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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About

5.0
#1 of 3 campsites in Lower Zambezi National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Value
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
Restaurant
Breakfast buffet
Special diet menus
Room features
Safe
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
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
HOTEL STYLE
Quaint
Hidden Gem
Languages Spoken
Afrikaans

Location

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
cokerbud wrote a review Jul 2019
Baytown, Texas
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I visited for four nights on a last minute trip and at random ended up with Old Mondoro Bush Camp. To be honest, I never checked it out and really never checked the itinerary at all. Thomson Safaris apparently works with this camp and they had booked it door to door from arrival to Lusaka to departure,flawlessly.
I was picked up by Solomon from the Lufue airstrip and taken to the camp via a game drive in itself, seeing A leopard , elephants, and too many other animals to mention. After the 40 minute ride in an immaculate open air Landcruiser I was greeted by the staff. Every staff member speaks great English and is happy to be there and it shows. On other safaris I have always had a private guide but due to an apparent miscommunication it wasn’t the case for this trip and really turned out to be great. The camp was not to capacity and so on occasion I had one other traveler or a couple who were all great. Also having time with different employees gave me insight on how things worked and their different specialties and interest.
I spent most drives with Sebastian, James, and Mike and they were all professionals. Licensed in their craft from trees to first aid, I was in great hands here. Most of the guides and support employees were longtime employees of the camp and were happy to be of service and the most kind people on the planet. I cannot say enough about the working staff and the way they interacted with so many different cultures from all over the world, a couple of difficult ones while I was there, with ease and professionalism.
The tents were really beautiful with running water and outside bath and shower. The hot water is solar heated but I never found, even at 10.30 pm,, the water not to be first world hot. The rooms had immaculate daily cleaning and were open to the world and when I was there almost no bugs and very comfortable. I could have just sat on the back patio for four days and been happy. They kept clean ice water in a thermos that somehow was always full.
I believe the food could not be beat anywhere. From the beef to the salads and desserts, made right there, they were all freshly made. The breakfast was special each morning at sunrise with campfire made toast and a great selection on a continental style breakfast. There was never a shortage of excellent food at anytime. The wine and spirits were free flowing with a sunset drive and drink at a special location each night. The Milky Way and the Southern Cross were immediately visible each night. Truly a special time each day, especially with a couple of drinks to throw back!
The boat ride down the river was also beautiful with crocs and hippos everywhere and the boat captain was professional and safe. Also the fishing was touted as a great experience by others while I was there.
Now that I am home with reflection I have no real complaints that amount to anything. The local and loyal staff are the key to this place. All the other things are icing on the cake but they are truly the experience I grew to appreciate immediately. They work tirelessly with a smile and will never say no. They have hot water bottles in the bed and in the landcruiser with blankets each morning. The stop in the morning with tea and coffee looking at the beautiful waterbucks and impalas was something you can’t appreciate till you get there. I cannot say it enough how much I enjoyed the local staff and their dedication and years of service.
There are places for this activity that are certainly easier to eat to from the USA. I recommend you look hard at flights,times, and carriers. I would also recommend anyone to ask for specific weather in the travel timeframe. While we were there in mid-July the weather was perfect but warming. If it were any warmer during the days I believe the bugs would have been a pest. Very few while I was there. Also there are other places that have more game in other parts of Africa in my opinion.

