Zambezi Safari

A small safari lodge on the Zambezi River provides a world-class African safari adventure.

Zambezi Safari


The Lower Zambezi National Park has escaped the spoils of tourism. Protected by the Zambian government, only lodges within the park can ply this stretch of the Zambezi River. There is limited human activity in this area making our Zambezi Safari an unforgettable experience in the unspoiled wilderness.

Indulge in the comforts and services of two intimate riverside camps – Chiawa and Old Mondoro. Both are award winning camps and have been recognized by Condé Nast and Travel and Leisure as top safari lodges. Enjoy a leisurely stay amidst tranquil forests, hills, riparian flood plains, and the mighty Zambezi River.

Each day you will set out in search of wildlife by safari vehicle, boat, canoe, or foot with eagle-eye guides. Spot lion, elephant, leopard, hippo, water buffalo, and other iconic game. And if you travel during September and October, anglers will have the chance to hook Africa’s notorious tiger fish.

• Thrill to game viewing in the unspoiled wilderness of Lower Zambezi National Park.
• Set out in search of wildlife by safari vehicle, boat, canoe, or foot with eagle-eye guides.
• Indulge in the comforts and services of Chiawa Camp, one of Condé Nast's Top 10 safari lodges.
• Spot lion, elephant, leopard, hippo, water buffalo, and other iconic game.
• Enjoy a leisurely stay amidst tranquil forests, hills, riparian flood plains, and the mighty Zambezi River.
• Fly-fish on the Zambezi on September and October departures.
• Maximum 8 guests.

Weather & When To Go

This safari operates from June 1 through October 31. July through September is “high season” and the days are dry and not too hot. This is the cool, dry season in southern Africa, when it can easily drop into the 40's at night. The water on the river can be a little higher in June, but the weather is usually very nice. October is the warmest month with temperatures in the 90's during the day, but it cools down at night. Game viewing is excellent every month the safari operates.


Day 1 | Lusaka/Lower Zambezi National Park

In Lusaka, Zambia, meet your bush plane for a thrilling flight into the wild. As we soar over the mile-wide Zambezi River, we often see hippos, water buffaloes, and elephants in its waters or along its banks. Our guides meet us at the Royal airstrip and we’ll journey to Chiawa Camp via rugged 4x4 vehicle and boat. Along the way, we may spot lions, hippos, and elephants.

After our journey and lunch, take some time to rest up. Later, we head out on our first game drive, witha skilled naturalist keeping his senses keen to signs of animals. We’ll stay in the wild for 2-3 hours after sunset in hopes of spotting some nocturnal hunters, then return to Chiawa for dinner.

Chiawa rests under a grove of mahogany trees in the middle of big game country. The Zambezi River – a mile wide as it passes here – is our constant companion and its waters attract a large array of wildlife. Your safari tent is spacious and has all the amenities. The dining room and bar overlook the river.

Days 2 - 4 | Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp has been voted one of Africa’s Top 10 Safari Camps by Condé Nast and has won numerous other awards. You’re about to discover why. Its aim is to provide a superb safari experience while conserving the surrounding wildlife and habitats – and they do so in a luxurious yet relaxed atmosphere with personalized service – all in a breathtaking setting.

A typical day at Chiawa, from game drives to tiger fishing. The beauty of our safari is its flexibility. We won’t hold you to rigid activities; rather, each day presents a choice of game drives, nature walks, a pontoon cruise, canoeing, catch-and-release fishing, and birding. You might also opt to relax at the camp. If it’s angling that brings you here, this is perhaps the best spot in Africa to catch tiger fish in September and October, one of the strongest fish you’re ever likely to hook. In fact, Chiawa is featured in Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die by Chris Santella.

There is a rhythm to each day in the bush that begins with a light breakfast at the campfire just after sunrise. Then, you have your choice of safari activities until lunch. We relax at camp during the hottest part of the day. After mid-afternoon tea, we set off again by land or by river, and return for a four-course dinner.

Should you choose to angle for tiger fish, we often find them in countless pools and cutbanks near our camp. Our fishing barges have room for two anglers with comfortable chairs for spectators or family. A guide will position you in an ideal spot and give you some tips for catching this notorious fighter.

Day 5 | Transfer to Old Mondoro by Riverboat

We have our choice of activities this morning, including another fishing excursion. After lunch, we embark on a riverboat for an hour-long transfer to Old Mondoro Camp. As we journey downstream, we’re cruising through floodplains and past lagoons and islands that attract 50 species of mammal and 400 bird species. We might spot hippos, crocodiles, water buffalo, and other wildlife. We arrive at our next camp in time for an afternoon game drive.

Days 6 - 7 | Old Mondoro

Welcome to the classic safari experience! The Old Mondoro camp harkens back to a time when safaris were not accompanied by the whir of motors and the harshness of electric light.

We visit Old Mondoro because we find Africa to be at its most serene here, a step removed from the ultra-luxury camps and a rewarding complement to Chiawa. At Old Mondoro, we savor the authentic and remote safari that focuses more on the overall bush experience, and provides a closer look at one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries.

An open and adventurous feel amidst unrivalled comfort. Old Mondoro recalls the mobile tents of East Africa that – unattached to cumbersome generators – were relocated and rebuilt to follow wildlife migrations. Each “bush chalet” sits on a temporary platform. And though this approach may seem rustic, you’ll have en-suite facilities. By day, your tent is open to the elements. By night, canvas walls drop for privacy, and paraffin lanterns cast a warm and comforting glow. Like Chiawa, Old Mondoro sits on the Zambezi River.

