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DS14640
Cockeysville Hunt Valley, Maryland

Incredible Experience

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 13 Sept 2021
We spent two nights at Old Mondoro and there's no question it was one of the highlights of our trip to Zambia. Our guide, Sebastian, is the best. He connected us with amazing wildlife sightings. In fact, one morning he showed us where a leopard had killed an impala right next to our cabin and dragged it 25 yards behind a dead tree. I had brought my trail camera and was able to capture footage of the leopard returning the next night to finish eating the impala and also got video of a huge croc dragging the carcass away. The accommodations are wonderful. Somehow they are able to combine rustic with luxurious. Cabin 3 overlooks a beautiful lagoon and we got to watch elephants bathing every afternoon off our back porch. Juliet was the perfect host, taking care of all of our needs. The food was spectacular as well. Now is the time to visit Zambia and experience it with very few tourists there. . Don't let Covid scare you. You will feel safer at these camps than you do at home. Everyone on staff is vaccinated and being in the bush is a natural social distancer. We were the only people at Old Mondoro for two nights and we were treated like royalty. This is a special place that will always hold a place in our hearts.
Date of stay: August 2021
Room Tip: Cabin 3 is the best!
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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Reviewed 12 September 2021 via mobile

What an amazing experience this was. There were many highlights that put Old Mondoro at the top of the list of camps we’ve visited. First and foremost was the outstanding guide we had in Sebastian, who shared information with us that we had never heard before and had an unbelievable eye for spotting animals that most guides would have missed. He also has the unique ability to make even an impala (bless their hearts) seem interesting. Between his superb knowledge, commitment to duty, and friendly disposition, he’s easily one of the top guides we have ever had. We loved the camp and the closer interaction with the wild elephants that visited camp. I was initially worried as the tents are quite rustic and open, but I came to love the setup and the incredible view right outside our room. Not to mention I got the best sleep ever here. Juliet and the rest of the team took such excellent care of us and ensured our needs and desires were met. We now understand why Old Mondoro is such a highly coveted camp and consider ourselves lucky to have been granted the opportunity to visit.

Date of stay: August 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Dio9mm
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 9 September 2021

There is an earthiness to this camp, an organic richness that pairs well with the remote feel of the Zambian wilderness. It is simply stunning. Madelaine and Mark are the hosts.

Just recently stayed for five nights at this camp (as I’m writing this I’m still in country finishing the remainder of my safari).

The camp itself is in a beautiful setting along the banks of the flowing Zambezi river, and the main area where all gathering takes place, including meals and hanging out by the bush TV, is an open sided design, light, casual, breezy and the stunning views are all 360 degrees. Very beautiful. Guest tents face the lagoon or river, with great views from the back deck – you can spend hours just watching wildlife from the deck. Wonderful private outdoor tubs with separate showers. Tent 3 is where it’s at if you can get it (trust me on that one).

Game: Essentially, wild dogs (and more wild dogs). Dogs for days. Dogs every game drive. Currently a pack of 23 with more on the way. They are denning in the area and when the pups are born, who knows where the pack ends up. But they should be around for some time. Of course, there are also lions, leopards, buffalo, hyena, impala, and many other animals. Stunning game drives, including predator/prey interaction. Ellies visit the dining area daily– so close! Great guiding by James and Samora.

Food: Outstanding. Madelaine oversees the kitchen with I believe at least three chefs. Nothing leaves the kitchen that is not amazing. Entrees are fabulous, salads and soups mouth-watering, and the desserts are to die for, especially the chocolate lave cake and the ginger brownie. They are so accommodating as with a little arm twisting Mads shared a couple of recipes with me.

Staff/Hosts: There is a focused warmth here with the staff, and the smiles, greetings and conversations are real and down-to-earth. Not forced like in some camps. Everyone happy. Madalisto (Blessings) the bartender had a smile that could light up a room.

Mark and Madeleine are the true beating heart of the camp, and their enthusiasm, sense of humour, and kindness flows outwards and infects the staff in an ideal way. Smiles and laughter are genuine, and there is a relaxed feel that is unique. Nothing asked for is too much. Madelaine’s warm smiles, cheery attitude and general overall cheekiness throughout each day were something to always look forward to, and Mark’s booming, infectious voice, laugh and enthusiasm were not to be missed. Gonna miss all of them….

As a solo traveller for this trip at least, they made me feel welcome and they truly went out of their way to ensure I was comfortable. Never ate alone even when it was not busy.

Understand: I have been to 20+ camps on many African Safari’s and this camp is absolutely my new #1 camp – it is that good!

Just go already!

Room tip: Tents 3, 4 or 5
Date of stay: September 2021
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank 1flagg
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 19 August 2021 via mobile

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.

Room tip: Not open on the rainy season, shoulder season is May and October Cabins 1 and 2 are on Zambezi, others around the corner on the lagoon
Date of stay: June 2021
Trip type: Travelled with friends
2  Thank VirginiaCW
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 26 July 2021

We were lucky to visit OM for a few days! The camp is beautifully located in an unspoilt environment where our only other guests were elephants, impalas and buffaloes oh and the staff at OM. We were warmly welcomed by Mark and Madeleine who are awesome hosts and managed all aspects effortlessly during our stay. Sightings were memorable, among the general game we particularly enjoyed seeing elephants, wild dogs, hyenas, porcupines, honey badgers, lions, leopards and especially our game drive where we watched a leopard mum interact with her two adorable cubs.... priceless. The elephants in camp provided us with up close and personal experiences on a daily basis. We arrived as guests and left as friends.
If you're looking for something special, visit OM, you won't be disappointed!

Date of stay: July 2021
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank We4Zambians
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 9 June 2021 via mobile

This was an incredible experience and we will definitely return. Maddie and Mark were amazing hosts and made us feel like part of the family. We had the unique experience of being the only guests because of Covid. They made it a very covid Friendly experience for everything was clean and spotless. We stayed in Hut 3 and it over looked the Zambezzi river and lagoon. You did not need to go out on the safari for there were many animals to admire from our deck. The bed was very comfortable. The chef did an amazing job of cooking Gluten free meals, and that is not easy!!! Best of all we had the best guides Sebastian and Johan who were walking encyclopedias about the flora, fauna, birds, and stars. The sunset cruise was beautiful and next time we return we will definitely stay longer and go fishing. Joel and Madalitso who were the servers and bartenders waited on us hand and foot . We had a beautiful romantic lunch by the river to celebrate our 40th!! We will bring our kids and grandkids when we come again. Thank you Old Mandoro for giving us an experience of a lifetime.

Room tip: Stay in Hut 2,3, or5
Date of stay: May 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Linda 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.
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