Another Robin Pope property, designed by Neil Rocher and located in Lower Zambezi National Park, Time + Tide Chongwe River House is attractive, idiosyncratic and somewhat reminiscent of the organic rural structures of pre-Roman northern Europe.
Opened in April 2006, situated on the banks of Chongwe river, in the shade of a winterthorn and ebony grove, the house is built from a mix of concrete, stone, 25 dead leadwood trees and thatch. Seen from the river, it is striking: a thick-set thatched roof with an attractive finish sits on walls that bulge, twist and point – the intention being to reflect the shape and growth of a termite mound, and to mimic the shape of surrounding trees.
food and service
Time + Tide Chongwe River House comes complete with its own private chef and house service.
Divided into a main room, kitchen, outdoor patio, swimming pool and 4 bedrooms, the house’s design aims to avoid doors, corners, straight lines and flat vertical surfaces. The main room consists of a sitting room and dining area, and is purposely vast. Characterised by an open staircase, exposed wood features – the dining table support is an unfinished winterthorn trunk – and by a mix of local textiles and specially commissioned sculptures, the room is partly without an outside wall; a meeting of technology with nature. This feeling is further reinforced by the sight of low bridges over flowing water, and by the fact that it is easy to look from here, over the deck and pool, to the river and mountains beyond.
Continuing Time + Tide Chongwe River House’s design motifs, the ground floor bedrooms are accessed by means of a tunnel, and the sense of burrowing is accentuated by the curved corridors, which also provide the necessary privacy; we were serious about the no door rule. Relief is provided by the fact that, like the main room, the rooms are open fronted – nature has been allowed inside.
Each room consists of a four poster bed, comfortable seating, room enough in which to change, a terrace and a separate bathroom. Simple, elegant and fun, the rooms are wonderful, and a special mention goes to the baths, which are carved by the renowned Zambian sculptor, Eddie Mumba. Internet access is available in the camp, but speeds, naturally, can vary day to day.
Activities include wildlife drives, guided walks, boat trips, fishing, bush picnics, bird watching and canoeing. Designed for family stays, and complete with its own guide, Time + Tide Chongwe River House is a very private accommodation.
In early 2016, the Time + Tide Foundation partnered with Barefeet Theatre to create a conservation-focused drama group at Chitende School. Through theatre, students explore the conservation challenges in the Lower Zambezi with the aim to educate their peers on how to be proactive, appreciative environmental citizens.
In 2017, the Time + Tide Foundation began sponsoring an environmental education outreach progamme in the Eastern and Western areas of the Chiawa GMA. Managed by Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), a non-profit organisation focused on anti-poaching and education, this programme reaches over 380 students across 10 schools. The students are taught about the responsibilities of conservation organisations and the illegal activities in the Lower Zambezi such as poaching, over-fishing and habitat loss.