Chikwenya is owned and operated by Wilderness Safaris. This company runs an impressive range of camps and lodges across Safari Africa, all the while conserving the local wildlife and empowering the local communities. The camp re-opened on 1st October 2018 for a few weeks following full refurbishment, and it’ll welcome guests again from 1st April 2019. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, all local drinks, twice-daily scheduled camp activities, park fees, and a laundry service. Children aged under 16 years are requested to share a tent with an adult. The camp will be open from 1st April to mid-/late November every year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Chikwenya has a lovely location within a private concession in the park’s eastern region and can be accessed within 10 minutes from the airstrip. Set up in the shade of albida and mahogany trees, it overlooks an open floodplain of the mighty Zambezi river and has amazing views of the Rift Valley mountains beyond!
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT CHIKWENYA:
Please note, no one from YZ has been to the camp yet, so this description has been compiled using information supplied by Wilderness Safaris. We’ll update the text as soon as we’ve seen Chikwenya for ourselves!
At present, guest accommodation consists of six tents. From April 2019, there will be seven tents, including two family units. Each tent is raised above ground level on wooden decking. The deck is set with a couple of chairs and a table, and it’s a great spot for relaxing and enjoying your views! Inside, you’ll find a double bed or twin beds with mosquito netting, an overhead fan, bedside tables and lighting, a writing desk and chair, a spacious storage unit, and a pleasant seating area. Additional amenities include a standing fan, a tea-and-coffee station, and a charging station. The en-suite facilities, to one side of the bedroom space, comprise separate flush toilet, washbasin, and walk-in shower. There’s an outdoor shower too, and complimentary toiletries are supplied. Overall, the décor has been updated. Before the refurb, it looked a little heavy – now it has a lighter and fresher feel. Both family units will be made up of two tents joined together, with a shared deck.
Chikwenya’s lounge, dining area, and bar are housed in the camp’s main lodge, which is linked to the tents along pine walkways. Photos of the lounge reveal comfortable sofas and armchairs around coffee tables, and some wildlife artwork on the walls. This space appears to adjoin the dining area, which features wooden tables and campaign chairs positioned facing the Zambezi. We understand the camp has a well-stocked bar too, and that guests are invited to eat and drink on the lodge’s deck. A short distance away, a fire-pit provides the perfect venue for socialising and sharing safari stories! There’s also a swimming pool, again with spectacular vistas over the floodplains.
ACTIVITIES AT CHIKWENYA:
- The camp offers some classic safari activities. Expertly guided game drives take place during the morning and afternoon – and night drives are available too!
- The area around Chikwenya features floodplains, pans, woodlands, islands, and the Sapi river, and it’s home to a wealth of wildlife.
- Four of the Big Five are in residence – lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. Other species to look out for on game drives include cheetah, hyena, wild dog, zebra, antelopes, chacma baboon, hippopotamus, and crocodile.
- Bird populations are equally impressive, with over 350 types of feathery friend recorded at last count. Just a few of our favourites here are southern banded snake eagle, rufous-bellied heron, long-toed lapwing, and the enigmatic Pel’s fishing owl.
- On night drives, you might make out leopard, serval, caracal, aardvark, lesser bushbaby, and the charming pangolin!
- Boating and canoeing provide different perspectives of the wildlife, not least big herds of buffalo and elephant coming to quench their thirst on the banks of the river.
- Guided walks, a season-dependent activity, are ideal for anyone interested in close scrutiny of the birds, insects, and plant life of the concession. Catch-and-release fishing is offered too.
- NB: Please note, both walks and canoe trips have a minimum age requirement, of respectively 13 and 16 years.