Chongwe Camp is the best of the entry-level camps in the Lower Zambezi! It offers a good range of accommodation options, authentic communal areas, and an exhilarating variety of activities too. Chongwe Camp is owned and run by Time + Tide. This company operates some superb safari camps and lodges across Zambia and Madagascar, and its conservation heritage began as early as 1950 with famous safarist Norman Carr. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, a selection of activities, transfers between the camp and Royal or Jeki Airstrip, limited access to Wi-Fi (in the mess tent), and a laundry service. The camp is open from 15th April to 15th November every year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The camp is accessed via 20 minutes’ road transfer from Royal Airstrip or 40 minutes’ drive from Jeki Airstrip. It has a spectacular location at the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi rivers, just outside the Lower Zambezi National Park.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT CHONGWE CAMP:
Guest accommodation consists of nine tents and two suites. There’s also the private Chongwe House nearby. All options are positioned along the riverbank, amidst tall winterthorn trees. Inside each of the tents, there’s a double bed or twin beds, lighting, overhead fans, luggage racks, and other storage space. The walls have windows created from clear canvas, with curtains that can be drawn across. To the back of every tent, a wooden door leads out to the washroom, where you’ll find a flush toilet, basin, shower, and bathtub. And at the front, there’s a seating area with part-thatch roof across. Set with a couple of wicker chairs and two small tables, this is a lovely spot for relaxing and enjoying your river views! The suites come in two sub-categories ¬– one with one bedroom and other with two bedrooms. The larger suite offers a living and dining area too, while the one-bedroom unit has a lounge. Both have a private plunge pool and are quite a bit more luxurious, spacious, and stylish than the tents.
The communal areas at Chongwe Camp are similar in style to the tent accommodation. A mess tent is the setting for the lounge and dining areas, and its open-sided design really makes the most of views over the river! The lounge features comfortable sofas and armchairs around coffee tables, a few Persian rugs, a telescope, some reading material, a medley of intriguing artefacts, and a standing fan to ensure guests keep cool. Adjacent to this space is the camp’s well-stocked bar, while just outside there’s the dining area, offering one large table at which everyone eats together. Private dining is available too. Closest to the water, a ring of well-cushioned wood-framed chairs surrounds the fire-pit – this is the perfect place for getting to know your fellow travellers and swapping safari stories! And there’s also a plunge pool, fantastic for cooling off in between activities here.
ACTIVITIES AT CHONGWE CAMP
Chongwe Camp offers an excellent assortment of activities:
Expertly guided game drives– The camp is situated just outside the Lower Zambezi National Park. Drives are offered during early morning and late afternoon into evening, and you’ll enjoy opportunities to view a real wealth of wildlife. The park’s sprawling plains, woodlands, and water sources are home to four of the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo! Smaller species abound, not least spotted hyena, wild dog, wildebeest, zebra, eland, impala, kudu, bushbuck, and waterbuck.
Night drives– Head out after sunset in the company of your guide, and you’ll likely see leopard, civet, genet, honey badger, and the prickly porcupine!
Walking safaris– Also accompanied by a knowledgeable and experienced guide, walks are fantastic for anyone interested in taking a very close look at the Lower Zambezi’s smaller species – for example, the park’s plants, insects, and birdlife. There are approximately 500 types of feathery friend here, among them specials such as storks, egrets, fish eagles, and five varieties of kingfisher!
Canoeing safaris– Why not board a canoe and paddle your way along the river? During the driest months (typically August to November), wildlife including big game such as elephants gathers on the banks for a long cool drink.
Boating safaris– Amazing throughout Chongwe Camp’s open season, boat trips bring you thrilling sightings of Nile crocodile, hippo, birdlife, and more elephants!
Tigerfishing– Keen anglers are advised to visit in November/December, as this is breeding season and peak period for fishing. You could easily while away a few hours waiting for a bite on the banks of the mighty Zambezi.
Sleep-outs– The best months of the year for this activity are July through to October. For more information about sleep-outs or any other aspects of your Lower Zambezi safari, please contact a member of the YZ team.