Changa Safari Camp - a natural indulgence

Wild Zambezi • 1 December 2020

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At Wild Zambezi we pride ourselves on being personally familiar with the travel opportunities that we promote, and, as huge fans of Lake Kariba, we are frequent visitors, enjoying the wonderful water wilderness of the lake either on a cruiseboat or at one of the safari camps in the Matusadona National Park.

So it was a great pleasure to spend two wonderful nights at the end of a very hot boat trip in early November 2020, experiencing the luxury of Changa Safari Camp at the eastern end of this magnificent National Park.

We had previously paid a fleeting lunch visit to this lovely, intimate, tented camp a few years ago, but have never had the priviledge of a longer stay.  In daytime temperatures well over 40oC, I can tell you that the comfort of a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the lake and the Matusadona mountains, ice-cold drinks to order, crisp cotton sheets and the whirr of two overhead fans in our expansive, en-suite luxury safari tent, was just what was needed!

But there was much more to admire at Changa…

Little touches that impressed us:-  
•    A cool Kenyan cotton kikoi (wrap), thoughtfully laid out on the bed for each guest, provided the perfect solution to the heat day and night.  Soak this and live in it for your entire stay is our recommendation!

•    A system of water sprinklers discreetly placed in the natural mopane woodland outside each tented suite, provides a soothing, cooling atmosphere and attracts all manner of beautiful woodland birds during the day (as well as the occasional Vervet Monkey bent on vandalising the sprinkler pipes!)  Quiet moments seated on the deck (or in a hammock) outside your room with your binoculars or camera to hand are very rewarding and highly recommended.

•    Each tented suite has an indoor and outdoor shower and a luxurious, private outdoor bath.  While I can fully believe that a piping hot, candle-lit bubble-bath is the height of romance on a cool winter’s night at Changa, in the heat of summer, it is just as refreshing and romantic with the water luke warm!

•    Changa prides itself on its minimalistic ecological footprint, and we were impressed by the fact that even in high temperatures, the extensive solar energy system coped admirably with fans, lights, water pumps and ice-makers. Gas geysers provide ample hot water on demand. 

•    The swimming pool (with nearby bar) is a central focal point for the camp, especially in the heat.  This has been designed as an infinity pool with spectacular views over the lake and the mountains.  You can lounge in the pool and watch elephant groups pass by, on their way to the water in the creek below the camp.

•    A highlight is the “swinging double-bed loungers” discreetly and privately placed in little nooks around the pool area, inviting hours of total indulgence with a good book, a pair of binoculars and a camera to hand.  I could have stayed there all day!

•    The expansive, en-suite tented rooms are set into deeply shaded natural mopane woodland at a discreet distance from each other and all with an unfenced outlook towards the shoreline and the lake beyond.  Access is via wooden walkways raised slightly above ground as a safety measure.   Elephants and other wild animals can (and do) wander through at will, so one has to exercise caution when moving around (and an armed guide will escort guests to and from their tents at night).

•    The spa is a brand new addition to the camp, and is located in a simple airy tent set privately in woodland with lovely views towards the lakeshore.  By all accounts, it is already being much appreciated by incoming guests looking to completely unwind with an indulgent massage, manicure or pedicure.  I’m certain it is set to become a very popular feature of the camp. 

An undeniable highlight at Changa Safari Camp is the high quality of the meals.  The management are justifiably proud of their Italian-trained head chef, Tanaka, who adds a delectably high international standard of cuisine to the overall luxury safari experience at this lovely camp.  

Tanaka himself appears at each evening meal to welcome guests personally.  He describes in passionate detail how the delicious creations of the evening’s meal have been concocted, and his infectious culinary enthusiasm for the intricacies of his art cannot fail to impress!  His talent (and that of his supporting staff) is undeniable. You will not be disappointed.

Safari activities are not included in the nightly rates under the current circumstances, but high quality guiding with excellent local knowledge (on land or on the water) is there when it's needed.

We opted to indulge ourselves and enjoyed a leisurely, hosted sunset cruise one evening and a game drive with sundowners along the shoreline of the National Park, the next. There were lots of shoreline birds, buffalo in the distance, elephants on the foreshore  and even a pair of hyenas to catch our attention.  It was too hot for a guided walk at this time of the year, but I’m sure that this is a very rewarding activity with a knowledgeable guide. 

Don’t expect to be constantly connected to the internet at Changa Safari Camp.  The cellphone network and wi-fi signal can be erratic on Lake Kariba.  Instead, give yourself a rest – let your quiet self become immersed in the peace and tranquillity of these lovely, natural surroundings.  Let the birdsong in, listen out for the crack of a branch in the woodland – something small (or big) may be quietly watching as you pass by - enjoy the deep, rumble of elephants as they contentedly communicate with each other on the foreshore of the lake, enjoy the tinkle of ice-cubes in your gin and tonic, and bask in the golden glow of Lake Kariba’s famous sunrises and sunsets.  

Oh.. and don’t miss the entrancing little bushbaby family who live in the roof of the bar by day and hop about in the woodland at night… cuteness personified!

The management of Changa Camp and its extremely attentive staff have definitely raised the Lake Kariba safari experience to a new level of luxury and comfort. Reconnecting with Nature is always good for the soul. Changa allows you to do this with simple indulgence!  

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