Thanks again to the crew at Old Mondoro for making me feel like a King
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Date of stay: July 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.
Tony S wrote a review Oct 2018
Norwich, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
What an excellent experience! Living proof that a simple, deep bush safari can be delivered with great quality and style. Management was visible in every aspect of the camp. We loved the simple 'chalet' with indoor loo and outdoor shower/bath. Food was first class and mealtimes were very well hosted. Dinner took the form of a small dinner party. Our usual preference is for individual tables but this worked very well. Although game density is maybe not as high as the South Luangwa (though variety could actually be better) we saw aardvark and honey badgers plus many birds which had escaped us over several safaris in Zambia and other southern African countries. The available river and land-based safaris provide an excellent balance between the two parks. We would return without hesitation. Note that there are no credit card facilities. We had room 3 (of only 4), which had a lovely view of a small lagoon as well as the main river. It was a magnet for elephants and as long as you are not nervous about close encounters of an elephantine kind, it is the best choice. Very highly recommended.
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Date of stay: September 2018
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.
Angela952 wrote a review Jun 2017
Phoenix, Arizona
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our family recently returned from our first African safari, where we began with three nights at Old Mondoro. I can usually come up with at least constructive criticisms, but honestly have nothing but positive things to say about this camp and the wonderful people involved in running it. Every aspect of our stay was fantastic . . . the beds are comfy, the food was amazing, the wildlife sightings were exciting, and the guides are excellent. We did bush walks, game drives and canoed - each provided wonderful memories, made all the more special by the enthusiasm and expertise of the guides. While the rustic luxury of the camp may not appeal to everyone - and it is luxurious - we found it to be perfect and would not hesitate to recommend it to others, and would jump at the chance to return!
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Date of stay: May 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.
CV303 wrote a review Sept 2016
Whittier, California
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Old Mondoro was our first stop on four camp safari experience. We were treated like royalty ! Jonathan and Karen provided excellent hospitality and our driver/guide James was outstanding in finding animals - Leopard, Lion, Elephants, Kudus, etc. our accommodations were comfortable, and the outdoor bath and showers provided a unique bathing experience. Take a shower while elephants are only 20 feet away!
We highly recommend Old Mondoro for the personal attention and service you receive.
We will return! Thank you again to the entire camp staff!
Larry and Jane
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Date of stay: August 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.
Mary V wrote a review Feb 2015
Palm Coast, Florida
1.0 of 5 bubbles
The accommodations were very nice, the food and service were EXCELLENT! Your staff was knowledgeable, curteous and very friendly. I would highly recommend Old Mondoro to others. My only comment was that visitors should know that hippos are very territorial and can be extremely aggressive on the water. We had an uncomfortable experience on Discovery Channel with a hippo, and it could have been dangerous. The guides handled it well, but guests should know about the potential dangers up front.
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Date of stay: October 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.
Response from GrantCumings, Owner at Old Mondoro Bush Camp
Responded 19 Feb 2015
Dear Mary V, Thank you for posting your feedback about your visit to Old Mondoro last year. Although I am delighted that you would highly recommend it to others, when we reopen in April I will certainly follow up with our guiding and management team about your concern that you were not briefed adequately about potential dangers. Safety is the top priority at both our safari camps and guests are usually briefed at least twice, not only whilst the various activities on offer are being discussed but also just before the activities depart. Hippos are part and parcel to all water (& sometimes land) activities - aggressive encounters are unusual but we do take active and effective steps to minimise and mitigate risk. You did score your time at Old Mondoro a disappointing 1 out of 5; I am hoping that was an error (& one that you can please correct in your review), in light of the fact that you otherwise seem to have very much enjoyed your visit and would recommend it to others? I hope we can welcome you back to Old Mondoro again one day. Thank you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Safariholic wrote a review Jan 2013
Horsham, United Kingdom
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
2nd visit was almost as good as the first.

We just love this place - I admit it.

Rooms (only4) all face the river channel(s) and are open to the elements, wildlife et al. This enables you to experience first hand all the sights, sounds, smells and excitment of Africa (well Zambezi-side anyway).

We had to be taken by LandRover to Tent 3 on 3 separate occasions due to Buffalo and Elephant proximity - once they were so close that we had to enter via the Bathroom window (it doesn't actually have one, but that's how it felt - really took us back to naughty stay-out teenagers of many years ago).

Anyone who wants 'glamping', or is scared of creepy crawlies, the dark, mysterious sounds in the night, and the lack of solid bricks and mortar, should NOT stay here. Not targetted at those with an overly sensitive or nervous disposition

Rooms - super, simple, functional, effective, comfortable & relaxing, and made us feel very at Home. Food - very good. Wine/Drinks - very good. Guiding was at or very close to the best we have experienced in 15 yrs - Morat (Thank once again). Levy was at his best when Birding. Whilst we saw loads, the unashamed highlights were the Honeybadgers on their nightly raid on the Kitchens, Elephants (close-ups - see photo) and a Pangolin !!

Canoe trip was another highlight.

I have read the critical Review and cannot understand what planet that person is on. What's not to like - NO. What not to love, more like. Guess you can't please all of the people, all of the time.

