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)
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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
LoulouPortDouglas wrote a review Jul 2019
Port Douglas
5.0 of 5 bubbles
From the moment we arrived we could not be happier. Mark the manager met us at the little airstrip. Enroute to the camp we saw lions, a cheetah as well as elephants and zebra. On arrival his wife Madeleine met us with a warm welcoming smile. Our 4 night stay was fantastic. We met some great like minded travellers as well. Food and wine delicious. Our tent was truly amazing...right on the river with outdoor shower and bath with beautiful amenities. We loved this stay so much. Well done Mark and madeleine. We hope to see you both again one of these days. We wish you all the very best with this venture.
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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.
Austrav55 wrote a review Jul 2018
Sydney, Australia
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This is our first time to Old Mondoro but 2nd time to Africa. This time we stayed in 9 camps and this was 1 of 2 favourites. It is such a beautiful location with the Zambezi, the escarpment and the Winter Thorn Forests. It is a very intimate camp with only 4 tents very spaced out offering complete privacy, wonderful views, wonderful staff, wonderful meals and many varied activities with superb guiding. The river activities are so relaxing and peaceful and we enjoyed many a river cruise and spectacular sunsets for sundowners with Tryford. Michele and Reon were very hospitable hosts and keen to see our every need was met and we enjoyed our conversations. We were lucky enough to strike a lull in guests and have the camp to ourselves for 2 days which meant great flexibility even down to saying what meals we would prefer. My complex dietary needs were well catered for and the kitchen turned out the most delicious variety of freshly baked breads each day along with many delicious dishes. There are many up close and personal interactions with animals here. The very first time we went to leave our rooms an elephant was right there but before we could radio Reon was there to pick us up in a vehicle. This occurrence happened quite often over the next 3 days one lunch having to transport the meals from the kitchen via vehicle and one dinner came close to being abandoned glasses of wine in hand due to an elephant getting a little too close but at last minute moving off. Besides elephant roaming in camp were impala, buffalo, warthogs just off our deck, waterbuck, bushbuck, baboons who actually aren’t a nuisance here. You could experience much animal action from your room watching the animals in an inlet from the river.
Our guides James, Marshall and Sebastian were very knowledgeable and safety a high priority. Walking safaris are also an option I’d advise you to take up with Sebastian providing us with a lot of new knowledge. They are more of a print, plant and poo tour. We saw some rarer species of animals here like porcupine and honey badger and day before we arrived they’d actually sited a pangolin! We had a great siting for a long time of a leopard with 2 cubs playing.
We loved the tent design as was so practical and very comfy. One minor thing I would suggest is more privacy in the toilet as the curtain tended to blow open. You have the choice of leaving screens open or closed of a night. We tried both but it did keep bugs right down by having screens closed. A camp we would highly recommend and would love to return to some time.
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Date of stay: July 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.
Indium49 wrote a review Jul 2018
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was our third trip to Old Mondoro. While we were there, almost all of the other guests were also repeat visitors. We stayed for five nights and would have loved to stay longer. All of the guests had been to Africa many times (10 times for us), and none of us can get enough of Old Mondoro. It has great game, fantastic guides and staff, fabulous food, and a beautiful setting on the banks of the Zambezi. It is billed as a bush camp but make no mistake, this is a place of the ultimate luxury in today's world--the luxury of true peace and quiet (unless you call the sounds of nature inches from where you sleep noisy). The rooms are not ornate or overdone but have everything you could want or need-- king sized beds with great linens, a beautiful stone bathtub overlooking the water, and fabulous hot showers at all times, There are only four rooms which overlook the Zambezi and a small inlet off the Zambezi. You could spend all of your time on the porch of your cabin and see almost everything you could see on a game drive. Elephants, buffalo, impala, and more wander through the camp regularly. Everyday we watched elephants come and play in the inlet in front of our room. They bathed and drank and rolled in the mud and then exited the inlet right next to our room where they nibbled on the leaves of the trees outside of our room. All of the guides, James, Marshall, and Sebastian are outstanding. Even though we have been there before, every time we go we see and learn something new. We saw lions with a kill, leopards relaxing, kudus making romance, hippos with new born babies, hyenas, impalas, warthogs, buffalo, elephants, zebra, porcupines, honey badges, and so much more. As great as the game drives are, the canoe trips on the channels along the Zambezi are even better. You can see all of the same game but from the peacefulness of the channel as you drift along in the late afternoon. Both Sebastian and James are fantastic guides both on land and on the water. You may go with absolutely no interest in birds, but I guarantee you will not return that way. The colonies of bee eaters are one of the most beautiful things you will see. The food, especially the bread, is some of the best we have had anywhere in the world. The beauty and even more so, the intimacy, of Old Mondoro will have you planning your next trip before you leave. Thank you to everyone there for making this such a beautiful and special place.
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Date of stay: June 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.
Timothy S wrote a review Sept 2017
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Flying into Jeki gives you a sense of adventure as the wheels of the Caravan hit the dirt runway. Proflight pilots remind me of the Alaskan bush pilots in their ability to put a plane down smoothly.
We were met and given a forty minute ride and a bit of history as we rode through a hardwood forest that occasionally opened into plains and a few bluffs and we get our first look at the Lower Zambezi River and Old Mondoro bush camp.
We were driven up to a platform that allowed us to step out without having to climb out of the Toyota Land Cruiser. We were met with a cold drink and wet washcloth.
