Old Mondoro Bush Camp

Old Mondoro Bush Camp

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Expecting another ellie?  A buffalo in our watering hole, with egrets.
Room & Suite (85)
Dining (15)

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#1 of 3 campsites in Lower Zambezi National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles
4.9 of 5 bubbles
5.0 of 5 bubbles
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Where there are more resident elephants than guests. Old Mondoro is owned and operated by the Chiawa Camp family, it’s an authentic bush camp that fully immerses its guests in the wildlife and location without compromising comfort and convenience. Combines perfectly with Chiawa Camp.
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Property amenities
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Free airport transportation
Airport transportation
Mosquito net
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor fireplace
Laundry service
Breakfast buffet
Special diet menus
Room features
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
3.5 of 5 stars
Hidden Gem
Languages Spoken


Lower Zambezi National Park Zambia
Getting there
Royal Airport
43.6 km
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Jeki Airstrip
284Reviews6Q+A97Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Kathleen L wrote a review Aug 2015
Napa, California
5.0 of 5 bubbles
After 8 glorious days In South Luangwa National Park we arrived at Old Mondoro Camp in the late afternoon. We were a bit tired so we decided to forgo the afternoon drive, and instead we shared sundowners with the camp managers Ryan and Pam (with whom we immediately connected). From the outside, the huts look plain and rustic, so we were pleasantly surprised when Ryan escorted us to our little slice of heaven! The inside of the hut was small, but the outside included a beautiful spacious deck overlooking the river, with a day bed, two cozy chairs, and a fabulous outdoor shower and tub. I quickly discovered that a candle lit bath under the stars overlooking the Lower Zambezi River was the perfect way to relax after a long day of travel!
Every meal at Old Mondoro was delicious and beautifully prepared, the staff couldn’t have been kinder, and our morning game walks, evening drives and canoe trips with Joseph always provided interesting, and at times very exciting viewing. Simply put, this camp is a prize!!! Ryan and Pam are pro’s, they are warm and friendly, incredibly knowledgeable about the surrounding area, and they create a very intimate feel for their guests by remaining flexible and anticipating their every need. We highly recommend Old Mondoro Camp, and we look forward to a return trip in the near future.
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Date of stay: July 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Pandrnsw wrote a review Sept 2014
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Just recently spent 3 nights at Old Mondoro & really find it difficult to put into words how absolutely amazing our stay was!! Aside from the plethora of wild life we saw, truly unbelievable, we were looked after by the incredible staff like we were royalty!! Ryan & Pam, then Tess & Dave...WOW!! what exceptional hosts. Being in the hospitality industry ourselves we were totally in awe of these youngsters (I know they'll get a kick out of that). Everything was organised in the most chilled out of styles ensuring you felt so relaxed with every activity, meal times, movement to & fro from our wonderful rooms, avoiding elephants enroute! to just the conversations had each day about our experiences & life in general. We certainly can't miss the guides, chefs, housekeeping & others, so here goes: Victor, Rueben, Richman, Jealous, Crecious, Charles, James, Lackson, Wallace, Sebastian, & if we have missed anyone then please forgive us because you were all sensational at your jobs. We are recommending Old Mondoro to everyone. You guys have certainly put Zambia in general & the Lower Zambesi in particular, on the no. 1 bucket list Safari experience. Thank you from our hearts!! PS. Hope Ryan & Pam had a great break.
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Date of stay: August 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
gottaloveojai wrote a review Sept 2017
Ojai, CA
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I loved, loved, loved almost everything about the camp; great guides, fantastic food and service, and friendly, helpful staff. The exception was the couple managing the camp, Michelle and Reon. I found them to be cold and distant; no one could accuse them of being friendly or cheerful. Other camps' hosts were delightful and always smiling, but I found these two to be detached and snide. It's too bad, because I would be more than pleased to return to Old Mondoro, but absolutely will not as long as these two are still managing it. Others in my group feel the same way. All eight guests were disgusted by their inappropriate intrusion into private conversations and rudeness. They need to be GONE!
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Date of stay: July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from GrantCumings, Owner at Old Mondoro Bush Camp
Responded 03 Oct 2017
Thank you very much for your review and custom. I am delighted that you so enjoyed our very special Old Mondoro but am equally sorry about your feedback regarding Reon and Michele, which puzzles me in the context of their performance which matches the otherwise very complimentary reviews about their hospitality appearing in this same forum. I would much appreciate it if you would please email me with more detail to info@chiawa.com so I can better understand and then more effectively solve the matter. Thank you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Pete R wrote a review Nov 2016
Vienna, Virginia
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our group of 5 spent 4 nights at Chiawa and then 3 nights at Mondoro. At first, we were a little confused by the distinction -- Mondoro seemed to have less to offer...e.g., no pool, no wifi. This seemed to be a disadvantage, but in some respects it turned out to be for the better. We got the same incredible service (Sebastian, Simon, Spencer are all personable and knowledgeable guides) but despite being only a short boat ride away, Mondoro proved to be a world apart.

