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OBgal
San Diego, California

Our favorite camp

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 05 Oct 2022
My husband and I just returned from our second visit to this camp. Our first was in 2018 and as evidenced by the presence of four other couples, who were all on their 2nd or more visit to this camp, our return was a shared theme. Our guide, Samora is reason enough to visit this camp but there are so many reasons. First, Samora is an uncanny spotter of animals and events including 5 individual experiences watching the large pack of Painted Dogs (28 adults and 16 puppies) chase and dispatch 6 meals in 4 days. Not something we intentionally went to see but some of the most intense game viewing we have had in 3 trips to various countries in Africa. Samora was key to making our whole experience exceptional. We saw leopards, honey badgers and so many elephants, we lost count. Lions and buffalo are present as well. The wildlife around this camp is plentiful and varied. The camp is run by Mark and Madeline who do an exceptional job, as does all the staff. The vibe is low key but very comfortable and pleasant. We will return for sure.
Date of stay: September 2022
Room Tip: Chalet 2 is our favorite but all are great.
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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      All reviews zambezi river game drives lost count other guests great game porridge wild dogs night game wonderful hosts a special place safari trip delicious food day bed african bush laundry service fish early morning
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      9 - 14 of 284 reviews
      Reviewed 18 September 2022

      Only 5 tents that are right on the river. This was an experience that will always be a special memory! Lovely tents on the river with an outdoor shower! A simple way to enjoy camp is to be surrounded by elephants in the open dining area and your tent! Food was delicious and prepared with attention to one's specific requests. One of the many unique aspects to a safari is to share time with an international community. The adventure of game drives in a region that is not overcrowded adds to the uniqueness. We were lucky enough to see the wild dogs on a hunt. Another birthday celebration that was special! We are hopeful to return to this camp and to Zambia!

      Date of stay: September 2022
      Thank BONNIE 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.
      Reviewed 2 September 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.

      Room tip: Request Tent along water channel and not on Zambezi.
      Date of stay: July 2022
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      3  Thank PSADACtravelers
      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 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
        • Value
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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.

      Report response as inappropriate
      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
        • Location
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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.
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