Reon and Michele welcomed us and explained the safety rules and we were taken to our chalet. Chalet number two will be our choice as it is on the river and has the entry to the channel. Very nice surroundings, king size bed. Lots of shelf space and a fan that came in handy on a few hot afternoons. The shower and bathtub are outside. The very large tub is only a couple feet off the open ground.
I recommend that if you take a candle lit bath; don’t shine your torch around and don’t stare at the two Spotted Hyenas staring at you with their bright white eye shine.
Old Mondoro is not for the weak hearted. I have never been so close to the wildlife. Especially in the open dining area. On our first dinner right after the soup. Reon told us in a calm voice. “Everyone needs to move quickly to the fire.”
A rather large bull male with very long tusks moved into the dining area. After surveying our table the elephant shook a tree nearby and in its efforts to eat some of the pods knocked a section of the guest loo wall over. We were impressed by Reon’s handling of the situations.
Out of our five nights the elephant interrupted our dinner on three different nights. While we were unable to retrieve my gin and tonic and Terrie’s rum and coke zero on the first incident, we managed to get hold of them on the other occasions.
We had a hot water valve failure and Michelle resolved the problem as swiftly as humanly possible.
The one thing that separates the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi is the river. Terrie and I took full advantage of the boat rides. There was also canoeing and fishing available for anyone and several of the guests took advantage of those activities.
All in all we enjoyed the basicness of it as well as the unlimited hot water and electric service.
We saw an abundance of wildlife and were treated like royalty. The camp is expertly managed and staffed. The food was superb and fresh. I have to think that all the bush camp chefs graduated from five star cooking schools.
Terrie and I will be back there again in chalet number 2 but we will start there and then come home to the South Luangwa.
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Date of stay: August 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.
Paul E wrote a review Jul 2017
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our final camp of 4 that we visited and didn't we save the best to last! Best hospitality best guides best food best sightings, simply outstanding. This is the first camp that we have visited twice from 9 safaris it's location is just perfect. We will return.
Anita and Paul Ellis
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Date of stay: June 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.
Eric H wrote a review Oct 2016
Tisa, Czech Republic
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I visited Old Mondoro for four nights as part of a photographic tour led by the excellent Squiver Group. From the moment we arrived via a 1 ½ hour boat ride from the sister camp, Chiawa, Old Mondoro’s undeniable charm immediately took hold. Greeted by the unrivaled hospitality of the camp’s caretakers, Karen and Jonathan, I immediately felt at home. Old Mondoro’s strength lies in the blending of its rustic surroundings and bountiful game with modern comforts, making it quite the enchanting place. The camp receives daily visitors (and nightly), mostly elephants and baboons but also the occasional Cape buffalo. Geckos scamper about, their colors changing to match the terrain. The rooms are open to the river, but amazingly, the four-legged visitors who do wonder into camp seem to respect your “space” and do not come anywhere near the rooms … well, except for a few nights when buffalo surrounded my room outside to graze! A shower and bathtub are situated outside and from which one can observe the passing elephants!
The surrounding landscape is not what one would immediately expect to find on safari but here you have the best of both worlds, a simply magical forest, making for stunning photo ops and the Zambezi river, full of Hippos (and crocs!) and swimming Ellies!
The hospitality is second to none. Every meal is a culinary journey and nearly every one of them had many of us asking for recipes! This was not my first safari but it definitely was one of the most memorable in so many ways. Thank you once again Karen, Jonathan (especially for keeping the brandy flowing nights around the fire!), Sebastian, and Marshal! I hope to be back again soon!
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Date of stay: October 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.
krishome wrote a review Oct 2016
Winnipeg, Canada
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I stayed 4 nights at Old Mondoro along with a group of photographers travelling with Squiver photo tours. Our group of 8 took over the whole camp, and everyone would agree there is something special about Old Mondoro. It is a rustic experience, but also full of luxury. Your room is open to the elements, and you can sleep that way if you choose, or bring down the canvas windows on the one open wall. One night, the moon was low and orange, and made a beautiful reflection in the river just outside my room - what a wonderful view to fall asleep to. Of course there is the outdoor shower and bathtub. Where else can you shower outside while watching elephants in the river, or baboons walk by? The landscape at Old Mondoro is also special, and not necessarily what you would picture for Africa. The forrest offers many beautiful photographic opportunities, and the ability of the guides to go off road means you can track and find animals for some pretty amazing sightings. The water level was too low for us to go canoeing, but take advantage of the river and go boating, there is lots to be seen from the water. The chefs at Old Mondoro will leave you wanting recipes - they are amazing! They also catered to our vegetarian and dairy free guests with their own special yet delicious alternatives. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and their ability to track animals and their knowledge of the bush is very impressive. This was my first safari experience, and thank you to Jonathan, Karin, Sebastian, and Marshal for making it so memorable!
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Date of stay: October 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.
Cindy-Milford wrote a review Nov 2015
Cincinnati, Ohio
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
One of the last “true bush camps” remaining in Zambia. Old Modoro is a small intimate family owned camp located deep in the Lower Zambezi National park. The camp sits in a grove of winterthorn trees that draw the elephants during the months of September/October. Old Mondoro sits along the banks of the Zambezi River, about a 90 minute boat ride from Chiawa Camp or you can fly in via Jeki Airstrip (Proflight has daily flights-seasonally).

