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tdh42
Redmond, Washington

My Favorite Camp in Zambia!

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 15 Feb 2020
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!
Date of stay: June 2019
Room Tip: Chalet #3 has a view of the river and the lagoon.
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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          31 - 36 of 289 reviews
          Reviewed 18 November 2019

          This camp is absolutely gorgeous. It perfectly ties luxury that fits into the bush. The rooms all face the lagoon giving great privacy with perfect views of the visiting wildlife! I couldn't sleep in the siesta as there was just too much going on I wanted to watch!! the outside bathroom was gorgeous and the bath can double as a plunge pool in hotter months! The management couple were fantastic and so friendly and the food was great. I had the drive of my life in the morning (having spent 10 years going on safaris this is quite a feat) with hunting hyena, lions, leopards and elephants within meters of each other, honey badger in the day, elephants, fish eagles hunting... the list goes on! thank you so much team - cannot wait to get back!

          Date of stay: November 2019
            • Sleep Quality
            • Cleanliness
            • Service
          Thank chloemcck
          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 6 November 2019

          For our first trip to Africa, Old Mondoro provided a spectacular introduction to safari life. The "tents" (luxury personified), the staff, the food and the setting were wonderful, and the games drives and guides gave us the opportunity to see so much wildlife. To have elephants wandering past while sitting in the huge stone bath, then coming back to drink the water was the most incredible experience. We even managed to see the elusive pangolin while we were there - a sight I'll never forget. Mark, Madeleine, Sebastian and James treated us to one of the best life experiences we've ever had. If we could ever go back, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

          Room tip: All 5 of the tents are fabulous - each one looks out on a close vista of animals and water.
          Date of stay: October 2019
            • Rooms
            • Cleanliness
            • Service
          Thank Jennie B
          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 29 October 2019

          Old Mondoro is a special place. That's why we have been there four times. We are not the only ones who think so because on several consecutive days while we were there, every guest was a repeat guest. It's a small place--only 5 cabins, which is one of the reasons we love it so much, but that says a lot about how great it is. Why is it so wonderful? Because it has everything. It is beautiful. The river is stunning. One cabin faces it directly. The others have views of the river at an angle, but you won't even look that way because you will be looking at the little inlet just feet from your cabin balcony where the animals come to drink. You can just sit for hours and watch water buck, cape buffalo, and elephants come to drink and cool off in the water. The game drives are wonderful. You rarely see another vehicle except the other one from the camp. There are never vehicles stacked up and waiting to see an animal, just yours, so you can stay as long as you want to just watch. The canoeing is not to be missed. I have never been so at rest as being paddled down one of the channels of the Zambezi while watching animals and birdlife just feeding or drinking along the banks. It also helps that you don't have to paddle. Every single member of the staff is a delight. The service is impeccable without being intrusive. Everything seems natural, not forced or put on. They do not hover, but somehow they seem to know exactly what you want just seconds before you even know you want it. We thoroughly enjoyed the hosts Mark and Madeleine, but it is the guides that keep us coming back. Seb, Marshall, and James are the best. This time we had one of the best times we have ever had with James when we decided not to go out and look for anything specific--just to go out. Actually, and I never would have believed this on my first safari years ago, but we had an awesome time looking for birds. You have no idea how many different kinds there are and how beautiful they are. And James knows EVERYTHING about birds. And the best thing about looking for birds is you can always see them and while your looking for birds, you see the most incredible other things like a honey badger in the day, a leopard stalking a honey badger and then running away when the honey badger says it's time to stop, an aardvark for 15 minutes, a leopard roaring (yes they actually roar and James said that was first or second time he had heard that). I could go on and on about the animals. The food is incredible. If you want an intimate experience that has all of the activities, animals, and luxury you could ask for without the crowds, then Old Mondoro is the place for you. We can't wait to go back. See you all next year!

          Date of stay: June 2019
            • Sleep Quality
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          Thank Indium49
          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 29 September 2019

          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.

          Date of stay: September 2019
          3  Thank Sarahgert
          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 16 August 2019

          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

          Date of stay: August 2019
            • Sleep Quality
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          3  Thank Sara 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.
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