Old Mondoro Camp
- Especially good walking safari country with open terrain
- Noted for its wild dog sightings
- No electricity
- Ideal combination with Chiawa Camp or Sausage Tree Camp
Old Mondoro Camp, in the Lower Zambezi National Park of Zambia, lies on the banks of the beautiful Zambezi River in possibly one of the best sites in the whole park. The small bush camp with only four tents is in an area of vast open flood plains with beautiful old mature mopane woodland.
The camp has an open and adventurous feel and offers an authentic Zambian safari concentrating on the wildlife and bush experience. Four beautifully simple canvas and reed chalets each have screens left open during the day and lowered for privacy and security at dusk. Each chalet at Old Mondoro Camp is built around an ancient winterthorn tree and has beds draped in mosquito nets, 24 hour lighting is supplied by an ingenious green 220v electricity supply. En suite bathrooms at Old Mondoro have flush loos, basin, outdoor shower and a huge 'splash tub' overlooking the river. Outside there’s a shaded wooden deck facing the river, complete with comfy daybed for relaxation in the heat of the day.
The 'mess tent', which serves as a lounge and dining area, rests under a winter thorn tree with glorious Zambezi River views. The traditional bush kitchen serves good cooking and freshly baked bread daily at Old Mondoro. The entire experience is unpretentious and uncomplicated.
Game-viewing at Old Mondoro
This area of the Lower Zambezi National Park offers excellent sightings of leopard, wild dog and serval, as well as for zebra and kudu. It doesn't have as many elephant or buffalo as further upstream but the regular sightings of lion & hyena more than make up for it. There are occasional roan and eland sightings as well. Old Mondoro Camp is also noted for its wild dog sightings as the dogs often den in the vicinity, and was the base for the African Wild Dog Conservation researcher for two years.
Although 4x4 game drives, boating and canoeing are also available, Old Mondoro Camp concentrates on the exceptional walking opportunities here.
Old Mondoro Camp is the sister camp of Chiawa Camp, also in the Lower Zambezi National Park. If you have time, we recommend combining the two camps for 5 or 7 nights with special safari rates on offer. Old Mondoro’s focus is more on walking safaris whilst Chiawa offers a broader range of wildlife activities.
Old Mondoro Camp on the map
Old Mondoro Camp chalets
5 screened-in reed chalets with canvas roofs, left open during the day, and canvas blinds with window screens that are lowered for privacy and security at night. King size beds and mosquito nets facing out onto the Zambezi River. All chalets have 220v lighting power point. There is a large outdoor stone splash tub and shower, open to the stars overlooking the Zambezi River with hot water 24/7 as well as indoor flushing loos & twin sinks. Huge private deck enables expansive views and there is a comfortable relaxing area with day beds under the shade to watch the elephants pass only meters from the chalets.
There is also a 6th chalet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms ideal for families and which can also be used for pilots and tour leaders.
Lower Zambezi Highlights by Peter
The flight from Lusaka (where I connected after flying in from Mfuwe) to Lower Zambezi was quite interesting! The aircraft is a Britten-Norman Islander. Still produced today, our example had obviously seen many years of service, but was reassuringly solid and simple. I think they like it because of the short and steep take-off and landing (I read now that they only need a rough airstrip of 350m – a short par 4!). Anyway, the flight was stunning. The view of the Zambezi as we approached Royal airstrip was sensational. Even better was my 10 minute flight to Jeki for my stay at Old Mondoro. Flying right over the river looking down on loads of hippo and ellies – unforgettable.
I was incredibly lucky and had Old Mondoro completely to myself – early season and no other guests. This gave the South African host couple plenty of opportunity to charm me with their hospitality, which they did admirably. Beukes is a well-seasoned guide/ camp manager and Jacomina is fairly new to the business – married Beukes and learnt the trade – but a natural. Very genuine hospitality and I very much enjoyed the stay.
Also a really beautiful, peaceful part of the river. And the small scale of the camp enhances the tranquility and the “getting away from it all” feeling. Mainly use only 4 tents with a fifth pressed into service for groups. Tents 1 – 3 along main stretch of river. My tent – number 3 – best I think as it is also on the corner of a small side channel. The “honeymoon” tent is a bit further up the side channel so you don’t get the fab views of the main river.
