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Lower Zambezi National Park

The Lower Zambezi National Park lies nestled between an impressive escarpment to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the South. The escarpment acts as a barrier for the game, keeping it on the plains and in the rich woodland on the bank of the river.  The Park is over 4,000 square kilometres in size and occupies 120kms of river frontage. It lies on the Zambezi River after it has plunged over the Victoria Falls and the Kariba Dam and is on its way, slowly and luxuriantly, towards the Indian Ocean.

Situated just south east of Lusaka, access into the park by road is possible but there are some local airlines offering scheduled and chartered flights to the area.

The Park is rich in wildlife, with large herds of buffalo, and great elephant viewing available to most visitors. Lions are numerous and leopard sightings common.  Perhaps the most exciting aspect of game viewing in the Lower Zambezi is the variety of activities on offer.  Unlike the Luangwa, the Zambezi is navigable year round so most camps offer a full variety of water activities alongside their standard walking and driving options.

There is one quote which possibly sums up the Lower Zambezi better than any other: “This Park is so beautiful that it is hard to know which to admire more – the scenery or the wild animals”.

The National Park was only developed for tourism relatively recently. It was gazetted in 1983 and only became popular as a destination in the 1990s.  As a result, there are only a few camps inside the National Park and no network of all weather roads.  Whilst being one of the region’s charms, this does mean that the safari season is limited to those months where access is possible, and hence the best time to visit the Lower Zambezi is between April and November.  The season starts once the rains have subsided; the vegetation is lush at this time of year but as the months pass the bush dries out, the game gathers and the sightings improve.

We are your independent safari and travel experts for Zambia so please feel free to contact is if you have any questions that are not covered by this site. Remember, a safari is an adventure and we are there to plan and organise your safari while Zambia is waiting to reveal its secrets to you.

Where to stay – Lower Zambezi National Park

Below are some of the accommodation options found in the Lower Zambezi National Park; please note that there are other lodges and camps that have not yet been included on our site but they are on our list of places we recommend and sell.

Chiawa Camp

Owned and run by the Cummings family, Chiawa was one of the first few camps to be developed in the Lower Zambezi. Its origins were somewhat more modest that it has built up a reputation that is hard to fault. There are 9 tents, 3 of them are of a slightly higher standard than the others but the remaining 6 were all upgraded in 2009 and the result is quite stunning; each has a bathtub as well as showers both inside and outside, large, very comfortable beds and stylish furnishings.

As with most Lower Zambezi camps guests can choose between a wide variety of activities, game drives and walks are on offer each day but you should spend at least some time out on the river either simply cruising with a drink in hand while watching the animals and birds on the bank or you can try your hand at catching a tiger fish or two, the tiger fish is Africa’s finest fresh water game-fish and is a specialty of these stretches of the Zambezi river.

Nothing is too much trouble for the staff at Chiawa and each guest will be made to feel very special. For those that enjoy the best of the best whilst on holiday this camp should be included.

  • 9 spacious safari Tents on raised platforms
  • Open 15th April to 15th November
  • Children 8 years and older welcome
  • Transfer from Royal airstrip to Chiawa 10 minutes by car or 10 minutes by boat.
  • Swimming pool

Old Mondoro Camp

For a number of years recently this camp was a joint venture between the owners of Sausage Tree and Chiawa. The Cummings family is now sole owners of the camp and they have done a few upgrades recently. This camp is currently one of the Lower Zambezi’s few ‘proper’ bushcamps and the intention is certainly to keep it that way.

There are 4 modestly sized rooms made with reed walls, interspersed with canvas panels but the overall impression is one of rustic openness. There is no generator in the camp there are solar lights in the rooms but no power to the central chitenji area adding to the sense of this being a bush camp rather than a lodge.

This camp can be used either as the only camp in the Lower Zambezi for those on slightly tighter budgets or just wanting a more rustic style camp, or more frequently in conjunction with one of the larger camps to the west for guests that are looking for a longer stay in this wonderful National Park.

  • 4 canvas and reed chalets
  • Open 01 May to 31 Oct
  • Nearest Airstrip – Jeki, transfer time 30 minutes through the park
  • Paraffin lanterns provide natural lighting no generator
  • Children 12 years and above

Chongwe River Camp

Set on the western bank of the Chongwe River, which acts as the boundary to the National park this is a wonderful camp. Its location on the smaller tributary just a few hundred meters up from the confluence with the main Zambezi River adds to its attraction. We feel the location also it adds a certain amount of intimacy to the camp to be able to see the other side of the Chongwe which at this point is probably just 50mts across as opposed to being on the main course of the Zambezi River which is really a very large and on occasions quite daunting river.

