Chiawa Camp & Old Mondoro - It's All About The People
It's that time again with the 2011 safari season well underway. Both Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro have their new teams well settled in, are both fully operational and already the season is looking great! Leopard at Old Mondoro, honey badgers in the kitchen, loads of lions at Chiawa with ele's swimming in front of camp at breakfast in the morning's golden light, ... who could ask for more. Oh yes, speaking of gold ...
Well what can I say ... I am overwhelmed having just returned from a very busy Indaba travel show with two fabulous awards in my arms - Best Safari Property in Africa and Best Safari Property in Southern Africa, as well as a wonderful accolade where I was Runner Up for Best Personal Contribution to Wildlife Conservation in Africa. Although neither camp won Best Guiding Team in Africa I was justifiably proud to see both Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro reach the short finals of this vital category - as you know, guiding is one of our priorities and one we don't skimp on at either camp.
And so, aside from my family and staff who deserve the lion's share of the credit for these accolades, I would like to thank all our very much appreciated supporters for their votes - Chiawa Camp, Old Mondoro and the Lower Zambezi National Park are most definitely on the map now if they weren't already. I am so proud especially looking at the quality of the finalists who we pipped to the post - click here for more info and some photos from the Good Safari Guide website.
Back to the camps, we now have the renowned Sacha and Tam well in place at Chiawa, along with Bren Graham, another Zimbo, ably assisting them. At Old Mondoro we have Beukes and Jacomine along with the rest of the team and of course the fabulous "terrible twins" guiding team of Levy & Morat pictured here ready for action. Let it be known that so far every guest who has visited Old Mondoro this season has seen leopard - no doubt Old Mondoro is one of Africa's top places to see this, the spotted "prince of Africa".
Chef Jeremy (of Californian repute) has been working long hours with our team of chefs, spending time at both camps refreshing the menus and improving skills, and already the praise is coming in. It's not all work of course but nothing worthwhile comes easy! Here he is photographed on a rare break, with Old Mondoro head chef Bauleni and assistant Richard.
It's also exam time so camp and the bush is abuzz with refresher courses and recurrent training, vital to keep our top guides at the top, with everyone vying to i.d. this plant, or argue that theory, catch each other out with tricky Latin names, like this of the Village Indigo Bird, one of my favourites Vidua Chalybeata.
There have been some changes at Conservation Lower Zambezi this year whereby Kerri recently left us for the greener pastures of Liuwa Plains, we shall certainly miss her and her efforts but in her place are the fantastic Beej and Sarah, photographed here gratefully receiving from us a donation via Christine and SidEcole of 125 school uniforms for the primary school children outside the national park. Please keep supporting CLZ as it is instrumental in keeping poaching down and our spirits up - a fabulous organization offering maximum bang for your conservation buck.
Enough for now, thanks again to you all for all your support in seeing Chiawa Camp win these two fabulous and very much appreciated awards - although I know we can improve in many areas and we are working on this all the time, we are so very proud. Thank you!!
Grant and the Chiawa Camp team.