Accommodations consist of 4 simple chalets (max 8 guests at any time). The chalet is a platform, open style structure, with 3 sides of the chalet having walls of canvas/reed/thatch and leaving one side open to the surrounding environment. This side opens up to your verandah that has a day bed and 2 chairs that overlook either the Zambezi River or the lagoon that borders the camp. Rooms are simply furnished, with a bed (fitted with mosquito nets), an open closet structure, a chair and small table with your drinking water and a standing fan. The camp has power for the fans and low lighting to see at night. The sleeping area of the chalet “can” be closed off at night with roll-down canvas blinds, however, we like to leave them open (and highly recommend it), in case there is any activity to watch at night. On the other side of the bed is a sink which overlooks the lagoon or river and a toilet (loo) that is separated by a curtain, a door leads outside to your private outdoor shower and tub (complete with spectacular views). Water pressure was fantastic and water could get pretty hot. There is nothing like taking a bath while watching elephants play in the lagoon next to your chalet.

The main area of camp is an entirely open sided structure, with 2 sitting areas under a thatched roof and the dining area where meals are served. There is a small refrigerator where you can grab a drink at any time or you can always ask one of the staff to get you something. Decor is traditional African bush camp style. Alongside the open side gathering area is the boma where breakfast is served each morning around the fire as the sun comes up over the Zambezi.

This camp was overrun by elephants in October (which is just one reason why you should visit here). Ellies are in camp, between the chalets, around the boma area, around the kitchen and staff areas, pretty much everywhere you turn you will encounter these beautiful giants. They appeared to be accustomed to a human presence here and as long as you keep a respectable distance, they pretty much go about their day eating the winterthorn pods and de-barking the trees.

Game drive vehicles here are completely free from canopies, great for the serious photogs. Guides are great at positioning vehicles for that perfect shot and great spotters! However, while the vehicles are great for taking photos, in October it can get intensely hot with temps upwards of 40c, so be prepared for the heat. A cotton wrap is provided in each chalet, you can wet them in the sink and toss them around your neck as a scarf, it will keep you amazingly cool for hours in the intense heat. Walking safaris are also offered here, which we also enjoyed. Birdlife is great here along the Zambezi River. Animal viewing was simply awesome! The landscape in this part of the national park is very different from the areas around Chiawa, Sausage Tree and Chongwe Camps where there are more woodlands, here you have wide open areas where animals can roam.

