(8 chalets) G&G Safaris, PO Box 30972, Lusaka; tel: 01 261588; fax: 01 262683; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.chiawa.com
Chiawa is a small, friendly, and highly efficient camp set beneath a grove of mahogany trees, about 8km (30 minutes' drive) inside the national park. Being in the park, Chiawa is a seasonal camp used only during the dry season, so is mostly built of wood and reeds, giving it a pleasantly rustic air. Its rooms are well spaced, insect-proof, Meru-style tents on raised timber decks facing the river, with solar lighting and en-suite facilities – flush toilets and hot showers – at the back. Several have double beds, the rest twin. Central to the camp is a lounge/bar area of dark-wood construction, with a small library of books and magazines, while above is a second comfortable seating and viewing area. Meals are taken in the open air to the front, overlooking the river.
There are two ways of getting to the camp from Lusaka: by road transfer (2 hours) and then motorboat (a further 11/2 hours) which is fun, or by flying (40 minutes) into either Jeki or Royal airstrip, each about an hour's drive away. Private flights from elsewhere, including the Luangwa, can also be organised.
A full range of activities is offered here, from walking safaris and 4WD trips (including night drives), to motorboat trips and short canoe trips along the river – and the team are notably flexible about arranging activities around their guests. Chiawa has also maintained a top reputation for serious fishing trips for tiger fish, though only a few of its visitors just want to fish. For those choosing to while away a few hours in camp, there's a high viewing platform overlooking the river.
In 2003, out of about 200 game-viewing days, the camp had 251 separate sightings of lion, 23 of wild dog and 157 of leopard (about half of these were in daylight hours); unusually, there were even two sightings of aardvark. This is a very good record, but typical of what a top private camp with good guides can achieve in Zambia.
On a broader front, as part of its commitment to the development of conservation education, Chiawa has recently agreed to fund the education of orphans in one of the area's primary schools, a programme which it plans to extend in future. Chiawa is run by a family team and has carved out a reputation as one of Zambia's top camps.