Chongwe River Camp

Fishing Vacation in the Zambezi National Park

Trip Summary

Destination Lower Zambezi National Park on the confluence of the Chongwe/Zambezi Rivers
Country Zambia
Season Low: April, May, June & Nov | Mid: July & Oct | High: Aug to Sept
Trip Type Tented suites on the Chongwe River, a tributary of the Zambezi
Species Tigerfish ~ Tilapia ~ Bream ~ Catfish, known as 'Vundu' to the local
Description Fish in style on the Zambezi
Cost April, May and Nov: USD $695 pppn | June – Oct: $850 pppn
Duration 5 Days, 6 Nights

View the Chongwe Video

Trip Introduction

Lower Zambezi National Park - at just over 4000 square kilometres, the Lower Zambezi National Park stretches in a narrow swathe from the Chongwe river in the west to the Luangwa river in the east. Rich in biodiversity, there are a number of biomes, or eco-systems in the park, ranging from montane thickets on the slopes of the escarpment to miombo woodlands, grassy floodplains and riparian forests.

Like the adjacent Chiawa Partnership Park, the Lower Zambezi National Park is home to all of the major species in the valley with excellent sightings of elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard a regular occurence. Birdlife in the area is also outstanding, making this a real hotspot for ornithologists.

Chongwe River Camp offers a range of game activities in the park including full-day pinic trips, canoeing and fishing excursions. A policy of non-intrusive enjoyment of wildlife and low environmental impact has helped to make the Lower Zambezi valley one of southern Africa’s premier game viewing destinations. Add to this the amazing fauna and flora found in and on the banks of Africa’s fourth largest river, and you begin to understand why this amazing wilderness is so special. Activities are tailored to make the most of this incredibly diverse wilderness. Game viewing can be done from a vehicle in either the Lower Zambezi National Park or the Chiawa Partnership Park or, if you prefer, from a boat on the Zambezi. For those interested in the rich cultural heritage of the area, community visits can be arranged.

The Fishing

When it comes to fishing, Chongwe is tiger country! The Lower Zambezi is home to the tiger fish, nicknamed the “water dog,” whose sharp teeth are matched only by its fighting spirit and reputation as one of the world’s top game fish. At Chongwe River Camp we offer our guests the chance to head out onto the river in search of this formidable combatant, operating a strict catch-and-release policy in order to preserve stocks of this incredible fish.

Alternatively, you can try your hand at bream fishing on the Chongwe river itself, where a limited catch can be brought back to camp and served up with a delicious lemon butter sauce!

Fishing can be combined with game activities and all equipment is provided, with both conventional tackle and entry level fly rods available. We recommend serious fly fisherman should bring their own tackle. Please contact us for specifications and recommendations.

Each boat has its own guide and will always have a cooler box stocked with cold drinks. Boats normally leave the lodge around 5.30-6.00am, but you can arrange specific times with your guide to suit your needs. The hottest hours of the day are between midday and 2.00-3.00pm so anglers are encouraged to rest at the time, especially during the sweltering months of September and October. Boats will leave again from 3pm onwards and stay on the water until sun down.

Anglers will also be a fishing game drive. You will set out with your guide on a safari vehicle loaded with your tackle and head up the Chongwe River. The Camp has exclusive rights to Bream fishing on the river and apart from the Elephants behind in the bush you will have the spot to yourselves. The guides will bring bait for you and all one needs to do is sit or stand on the banks and cast out in front, into pools heavily stocked full of Bream.

Enjoy a sun down drink with your rod in Head back to camp via the notorious ‘Leopard spotting tree’ and hope to catch a glimpse of the spectacular cat. Return to camp.

The Accommodation

The tents are light, airy and spacious with either a single king-sized or two single beds. Each of Chongwe River Camp’s nine standard tents is equipped with enough luxuries to ensure your stay in the bush is exceptional.

Cotton linens, local textiles and hand-crafted furniture blend seamlessly with organic fittings and fixtures, all designed to make the most of what Mother Nature has provided, including the incredible views.

