CAMP – LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK

Dotted along the riverbank Chongwe Camp is set at the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers which wind through the forested valley creating a haven for wildlife and birds.

The camp has nine classic tents which are designed to make the most of the panoramic view along the Chongwe River, a spacious open-air bathroom, a porch with comfortable lounge chairs and features local textiles and handcrafted furniture.

The small number of camps in Lower Zambezi National Park keep it free from overcrowding and the area is best known for its impressive variety of safari activities—enjoy game drives and walking safaris on land, take to the rivers on a boat cruise or canoeing safari, or to try your hand at tiger fishing.

LOCATION

Chongwe Camp is located in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. Access is by flight from Lusaka to Royale Airstrip and a 15 minute game drive to camp or Jeki Airstrip and a one hour boat trip and a 20 minute road transfer to camp.

CAMP

The camp has 9 safari tents set along the river with comfortable beds, local textiles, overhead fans and ensuite bathrooms with open air showers. Outside the tent is a shaded outdoor seating area with river views.

The main lodge has lounge and bar and there are dining areas, a campfire and a swimming pool. There is limited WIFI in the main area and no phone signal. The camp is run off generator power and there is charging available in all the tents.

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ACTIVITIES AND WILDLIFE

Nestled between a mountain escarpment to the north and the Zambezi River to the south – the Lower Zambezi Valley boasts a large variety of activities and has stunning scenery, peaceful riverside woodlands and abundant wildlife.

Breathe in the earthy scent of the riverbank as you slip past wading elephants in your canoe. Get your hands on a glittering tiger fish before releasing it back to the water. Drift off to sleep with the sound of grunting hippos and whooping hyenas and wake up to birdsong as the sunrise reflects off the Zambezi and plays in the trees.

Lower Zambezi is at its most magical from April to November when the river is perfect for boating safari and when sightings of wild dogs, lions, leopards and other predators are at their peak. There is the opportunity to enjoy incredible elephant sightings in and around camp and birdwatching is superb with over 370 species of birds to be found. As the summer rains recede April is the best time to see wild dogs and a high bird diversity.

Boat cruises are excellent all year found on the Zambezi River – expect plenty of hippos, crocodiles, birds and elephants. The peak walking safari season is from July to October and canoeing safaris are great all year. During the drier months of August to November wildlife congregates along the river and July to October is the peak season for Sleepout Under the Stars and fishing is good year around but peaks in October and November during the breeding season.

Walking Safaris – get out on foot and learn about the small things – seemingly irrelevant plants and animals which are often overlooked on a game drive. You will walk accompanied by an armed scout and your safari guide will show you a secret world as he leads you slowly through the bush along ancient animal pathways, examining plants, trees and insects along the way.

Game Drives – game drives are in open 4X4 vehicles and are a superb way of getting to know the area around camp and seeing wildlife.

Night drives are an extension of your afternoon game drive, canoe or walking safari – as the sun begins to set and dusk falls you will set off to explore as the nocturnal animals start to emerge. The best chance of seeing genets, civets, elephant shrew, porcupine and the fierce honey-badger is after sunset and the large predators, with the exception of wild dog, are most active at night. Night-time birding can be very rewarding with nightjars, owls great and small, dikkop, bat hawk and coursers are all abundant.

Sleepout Under the Stars – This extraordinary experience is an adventurous addition to any safari, allowing you to reconnect with nature. You fall asleep under a canopy of a million twinkling stars listening to the sounds of the night-time bush. A cosy bedroll, bush loo and culinary team ensure that this experience is as comfortable as it is memorable, and your room is held back in camp should you wish to return.

Canoeing Safaris – one of the most leisurely ways to experience the sights and sounds of the Lower Zambezi valley is on a canoe safari. Canoes seat two guests and a guide in comfort with ample room for cameras and binoculars.

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Canoeing offers you a completely different perspective as you glide gently along either the Zambezi and its beautiful channels or the Chongwe River, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of the area and the variety of wildlife along the riverbanks. The safest routes are used, previous canoeing experience is not necessary and lifejackets are provided. All you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy.

Boat cruises – a river safari offers both morning and afternoon opportunities to view game from the comfort of a luxury boat. Sit back and relax as your guide leisurely navigates the islands and main channels of the Zambezi. Cruise the river looking at game, birds and enjoy spectacular sunsets. Morning coffee or evening sundowners can be enjoyed from either the boat or from your own island in the middle of the Zambezi River.

Fishing – The Lower Zambezi is home to the tiger fish, nicknamed the water dog, whose sharp teeth are matched only by its fighting spirit and reputation as one of the world’s top game fish. At Chongwe River Camp you will have the chance to head out onto the river in search of the tiger fish operating a strict catch-and-release policy in order to preserve stocks. You can fish with both fly and popper. Alternatively, you can try your hand at bream fishing on the Chongwe river where a limited catch can be brought back to camp and served up with a delicious lemon butter sauce!

Fishing can be combined with game activities and all equipment is provided, with both conventional tackle and entry level fly rods available. We recommend serious fly fisherman should bring their own tackle.

Cultural Village Visit – the Chiawa Cultural Village was born of a partnership between conservation organizations (with Africa Wildlife Foundation as a key strategic partner), Lower Zambezi Lodges and the Goba people of Chiawa, championing a cultural tourism enterprise prototype that empowers local people to benefit directly from the tourism trade generated by the profusion of wildlife in the region. It is owned by the Chiawa community through the Tsika Development Company.

At the Chiawa Cultural Village you will enjoy a guided tour where you can learn about the lives of the Goba people, their traditions, trades, tools, edifices and arts including dance, song and handiwork of local craftspeople.

CHONGWE CAMP IS CLOSED FROM THE 16TH NOVEMBER THROUGH TO THE 14TH APRIL EVERY YEAR

THE CAMP WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN AGED 7 YEARS AND OLDER. DO NOTE THAT ONLY CHILDREN AGED 12 YEARS AND OLDER CAN PARTICIPATE IN WALKING SAFARIS

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Call +44 1386 830264 or Email [email protected]

Our expert staff are on-hand, happy to assist with any enquiry you have.

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