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Time + Tide Chinzombo

Time + Tide Chinzombo is a luxury tented lodge on the banks of the Luangwa River in the central Mfuwe area of South Luangwa National Park.

Chinzombo is one of the oldest camps in the Luangwa Valley, and having been closed for several years it re-opened in 2013 as Norman Carr Safaris’ flagship and most luxurious camp. It is a small, exclusive camp with luxurious tented suites, and it certainly brought a new level of luxury and sophistication to the valley. If you are looking for somewhere in South Luangwa that is refined and relaxing, with superior accommodation and attentive service, then this is probably your best option. The only downside is that the Mfuwe area of the park is generally the busiest section of the park, so you can’t expect high levels of exclusivity when on game drives.

Rooms

Accommodation is for only 14 guests in six spacious and contemporary tented suites, each raised on concrete plinths with views over the Luangwa River. The interiors are spacious and stylish, with an open plan feel from the plumbed bathroom and changing areas through to the sleeping and lounge spaces. There are re-cycled wooden floors, bamboo interior walls to the rear and large ceiling to floor gauze screens all along the front, allowing light to flood in. One of the suites has a second en suite bedroom making it ideal for families. To the front of each suite is an outdoor verandah area with a sunken lounge and plunge pool. Chinzombo is definitely a camp where you can spend some time relaxing in your suite!

Central Areas

The central areas are open plan and stylish, with dining, lounge and bar areas leading out to a swimming pool with views out across the Luangwa River to the National Park beyond.

Facilities

Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for charging – Yes
Swimming pool – Private Plunge Pools

Habitat & Wildlife

The Luangwa Valley forms the southern end of the Great Rift Valley and the floor is about 1,000ft lower than the surrounding plateau. Through the centre flows the Luangwa River which is fed by dozens of sand rivers during the rainy season, causing it to become a raging torrent. It frequently alters its course from season to season, causing many ox-bow lakes to form.

These lakes are very important to the ecology of the valley and account for the high carrying capacity of the park. The north Luangwa National Park covers an area of 4,500 sq. km, but is usually closed to the public. The southern park covers an area of 9,000 sq. km and is the park most frequently visited by tourists. Both parks are situated mainly to the west of the river, though the southern does extend across the river in two places (Nsefu and Luamfwa). On the eastern bank, a third national park, the Luambe, also exists, but it is small, covering an area of only 250 sq. km.

The Luangwa Valley has long been known as one of Africa’s premier wildlife regions. Elephant, although slightly smaller than their southern African savannah counterparts, are plentiful, as are buffalo (in huge herds), kudu, waterbuck, puku, impala, bushbuck, warthog, and reedbuck. Giraffe, the Thornicrofts (endemic to the region), are commonly seen in the southern sector of the park, and the Cookson’s wildebeest in the northern sector of the park. However, the park is perhaps best known for its predator populations, in particular lion and leopard, the latter of which are seen three days out of four. The birdlife of the Luangwa is equally exceptional, with over half of the total Zambia species (around 700) being recorded here. Commonly sighted species include: crowned crane; carmine- and white-fronted bee-eaters; Lilian lovebird; purple-crested turaco; white-winged widow; paradise whydah; white-browed sparrow weaver; spoonbill; white-crowned and three-banded plover; striped, brown hooded, giant, pied and woodland kingfisher; knob-billed and white-faced duck; Egyptian and spurwing goose; yellow-billed, saddlebill and openbill storks.

Activities

Activities include game drives in South Luangwa National Park (day and night, access across the river by boat) and guided walking safaris, whilst cultural activities can also be arranged. In the wet season, boating is also possible on the Luangwa River subject to water levels.

Seasons

Chinzombo is open year round, though game viewing will be best from July to October.

Chinzombo accepts children of all ages but is a very upmarket and expensive camp and will therefore only appeal to families who are looking for that level of experience in Zambia. The family villa is fantastic with lots of space, but the bedrooms are not internally linked. We would therefore suggest the Chinzombo is a little more suitably for families with slightly older children.

Time + Tide, owners of Chinzombo, operate the Time + Tide Foundation which connects their lodges with neighbouring communities. The projects undertaken by the Foundation reinforce conservation, health and education in the areas they operate with their current focus being on the educational opportunities for girls and handicapped children.

They are creating support structures in Liuwa and the Lower Zambezi for female students and handicapped children. Girls clubs have been introduced in schools to build their self-confidence, reproductive health knowledge and English language skills. Through sponsorship programmes in secondary schools they aim to increase girls’ academic advancement in spite of community views towards female education.

The Foundation aims to promote a home-based care programme that provides community volunteers with the skills to support handicapped
children and so increasing the number of disabled children in formal education.

By working with parents, guardians and teachers to encourage a more open-minded approach to education, the Foundation hope to see 40% of all female students advance to secondary school and 70% of handicapped children in home-based programmes enrolled in primary schools.

ALTERNATIVE CAMPS IN THE LUANGWA VALLEY