For example, at Chiawa, we had to lock our doors to keep out "domesticated" monkeys and baboons. At Mondoro, we slept with tent flaps open and did not fear them entering. It is a step back in time, and the ability to get away from the online world was a nice break. It was 114 degrees F while we were there, and while a pool or more cooling fans might've been welcomed at times, we enjoyed the benefits of the slightly more rustic accommodations.

The topography is different here than at the sister camp, so we saw different wildlife, and while fishing wasn't necessarily better per se, it was less crowded. On the weekend days, there were boats from other camps buzzing around at Chiawa, but at Mondoro we never saw another boat. Even the canoe trip was different. In short, if you're forced to pick one or the other, go with Chiawa if you need slightly more creature comforts, and Mondoro if you value additional seclusion. If you can swing it, though, try both. They're different enough that the experiences are not duplicative.
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Date of stay: November 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
LesRuhrmund wrote a review Jun 2012
Cape Town Central, South Africa
4.0 of 5 bubbles
My wife and I have just spent 4 days at this camp (following 4 days at Chiawa) and would agree with everything that has been previously written; the camp is situated on a stunning site on the Great Zambezi River, the staff and guides are wonderful without exception, the variety of activities offers many opportunities to see the game which is plentiful and always close at hand ..... but we had one problem with this camp. The situation of the loo in the chalets. And so I write for the benefit of those who prefer a little privacy when performing their toilet. We have been married for over 30 years and traveled together frequently and widely ..... but prefer not to be together when the calls of nature demand attention. The loo in these chalets is situated about a meter from the bed separated by a screen made of reeds that offers some visual protection but little else. In most of the other bush camps in which we've stayed, the toilet is situated 'outside' the tent next to the shower and while not necessarily being far away, nevertheless offers a psychological sense of privacy. If this is not an issue for you then don't hesitate to stay at this beautiful camp.
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Date of stay: June 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
jfk-usa wrote a review Oct 2011
Destin, Florida
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our long planned trip to Africa lived up to all expectations. The last leg within Zambia (it is "the real africa") was a week in which we spent the first three days at Old Mondoro Bush Camp and the balance at Chiawa Camp. With only a few tents, Old Mondoro exudes intimacy - from the friendly and professional staff to the ever present wildlife. We immediately had a sense of home. You simply can't beat the symphony of animal sounds that serenade you throughout your stay, whether it be hippos outside your tent or lions bellowing from Zimbabwe to Zambia and back across the Zambezi. The drives, walks, and fishing were exceptional. We saw and experienced everything we had hoped to. This type of encounter essentially happened every day - http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=222601877802273 .

While many travelers might focus on accommodations and the like, I cannot over emphasize the importance of having quality staff and guides for maximizing your experience, they are the real key. The guides at Old Mondoro are rated amongst the best in Africa for a reason. They delivered in every sense of the word. Their knowledge, demeanor, attention to every detail, and sincere desire to make your visit unforgettable is amazing; they are the best, you will truly miss them after you have returned home. The Cumings family should be deservedly proud of what they have built, and the team they have assembled in particular.
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Date of stay: September 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
PSA DAC wrote a review Sept 2022
Adelaide, Australia
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Camp is spread out with 5 large tents spaced well apart - 3 overlooking the river water channel and 2 facing the Zambezi River. A large open air thatched communal and central lounge, bar and dining area is situated along the river bank with stunning 360 degree views of the whole camp and river.

Tents are comfortable - nice linen, overhead mosquito net, hanging space, shelving, small desk and chair inside, outdoor decking with day bed, seating and table, ceiling fan, safe box, cold water jug, water drinking glasses, bedside and overhead lighting. Toilet and vanity basin located inside the tent, shower and bath located outside the tent with privacy screen (hot water 24hrs, solar power) toiletries provided (body wash, shampoo, conditioner), clothes washing powder, makeup and large mirror, luggage rack, coat stand, laundry service. Tap water is not safe to drink. No hairdryers or straighteners allowed (solar power). No tea/coffee making facilities in tent. Turn down service in the evening. A bush baby is provided in beds at night during colder weather (hot water bottle). We found the mattresses quite hard.