All of the tents are under thatch, ensuring maximum coolness in the heat of the day. Each has a large ‘outdoor’ bathroom with hot and cold running water, shower, toilet, vanity unit and dressing area with a wardrobe and full-length mirror. The tents also have their own private verandas overlooking the river, making them an ideal place for relaxation and contemplation of Africa’s wonderful wilderness. There are private suites available on request for families or private couples.

There is a large open sandy area on which the braai pit and dining areas lie. There is an undercover bar and seating area for use during the rainy season. There is a pool for guests to use and wi-fi is available in the bar area.

A full choice of breakfasts is available from 5.30am onwards and your guide will be waiting for you once you are finished.

Travel Plan

Day 1: Flights usually arrive into the airstrip at approx. 2pm and from here it is a 10-15 minute drive to the lodge. Arrive and met by lodge manager who will give you an introduction to the lodge and show you to your rooms. You can opt to relax for the rest of the day, or head straight out onto the water with your private guide and boat.

Day 2: Fishing every day, starting from 5.30/6am each morning. Arrange times with your private guides throughout the day and choose which parts of the river you wish to fish. Activities are included in your stay and you can choose at any time to have a break from fishing and join a game drive, go canoeing or take your boat for a game cruise on the river until sun down.

Final Day: Depart lodge in the morning by jeep to the airstrip, where you will board a small plane back to Lusaka.

What Does it Cost?

DURATION 5 Days, 6 Nights
COST April, May and Nov: USD $695 pppn | June – Oct: $850 pppn
OCCUPANCY Cost based on Double Occupancy
INCLUDED Accommodation, Activities, Laundry, House Wines, Local beverages, Transfers to and from camp to RZL airstrip, All meals.
NOT INCLUDED International airfares to and Lusaka Airport and flights to the Royal Airstrip, tipping, passports, visas, meals other than in camp, premium beverages,costs associated with medical advice and medications for your trip, lures, fishing tackle etc.

Seasonal Costs:
April, May & November: USD $695 pppn based on double occupancy + $100 pppn National Park Fees and Community Development Levy.
June – October: USD $850 pppn based on double occupancy + $100 pppn National Park Fees and Community Development Levy.

All costs are charged in US dollars and payments made in any other currency will be adjusted at the exchange rate at time of payment. A 50% deposit is required to reserve places when booking. The remaining payment is due 90 days before arrival in Zambia.

Airports: Anglers must travel to Lusaka International Airport, Zambia. British Airways and South African Airways operate flights to the airport from all major cities, via O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, SA. From here, you must catch a small plane, PROFLIGHT ZAMBIA offers flights into the LZNP and onto the Royal Air Strip, used by Chongwe. These flights can be booked online. Current airport departure taxes – International approx. ($30), Domestic ($10)

Health Information: Travellers must note that on entering Zambia immigration, you may be asked to present a vaccination bulletin showing an up to date YELLOW FEVER vaccine. This is now law in Zambia. The Lower Zambezi is a malaria affected area so appropriate prophylaxis is advisable.

Visas: At point of entry into Zambia, you will be required to buy a tourist Visa. A single entry is approx. 50$USD and a doube entry visa is 80$USD. Please visit the Zambian Immigration website for more information and fees.

Clothing: Layers are most practical for the fluctuating day/night temperatures of the Lower Zambezi Valley. Dull and/or neutral colours are more suitable for safari; white is definitely not practical, and black and dark blues can attract tsetse flies. Don’t bring too much – laundry is available in the camp – and there is a strict 15kg limit for baggage on light planes. It is best to pack hardy, durable clothing in a soft bag rather than a suitcase. Soft bags are also essential on light planes.

Zambia’s elevation on a plateau gives it a moderate to tropical climate with three distinct seasons: December to April is warm and wet, May to August (winter): cool and dry, September to November: hot and dry. Average summer temperatures range from 25 to 35 deg C and winter from 6 to 24 deg C.

Time: Zambia is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 7 hours ahead of Eastern USA time and 10 hours ahead of Pacific and Western time.

Don’t forget: to bring – cameras and binoculars, plenty of spare film or digital memory, spare camera batteries and recharger. The camp has an inverter, so recharging in the evening from the generator is possible.


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