NB. Apologies for the bizarre order of the Pictures - I cannot seem to get them in the correct sequence !!
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Date of stay: October 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.
Nadège wrote a review Oct 2012
Divonne, France
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Old Mondoro is one of those rare places where nothing could be improved. Its location by the Zambeze is stunning, and the rooms are perfectly designed to enjoy the amazing view (watching an elephant from your outdoor bathtub is a rare treat). The food was top notch and the service, headed by the ever-present Chris, was always spot on.
Add to the list a variety of activities on both land (drives, night drives, walks) and water (cruising, fishing, canoeing), 2 friendly and helpful hosts and a great team of guides, and you'll understand why I'm raving about this camp!
The only hiccup in an otherwise perfect stay came courtesy of my over-enthusiastic husband who hooked me in the ear during a romantic sunset fishing trip - no kidding! I was promptly rescued by David, our fishing 'guide', and Kayla cleaned my battle wound ;-)  At least it gave us a good laugh over dinner that night!!
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Date of stay: October 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.
Steven L wrote a review Jul 2012
Sydney, Australia
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Despite being only a short distance from its sister camp (Chiawa) the terrain for Old Mondoro could not be more different. The forests were more open and a better place to see leopards.

This camp is a little bit more rustic than Chiawa, but for safari lovers, the digs aren't that important. There were even some painted reed frogs to welcome us each night back to our room, African bug zappers if you will! The camp only has four rooms, which makes it cosier than many other camps.

We were fortunate enough to see several different leopards during our three night stay. And sometimes, we didn't even have to leave the camp to see something interesting. A large bull elephant visited the camp and decided to snack on the tree just in front of one of the huts. It stood up on its hind legs to grab the branches treating us guests to a rare sighting.

Well worth the visit, and many thanks to the guides, managers and other camp staff!
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Date of stay: May 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.
Cindy-Milford wrote a review Oct 2021
Cincinnati, Ohio
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Old Mondoro is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River and one of the last remaining true bush camps in the LZNP - combining rustic with comfort - an absolute treasure! Elephant are prolific IN camp and buffalo are often around, so one must always exercise caution when walking in camp.

This was our second trip here and we were able to secure a 3 nights stay in camp (something that can be impossible to do due to its popularity with photographers and bush enthusiasts - I can only attribute it to the current COVID situation). I only wish we had had stayed longer at Old Mondoro we absolutely LOVE this place. It does not disappoint.

Room: Accommodations here are tents that are open completely on one side to the unobstructed views of either the Zambezi River or the lagoon (as ours was - Tent #4). The setting is an ideal place for exceptional game viewing. We frequently either had elephant grazing in the lagoon alongside our tent or buffalo along with a variety of other animals and birdlife - very relaxing. In the middle of the room is a large bed with mosquito netting, a desk and chair face your private deck area and there is a fan for those very hot days. The shaded deck is lovely, with a day bed on it and 2 chairs where you can just sit and watch the bush tv, or take an afternoon siesta. The sink and the loo are inside of the room. There is a large shower area outside and for those who like to soak in the tub, a tub with a view of the lagoon outside. All the camp operates on solar power, but there is sufficient power to charge your items in your room.

The main area where the dining is done sits alongside the Zambezi River with spectacular views. The bar is there where you can grab something to drink or sit and just enjoy the surroundings. Meals were exceptional. Madeleine and Mark were wonderful hosts making sure everyone was able to enjoy themselves and had enough to eat.

James was an awesome guide and Samora was a great tracker. I don't know HOW James and Samora saw the lion pride tucked away on an island or how we crossed over to get on that island but we were the only ones who were able to get there and see the entire pride that day. They also located the pack of wild dogs that had been elusive for days, 23 dogs with 19 pups... on a hunt that ended in the killing of 3 impala (we only saw the 1 killed the other vehicle saw 2 more killed just a short distance away by the rest of the pack at nearly the same time). Amazing sightings alongside an incredible amount of elephant, there were buffalo, kudu, impala, waterbuck, leopard... this is a game rich area with few other vehicles in the vicinity. If you are going to the Lower Zambezi do not miss this camp! Absolutely one of our all time favorite camps (and we have been on many safaris) and our #1 recommendation in Zambia!

