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SharonM

Our second visit

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 16 Aug 2022
Whether it will be your first safari trip or your tenth or, perhaps and sadly, your last, you can't go past Chiawa Safaris -- a 'One Stop Shop' where you can arrange the best times ever at Old Mondoro, Chiawa Camp and the luxurious Puku Ridge. Chiawa Safaris arranged our entire trip and easily coped with unforeseen changes by a not-to-be-mentioned airline. Chiawa went above and beyond! This was our second trip to Old Mondoro, the only camp out of about 40 we've visited over the years that we have returned to a second time, this time including the other two Chiawa camps. We'd rate all three the most stars allowed and then some and we'd return to any of them time and time again, were we able to do so. Old Mondoro holds a special place in our hearts, as it does for many who have been there before. Everything is soooooo great, from the tents to the surroundings to the game drives to the food and, mostly the people. Great accommodation, great food, great game sitings are great, but it's the people who make those things fantastic! If only the 5.30 wake-up calls came a bit later!
Date of stay: July 2022
Room Tip: We had tent 3 on the lagoon -- fantastic, because there was almost always wildlife enjoying a...
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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    12 - 17 of 284 reviews
    Reviewed 23 June 2022 via mobile

    I have been so fortunate to go to Africa six times and this was my second visit to Zambia but first to Old Mondoro. This feels like my African home. I have stayed in many great camps but none match Old Mondoro in landscape, animal encounters, guiding, and intimacy of the staff and other guests. I can’t imagine returning to Africa without coming here. I completely understand why it has a huge fan base.

    Date of stay: May 2022
    Trip type: Travelled with family
    Thank LJLERC
    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.
    Grant Cumings, Owner at Old Mondoro Bush Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 18 July 2022

    You have captured the Old Mondoro experience perfectly, thank you.

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    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 24 November 2021

    Madeline and Mark do a great job hosting. Food was excellent. Boat trips very scenic and great for viewing wildlife. Game drives and guides were all top notch. View from our cabin was the Zambezi river where wildlife was always in sight. The lodge does not provide internet access for guests and there is no cell service.

    Date of stay: October 2021
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    Thank F6272QEmarks
    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 5 November 2021

    A stay at Old Mondoro is probably the best gift you can give to an elephant lover. There are elephants roaming the grounds of the camp everyday. While not habituated, they are definitely more used to human presence.

    The camp is designed such that it has a open concept. During daytime, the blinds are lifted so you can look out of your room easily to spot game. There is also an outer deck where you can nap on the day bed as the elephants walk by. During nighttime, all blinds are pulled down again and you feel as if you are sleeping in a normal room. So i would call it a semi-bush camp.

    The bathroom area has a tub which I soaked in while watching three elephants sparring in the river 50 feet away from me. They seem to be a mischievous bunch because the same sparring happen again the next afternoon, although I was not 100% sure if they were the same elephants. And let's say the last time I stepped into a tub was decades ago....

    Another memorable moment was witnessing Turndown standing on its hind legs, reaching for a winterthorn branch. I always thought this is something that can only be observed at Mana Pools NP, but apparently a few elephants around Old Mondoro have also added this skill to their repertoire.

    I can understand why people say Old Mondoro is magical.

    Date of stay: October 2021
    1  Thank mrc282
    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 22 October 2021

    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!

    Room tip: Ask for a room with a lagoon view
    Date of stay: September 2021
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    2  Thank Cindy-Milford
    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 13 September 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.

    Room tip: Cabin 3 is the best!
    Date of stay: August 2021
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    1  Thank DS14640
    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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