$ 625 (Pps)
Camelthorn Lodge is nestled in the cool woodlands on the southern edge of Ngamo's famous plains in Hwange National Park. This luxurious lodge offers a spectacular and authentic wilderness experience. The lodge is quite unique in its style, having been build around an ancient camelthorn tree. It has an impressive dining room/winter sitting room with fireplaces, an open fronted bar and sitting area, and plenty of outdoor sitting areas.
Camelthorn Lodge boasts 8 massive double volume chalets, being 82 sqm in size. Each has an upper deck, ideal for daytime siestas on the day bed, hammock or even sleep-outs under the stars. Each is equipped with fireplace, sitting area, dressing gowns, safe, minibar, ceiling fan and a fireplace for the cold winter evenings. The en suite bathroom has a shower and bath in front of a picture window.
Activities at Camelthorn Lodge
Activities include early morning and afternoon game drives but also plenty of walking if you are keen. Enjoy al fresco dining under the ancient camelthorn, or track herds of elephant by foot. Night drives are also common either at the end of a game drive or after supper, especially if lion are heard calling nearby.
Less than a kilometre away from the lodge is an underground hide (blind) in front of a productive waterhole. Camouflaged as a termite heap, the photographic opportunities are dramatic. Elephants can be photographed from toe level silhouetted against the sky. Such close proximity to Hwange's huge bulls is honestly breath-taking.
Another popular activity at Camelthorn Lodge are ‘pump runs’. Hwange National Park and its wildlife relies on pumped water holes in the dry season. (This has always been the case, ever since the park’s inception in the 1930s). Imvelo safaris operates eight waterholes in the south-eastern part of Hwange. So you can take a full-day safari to visit these waterholes and drop off fuel and oil for the pumps and rations for the pump attendants. You enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the waterholes, which are usually teeming with game as the dry season progresses, and then meander back to the lodge, game-viewing en route.
Finally horse-riding is available on their private concession. Several options are available depending on your ability from beginners (1 hour) to intermediate to experienced 3 hours to a full day). You can even combine a horse safari with a visit to the local village. Horse-riding is an additional charge.
Imvelo’s ethos is to enrich the lives of those who live around us as well as our guests. Camelthorn is actually been built on community land only a few minutes from the park gates, so the community benefits from the lodge both in the form of a concession lease but also active support of the local community schools and teachers. Another very popular optional activity at Camelthorn is to spend some time at the local school, walking to school with the kids, teaching them about your country, meeting the teachers and learning about the challenges. You can also take part in the school feeding project if you wish.
Their spa treatments also empower the community through providing jobs in tourism . Their beauty therapists have been hand-picked and trained from the community area. They provide in-room spa treatments.
Access to Camelthorn Lodge
Getting to Camelthorn lodge is also part of the adventure. You can choose between a light charter flight, a road transfer or a combined road/train transfer on Imvelo’s unique rail carriage from Hwange main camp.
Camelthorn Lodge on the map
Forest Villa - Double Room
Large bedroom with overhead fans and fireplace, large glass sliding doors, mini bar and en-suite lounge, with a king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom with bath in front of picture window, shower, double basin and toilet, outdoor maisonette via spiral stairway provides an outdoor deck/roof with hammocks ideal for a siesta, private dining or a night ‘under the stars’
Forest Villa - Twin Room
Large bedroom with overhead fans and fireplace, large glass sliding doors, mini bar and en-suite lounge, 2 double beds, en-suite bathroom with bath in front of picture window, shower, double basin and toilet, outdoor maisonette via spiral stairway provides an outdoor deck/roof with hammocks ideal for a siesta, private dining or a night ‘under the stars’
Camelthorn Lodge Review
I really liked Camelthorn Lodge for its location in the beautiful South-western part of the park and also for its extensive community development programme involving the local school. Camelthorn is a luxurious lodge with spacious chalets. The chalets are very well appointed with high ceilings, fireplaces for cold winters evenings and a roof top sitting area which can also be used for sleep outs under the stars.
Though the location is not as attractive as its sister lodge. Bomani Tented Camp, I suspect that Camelthorn would be the better lodge to stay at both in hot summer months and also the coldest winter nights of June/July where the chalet fire would be very cosy at night. (It’s also the smartest of the two camps and more expensive.)
The same activities are available at either camp: namely game drives, bush walks and visits to the community especially the local school. However Camelthorn is situated on community land and so is much closer to the village if this is important to you.
I really enjoyed visiting the school, hearing them sing their local songs and also spending some time interacting with the kids, getting to grips with the Ndebele language and also teaching them a little about my home country. If you like the idea of your tourism dollars actively going towards a good cause, then support lodges like Camelthorn and Bomani…