Zambia (2): Day Nine : Sausage Tree Camp to Old Mondoro
From Sausage Tree we then moved on to our final destination in the Lower Zambezi – Old Mondoro. Set in a grove of Acacia trees on the banks of the Zambezi River, Old Mondoro () was originally established as a joint venture between the owners of Chiawa Camp and Sausage Tree Camp, but is now wholly owned by Chiawa.
Its aim is very much to create a 'back to the bush' ambiance to contrast with these camps' own unashamed luxury. There are some excellent walking areas right out of Camp, and more just a short drive away. It is unquestionably the best walking area in the Lower Zambezi.
Appropriately constructed of canvas and natural materials, the camp's tents (), which accommodate just 8 guests, have en-suite facilities with flush toilets, and canvas bucket showers () and washbasins. Paraffin lanterns provide natural lighting. The tents 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. The communal areas, however, are very comfortably appointed ().
During the day, however, as can be seen here, one (well, the writer actually) is somewhat exposed to whatever might decide to stroll through the camp (). In fact there was hardly a moment when elephant weren’t wandering about in the camp, and one rather got used to it.
On one occasion an elephant started to chase a member of the kitchen staff, who promptly legged it into the comparative safety of the kitchen area. “He knows you shouldn’t run”, commented the camp host. Hmmm. In addition to elephant, Norman, a somewhat tame hippo, was also a permanent camp resident.
Jack tried his hand, for one last time, at fishing from the very high river bank at this point, but without success. We then went on a late afternoon game drive, being rewarded with sightings of three giant eagle owls, carmine bee eaters, zebra, and a buffalo carcass (), complete with hooded vulture keeping a watching brief. We also passed the site of Kenneth Kaunda’s old house. During the night our stay was rounded off with a violent storm.
Although I was going on to Livingstone the next day, this was Jack’s final day out in Zambia. He had spent virtually his whole life fly-fishing, in various parts of the world, supporting this way of life by part-time cabbying in Boston, but had never visited Africa before.
During our stay we had, in total, one of the very best game-viewing experiences I’ve ever known, seeing virtually everything, from the very biggest big game down to the lowly ant-lion. On being asked what he thought about his trip, he muttered that it might have been better to forego some of the game viewing in favour of more fishing. Spoken like a true fly-fishing fanatic!
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