Chikwenya, set among a thick forest of albida and Natal mahogany trees, is comprised of seven timber and canvas tents (two of which are family units) raised on wooden decks, a lounge, dining and bar area, pool and decking. Reopened in October 2018, this camp is intimate and very much focused on the staggering range of wildlife that surrounds it, and which will use it as a route from A to B, elephant included.
Food & service
The food at Chikwenya is seriously impressive. Brunch – think full English and homemade burgers – is taken after the morning wildlife drive, and is followed by light snacks and tea during the afternoon. The evening meal, which is eaten communally, rotates regularly, but expect a mixture of roasted vegetables and filling stews.
The seven tents are characterised by hazel tones and mahogany furnishings; the king sized four-poster bed and giant windows dominate the room, yet there is still space for a few cushioned wooden chairs. Locally handcrafted bedside lamps add an extra touch of care to the rooms, and the open plan bathroom has a tub and indoor/outdoor shower. Please note that, due to the camp’s remote location, there is no Wi-Fi available.
Activities include day and night wildlife drives, kayaking, boating, catch-and-release fishing, sunset cruises, and guided walks. Expect sightings of leopard, lion, slender mongoose, impala and hippo, alongside some outstanding birdlife; the collared palm-thrush and white-fronted bee-eater are colourful residents of the area. The pool, surrounded by wooden deckchairs, is an ideal spot from which to quietly observe the comings and goings of much of the above.
Chikwenya has partnered with NGO Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) to encourage care and conservation of the endangered wild dog in Mana Pools National Park and its surroundings. The fruitful partnership has focused on research and community education, while the lodge has built bomas to house relocated wild dogs and boost the local population.