Very atmospheric at night with heaps of kerosene lanterns on paths and in tents.
But the tents DO have electricity and hot water on demand. Each tent has a lovely deck with a kind of sofa/ bed for chilling out. Fantastic birding from my tent. Overall everything just felt pristine.
My guide was Levy, who I thought was exceptional. Urbane, relaxed, confident and easy to talk to not just about the game but Zambia/ safari/ Africa in general. And he found us a leopard on our evening game drive – beautiful sighting of a male about 15 feet away moving through some scrubby trees. Magic!
And now it all got a bit James Bondy! The preferred mode of getting between the lodges in the Lower Zambezi is fast motor boat. Soon after I had clambered aboard the aluminium speed boat we were skimming across the surface of the river, past pods of hippos and huge crocs sunning themselves on sandbanks.
Sausage Tree Camp definitely lived up to its billing in terms of accommodation, service, food, activities and atmosphere. It’s a very well run camp that manages to be both super-efficient and reasonably easy going at the same time. They really like to mix up the dining locations (main area/ island location/ table and feet in the water on a sand bank) etc. food probably best I had on whole trip. And seemed to attract very pleasant guests, or maybe I was lucky. Felt very comfortable here.
I had one of the honeymoon suites which was huge! Some guests had to be driven back to main area for lunch when ellies paid a visit.
Had an evening game drive which was good if a little quiet – big-cat-wise anyway. But did have a nice zebra sighting at dusk and of course lots of hippo in river. Also saw an African Wild Cat. Plus lots of Civets and Genets.
But the real highlight was the canoe trip through the Chifungula Channel. This runs for about 13 – 14 Km in a loop off the main Zambezi, and the starting point is only a couple of hundred metres downstream from the Camp. So at about 07:00 you paddle off from the Camp and turn into the channel. I was the only guest doing it that morning, with Sebastien my guide in the back of my Canadian canoe and Honesty in the “support” canoe. I’m not a great swimmer and for obvious and very real reasons nervous about canoeing next to hippo and crocs but knew I really wanted to do it and was not disappointed. Three middle aged but very intrepid female American Agents had done the trip the previous 2 mornings and raved about it.
It typically takes about 4 hours to emerge at the other end of the channel but we did it in approx 3.5 including a stop on land for coffee and cookies. The channel is very shallow, but with some deeper areas where the hippo like to hang out. At one point my guide had to drag the canoe over a sandbank. We saw pied kingfisher, African fish eagle, goliath heron and more. Plus of course many many hippo and quite a few crocs. It was a little scary getting so close! But an absolutely unforgettable experience.
Just before the end of the channel we came across a lone bull elephant digging in the cool sand by the channel edge for water, with a small flock of yellow-billed storks in front of him.
A motor boat meets you where the channel rejoins the Zambezi and you speed back to camp, towing the canoes. I really had to pinch myself as I clambered into the boat and looked back to where we had just come from. I had a very strong sense of having emerged from a lost world, and couldn’t quite believe what we had just seen and done. Truly one of the most amazing things I have ever done.
Long Stay or Combo Offer
Stay 5 nights, pay for 4 OR Stay 7 nights, pay for 5
Stay 5 nights, pay for only 4, or Stay 7 nights and pay for only 5. Valid at Chiawa, Old Mondoro or Puku Ridge (one camp per stay) OR <strong>Best of Both Worlds</strong> - Stay 7 nights at a mix of Chiawa Camp & Old Mondoro Camp, and pay for only 5 Also available: <strong>Ultimate of Both Parks</strong> Stay 9 nights (3 nights at each camp) and pay for only 6 nights (park and conservation fees excluded)
Terms & Conditions: One camp per stay unless doing a mix of Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro
Pay Stay Offers
Stay 3 & Pay 2
Stay 3 & Pay 2 One camp per pay/stay but multiple pay/stay can be bought for 1,2 or 3 camps Shoulder season only - May & June & 15 Oct to 15 Nov
Excludes: Park & Conservations fees
Terms & Conditions: May & June, 15 Oct to 15 November