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All You Need to Know About the Rooms
at Time + Tide Chinzombo

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... at the very luxurious Chinzombo. You had a fridge in the room if you wanted a bottle of wine on hand (don't worry no...
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... The food is exceptional (ooo that fresh bread!), the room and surrounds exquisite and the staff friendly and...
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... deck in the afternoon. Probably one of the best views from a room that I've ever had in my life. rivaled only by a room on...
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Peta M wrote a review Jul 2014
Sydney8 contributions2 helpful votes
"Wow" was the word I repeatedly used when I first arrived at Chinzombo from the boat ride over to the main lounge (greeted by smiling hosts with hot towels and a welcome drink) to entering the enormous villa with its own pool and multiple comfy chairs to lounge on. Even the door to the villa was like a piece of art.

Now after staying at four other well appointed bush camps it was a wonderful treat to end out stay at the South Luangwa by staying at the very luxurious Chinzombo. You had a fridge in the room if you wanted a bottle of wine on hand (don't worry no buzzing noise), environmentally friendly 'air conditioning' over the bed, wifi, coffee and tea facilities and even a hairdryer (which after being in the bush was a real luxury). There was a free standing bath and for the first time on our trip a separate room for the toilet. The room was so outstanding that I opted out of going on a game drive the following morning to just enjoy the room, relaxing with my book and trying out every chair and 'lounger' in the villa. And to top it off, while we were relaxing on the deck the safari came to us! We were surrounded by a herd of elephants which came very close to our villa. A real treat.

When I was finally torn away from the room, we had some wonderful sightings of wild dogs and leopard cubs. I would love to go back!
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Date of stay: June 2014Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Anna G wrote a review Aug 2019
Ningbo, China27 contributions46 helpful votes
What a lovely stay. Chinzombo isn’t cheap, but you certainly get the level of quality that you pay for. We chose this site as our expensive ’treat’ at the end of our less high-end holiday in Zambia. Wow! We felt thoroughly looked after and spoiled. The food is exceptional (ooo that fresh bread!), the room and surrounds exquisite and the staff friendly and attentive, without being over-powering. Faith oversaw everything and is simply wonderful. The game drives weren’t as rewarding (in terms of animal sightings) as they were in the other lodges we visited in South Luangwa, but we absolutely loved our short stay. It feels very exclusive, so perhaps this place might be less good for those looking for a ‘real’ Africa experience- we thought it was a great treat however! Thank you Faith and all your wonderful team!
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Date of stay: August 2019Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from TimeandTideAfrica, Guest Relations Manager at Time + Tide Chinzombo
Responded 05 Sept 2019
Dearest Chinagirlrocco Thank you very much for taking the time to write about your stay with us at Time + Tide Chinzombo. We are delighted that you had a wonderful time and we look forward to you returning to Zambia in the future. Warm regards Sarah
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Sunny77777 wrote a review Sept 2014
Chicago484 contributions353 helpful votes
No doubt about it, Chinzombo is an amazing place. So many wonderful things about it and it's so, so close to 5 stars. I just have to be a little extra critical here given the sheer cost of a stay at this lodge (close to $2k per night in the high season) - and there are a few easy improvements that could be made to get it up to that caliber.

Highlights:
1) The view: the view from Chinzombo is spectacular. It's across from a lagoon (you take a pontoon boat to get to/from your safari rides) and on the other side of the lagoon are a ton of animals - we spotted giraffes, baboons, crocodiles, warthogs, hippos, and more just from our deck in the afternoon. Probably one of the best views from a room that I've ever had in my life. rivaled only by a room on the caldera in Santorini.

2) Main areas: The main areas are very upscale. It might even feel a bit flashy if you're coming from the bushcamps, but it's very pleasant. Lots of areas to relax and enjoy the breezes. Decor is more modern than other safari camps I've been to - more clean lines and light colors. There's a nice fire pit surrounded by plush seating. Great spot for pre-dinner drinks. Nice bar area as well. The good thing is that with only 6 villas, it never gets crowded and is always comfortable.

