Service standards at Camelthorn are outstanding, on a par with Bomani, another property in Imvelo’s impressive portfolio. The guides have expert knowledge of Hwange, so both vehicle and walking safaris are brilliant here. Back at the lodge, all staff are employed from the local villages and their approach is very friendly. It is impossible not to feel at home!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge is situated in shady acacia woodlands on the edge of the Ngamo Plains, in the south-east of Hwange National Park.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The lodge derives its name from the impressive ancient camelthorn tree at its centre, which spans a patio approximately 35 metres in length! This patio contains plenty of chairs and tables for outdoor dining. The main building, a U-shaped stone structure with a thatched roof, extends around the camelthorn tree with two wings either side of a reception area. One wing houses a dining room with three fireplaces, while the other has a comfortable lounge and bar. The walls are decorated with local photography, including pictures of elephants and trains – the railway line from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls is not far from camp. The main area also has teak decking and an outdoor fire-pit.
Accommodation at Camelthorn consists of eight forest villas, each made of concrete with a corrugated iron roof. These are nestled into the trees and positioned well apart from each other. All boast a spacious bedroom, with beds arranged as one king or twins. There is also a lounge area and an en-suite with toilet, double basin, shower, and bath with views from a picture window! Other features are a ceiling fan, fireplace, mini bar, tea/coffee tray, electronic safe and complimentary robes. All interiors are stylishly decorated – dark teak furniture and colourful floors. Outside each villa, there is a patio for private dining, a hammock, and a spiral staircase leading up to a balconied area with a daybed, perfect for relaxing in between activities!
There is plenty to do at Camelthorn. Game drives in Hwange and the lodge estate take place during the morning and afternoon. Hwange is rich in wildlife, with all Big Five animals (though please note it is very rare to see rhino) and over 100 other species too! There are also almost 400 species of bird. Night drives are possible within the lodge estate and guests often spot hyena, mongoose, pangolin, porcupine. Walking safaris are usually conducted during the morning and present great opportunities for taking photos of game! And keen photographers relish Camelthorn’s underground blind, a 6-metre hide disguised as an antheap and well placed to offer amazing views of sunsets and passing elephants.
Another popular activity is the ‘Pump Run’, where guests head out with a guide to visit the eight waterholes in Hwange that are operated by Imvelo. These visits involve dropping off fuel and oil for the motors and supplies for the pump attendants, then having a picnic lunch near one of the waterholes. And last but not least, Camelthorn is happy to arrange village visits and school tours – this is a great way for guests to learn about local life.