Lodges

Chongwe River House

A unique and organic masterpiece

Chongwe River House

Welcome to Chongwe River House, a four-bedroom private house on the banks of the Chongwe River with more than a touch of the Fred Flintstone. Designed by renowned architect Neil Rocher, the house is a grand architectural medley of curving walls and enormous leadwood furniture – there’s barely a straight line in sight. But you’re not coming on safari for style we hear you say? Well that’s ok then as the house comes complete with a private guide, armed guard, vehicle, boat and kayaks for the ultimate exploration of all corners of the Lower Zambezi National Park.

At the lodge

The hotel

There’s honestly not a straight line or even a door or wall to be seen inside the house, but somehow it still manages to feel intensely private and extremely luxurious. The open-fronted living area extends seamlessly to the wooden deck and swimming pool, creating an excellent al-fresco dining area with the river and mountains glittering beyond. The furniture is spectacular and all carved out of a single enormous leadwood tree which lends a nice, earthy feel to the place.

The rooms

The organic, flowing lines continue into the four en-suite bedrooms which are spacious, comfortable and perfectly grand. Two are upstairs and two downstairs and all have super-size king size beds on a spectacular moulded stone base (mattresses can be separated into twins if you require). All have an open wall to make the most of the views to the bush and beyond. In the bathrooms, expect rainfall showers and great stone bathtubs, expertly carved into the walls in a work of natural art.

On safari

Experiences

Activities at Chongwe House are peaceful, relaxing and never ever dull and with your own guide, days are yours to do exactly what you want with. Explore the furthest corners of the park by vehicle or stay closer to home and amble along the river. Or perhaps take to the water and cruise alongside the wildlife in a boat or canoe before trying your hand at spot of Tiger fishing. The choice is yours!

When to go

Lower Zambezi by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity varies throughout the month and there is a 1 in 2 chance of rain, although it usually falls at night.
  • Wildlife has spread out during this time of plenty, making game viewing a little more challenging.
  • There are many young animals around, providing high excitement amongst the predators.
  • Foliage is dense, green and in bloom drawing in droves of colourful butterflies.
  • Birding is at its peak with migrant species present and in breeding plumage.
  • Few camps are open over the wet season period.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity is unpredictable and rain falls regularly but usually at night.
  • Wildlife numbers have dropped, animals are spread over a larger area, enjoying a time of plenty.
  • The recent birthing season has left plenty of young animals for the predators to chase.
  • Foliage is dense, green and in bloom drawing in droves of colourful butterflies.
  • Birding is at its peak with migrant species present and in breeding plumage.
  • Few camps are open over the wet season period.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity has dropped and rain is falling only a couple of afternoons a week.
  • Wildlife has spread out during this time of plenty, making game viewing a little more challenging.
  • The birthing season is now over, although the large number of young antelope causes a stir amongst the predators.
  • Foliage is dense, green and in bloom drawing in droves of colourful butterflies.
  • High quality birding is still to be enjoyed with the foreign migrants still present.
  • Few camps are open over the wet season period.

April

Season: Wet
  • Birds migrate during this month, leaving the dry season behind them.
  • Temperatures are high but comfortable, with little to no humidity, cloudy skies and rain is still a possibility.
  • The wet season is coming to an end, with wildlife still spread out and enjoying the numerous water sources.
  • The vegetation is lush and green with wildlife in its peak condition.
  • Few camps are open over the wet season period.

May

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to cool with the onset of the dry season, rain is unlikely.
  • The wet season has come to an end, animals begin the localised migration back to the last trusted water source, the Zambezi River.
  • A great month for photography, with high sunshine hours, pristine wildlife and vegetation lush and green.
  • A great month to visit the Lower Zambezi with ideal condition and an intimate safari.
  • There is the potential for cold mornings, so have some warm clothing at the ready, just in case.

June

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are warm and comfortable with little to no chance of rain, potential for morning frosts.
  • Animals begin to congregate in dense numbers along the Zambezi River in late June, ushering in the peak game viewing period.
  • Many plant species begin a seasonal hibernation, improving your chances of spotting wildlife.
  • A great month for photography, with good hours of light and wildlife in pristine condition.
  • The ideal time of year for canoe safari, with moderate weather and game starting to congregate along the river.
  • Be sure to pack a warm winter jacket for the chill of early morning game drive.

July

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are warm and comfortable with little to no chance of rain, potential for morning frosts.
  • The trees loose their leaves and the Zambezi River becomes the last reliable water source drawing animals in from a large area, especially massive herds of buffalo.
  • This is peak game viewing season, with long hours of sunshine and good air clarity.
  • A great month for photography, with good hours of light and wildlife in pristine condition.
  • The ideal time of year for canoe safari, with moderate weather and game starting to congregate along the river.
  • Be sure to pack a warm winter jacket for the chill of early morning game drive.

August

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to heat up but are still comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • The trees have lost their leaves and waterholes are dry, leaving the Zambezi River as the last water source drawing animals in from far and wide.
  • This is peak game viewing season, with long hours of sunshine and good air clarity.
  • The flame creeper is in bloom, bringing life to the acacia canopy.
  • The tiger fishing season kicks off although fish can be a little sluggish.
  • Be sure to pack a warm winter jacket for the chill of early morning game drive.

September

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are high with relative humidity, there is little chance of rain.
  • The trees have lost their leaves and waterholes are dry, leaving the Zambezi River as the last water source drawing animals in from far and wide.
  • This is peak game viewing season, with long hours of sunshine and good air clarity.
  • The Carmine bee eaters start nesting in the river banks, providing a wonderful splash of colour.
  • Tiger fishing is a highlight, keeping even the most experienced angler on the edge of their seat.
  • There is the potential for cold mornings, so have some warm clothing at the ready, just in case.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are at their hottest, with humidity reaching an all year high before the fall of the first rains, usually towards the end of the month.
  • The warthogs giving birth leading to high predator activities and exceptional game viewing until the rains break towards the end of the month.
  • If you don't mind the heat, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping and often interesting sightings.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.
  • Tiger fishing reaches its peak, providing endless hours of angling excitement.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and humid for the first half of November, becoming less intense with the increase of rain throughout the month.
  • The impala give birth, providing high excitement amongst the predators, however wildlife densities drop as water sources are replenished elsewhere.
  • Vegetation and trees begin to bud with the canopies playing home to the returning migrant bird species.
  • Tiger fishing remains good until the true rains arrive towards the end of the month.
  • Many of the camps close from mid November for the emerald season.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot with unpredictable humidity levels and high evening rainfall is to be expected.
  • Grasses begin to lengthen, foliage thickens and animals are a little more spread out, making game viewing tricky at times.
  • This is prime birding season, with migrants present and in breeding plumage.
  • Insect numbers increase with the rain, so have that repellent at the ready.
  • Few camps are open over the wet season period.

Wildlife


The Lower Zambezi National Park lies in a large river valley with fertile soils providing the basis for a thriving ecosystem. Elephant and buffalo congregate along the river to graze along with impala, eland, zebra and more, enjoying the nutritious vegetation of the region. Lion, leopard and the spotted hyena follow the herds, hunting as they move.

Map

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