2) Rooms and deck: The rooms are huge and quite lux. Large comfortable bed, desk and chair, huge separate bathroom area including a standalone bathtub. There's even a version of air-conditioning - just over the bed, but it cools it off enough to be comfortable. Nice shower with good toiletries, including conditioner. Plenty of hot water. The deck was amazing - not only for it's view but for it's variety of options. There are a few chaise lounges, a large sunken couch, a separate chair - and of course there's the plunge pool. This makes for an amazing afternoon. I recommend skipping the siesta and taking full advantage of being out on this wonderful deck and watching the wildlife.

3) Wifi in the main areas - it was nice to be completely without wifi in the bushcamp. However, it was equally nice to be able to get connected here. The connection can be slow or non-existent at times, but it was nice to be able to check in. As a side note, there are lots of plugs in the room to recharge all of your devices.

4) Staff: Everyone was very friendly - especially Katie, the manager. It's a young team and everyone is very enthusiastic. Our guide Brian was also great, not to mention funny.

5) Food: The food is excellent. And there is lots of it! Breakfast, tea and cookie stop on the morning drive, lunch, afternoon tea, sundowners and snacks stop on the afternoon drive, and of course dinner. Breakfast is the typical toast, eggs, bacon, etc. Lunch is a buffet with mainly vegetarian items and one or two meat options. Dinner is 3-courses. You choose your dinner items (appetizer, entree and dessert) when you go for afternoon tea. Options were always one meat and one veggie for the appetizer and entree and either a traditional dessert or a cheese plate for dessert. Wines are good and champagne is included (rare for a safari lodge).

6) Game drives: We only had one other couple join us for each game drive. I believe the maximum per drive is 6 persons, so everyone gets a "window" seat (though the vehicles are open-air). This small group idea makes a world of difference. I have been to a lodge where every single seat is full, even the middle seat and it definitely makes for a lesser experience. Finally, night drives are permitted in South Luangwa. This is key (many other parks in Africa do not allow this and is gives you a better opportunity to see animals hunting).

However, there are a small things that, if improved upon, could make a huge difference:

1) Bugs in the room: I have a horrible phobia of moths. Odd, I know. But I emailed the lodge prior to our stay and asked them to do everything they could to make sure there were none in the room. To my horror, there were actually two in the room when we first got there. To their credit, the staff removed them promptly and we never had an issue again (though we did keep the lights off at night). But had someone checked before our arrival, it could have gone a long way towards ensuring comfort. Yes, this is Africa and the point is to be amongst nature. However, I also need to mention that this is the only place on the three safaris I've been on that this has been an issue. Why? Because the rooms aren't completely sealed. The tent flaps don't zipper completely to the ground, there's a large gap in the door when you close it, and their are gaps in the floorboards as well (letting in spiders and other creepy-crawlies). All of these could easily be fixed, even the floorboards could be sealed with some putty. At $2k per night, I highly doubt I'm the only guest that doesn't like bugs in the room.

2) Wifi in room: It's actually advertised on the Norman Carr site that there is wifi in the villas. There is not. Only in the main areas. I wasn't craving being connected that much but again, another simple fix that at this price point should be available.

3) Little things: It would have been nice to have some blankets in the vehicles. This is something we've had at every other camp. It doesn't get freezing here, especially not in late August, but it does cool off a little bit and it would have been a nice touch.

4) Towels: The towels weren't always replaced even when placed on the floor. It's not something that really bothers me as there were plenty of towels, but again, just a small detail that should be polished up.

