Camping next to the zambezi River





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  1. #1
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    Default Camping next to the zambezi River

    Hi all
    I am in the process of doing research on starting up a camp along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.
    The camp will be for 4x4ers and fisherman alike.
    This survey will help me in providing a camp for everybodys needs.

    Please answer questions or add where you feel necessary.

    • What are the basic amenities/facilities you require at a camp?
    • Do you require power points? (type)
    • Area required for per camp site.
    • Firewood required?
    • Why do you go camping? (relaxing, bird and wild life viewing, fishing etc)
    • What rate are you prepared to pay for camp site (per person, per vehicle, rate, currency, cash on arrival, pre-booked)
    • What would you like to do while camping (village tours, guided fishing trips, game viewing)

    Please keep in mind that I would like to keep the camp as green and enviromentally friendly as possible and keeping the area as natural as possible.

    Thank you for your input as it will be of great assistance in developing an efficient camp site.

    Regards
    Marius

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    1-Shade,level ground,secure,hot water,boat launch.
    2-yes.If its a problem have freezing facility available.
    3-2 vechiles with trailers
    4-yes
    5-Fishing,game viewing,relaxing,birding
    6-Depends on what you are offering.Kruger park rates for guide.
    7-Fishing with my own boat.Game viewing.

  3. #3
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    Marius, although probably not feasable at this stage, it would be interesting to know which area you are looking at. I would guess near Chirundu?

    *Basic amenities: Shady trees, flush toilets and hot showers if possible, donkey for hot water, braai places, taps and dish washing facilities, potable water.

    *Power points not absolutely needed but handy.

    *Campsites at least 100-200m apart for privacy.

    *Firewood, good security, efficient camp attendants major plusses.

    *Presence of wildlife and birds a definate +.

    *Convenient access to good fishing and boat with expert skipper +.

    *Costs: Depends on facilities, about 10-20 US$ pppd. Fishing and guides not too expensive, rate depends on how good the fishing is. Mix of pre-booking and unbooked.

    *Activities: Not vital depending on environment. Birding, game drives, guided or unguided. River trips on barge or smaller boats.

    The natural beauty, privacy and the amount of wildlife and birds in and around camps would be the major attractions!

    Good luck in your venture and keep us posted.
    Stanley Weakley.
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    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

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    IMHO you have two sets of people to which you must choose to cater for 1) forigners and wealthy who require hot showers,airconditioned chalets,5 star food thus this type of clientel only comes in drips and drabs. (2) your std person who wants nature ie a hot shower,clean bungalow or camp site, flush or long drop loo,braai area,gas lamps in bungalows,fenced off area for safety of guests or make sure they pay on arrival,game drives,bird walks ,river fishing and river booze cruse/ river tour,no elect just a donkey boiler and NO BLOODY GENERATOR
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  5. #5
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    Thanks all for the very positive and informative replies.
    All suggestions will be taken into consideration.
    I am planning a camp at the Matetsi and Zambezi river confluence, upstream from the Deka river.

    I already have some fishing chalets at Msuna for a different type of clientel, however 4x4ers are always welcome (not a camping site)
    Visit my site www.ndabiri.com

    Please keep more suggestions/information coming in.

    Marius

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    Link not working
    Alan


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  7. #7
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    Try this one

    http://www.ndabiri.com/#

  8. #8
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    Thanks Marius. So if this were established it would be an ideal spot to include in a trip to Hwange or if looking for somewhere to stay in relation to the Kariba ferry at Milibizi?

    Sounds like a promising prospect to me. People in the industry tell me that the numbers of self drivers and campers are increasing markedly in your neighboring countries. With some changes in Zimbabwe it would probably show the most growth in this segment of the tourism industry.

    It probably does not have to be too fancy and I echo--- no generators.
    Stanley Weakley.
    Toyota Landcruiser 76SW 4,2L diesel.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-6-SLOW-DONKEY
    OR
    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  9. #9
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    Hi Maruis,
    Great idea

    During Sept our group stayed in your chalets at MsunaReally great and the staff was very helpfulBeautiful place

    Keep us informed with the development of your campsite

    Regards,
    Frans
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    Hi Marius

    We stayed at Ndabiri in December, and I just want to say thank you. It's an absolute gorgeous place. The chalets are stunning, everything was great. Thanks for your spot on directions too. Will definitely be back. Richard and Yolande Malan.

  11. #11
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    Default Ndabiri - Msuna

    Hi Richard and Yolande

    I'm really glad you enjoyed your stay and thanks for the feedback. It will be great to have you both back again.