If you are worried about traveling to Zambia during COVID, don't be. Zambia Ground Handlers took care of everything to make this trip safe in light of the pandemic. They arranged all the necessary COVID tests required to return and everyone was masked and socially distanced. Everything went smoothly and everyone in all the camps as well as all the pilots were vaccinated. Guests generally had their own guide to minimize contact with others as well. I felt safer here than back in the states!
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Date of stay: September 2021
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.
VirginiaCW wrote a review Aug 2021
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Going on safari is special enough, but being in an intimate camp on the Zambezi in a national park (this part of which was formed by the damning of the river sometime ago) creates a very unique environment and also some unique challenges for the people who manage the camp.
To get to Old Mondoro you need to fly into Jeki in a bush plane, A more typical dirt airstrip on a flat plane at the south end of the park, you would not consider this an airport by most people’s standards. I suppose someone could drive or come by boat but typical is plane, so you will be met by someone from the camp. It makes me laugh when reviews say, “airport transportation is available”.
Your safari starts as you fly in and when you’re picked up at the airstrip at the foot of the mountains; from there you will drive across the old river plain, down the escarpment to the new river plain, all of which is more than 4000 sq kilometers or remote, roadless land, the unique Lower Zambezi National Park Zambia.

There are no fences but the animals are so much contained by the mountains and the escarpments and so here you see some unique species and groupings however you will also watch the animals go from the Zambia side of the Zambezi that you will be on across to the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi… Not an easy feat even by boat with swift running currents and varied depths, but they do it every day.

A very intimate camp, run by a husband and wife team Madeleine and Mark, there are only five cabins (one of which is a family cabin with two bedrooms) all the others are meant for a single or couple. Three cabins are on a lagoon off the river that allows you to sit on your deck as elephants, hippos, birds, water bucks, monitors, baboons, Buffalo, even the odd snake, lion or leopard come to that lagoon to drink and bathe. It does mean you must always have someone escort you from your cabin to the center of camp, except in the middle of the day when it is plenty light but you need to be aware.

They prefer smaller groups and will only fill the whole camp if it is taken by one family or one group. What that means is you get an incredible level of attention and service and with only a maximum of two vehicles driving, you don’t ever have to see anyone else or worry about how much time you have viewing animals while sitting in your vehicle. Because it is small and everybody is so experienced and well-trained you have options for walking safaris, too. They will cater to whatever your interest: big game, birds, plants, waterline, Savannah life.. water. In our group some wanted to fish so, instead of going for long afternoon and evening drives, we spent the afternoons on a boat on the river casting for tiger fish, having our landowners, watching the elephants cross from one side to the other and, either choosing to meet up with a vehicle to drive in dark looking for nocturnal animals, or simply staying out on the water till we went in for dinner. Heavenly!

The only animals you won't see here are giraffe and rhinos..But you will see lions, leopards (and maybe their cubs as we did), you might be lucky enough to see wild dogs making a kill of impala as we did, you will see tons of zebra, cape buffalo, water buck, baboons, monkeys, impala..,
All in this gorgeous remote area with a pure totally dark sky at night to just blow your mind for stars... there are so few places on earth that are truly dark sky areas but this is one.

Now to the food… Maddie has done an incredible job, everybody is so well-trained, and they use the freshest possible food, sourced from very nearby, to give you amazing meals, beautifully laid out, beautifully thought out, and incredibly delicious to eat, al fresco as always. When your camp is inside a national park it’s always more challenging because you can’t grow a garden, much as they would love to. And food comes in so rarely, but they create fabulous food with sweet and savory at every meal. If you need something special it’s always best to tell them that before you arrive so she has time to create menus meals order and do the absolute best she can which is the only thing they do there… Their very best!

We have some friends who have gone there every year for 5 to 12 years. That speaks loads about a camp and the people who run it. Definitely put this on your list and then go to Northeastern Zambia two S. Luangwa and compare the two remote areas. You will have fabulous experiences at both.
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Date of stay: June 2021
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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LOCATION
ZambiaLusaka ProvinceLower Zambezi National Park
NUMBER OF ROOMS
5
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OLD MONDORO BUSH CAMP - Campground Reviews (Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia)

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