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MiamiHappy_Traveler
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida

Mediocre

3.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 24 May 2015via mobile

This review is based on my general experience and comparison to 14 previous stays in '5Star' Lodges and Camps in 6 African Countries.
The design, structure and layout of the Chinzombo Camp is 5 Star.
The Staff, especially the new manager, Yali, were particularly kind while providing service during my 'illness'.
The Legendary guide Shadi, tried very hard to find game, but I was less than satisfied with the Variety of animals on my 6 game rides. I know that spotting any of the more rare animals is a hit or miss proposition, but in a terrain known as 'the Valley of the Leopards', When we finally found one in a tree, it was in a tree surrounded by 6 vehicles. Allegedly, the maximum is 3 allowed at a time. We never saw this leopard. No Rhinos in This park. Had one other brief Leopard sighting. I would have preferred a 1/2 hour less time observing the ubiquitous Impala, and getting to the start of the sundowner before the Sun actually went down.
NOTE TO PHOTOGRAPHERS: The Vehicles do not go off road as they do in Botswana or the Kruger private reserves. This means that if you see a pride of lions in the distance, bring a long lens. Getting close to any animals is pure chance.
I had my first and only episode of Bacterial Diarrhea ever, (presumably food poisoning) 27 hours after arrival. This resulted in missing 2 Game Rides and continued discomfort for three days. They staff was kind enough to provide an electrolyte replacement drink, some type of medicinal tablets and additional seat cushions for the final rides. I was able to speak to two other British guests, and they also mentioned their 'gastric distress'.
I was not happy with the meal schedule. The general policy is 5:30am wake up,
6am full breakfast( cooked eggs, etc.) Approx. 9:15 coffee and cookie on the AM ride. 11:30 am Brunch, 4pm pre-pm Ride Tea. The traditional sundowner, Dinner at 8:30pm.
I personally do not want a full bkfst. at 6am and then going out for a 4 hour bumpy ride.
My personal preference is where a continental bkfst. Is available at 6am With some fruit, yogurt, or dry cereal available.. A coffee break on the am ride, a full bkfst upon return, if desired, and then A full lunch at 1 pm, tea at 4, Sundowner on the pm drive, and dinner as agreed upon by the vehicle occupants upon their return from the drive.
Management was able to accommodate myself and vehicle mates with a substantial bkfst.
returning from the am ride, the next substantial meal is 9 hours later, with tea time and a Sundowner, being the only small snacks.
In general the quality of the meals was adequate, more of the cook prepared quality, rather than Chef created. Not really 5 star.
Most other 5 🌟 camps have had surprise dinners in the bush and/or Barbecue dinners in a Native Boma around a bonfire. Neither of these experiences are offered here.
I noticed the following, which was corrected after management was informed.
The Front door to my tent had no way to secure from the interior.
Shower soap dispenser, didn't dispense.
Cleaned clothes was returned with no replacement form or pen.
Wet towels left on the floor, we're not replaced, but laid over the tub to dry.(I noticed that a review in Sept.2014 had the same complaint).
In the communal bathroom, there should be individual washcloths or towelettes for drying hands, NOT just one hand towel.
The Staff needs more training and supervision.
Date of stay: May 2015
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    Reviewed 23 February 2015

    We have just returned from a "green season" trip to Zambia staying at 3 Norman Carr lodges. All were great and I cannot speak highly enough of the care and attention we received. As I said, we visited in the Green Season which is off season although I don't know why. The camps were very quiet which was wonderful from our point of view if not theirs. Green Season is not peak big game viewing time but we say plenty and for those interested in birds it is fantastic and I would certainly recommend visiting at this time.
    We were upgraded to Chinzombo camp from our booked site (also a Norman Carr camp) so it was rather more luxurious than expected. It was a lovely camp, great staff and a lovely setting (we woke one morning to see elephants swimming past in the river) and had lots of features we had not expected - wifi access, plunge pools and air conditioning- and I cannot fault it. Having said that, we were more than happy with the rather simpler camp that we had booked which was somewhat more to our taste but if you want your safari with added luxury I would totally recommend here.
    Our guide, Innocent, was superb and, especially as we had him to ourselves for most of the stay, tailored the programme to fit in with what we wanted and I could not ask for a better guide (or nicer person)
    Trips from the camp were by jeep driving in the park (taken across the river by boat to reach the jeep) and, as with our stays at the other camps we saw loads of both animals and birds. It may not be peak season for animals but there are plenty to see and the birds are superb - some fantastic sights.
    Would thoroughly recommend this lodge if you want added luxury to your safari trip

