Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
At a Glance
Enjoy Chiawa's legendary cuisine, dining on the banks of the river under the stars
Chiawa's choir will serenade you as you meet at the fireside for evening drinks
Take a walk in the flat plains behind Chiawa to find elephant and buffalo
Enjoy one of Chiawa's famous "floating lunches" on their large boat drifting down the river
Try your hand at fishing in the Zambezi - and maybe even land yourself a Tiger
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
December to March is rainy season and the camp is closed.
The Lower Zambezi has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zambia's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game viewing, the drier months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb birdwatching at the end of the rains.
Call us on to start planning your vacation to Chiawa Camp or take a look at our itineraries to Lower Zambezi
On the banks of the Zambezi River, under a grove of towering mahogany trees, Chiawa Camp holds the prime position in the heart of Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, overlooking a sweeping bend in the river and perfectly situated for exploring the park.
Located deep inside the Lower Zambezi National Park on the banks of the Zambezi River, Chiawa is an outstanding family owned and managed safari camp, which offers superb accommodation and personal service, fantastic game viewing and a large variety of activities in a magnificent setting.
A stunning thatched lounge and bar area with an upstairs viewing deck provides an outstanding view of the Zambezi. Chiawa’s renowned cuisine can be enjoyed on the al-fresco dining veranda where guests share the delights of the day. The camp rests peacefully on the riverbank, in a grove of mahogany and acacia trees and is constructed essentially of natural materials to ensure its idyllic setting can be fully appreciated.
The Cumings Family first explored this area for themselves decades ago, where David Livingstone had ventured through nearly 150 years previously, and where in 1989 they created the very first photo safari operation in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Through their efforts, the Lower Zambezi has since become one of Africa’s most desirable, sought after safari destinations. The camp is totally unfenced so game can wander freely through and elephants are regular visitors.
The nine luxury safari tents, including one safari suite, are built under thatch and provide guests with total privacy on their own elevated shady wooden platforms, with gorgeous views of the Zambezi River. As a family run operation, no effort is spared to ensure that every guest receives personal attention and a truly first class African safari.
Accommodation is in nine tented rooms including a Safari Suite. The tents all have timber floors and verandas with excellent views and are accessed by paths running behind them to maximize privacy. All share ample comforts, conveniences and unexpected luxuries such as 24/7 lighting and charging facilities (220v UK plugs), hot and cold running water, king size beds, Egyptian cotton linens, his and hers washbasins, indoor and outdoor showers and ball and claw baths.
|Luxury Tented Room||
There are 8 luxurious tented rooms built on beautiful wooden decks, there is 24 hour power, en-suite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers and ball and claw baths.
The one spacious safari suite boasts some of the best views in camp perched high up on a ridge. With thatched roof, canvas walls and screen windows this spacious suite has a king bedroom and separate lounge area which can easily be converted to a second bedroom, ideal for children. Screen doors open onto a private deck revealing a swimming pool, outdoor lounge, dinning area and fireplace.
The minimum age for the Safari Suite has been reduced to 5 years old although, because the minimum age for children at Chiawa Camp remains at 8 years, children younger than 8 years will kindly be refrained from the social areas of camp except when camp is booked on an exclusive use basis.
As Chiawa is in an area with high wildlife densities, and the rooms are relatively open, children below the age of 8 years are not accepted unless staying in the safari suite or camp is taken on an exclusive basis. Children aged 8 and over are allowed to accompany game drives and motor boat cruises with their parent or guardian. For children aged 12 to 16 wishing to accompany walks and canoeing, this is solely at the guide's discretion.
Chiawa Camp is renowned for its excellent cuisine, often described as an Afro/Euro fusion. Chiawa’s imaginative Executive Chefs ensure meals are of the highest standard and that they are prepared with the freshest of ingredients. The camp also has a viewing hide.
Personal attention is the name of the game at Chiawa Camp. The friendly, well-trained staff are always on hand to ensure that your comfort and convenience are well catered for.
