Lodges

Tsika Island Camp

Canoes & communities

Tsika Island Camp

Mix a good dose of canoeing with a little bit of walking and a visit to the local school and community and you have a safari from Tsika Island Bush Camp. Located on the pleasantly remote Tsika Island, 35km from sister camp Chongwe, this simple and rustic camp is a pioneering community partnership project which gives $50 back to the local villagers for every guest who stays. Hop in your canoe at Chongwe, paddle upstream through a network of quiet watercourses and get back to basics and in touch with Mother Nature at Tsika.

At the lodge

The hotel

In a grove of Albida thorns, the thatched main area is compact but fits the bill perfectly and is a cool and shady spot to rest weary arms and legs after a long day paddling. A highlight of the day is breakfast at the firepit on the riverbank where freshly baked bread is toasted the original way as the sun throws its first rays over the glassy surface of the water.

The rooms

The 3 quirky Flintstone-style bush rooms are simple and authentic and have the essentials covered with big beds draped in mozzie nets, built in seating areas and big open ‘windows’ along the front for fabulous views over the lawns and down to the river. Water for the safari bucket showers is heated by a very effective wood-burning stove and there are even fluffy towels in bathroom too.

On safari

Experiences

The main idea of a stay at Tsika is to allow full day explorations of the quiet channels by canoe. Up here, there aren’t many hippos in the water so canoeing in the watery world is serene and peaceful. Visits to nearby Mugurumeno school and the village on the mainland are inspiring and a good way to learn about the community partnership program. Walking and boating can also be incorporated into itineraries.

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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