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PSA DAC
Adelaide, Australia

Great bushcamp, game sightings and experience

4.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 01 Sept 2022
Camp is spread out with 5 large tents spaced well apart - 3 overlooking the river water channel and 2 facing the Zambezi River. A large open air thatched communal and central lounge, bar and dining area is situated along the river bank with stunning 360 degree views of the whole camp and river.

Tents are comfortable - nice linen, overhead mosquito net, hanging space, shelving, small desk and chair inside, outdoor decking with day bed, seating and table, ceiling fan, safe box, cold water jug, water drinking glasses, bedside and overhead lighting. Toilet and vanity basin located inside the tent, shower and bath located outside the tent with privacy screen (hot water 24hrs, solar power) toiletries provided (body wash, shampoo, conditioner), clothes washing powder, makeup and large mirror, luggage rack, coat stand, laundry service. Tap water is not safe to drink. No hairdryers or straighteners allowed (solar power). No tea/coffee making facilities in tent. Turn down service in the evening. A bush baby is provided in beds at night during colder weather (hot water bottle). We found the mattresses quite hard.

Unable to leave your tent and walk to the communal area sunset to sunrise. Just arrange a pickup time for dinner and a wake up call for breakfast. Radios (walkie talkies) are in each room if you need to contact staff at any time. Plenty of game roam the camp during the day and night.

Good quality and delicious food with a varied menu - adequate serves (not too large). Breakfast served around the camp fire (6.00am) options included toast, cereal, yoghurt, boiled eggs, porridge, freshly baked muffins, coffee, tea, fruit juice. Lunch (11.30-12.30) is served buffet style. Options included meat dishes, fish or vegetable patties, chicken pieces with a selection of salads, or sides and fresh bread - buffet style. Dinner (8pm) is served at a large communal dining table (sometimes inside communal area, other times nearby the fire - wear long pants & mosquito repellant). Options included steak, fish, pork with sides of rice, healthy fries, potato, salads and vegetables. Starter would be soup or similar. Dessert - ice cream, pudding or similar with tea and coffee served after dinner. Afternoon tea was served at 3.30pm with both savory and sweets options (cakes, pastries). You will not go hungry.

Meals are the same for all guests for lunch and dinner. The camp can cater for dietary differences - GF, allergies, vegetarian etc with advance notice. Guests dine communally unless you request otherwise.

After dinner you can sit by the fire, watch the stars, listen to the noises from the river, the forest, chat to other guests and enjoy a night cap. Our hosts Mark and Madelein were amazing, as were all the camp staff. Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) were easily ordered, always offered and refilled. Although you (and hosts, guides and camp staff) are tired from waking early and active during the day, this aspect of “relaxing” after dinner appealed to us.

The landscape was really interesting here - the light in the forest changed so differently (and difficulty) throughout the day, the haze, the color changes - makes for some great photography. The game - elephant, lion, baboon, impala, kudo, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, water buffalo, crocodile, jackal, porcupine, plenty of bird life, not many leopards during our stay but the wild dogs were amazing (Mark was our guide on ‘dog day’ - next level)

Activities included early morning (6.30-10.30am) game drives, afternoon (4.00pm) to sunset / night game drives (return by 7.30pm), walking safaris, canoeing, boat cruise along the Zambezi River. Fishing is offered for an additional fee $30USD p/p (permit, rods and lures). You might share a game vehicle with other guests depending on capacity (jeeps with blankets, morning bush baby, no shade canopy).

Tipping is optional at this camp. If tipping, they request that you tip your guide directly and a tip box is located in the main tent for the general camp staff. Take small envelopes to write the name, a note for your guide / the camp and place tip inside. We tipped in kwacha. This was our 4th camp stay during our trip to Zambia. Guides typically receive a larger tip however it’s really the ‘whole’ camp that provides the experience (vehicle & boat maintenance, cleaning, laundry, meal and seating preparation, hosts coordinating and managing). We felt our allocated guide was disinterested and had been doing “this” for too many years. Mark - our host had the passion and drive, morning after morning and also stayed up late for meals and night caps with guests. When tipping - consider a one off tip to represent a “whole camp” experience instead of separating the tip.

The lodge is located 30mins by jeep from Jeki Airstrip (clean toilets onsite). Flight 35mins (Skytrails, Proflight) from Lusaka domestic terminal (also known as local terminal) or 5-6hrs drive from Lusaka. The lodge is located inside the Lower Zambezi National Park. Recommend minimum of 4 night stay.
Date of stay: July 2022
Room Tip: Request Tent along water channel and not on Zambezi.
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
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Reviewed 17 August 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!

Room tip: We had tent 3 on the lagoon -- fantastic, because there was almost always wildlife enjoying a drink or a bath or just hanging around!
Date of stay: July 2022
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1  Thank Shaz77Travels
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 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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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
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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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
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