At Chiawa Camp activities revolve around the wildlife, the bush and the river, guests can chose to go on morning or evening game drives, river safaris, canoeing, guided walks or fishing, all led by an award winning team of Africa-born guides, with an unmatched fleet of vehicles, boats and canoes at their disposal. Activities are usually on a shared but to celebrate Chiawa being voted 'Best Guiding Team in Africa 2017' all guests will be offered at least one private activity per full day throughout their stay when possible - this will be at the discretion of the camp manager.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
I had not been to Chiawa for 10 years and it had not lost any of its magic. The tents are a little bit bigger and a little bit more comfortable but Chiawa had maintained its bush chic feel rather than feeling over the top. Waking up to the warm glow of dawn silhouetting the mahogany tree in front of my tent was the perfect way to start the day. After a light breakfast round the camp fire we took the boat down stream where we were dropped off for our walk back to camp. Our guide Paul brought the bush to life as we learned about medicinal plants, pearled into a half built termite mound to learn about the social structure. We skirted round feeding elephants and an occasional lone buffalo
Mr Rob Maclean (Guest)
Showed us ridiculously good service. Simply outstanding.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
Lovely, lovely, lovely. The grand dame of Lower Zambezi, this camp has it all. Guests will meet Grant, the owner and his wife Lynsey. We were there in June last year and were given the honeymoon suite - furthest away - constantly surrounded by elephants and with the most gorgeous outlook - perched on the edge of a drop-off down to a tributary of the Zambezi. The camp itself is right on the edge of the river, and the rooms are stunning - all recently upgraded and utterly gorgeous. There's a Chiawa choir who serenade guests at night and the food is stunning. Last time we were there, a wood owl came and perched above the dinner table. Guiding really good and all activities included, walking, game drives, large boats and canadian two man canoes. They also do a floating lunch on their boat for every single guest who stays... a nice touch. Be a bit careful walking back to rooms though as elephants can hide nicely in the bush each side of the sand path...
Tuck into brekkie at dawn in the dining room at Chiawa Camp in Lower Zambezi National Park where old bull elephants wander by. This trip is an authentic safari experience, although the camping aspect is far from mundane. Inside the nine tents are king-size beds and claw-footed baths.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Arriving at Chiawa by boat is just magical and gives a real feeling of being in the wilderness. We were greeted on arrival not only by the friendly staff and lodge managers but also by on of the (almost) resident elephants that roam freely through the unfenced camp. The presence of the ellies in camp gives us a chance to relax with a drink while Lynn gives us a briefing on what to expect during our stay (while they wander off in search of more juicy foliage). Wed been upgraded to the honeymoon suite so had a late private lunch on our deck with stunning views over the Zambezi before embarking on an afternoon walk. As were on foot were not intending to meet anything too large and our guide instead gives us a fascinating insight into the hidden life of the bush. Did you know that civetone, an essential ingredient of most modern perfumes, comes from the anal glands of the civet? As the light begins to fade we return to our vehicle and have a great sighting of a pride of lion, three females and five cubs plus and adult male, before night falls and we begin our night drive back to camp. This is amazing productive and gave us fantastic sightings of a hyena and cub, two porcupines and a pair of honey badgers. Back at camp, after a relaxing candlelit bath overlooking the river, another treat is waiting for us in the form of a private dinner on the san pan, a flat-bottomed boat that is anchored in the middle of the Zambezi and supplied with wine and dinner. We enjoy the solitude and the distant voices of the local choir serenading the other guests in camp. All in all, a very special stay.
Canoeing on the Zambezi River
The Zambezi is renowned for truly spectacular canoeing as it provides you with the chance to see game from a wholly different perspective...looking up at it instead of down!
Fishing on the Zambezi River
The Zambezi River is host to some of the most incredible fresh water sport fishing in the world with both spinning and fly fishing, on a strictly catch and release policy according to the park rules. The most popular quarry is the infamous Tigerfish.
Game Viewing in the Lower Zambezi
Game viewing in the Lower Zambezi National Park, with varying options such as game drives, boat and canoe safaris, or bush walks, is the highlight of any safari trip to Zambia.
Best of Zambia Safari
South Luangwa & Lower Zambezi
from $12100 pp 10 nights
- Enjoy day and night game drives and motor boat trips on the mighty Zambezi
- Both Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa have a thriving population of the endangered Wild Dog; often spotted on game drives
- Spend three nights in a pure walking safari camp for an intimate South Luangwa experience.
Location & directions
Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Chiawa camp is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia. With the mountains of the Zambian Escarpment as backdrop and across the River from the Mana Pools National Park.
How to get there
Guests can fly into Lusaka or Livingstone Airport and then connect with an air transfer to Royal airstrip. A short 10-minute drive to the Zambezi River and a 20-minute boat transfer delivers guests to Chiawa on the banks of the Zambezi River.