There are 8 standard tents spread along the bank of the river, which are modest when compared with some other tented camps but comfortable none the less with outside bathrooms behind. The cost of this camp is one of its most attractive features, because most of the camps in the Park or its immediate environs have steadily increased their rates over the years making the Lower Zambezi an expensive destination. Chongwe and a couple of its neighbours however bring this wonderful destination within the grasp of some guests that may otherwise not have afforded to see the area.

There are two suites at Chongwe, the Albida suite with 2 rooms and the Acacia Suite with just 1 room, which are priced a little more expensively but they really are quite stunning suites on a par with anything you will find throughout Zambia.

  • 9 standard safari tents with thatched roofs, each with en-suite, open-air bathrooms.
  • Plus the Albida Suite which sleeps 4 – ideal for families or friends, has own pool
  • And the Cassia Suite which sleeps 2 perfect for honeymooners, has own pool
  • Open 1st April to 15th November
  • Children 12 years and older welcome
  • Transfer from Royal airstrip 15 minutes

Chongwe River House

This house is set just a couple of hundred meters up the Chongwe River from Chongwe Camp although it is run totally separately from the camp. There are 4 rooms, a main living room and beautiful outside area surrounding the pool. The architecture of this house is its most notable feature and it really is a house than should be experienced if possible.

For larger families or groups of friends travelling together this a wonderful place to book, you can chose just what activities you want to enjoy and make up your own timetable which is something that is at times not so easy to do when staying in camps with other guests.

This property would combine well with the Luangwa House for small exclusive groups on trips to Zambia.

  • Luxury house, 4 bedrooms
  • Exclusive with only one group booked at a time
  • Open year round
  • Swimming pool
  • Transfer from Royal airstrip 15 minutes

Kasaka River Lodge 

Kasaka is set just a kilometre or two outside the western end of the Lower Zambezi National Park. It is one of those camps that can bring the Lower Zambezi within the budget for more visitors.

The game-viewing around camp and in the first section of the Park that is frequented on game-drives is invariably is good. Elephants and buffalo are as common throughout the area and it is always special to see them from the water.

There are 8 tented rooms, spacious enough and well furnished split between the ‘wild-side’ of camp that has walkways raised above the natural bush, and the ‘tame-side’ which has manicured lawns. There is a swimming pool and a very pleasant central dining and bar area

Their Hippo pod house is again ideal for families and small groups; it is set separately at one end of camp and can sleep up to 6 people in two rooms. It does not have its own pool but guests staying here can use the camps communal facilities.

Kasaka has a great children’s program for younger guests and is probably the most family friendly of the Lower Zambezi camps listed.

  • 22 bed tented camp
  • Acacia suite sleeps 4 and Hippo pod family house sleeps 4 – 6
  • Open April to early November
  • Access through Royal airstrip, road transfer to camp takes 8 minutes
  • Children welcome
  • Swimming pool

Sausage Tree Camp

This camp has earned itself a strong reputation over recent years and for good reason, Jason Mott has owned and managed the camp for a number of years although he now spends more time in Lusaka with his wife and family and is dependent upon his camp managers to keep things running for him. Jason is lucky to have found very professional camp managers who are committed to their jobs and also to Sausage Tree and the Lower Zambezi.

The camp comprises 4 round bedouin style rooms with high white canvas roofs, they are a novel design and one that has become synonymous with this camp; the bathrooms again are open-air and have views to the river. In addition to these ‘signature tents’ there are 2 suites that are of similar design but are considerably larger with baths, more furniture and their own plunge pools.

There is a new ‘Kigelia House’, designed along similar lines to the suites but this house has 2 rooms so is ideal for families, it also has its own plunge pool. Activities include the usual game-drives and walks as well as all the river activities. The camp is very close to the Chifungulu channel which provides some excellent canoeing at times.

This camp is priced the same as Chiawa and really the differences pretty much come down to personal preference

  • Sleeps 16 guests
  • Bedouin-style white canvas tents with open-air bathrooms
  • Five ‘Signature Tents’ and 2 Honeymoon suites each with private pool
  • Kigelia House sleeps 4 and perfect for small groups and families
  • Open 1st April to 15 Nov
  • Children 8 years and older welcome
  • Fly into Jeki airstrip, road transfer is approx 1 hour game-drive transfer through the park
  • Swimming pool