Unable to leave your tent and walk to the communal area sunset to sunrise. Just arrange a pickup time for dinner and a wake up call for breakfast. Radios (walkie talkies) are in each room if you need to contact staff at any time. Plenty of game roam the camp during the day and night.

Good quality and delicious food with a varied menu - adequate serves (not too large). Breakfast served around the camp fire (6.00am) options included toast, cereal, yoghurt, boiled eggs, porridge, freshly baked muffins, coffee, tea, fruit juice. Lunch (11.30-12.30) is served buffet style. Options included meat dishes, fish or vegetable patties, chicken pieces with a selection of salads, or sides and fresh bread - buffet style. Dinner (8pm) is served at a large communal dining table (sometimes inside communal area, other times nearby the fire - wear long pants & mosquito repellant). Options included steak, fish, pork with sides of rice, healthy fries, potato, salads and vegetables. Starter would be soup or similar. Dessert - ice cream, pudding or similar with tea and coffee served after dinner. Afternoon tea was served at 3.30pm with both savory and sweets options (cakes, pastries). You will not go hungry.

Meals are the same for all guests for lunch and dinner. The camp can cater for dietary differences - GF, allergies, vegetarian etc with advance notice. Guests dine communally unless you request otherwise.

After dinner you can sit by the fire, watch the stars, listen to the noises from the river, the forest, chat to other guests and enjoy a night cap. Our hosts Mark and Madelein were amazing, as were all the camp staff. Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) were easily ordered, always offered and refilled. Although you (and hosts, guides and camp staff) are tired from waking early and active during the day, this aspect of “relaxing” after dinner appealed to us.

The landscape was really interesting here - the light in the forest changed so differently (and difficulty) throughout the day, the haze, the color changes - makes for some great photography. The game - elephant, lion, baboon, impala, kudo, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, water buffalo, crocodile, jackal, porcupine, plenty of bird life, not many leopards during our stay but the wild dogs were amazing (Mark was our guide on ‘dog day’ - next level)

Activities included early morning (6.30-10.30am) game drives, afternoon (4.00pm) to sunset / night game drives (return by 7.30pm), walking safaris, canoeing, boat cruise along the Zambezi River. Fishing is offered for an additional fee $30USD p/p (permit, rods and lures). You might share a game vehicle with other guests depending on capacity (jeeps with blankets, morning bush baby, no shade canopy).

Tipping is optional at this camp. If tipping, they request that you tip your guide directly and a tip box is located in the main tent for the general camp staff. Take small envelopes to write the name, a note for your guide / the camp and place tip inside. We tipped in kwacha. This was our 4th camp stay during our trip to Zambia. Guides typically receive a larger tip however it’s really the ‘whole’ camp that provides the experience (vehicle & boat maintenance, cleaning, laundry, meal and seating preparation, hosts coordinating and managing). We felt our allocated guide was disinterested and had been doing “this” for too many years. Mark - our host had the passion and drive, morning after morning and also stayed up late for meals and night caps with guests. When tipping - consider a one off tip to represent a “whole camp” experience instead of separating the tip.

The lodge is located 30mins by jeep from Jeki Airstrip (clean toilets onsite). Flight 35mins (Skytrails, Proflight) from Lusaka domestic terminal (also known as local terminal) or 5-6hrs drive from Lusaka. The lodge is located inside the Lower Zambezi National Park. Recommend minimum of 4 night stay.
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Date of stay: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
tdh42 wrote a review Feb 2020
Redmond, Washington
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I have been remiss in getting this review written. I think because I'm struggling to find superlatives that haven't been used by all the other guests who have given this camp five stars!

We spent 3 nights at Old Mondoro as the last camp on our 9 night safari in Zambia. It was by far my favorite camp. It is smaller, with just 5 chalets, which I enjoyed because it felt more intimate. More rustic than their sister camp Chiawa (another camp you must visit). One night my husband and I, and the other couple we were traveling with, had the camp to ourselves.

Our chalet, #3, had a view of the river and the lagoon/water hole behind the chalet. In the afternoon you can sit on your deck and watch Africa walk by, photograph the cape buffalo in the lagoon, or take a bath while watching an elephant giving himself a mud bath. The last luncheon one elephant stuck his head in the dining room - not ten feet from where we were sitting. Awesome!

