Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
At a Glance
Gameview from the deck of your chalet as the resident Old Mondoro elephants pass on by
Take a boat trip up river to find the nesting sites of the bee-eaters
Walk in the Winterthorn groves, as shy impala and bushbuck dart out of your way
See if you can spot the elusive Pel's fishing owl which roosts in the trees above Old Mondoro
Take a game drive up on to the plains to find one of the Lower Zambezi Wild Dog packs
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
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 858 345 1761 to start planning your vacation to Old Mondoro or take a look at our itineraries to Lower Zambezi
A superb and secluded little camp, Old Mondoro (so named after the Shona word for lion) nestles on the banks of the Zambezi River, shaded by towering winterthorn trees, in an area renowned for its natural beauty as well as its high concentrations of game.
Owned and operated by the Cumings family of Chiawa Camp repute, the concept of Old Mondoro is simple - to provide guests with an authentic, intimate safari that concentrates on the wildlife and bush experience whilst not forgoing any creature comforts or service.
Intimate and rustic, Old Mondoro has just four thatched chalets, three in a lovely position overlooking the Zambezi, and the fourth overlooking a small lagoon at the end of the camp. The chalets are secluded and private, each with its own veranda, supremely comfortable beds, a small seating area and plenty of storage space. Through a door at the end of the chalet is the open-air bathroom which has recently been redesigned with a large bath and powerful shower. They are cleverly designed chalets, with discreet electric lights for the dark evenings (although guests will also be supplied with a spirit lamp) and each has a plug point for charging camera or video-camera batteries. Two of the tents overlook the Zambezi whilst the other two overlook the small lagoon.
The main area is a large, tented, open-sided structure overlooking the river with comfortable sofas, a tea and coffee and cool drinks table, and a dining area - it's a lovely place to relax in the afternoons, before your game drives. Generally brunch and afternoon tea are served here, with dinners taken under the stars. There is a also a fire pit right at the edge of the river, surrounded by canvas chairs, where guests will usually gather for a drink before dinner.
During the summer months the camp becomes a mecca for fairly large groups of very relaxed elephant bulls who come to feed on the rust-colored winterthorn pods,(Acacia Albida) their favorite food. They will often gather down by the river before wading in and across to the islands to forage on the grasses there. In October the elephant can be so numerous that the camp employs the use of an "elephant taxi" to collect and deliver guests to and from their rooms.
The game viewing in the area is excellent - large herds of elephant bulls are seen almost every day, as well as good populations of lion and some great leopard sightings. Also notable are large herds of buffalo, good sightings of kudu, and smaller predators such as hyena, honey badger (the camp is close to a honey badger den), civet, genet and various species of mongoose.
Old Mondoro has just four tented and thatched rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom with flush loo, wonderfully powerful shower and a lovely bath - there is constant hot water and the baths are particularly refreshing. There is a superb new family room comprised of two interconnecting rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. Reached by a sandy path, each room has either twin beds or a double bed, and a veranda with a day bed and comfortable chairs, along with a selection of reading material. There are plug points for charging batteries, and the canvas walls of the chalets are rolled down and secured at night, when spirit lamps are also placed in the rooms.
As Old Mondoro is in an area with high wildlife densities, and the rooms are relatively open, children below the age of 8 are not accepted. Children aged 8 years 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.
There is a large choice of activities at Old Mondoro, guests can opt for a gentle walk through the winterthorn groves in the morning when the weather is cooler and the wildlife is more active. Game drives are also on offer for guests to explore further afield, perhaps to Jeki plain where vast herds of zebra and impala can often be seen or towards the escarpment where the elusive kudu and occasional daytime leopards can be found. Or, guests can take to the water on one of Old Mondoro's two-man canoes (accompanied by a guide) and explore the river and spot some game alternatively, drift lazily downstream on a motor boat. Activities are all tailored to suit the requirements of the guests.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Old Mondoro is a fantastic bush camp on the banks of the Zambezi River in a great game viewing area with in the Lower Zambezi National Park. The camp has a strong following of repeat guests who return year after year for the traditional no frills feel of the camp. The camp is renowned for its excellent guides and guests can explore the area on a boat, canoeing on the river, by foot or on a game drive. The area close to camp is known for offering a chance to see the elusive aardvark.
We had a fantastic time during our stay at Old Mondoro where we spent the afternoon sitting on our balcony while Midget, the resident and very chilled elephant grazed for pods within touching distance.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
Utterly stunning camp - and our personal favorite. This little bit of heaven can be reached by either a boat trip from Chiawa (about an hour) or a game drive which takes you through towering groves of winterthorn, large stands of mahogany, and dense, bottle-green croton bushes which play host to super-fast charaxes butterflies. It's a little piece of heaven - and the reason that we returned to Zambia twice last year! The camp has just five chalets, four - including the stunning new family chalet - overlooking the river and one overlooking a small lagoon. Elephants are utterly everywhere, wandering past the rooms and even peering in the showers (they are attracted by the sound and scent of the water). Simple and it just works - lovely main area with comfortable sofas and a fire pit - food excellent, dinners taken outside and lunches in the main area. Hugely recommended to walk from here if you get a chance and the sunset cruises on the boats are wonderful. Rooms are open with canvas curtains that roll down, and bathrooms have just been redesigned with a huge bath and very powerful shower. On our last night in October we had hippos fighting practically on our doorstep. Beautiful area, lots of game (including lion, leopard and a teeny honey badger cub) and the birds are fantastic too with great sightings of water birds, bee-eaters and the ubiquitous African fish eagle serenading the dawn.
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 $12300 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
Old Mondoro is nestles on the banks of the Zambezi River, in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.
How to get there
10-hour international flight to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka, followed by a 45-minute flight by light aircraft and 30-minutes by road (game drive) to the camp.