    Date of stay: February 2015
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Brickrabbit
    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.
    Reviewed 3 February 2015

    I stayed at Chinzombo camp in Jan. 2015. I was not expecting my tent villa to be so nice. It was 5 star all the way. The game drives was excellent. I missed only seeing a lion but many great leopard sightings. Lots of game everyday. Back at camp I was treated like a king. Top notch service by the staff. I hope to go back someday.

    Date of stay: January 2015
    • Trip type: Travelled solo
      • Value
      • Rooms
      • Service
    Thank ButchT3
    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.
    Reviewed 2 January 2015

    We had a wonderful New Year's Eve at the lodge with a toddler. Zambia was my 121st country to visit and I have been on numerous safari's and the staff at chinzombo were amazing. We had great game drives, watched hippos graze from our room and braved braved many exotic insects in and around our room. We highly recommend the lodge.

    Date of stay: January 2015
    • Trip type: Travelled with family
      • Location
      • Rooms
      • Service
    1  Thank Stephanie H
    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.
    Reviewed 18 December 2014

    We had promised ourselves a safari 34 years ago (kids, mortgages, parents etc caused a slight delay!).
    We stayed 5 nights during the 'rainy season' in early December when the prices were lower. The camp was quiet, but that suited us and we were looked looked after like royalty by an enthusiastic team of hosts.
    'Innocent' our guide was highly knowledgeable (we both studied zoology) and our walks in the bush a (safe) assault on the senses and not to be missed.
    The accommodation was less 5 star camping and more the presidential suite at Gleneagles ++ that happens to have canvas walls. The food and beverages were included, constant, varied and of a high standard.
    All in all, expensive, worth every penny and an experience never to be forgotten. December was a great time to go.

    Date of stay: December 2014
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Sleep Quality
      • Rooms
      • Service
    1  Thank m m
    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.
    NormanCarr, Owner at Time + Tide Chinzombo, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2015

    Thanks for your review and it might have taken you 34 years to get here, but I'm sure it won't take you that long to come back - at least somewhere in Africa for another safari!

    December is a fabulous time to come and I'm so pleased you agree, there is something about the colour green here which is indescribable. Thanks for your feedback on Innocent and the Chinzombo team, we'll be sure to pass it on.

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 7 December 2014

    This camp was simply outstanding. We were blown away by their attention to detail. The rooms were indescribably luxurious. We've enjoyed more half a dozen camps which aspire to the "luxury" label but this one was decidedly the best.
    It was all about details. From the provision of more electrical outlets than I had ever enjoyed (we're photography buffs - we were travelling with two camera bodies, a laptop, 2 tablets and 2 cellphones; this is the first place we've ever stayed that did not leave us scrambling for electrical outlets to keep everything charged.
    Even more amazing was the ingenious, state-of-the-art air conditioning whose cooling was restricted to the area under the mosquito netting. That allowed us to regulate only the temperature of our immediate sleeping area without a wasteful cooling of the entire (cavernous!) room.
    The staff were personable and completely attentive to our every whim.
    Shaddy, our guide for most of our stay is a bit of a legend in these parts and we quickly discovered why; he has an almost preternatural ability to take his guests to where the "action" is happening.
    We had had some reservations about staying in a camp whose location compelled us to endure a short boat ride across the crocodile- and hippo-infested Luangwa river each time we embarked on a game drive. However, in no time at all, we became completely comfortable with the river crossings. We felt completely safe and i twas always quite scenic.
    The food was excellent and abundant; the kitchen staff are dedicated to the guests' every whim; we never lacked for something creative, fresh and delicious.
    The game drives? I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. We're definitely not first time safari travellers but we were deeply impressed. We will definitely visit Chinzombo again.

    Date of stay: September 2014
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Location
      • Sleep Quality
      • Service
    Thank Deji O
    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.
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