Where to stay
(3 chalets) Gwembe Safaris, PO Box 630162, Choma; tel: 032 20169/20021/20119; fax: 032 20054/20570.
The cream-painted chalets that currently comprise Lake View are simply furnished with twin beds (linen supplied; up to two additional beds can be added on request), a low table and chairs and en-suite shower, with ceiling fans to help out the breeze coming off the lake. Each has a secluded, airy terrace that looks straight over the lake towards Chete Island. Lawns lead down to the reed-fringed lakeshore, backed by large boulders that shelter a small sandy beach.
At present, Lake View is suitable only for those who are self catering, with braai facililties and an attractive eating area, with trestle tables, stone pots and cooling ceiling fans. There's a camping area for up to 10–15 people. It's quiet and laid back, a place to unwind, with just reed cormorants and lizards for company.
A further three chalets are planned, set further back, but each still with a view over the lake. There are also plans to install a manager here, with the aim of offering dinner, bed and breakfast. At the same time, it is hoped to offer a number of excursions, including lunch on one of the islands on the lake, fishing, and canoeing. There's a boat-launching area, for which a small launch fee is charged.
Lake View is about 1km from Sinazongwe and is clearly signposted.Clubhouse
(2 rooms, dormitory) and Guesthouse (2 houses) Siansowa. For bookings, contact Lwiimbo Lwa Zambezi Safaris Ltd. Email: 2MAAZE@bushmail.net
Worth considering for a quiet weekend, both the Clubhouse and the Guesthouse are on the shores of the lake, some way from Sinazongwe. To get there, take the Maamba turn-off at Batoka, go past the Sinazongwe turn-off for about 30km where (about 2km before Maamba) you will find a good dirt road to the left with a signpost saying 'Maaze Holdings/Zongwe Farming'. Follow this road (and the signposts) for about 30km until you reach Siansowa.
The Clubhouse caters for backpackers and currently has two double rooms and a dormitory which sleeps six, with more accommodation being added. All the buildings have been constructed in the traditional way – pole and dagga with thatched roofs and decorated with natural 'paints'. The self-catering kitchen is equipped with an electric stove, fridge and freezer. There's a newly completed swimming pool and a bar with a spectacular 200-degree view over the lake.
The more upmarket Guesthouse caters for families and those with a larger budget. The two houses are in fairly close proximity to each other, so they come as a unit. The larger of the two consists of a lounge (complete with DStv) and dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom with separate toilet and three bedrooms (two doubles and one twin). The other house has a kitchen, bathroom and three bedrooms, sleeping six. Another house will be added in the very near future, and this one can be booked separately. There's a swimming pool which is partially shaded by some enormous trees, and the entire area is lawned, making it cool during the hot months.
Fridges in the houses are stocked with drinks prior to arrival; visitors pay for what they have used – prices are reasonable. Alternatively, you can wander up to the bar at the Clubhouse. A cook is available for basic meals and there are staff to clean the houses, make beds etc.
Boat-launching facilities are on site, and you can hire a boat or bring your own. There are also tours of the crocodile farm (US$5), game walks on Maaze Island (US$20 including transfer by boat). In the pipeline are sunset cruises, mokoro trips and a visit to a kapenta rig at night. Or you can take a night away from the mainland and camp on one of the islands (US$25 including transport and dinner).
The islands are either Maaze Island or Mashapi Island which are both privately owned and have recently been stocked with game. Already there are various antelope there, zebras, monkeys and baboons – and elephants have made their own way over. There are plans to add buffalo.
A new campsite on the lake, owned by the Houseboat Company, is said to be opening during 2004; details will shortly be on www.houseboatcompany.com.Houseboats
Although most houseboats are hired from Siavonga, there is a company based in Sinazongwe that runs trips on large boats for groups of people:Houseboat Company
Tel/fax: 01 223608 or 03 323496, cell: 091 254196; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.houseboatcompany.com
The company operates two houseboats, one accommodating up to 30 people, and one up to 18, both in air-conditioned rooms, most of which have en-suite facilities. Boats operate out of Sinazongwe, with most trips lasting 48 hours. Boat hire from US$800 per day, self catering (there's a cook on board, but bring your own food); full catering services are now available as well.