Chongwe River House - Lower Zambezi
Out of Africa, and out of this world! Chongwe River House is unique; a true one-of-a-kind. Crafted by renowned architect Neil Rocher, this is award-winning safari design at its finest. This stunning private house makes a significant and unique style statement, located approximately 1 km away from Chongwe River Camp on a quiet stretch of the river after which it was named.
Sleeping eight guests in four, huge en-suite bedrooms, Chongwe River House is inspired by the towering spires of termitariums, sprouting almost organically from the ground in a series of flowing curves and bends which evolve into open living spaces. The walls follow the natural lines of the branches used; tree trunks, lianas and branches seem to grow from the walls and blend effortlessly into seating and dining areas.
Beautifully soft colored pebbles from the Chongwe River have been embedded in the ceilings.
The Chongwe area is famous for huge male elephants and from the bedrooms, the sitting room and the deck you will have game in view, feeding, drinking and playing, along and often in, the River.
Chongwe River House has its own safari guide and game viewing vehicle, allowing for exclusive activities to be offered to guests. With a dedicated house manager, a team of chefs and a full complement of support staff, Chongwe River House is perfect for families or groups wanting an exclusive and luxurious safari experience.
The four bedroomed house has been built around a frame of wild wood with ferro walls following the natural lines of the branches. All the furniture in the sitting room has been carved from a single fallen winterthorn tree and colored pebbles from the river decorate the ceilings. Nature has been brought into the house. On entering the house, the main room is open to the spectacular view and with a tinkling water feature, brings the sense of the River indoors. From this room you look out over the deck and pool to the river and mountains beyond.
The bedrooms, equipped with either king-size or twin beds under huge mosquito nets, are arranged on two floors and have their own private outdoor sitting area.
Bathtubs on the upper floor, allow bathers to completely immerse themselves in the wilderness experience. Innovative 'waterfall' showers on the upper floor echo the waterfalls of the upper river, whilst guests on the lower floor can enjoy the experience of 'rainfall' showers.
As guests at the house a private vehicle, boat, canoes, guide and armed scout for walking safaris are completely at your disposal. All activities and times are tailor made to suit you so you can choose to do as much or as little as you like, when you like.
The location of the house is superb. The Chongwe River, a quiet tributary to the Zambezi, borders the Lower Zambezi National Park offering 4000 square kilometers of pristine wilderness that teems with game.
Game drives, river safaris, canoeing, walking and, of course, fishing, are also offered. And for those interested in the rich cultural heritage of the area, community visits can be arranged.
Many guests are happy to spend the day chilling on the deck. The chances are you will see elephant wandering around the grounds or crossing the river. Impala, kudu and many other species come to the water to drink. If you sit long enough, all Africa will come to you.
At just over 4000 square kilometers, the Lower Zambezi National Park stretches in a narrow swathe from the Chongwe River in the west to the Luangwa River in the east. The area was declared a National Park in 1983 and today remains one of the few pristine wilderness areas left in Africa.
Opposite the Mana Pool Reserve on the Zimbabwe side there is an escarpment along the northern end which acts as a physical barrier to most of the Park's animal species. Enormous herds of elephant are often seen at the river's edge. 'Island hopping' buffalo and waterbuck are common. There are good predator populations with sightings of lion and leopard a regular occurrence.
Rich in biodiversity, there are a number of biomes, or eco-systems in the park, ranging from montane thickets on the slopes of the escarpment to Miombo woodlands, grassy floodplains and riparian forests. Birdlife in the area is also outstanding, making this a real hotspot for ornithologists.
With the National Park and mighty Zambezi River, Chongwe is able to offer guests an unparalleled variety of activities to make the most of this truly stunning location.
The house is totally private and comes with private guide and activities.
Timings of the day from wake up, meal times and game viewing are totally flexible. We all know the food likes and dislikes of children are key to a happy holiday. Our team of chefs are happy to produce child friendly dishes at times to suit.
This makes the house perfect for a family holiday with youngsters or simply for groups travelling together.
There is no need to worry about strict schedules, noise levels or leaving the unfinished board game out on the table.
With open views of the magical Chongwe River and dramatic mountainous escarpment beyond, dining at Chongwe River House is a magical experience.
Whether seated at the magnificent, hand-carved dining table in the main area or on the deck, al fresco under a canopy of stars, the senses are heightened as you enjoy a wide variety of delicious meals using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. All prepared by your very own team of Chefs!
Our highly trained, local Chefs are more than happy to cater for any special dietary requirements you may have. If your food preferences or requirements could be considered out of the ordinary (vegetarian, vegan, gluten, dairy free etc.) then we do ask that you inform us in advance of your arrival.
Guests at Chongwe River House enjoy a completely tailor made and exclusive experience with meal times arranged to suit.
Depending on the time of year and choice of activities a suggested itinerary is as follows.
Breakfast 6.00am - 7.00am. Watch the hippos stir and early morning game drinking from the river bank in front of you while you sip hot coffee and enjoy a light breakfast buffet.
Brunch 11.30am - 12.30pm. After returning from your morning activity a buffet brunch is served. Join your guide and fellow guests to share tales of the morning’s adventures.
High Tea 3.30pm - 4.00pm. Meet for drinks and a delicious, freshly baked treat before setting off on your afternoon activity
Dinner 7.30pm - 8.00pm. After pre-dinner drinks and canapés around the roaring fire, guests are seated for a delicious three course dinner served al fresco.
Private House 4 bedrooms (8 beds)
2015 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Safari House in Africa, runner up
2014 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Safari House in Africa, highly commended
2014 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Value Safari Property, highly commended
2013 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Safari House in Africa, winner
2011 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Safari House in Africa, winner
2010 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Safari House in Africa, runner up
2010 - Good Safari Guide Awards, Best Safari Property in East Africa, finalist
2009 - Amarula Awards, Best retreat in Africa
2009 - Amarula Awards, Best designer retreat in Africa
2009 - Zambia Tourism Awards, best Safari Accommodation
2009 - Tablet Hotels, top 10, Chongwe River House
2008 - Elite Traveler, top 100 suites, Albida Suite
2008 - Tatler Travel Guide, top 101 best Extreme Architecture, Chongwe River House
2007 - Conde Nast Traveler, Hot List, Chongwe River House
2007 - Tatler Travel Guide, top 101, best Private Party, Chongwe River House