Elephants are the big draw at Chiawa Camp – and hippos, crocodiles, Cape buffalo, baboons, even the occasional lion. Chiawa nails the African, luxury-in-the-bush, “glamping” experience to the letter.
Hugging the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, Chiawa was the first safari camp to open in the Lower Zambezi National Park back in 1989. It’s still owned and operated by the conservation minded Cumings family. And it’s the premier place in the Zambian park to get your game viewing fix of river-based wildlife.
Chiawa’s nine permanent deluxe “tents” are made of timber, reeds, and canvas set on timber plank floors on raised stilts. Large animals roam freely throughout the unfenced camp. Inside the tents, a huge king-sized bed under veils of mosquito netting awaits. A Victorian claw-foot tub in the bath has views through screen doors to the Zambezi. Chiawa’s fabulous safari tents err on the side of natural as the camp is miles from “civilization” so no a.c., however, a generator provides power so they are lit and equipped with working fans. And there is Wi-Fi, if only for a few hours a day.
This National Park is generally considered to be the least developed and most remote, a chance to really experience nature in its rawest form. The Zambezi River flows through it, providing water to huge groups of wildlife, including vast herds of elephant. The park also has good numbers of lions and leopard.