We don’t need to go far to view incredible wildlife. Nearby, within sight of our camp, massive bull elephants often feed on acacia trees and hippos loiter on a maze of islands midstream. But if you do choose to set out, the open woodlands here make for ideal walking safaris, which Old Mondoro typically offers in the morning. These leisurely “micro-safaris” were pioneered in Zambia, and they provide a rare opportunity to step out of a vehicle and feel a real connection to the African wilderness. We often spot elephants and water buffaloes, and our guides are highly trained and armed for your safety.

All in all, Old Mondoro provides an uncomplicated safari experience, yet one that does not sacrifice comfort or amenities.

Day 8 | Depart

After breakfast, we board our 4x4 vehicles and drive to the Jeki airstrip along the Zambezi. En route, we have a final chance to spot wildlife. Upon arrival, we fly back to Lusaka, where our journey ends.

It is certainly possible to extend your stay while in Zambia.  Orvis Travel will gladly work with you to arrange extensions to suit your interests.


Activities at Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro

Viewing African wildlife is the heart of this safari, and you can walk, drive, canoe and cruise in riverboats with outstanding guides who know all the nuances of tracking wildlife. With forested hills, flat flood plains, and the mile-wide Zambezi River, there are habitats for a very wide variety of animals and birds. You will see elephant, hippo, lion, fish eagles, and much more on game drives early in the morning, throughout the day, and after sunset. There are canoes for excursions on the Zambezi where it stays cool even in the warmth of mid-day.

Fly fishing - the best time for fly fishing is from late August to late October, when the resident tiger fish spawn, although you might land one in other months. Serious anglers will want to reserve a boat and guide for exclusive use (an extra $755 per day fee).


Chiawa Camp

Located right on the banks of the Zambezi, Chiawa has 9 extra-spacious tents on raised platforms, each a suite with a deck overlooking the river. Each has either a king-sized bed or 2 ¾ beds with pure cotton linens, daybed, luxury bath and shower products, in-door and out-door showers, his and hers wash basins and a roll top ball & claw bath overlooking the Zambezi. It accommodates only 16 guests and the staff devotes personal attention to everyone.

It’s owned and operated by the Cummings Family, who built it as one of the first camps in Lower Zambezi National Park. They treat you like old friends, and willingly share the knowledge of the park gained over decades of game drives.

There’s a thatched roofed open-air dining room with a veranda, a bar, and a campfire area for swapping tales over a cocktail under the moonlight. Both the bar and the dining room overlook the river, and they are in an excellent spot for game viewing of the animals that come there to drink.

Old Mondoro Camp

The Shona word for lion is Mondoro and the name Old Mondoro derives from the local legend of an old, white lion that used to frequent the area. Although the old white lion has long gone, Old Mondoro Bush Camp reflects the wild spirit that lives on in his descendants that still roam free in this unique part of Africa.

The camp is set in a grove of Acacia trees on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park. It is a beautiful site overlooking a maze of hippo-inhabited islands and channels.

It lodges 8 guests in 4 bush chalets, and is by far the Lower Zambezi National Park’s most intimate and private safari camp, exuding charm and charisma like nowhere else. Each has en-suite facilities with flush toilets, washbasins, outdoor showers and huge splash tubs all overlooking the Zambezi. Electric lights/charging 220 v are also in all rooms. The bush chalets are left with open views during the day, and at night canvas drop-down blinds with windows are lowered to provide more privacy and security. All rooms have shaded timber sun decks complete with a comfortable daybed for relaxation with outstanding views of the Zambezi or the Old Mondoro lagoon.

The Main Tent, which serves as a lounge and dining area, rests under a Winter Thorn tree and next to a Sausage Tree overlooking the Zambezi. A traditional bush kitchen supplies outstanding meals and fresh bread baked daily from a homemade oven. The entire experience is unpretentious and uncomplicated, but promises a unique safari that gives guests the best bush experience possible.

Pricing & Dates

2016 Pricing & Dates for Zambezi Safari

7-night safari from $4090

Orvis Travel Exclusive Departures:

October 14-21, 2016
September 1-8, 2017
October 1-8, 2017

$4,090 June - July 15
$5,800 July 16 - October 31
$630 park fees
$650 round trip flight from Lusaka to the landing strip in the park. Pricing is subject to change.
$2,625 children 8 - 15 years old, sharing a tent with two adults
  17.5% single supplement applies July 16 - October 31 only
$60 per day fee applies for private fishing boat and guide; highly recommended for serious anglers


Accommodations; all meals and beverages; guided game drives, canoe trips, bush walks, boat safaris, and angling; daily laundry; and transfers from Royal airstrip to Chiawa Camp, to Old Mondoro, and to Jeki airstrip.

Not included:

Air or river transfers to/from Lower Zambezi National Park; angling permits; angling with a private fishing boat and guide; visa fees; hotels and meals in Lusaka; and tips to crew and guides.


Contact the expert at Orvis Travel:
Abby Liell
Zambezi Safari
Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm (ET)

Orvis Travel Exclusive Departures:

October 14-21, 2016
September 1-8, 2017
October 1-8, 2017

Orvis International Travel

800-547-4322 | 802-362-8790

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