As for the game viewing, which is, of course, key to any safari - the area is probably not the best for viewing. Though we did see wild dogs (apparently really rare), a pride of lions from afar, some sleeping lions, a few leopards and of course many elephant and hippo (which are so common in South Luangwa) - the set-up in this area makes it a bit difficult. Per park guidelines, vehicles aren't allowed to go off-road. Not only that, but it's a relatively busy area of the park and another guideline states that only 3 vehicles should be at a sighting. There's a balance here...of course, you don't want it to be crowded but then again, you may miss seeing things if there are already too many vehicles there. Generally I found that the game viewing was better at the bushcamp we visited in South Luangwa South. But variety is always good, so I'd recommend a mix of both areas (or more if you have time).

It's a truly wonderful place and I'd stay here again, but would hope they can make these little updates in order to make it truly world class.
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Date of stay: August 2014Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Ask for a room with a deck that gets sun in the afternoon - seems that some are shaded by trees...
Sleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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UsaJules wrote a review Jul 2016
usa447 contributions142 helpful votes
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Chinzombo is an elegant and beautifully appointed property. What a treat to stay in such luxury---this truly defines glamping! If ralph lauren had a safari camp this would be it. Perfectly beautiful!
Unique location across the river so that it adds an element of privacy and fun as you go across in a boat (which was always ready) affording views of hippos in the water. Many special added touches such as the hot cloths to wipe the dust off after a drive and the complimentary foot massage after the first game drive was wonderfully relaxing! I definitely recommend getting the in room massage.
Our hosts Yaliwe and Frank were wonderful. What a pleasure to meet them. They immediately took care of any request we had.
The suites are incredible! I couldn't stop taking pictures. Loved having tea/coffee facility and the well stocked mini fridge in the room. Great mosquito netting for the beds and was thankful for the AC unit over the bed. The views from the room were awesome! A lovely huge bathtub while watching game outside was a special treat. And they NEVER ran out of hot water. Yay!
The food was especially good. Breakfasts cooked over the fire were a very unique
touch.
The staff were excellent and the men who escorted us to and from our room were always ready and close by. Thank you John and Shaddi for the great game drives and wonderful sundowners and breakfast stops. It was so nice getting excellent information on the animals as well as great photos.
We also enjoyed our conversations with the team. What a gracious and kind staff. Many thanks to Frank for joining us for a meal and a drive. It was a pleasure to meet you.
A lovely experience that we will never forget. I highly recommend Chinzombo!
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Date of stay: July 2016Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: We stayed in room 6---it was wonderful. We enjoyed the walk but if you are mobility impaired you...
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BertrandMaire84 wrote a review Sept 2014
Paris, France63 contributions24 helpful votes
Chinzombo was the last camp we visited after almost a month of travelling in Botswana and Zambia for our honeymoon. We picked Chinzombo as our last camp on purpose, this camp being brand new and luxurious, perfect to relax and enjoy your own swimming pool before going back home and after a month of wild adventure. This was also the 4th Norman Carr camp we stayed at, 5th if you consider the “Return to wild” experience as a “camp” in itself. We were very much looking forward to it.

Katie, the young co-manager, warmly welcomed us on arrival and showed us around. The camp is of course beautiful and whether you like the style or not, it’s exactly like on the photos. We loved it and also loved our huge and modern villa with our private swimming pool. We had lunch shortly after arriving, and again were very satisfied with the food.

The wildlife around is great, and you can see huge crocs basking from your terrace, hippos fighting by day in the river and grazing by night all around camp. Our guide, who picked us up in the morning at Luwi Camp was very nice and knowledgeable, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from a Norman Carr’s guide, would you? The only thing you need to know is that this part of the South Luangwa is not as remote as where the bush camps are set. Here, in the Mfuwe area, the wildlife is great, really, but there are numerous lodges and roads in this part of the park, therefore you WILL see many other cars, sometimes gathering in number around a leopard or a pride of lions. As it happened to us when we stayed at Kapani, you might get stuck with more than 10 other vehicles because there is one of the big 5 around. It is up to your guide not to accept to be part of that. We did not experience it with our guide from Chinzombo who was a respectful and very experienced guide. But if you are looking for a very remote place, and if you want to avoid other tourists as far as possible, you should consider going to the northern part of the park, where the small and intimate bush camps are set.