The camp was recommended to me by a woman who I know from her animal welfare foundation. She has traveled to Zambia over 20 times and usually stays 3+ weeks at Old Mondoro each trip. We met a couple the first night who had come to Old Mondoro over ten times. I fully understand their desire to return year after year.

Juliet, Sebastian and the rest of the Old Mondoro team are attentive to every need and clearly passionate about what they are doing. The attention to detail is outstanding. One night on the way back to camp our spotter saw a leopard kill with two leopards and a hyena, so we didn't want to return to camp, but rather stay out late and watch. Fortunately, it was the night we were the only guests, but the chef and staff held off making dinner, which made for a later night for them, but such a great experience for us. The first morning we had amarula oatmeal. The bartender soon figured out it is a favorite of mine, so without even asking an after dinner drink appeared, and the next morning, one for my oatmeal.

The meals are exceptional - very much 5 star dining. We had heard about nshima, a staple of most Zambians, and asked Juliet if we could try it. That night for dinner it was on the menu and she showed us how it is traditionally eaten.

I appreciate that the guides only use red lights at night. Sebastian helped me with my camera settings to get those nighttime shots. The guides, trackers, boat captains are all knowledgeable about the animals. Even the young man who drove us to Jeki International for our flight to Livingstone had wonderful information on zebras and the peoples who had lived in the area before the formation of the national park. One afternoon we saw a carmine bee eater (wasn't expecting to see one in June) and I made our captain go up and down the river searching for more, and he happily complied.

We had to laugh, because every time I told Sebastian something else we wanted to see - boom it would appear. I said we have not seen a jackyl, I kid you not, not even five minutes go by and there was a jackyl. We had not seen the elusive honey badger, but on the very last evening drive not five minutes out of camp, there was our honey badger. I really appreciate that the guides and trackers are not just searching for the predators, but also looking for civets, porcupines, leopard tortoise and great about pointing out the birds.

I will get back there one day!
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Date of stay: June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sarah wrote a review Sept 2019
Laguna Beach, California
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our experience at Old Mondoro was just wonderful! The wide array of animals, the setting of each "tent," and the staff were all so special. The service, the setting and the food were spectacular! Unfortunately, the only negative aspect of our experience was Mark, the camp host. He was not respectful when speaking to the staff, often spoke in a condescending tone to them, had an air of arrogance with anything he spoke of and seemed to provide quite a bit of misinformation about wildlife in the area, when compared to what the long time guides told us. I feel that this position would be BEST served by a Zambian, not South Africans with little knowledge of the area. For example, Sebastian seemed perfect for the job to me.
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Date of stay: September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sara H wrote a review Aug 2019
Rickmansworth, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We loved this camp - it’s setting ,the animals that wander around it ,the river ,the chalets ,staff ,restaurant facilities- altogether a wonderful experience.The woods locally are a phenomenal habitat and quite different from anything that we’d seen before .The walking Safari was excellent and we combined jeep with river ( boat & canoe)sallies .
If there was an opportunity for only one Safari ,we would definitely recommend this one
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Date of stay: August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Answer from GrantCumings
Lusaka, Zambia5 contributions
None inside the National Park but there are some just outside, the main option being Mvuu Lodge.
Ozzles asked a question May 2017
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida132 contributions129 helpful votes
I would like to know what the bathroom situation is. Is it outside the tent?
Answer from GrantCumings
Lusaka, Zambia5 contributions
Thanks for your question. At Old Mondoro the toilet and washbasin are both inside, the shower and tub outside.
Answer from GrantCumings
Lusaka, Zambia5 contributions
Thank you for your interest - Old Mondoro is not an hotel but an unfenced bushcamp in a wild and remote National Park. Please contact our reservations office in Lusaka for a bespoke quotation based on your interests and requirements - details available on the chiawa website. Thank you.
OBgal wrote a tip Oct 2022
San Diego, California27 contributions28 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Chalet 2 is our favorite but all are great."
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PSA DAC wrote a tip Sept 2022
Adelaide, Australia1,563 contribution254 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Request Tent along water channel and not on Zambezi."
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SharonM wrote a tip Aug 2022
5 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"We had tent 3 on the lagoon -- fantastic, because there was almost always wildlife enjoying a drink or a bath or just hanging around!"
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Cindy-Milford wrote a tip Oct 2021
Cincinnati, Ohio826 contributions240 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Ask for a room with a lagoon view"
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DS14640 wrote a tip Sept 2021
Cockeysville Hunt Valley, Maryland117 contributions31 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Cabin 3 is the best!"
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OLD MONDORO BUSH CAMP - Campground Reviews (Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia)

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