Understated elegance with a fabulous reputation
Established by the Cummings family, Chiawa was one of the first camps to be developed in the Lower Zambezi in the 1990s and has certainly earned its fabulous reputation. Owner-run camps are a rare breed in Africa and Chiawa is truly the blue-print for the remaining bastions. Here, understated luxury is standard and nothing is ever too much trouble for the owners and their dedicated team. Mix this with a superb location on the banks of the Zambezi where hippos splash in the water and buffalo graze lazily on the grassy islands and you have a camp that is hard to beat.
At the lodge
No matter which cosy seating area you choose in the two-storey main area, a magnificent view of the mighty Zambezi will prevail. The separate dining area at the front shares the impressive view and meals are served here or more often than not in the riverbed surrounded by glowing lanterns. Also on offer is a shaded plunge pool for a quick refresh in the midday heat and 2 hides and a viewing platform to vary your game viewing.
The 9 Meru-style tents are all elegantly furnished in neutral tones with dark mahogany furniture atop shining floors and snug beds looking out to the spacious verandas. The en suite bathrooms offer power showers and a smattering of Victorian grandeur with polished brass taps on the bathtub and basins. All rooms are stylish and very spacious but number 9 gets our vote due to its location atop a nearby hill and resulting privacy.
As with most Lower Zambezi camps, there is a wide range of activities on offer but what really stands out at Chiawa is the efforts of the guides to fulfil everyone’s wishes for their dream itinerary. Game drives and walking safaris are conducted in a bountiful area of the park and are good fun and very educational. It would be a shame however to not spend time on the magnificent Zambezi, adventuring in a canoe or exploring by boat and chancing your hand at tiger-fishing.