Anyways, you think Chinzombo will have everything for you to experience the very best of Africa, and to match your expectations. Wrong: it lacks charisma, and more importantly, it lacks service. When you compete with other camps in Zambia but also in Southern Africa like Chiawa, Sindabezi Island, Mombo, Duba Plains or others, you can not afford to be so wrong. It is nice to hear Chinzombo’s male manager telling you over and over that “everything is possible”, you just wish he would do it. A few examples:
- It was our honeymoon and our fourth camp with Norman Carr Safaris? We didn’t receive any personalized note when we entered the room, nor special treatment or attention in 2 days
- I asked if they could lend me a tripod for my camera because I had forgotten mine? I am still waiting for the answer although the manager promised me to look into it
- We used our towels around our private pool? They weren’t replaced nor folded when we got back from our safari, not once in two days
- My wife asked the manager to take her breakfast in the villa the following morning? They were more than 30 minute late, the scrambled eggs were cold, and there was neither salt nor pepper...
- We asked the manager to prepare us a bath for when we got back from safari in the evening? First he makes us wait more than 1 hour (!) at the bar when returning to camp, pretending there is a problem with the water in our bathroom. Fine. Then, when we’re finally walked to our villa, we find a half-empty bathtub with boiling water, so hot it’s impossible to get in, and no bubble, no candle, no bottle… how romantic!
- We were promised (without asking for it) a special dinner for our last evening? Again, we are still waiting for a special something
- We asked for a late breakfast on our last morning? There was simply no buffet anymore at 8 a.m., the time we had agreed upon with the manager the night before… and since everything was gone, we had to ask the staff to get some food and drinks, food which consisted of the following: butter and jam with some bread which had been toasted 2 hours earlier for the other guests, and no fruit juice at all because “they ran out of it”… oh but yes, we managed to get coffee…

Well, it is this almost constant inattention to us and to details which really disappointed us. Not the setting of the camp, not the guiding which was great, but the serious lack of service (once in camp) that you expect at this level of price and reputation, especially when you compare it to other lodges in Africa or anywhere around the world. This lack of attention and warmth, especially from the manager (I stress it) didn’t make us feel very good after a while, like we weren’t at the right place, like we didn’t matter (maybe because we were a lot younger than the other usual guests and not taken seriously..?). So instead of feeling a great atmosphere, we felt like the camp was an empty shell, beautiful but without soul.

Last but not least, I honestly told the manager how we felt about our stay and let him know our disappointment before leaving, hoping it would be useful in the future. As an answer we got a “sorry but we’re only opened for 1 year”… What kind of answer is that? Again, at this level of reputation, when you gather among your best guides and staff, when you pretend to be the flagship of such a respected and famous safari company, and when you charge your guests a minimum of 750$ a night per person, it is inacceptable to hear that. Either was the manager simply laughing at us, or was he incompetent. In any case, it is inacceptable. We sincerely hope that Chinzombo will not only take advantage from Norman Carr Safari’s reputation, but that they eventually will live up to their guests’ expectations, like their other camps Nsolo and Luwi for instance.

To finish on a positive note though, we want to thank our two “masseuses” who offered us an incredible massage in our villa, and who were very attentive and smiling. What a change…
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Date of stay: June 2014Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from NormanCarr, Director of Sales at Time + Tide Chinzombo
Responded 06 Sept 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write your review and for putting a lot of thought into it. Firstly let me say we take these comments very seriously and are extremely sorry you had this experience. I know you mentioned some of these to Tom/Katie when you were in camp and they apologised personally already and have made sure that the immediate things you mentioned were improved upon as quickly as possible. We pride ourselves on giving a fabulous personal service, so again I'm sorry you felt that didn't happen when you were in camp as every guest is important to us. We’re glad that you enjoyed the other Norman Carr camps and Chinzombo Spa, and again, thank you for your feedback and we will certainly endeavour to ensure this doesn't happen again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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