The camp offers superb service. Food was top notch and the staff is also some of the best. It is like being with family. Everyone is very eager to please.

Old Mondoro Bushcamp is a superb operation run by a fabulous staff, and in our opinion it offers one of the most authentic bush experiences remaining in Zambia. There are only a few camps that remain like this one. The camp is small and intimate. More often than not it really does feel like you have the place to yourselves. We really loved this camp and cannot wait to return again! Combine this camp with its sister Chiawa – a luxury tented camp, it too is a superb camp (see my reviews) and a great way to end a safari.

Final Note to new safari goers: I want to include a general warning, as this camp “is not for the faint of heart”. Many people do not like to deal with lizards, frogs, or other insects or critters in their chalets, so one needs to remember where they are, you are in the bush - near water – and completely OPEN to the outside, so think twice, if you have any serious phobias stay at Chiawa Camp. We had over 30 geckos in our room at just about any given time, you have to watch where you step at night, so as not to step on something unpleasant and squish it. Enjoy the experience, it really is one not to be missed!

If you want this place, BOOK EARLY – about a year in advance or more! This is a famous photographers camp and in Sept-Oct it is often booked for photography groups. This was our 5th trip to LZNP but the 1st time we could get a chalet at Old Mondoro. One of my new favorites!
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Date of stay: October 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.
Bill Y wrote a review Nov 2015
Ottawa, Canada
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I was with a small photo tour (Squiver.com) and had stayed the first four nights at Chiawa. We were transferred by boat to Old Mondoro, a smaller camp than Chiawa, and had the camp to ourselves. Similar to Chiawa there is wildlife wandering about day and night and the elephants often require that you are escorted even in the day.
The staff were all keen to ensure that you were well taken care of; anything that wasn't routine you only had to ask for. The food was great, and we had a few meals at surprise locations.
It was hot, 39C when we arrived and high 30s for the four days. Staying hydrated was a challenge no matter how much water you think you are drinking.
Wildlife was plentiful and the guides excellent at getting us to them. Sitting in an open jeep with leopards and lions about is a remarkable experience. Most of the game viewing was to the west of the camp in a beautiful open woodland similar to the area of Chiawa that I liked the best.
I have nothing to compare this to, but feel that I have been spoiled. I don't know what they could do to improve the experience.
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Date of stay: October 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.
Peter B wrote a review Sept 2015
Kelso, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
From the moment we descended in our small charter plane to fly low over the Zambezi to Jeki airstrip ,with its many islands, herds of elephant and hippos, we knew we were in for something special. On the short drive to the camp, among other game, we came across elephants and a male leopard with his kill.

We have been on safari on a number of occasions before, but we knew immediately we had found something special in Old Mondoro. It is a small camp (great!) but has the highest standards possible, in the huts, food , guiding and service.

The camp is right on the banks of the Zambezi, - only about five yards from our hut (3) to the river, with a creek to the side. Talk about being close to the wildlife - on the first night I was convinced there was a hippo in our outdoor bath! On several occasions we had elephant in camp and around our hut. We cannot forget after a coffee break an elephant chasing Precious and Jealous to the kitchens!

We have in our time been in some superb camps and this definitely among the best anywhere. Apart from the excellent guiding ,food, service etc. it is special because of its location beside a large river. The scenery is superb, very green with beautiful forest and plentiful game - for example six different leopard on our first day. The river means a great variety of activities. Canoeing the Discovery Channel is a must, with hippo, crocs, elephants and multiple birds in a narrow channel. My wife was a bit concerned at the initial pep talk - if you are upended by a hippo or croc swim away from the canoe, as they go for the largest object - but she emerged triumphant! Sundowners on a pontoon boat on the Zambezi are also a highlight.

All was presided over with supreme skill and kindness by Pam and Ryan who took every little whim seriously. Our first night was a bit chilly and we found that on the next night we had an extra blanket and four hot water bottles!

All in all we loved our time at Old Mondoro before we proceeded upriver to the main camp Chiawa - which we also loved.
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Date of stay: August 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.
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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