    Regards
    Marius

  12. #12
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    Default For Marius re building camp site on the Zambezi

    Hi Marius, I will be staying with you in August before catching the ferry to Kariba and was very interested to hear of your campsite idea. There is a real need for more campsites in your part of the world, especially ones that are not only stop overs but overlanding destinations in their own right. A place to relax and unwind, with things to do and a base to explore. The way I see it, destination campsites will become the ever increasing way of opening up more of Southern and East Africa especially to overlanding locals, many of whom like myself have probably also given up on holiday cottages in remoter local destinations because of the plunder and pillage culture. We took up overlanding because we became tired of travelling 700 km to identify pieces of the same old family hand me down cutlery at the same police station almost every year and to replace again and again the same back window, burglar guard and mosquito screen.
    From my Southern Africa overlanding experiences so far as well as Kruger experiences there are to my mind a couple of essentials for a camp in order to be a successful long term business.
    1 – The individual camp sites need to be sufficiently generous in size and sufficiently far apart to provide adequate privacy and ideally should each have some view of interest which is more than watching ants falling into lion ant, holes. From a commercial perspective the temptation is to squeeze in as many camp sites as possible and any old how on the land available. Pretoriuskop, Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge camps in Kruger are classic examples. Cape Vidal could also be thrown into this category. It really does start to become ridiculous. Rather err the other way if anything. A healthy business is one that does regular and repeat business and grows by word of mouth advertising. Better to have less campsites that are regularly used and by repeat campers and for longer periods than more campsites that wind up being sporadically used for short periods and more out of necessity than by choice.
    2 – Ground water from rain and especially sustained rain and storms needs to be managed properly and sorted out from the start. Life as you know it and your camp site ambitions will be over if you have a rain drenched SWAMBO standing in 2 feet of water outside her tent with nowhere to go. Some recent examples are the flooding of the Letaba Camp site in Kruger two weeks ago. Some tents were standing in deep pools of water. Last year the same thing happened at the Mata Mata campsite in the Kgalagadi. When I first stayed at Tsendzi camp site in Kruger which is on very flat ground there was evidence of slight but definite mounds having been created on the campsite areas using local clean white river sand. Clearly the idea must have been to clear rain water away and off the camp sites on all four sides and to solve the mud problem. Hassle is that this needs to be redone from time to time which appears not to be happening now. At a camp site at Pilansberg during a storm a small river developed and started running right through the middle of our camp site area and passed under the tent. After the storm on closer inspection it was clear it was an established natural water channel area. Why put a camp site there? While the other camp sites at Borakalalo in the RSA are fine there is one which should be a tourist attraction. Slightest rain it turns into a water hole. Balule camp site in Kruger is on a gradual slope which helps but there the natural water flow, catchment and channel areas were identified and wide shallow brick and cement channels were built which helps to collect and channel the ground water off the camp ground as efficiently as possible. So I would suggest before mapping out any camp sites wait for a deluge of rain, identify and metal stake the natural catchment and runoff channels, and the areas where water pools and dams. Then as a first priority and project I suggest get control over the ground water and how to effectively move it all off the total camping ground area as efficiently as possible and make sure the camping site areas are not on water catchment areas or straddle any natural drainage and channel areas. Lightly mounding each actual camp site area, if clean river sand is available may also be an idea . Otherwise if the capital is available one could think about putting in minimum 4m x 4m slightly raised brick paving/cement slab areas in the ideal spot in each camp site to put a tent but this is not essential. The river sand strategy is probably better. Following on from this forget about trying to grass the camp sites especially where tents are going to go. It will be a losing battle from the start and every tent these days has a built in ground sheet.
    3 – Protection from the sun and the provision of shade. Put up a tent in the sun even with a shade net/gazebo/silver sheet over it in October where you are and try to have an afternoon sleep in it from 2p to 4pm. Imagine you have also just driven 600km or so. Have a few beers as well just before getting in. Just make sure you have some buddies watching you so they can pull you out before you need professional treatment. It should not take long. The issue of the sun and shade from then on will remain permanently embedded in your mind in any camp site design exercise. In solving the problem bear in mind that camping directly under trees is not really a good idea unless absolutely necessary. Anything of animal or plant origin that falls from a tree, besides for possibly causing direct damage or stains to tents will more often than not be acidic in nature and will cause longer term damage to tent material. So tree shade, unless the trees are absolute monsters, is only good until about 10 am or after 3-4pm depending on where you situate the tent near to a tree. Therefore each camp site ideally needs a man-made refuge from the sun which may as well serve as a refuge from rain as well. A good example of this are the sufficiently large, gumpole and wood slat sided, open A-frame structures erected on raised cement bases at camp sites on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi and in other adjacent areas. No doubt these have saved many a camping expedition. They saved one of ours and actually made the experience a real pleasure. My suggestion is keep these open shelters at each camp site simple, strong, long lasting and as maintenance free as possible with a sufficiently generous floor area. Forget about art, blending into the environment etc. Functionality and not being a constant hassle to maintain, clean and repair is what counts. Rather build the equivalent of 100 year bridges than 10 year bridges when it comes to these shelters. Later one could include a simple under roof, brick and cement work bench. Strong enough to stand a gas bottle and water container on. Adding a stainless steel wash basin one can fill from a portable water container would be a bonus. Forget taps and piping water to each shelter unless you do a really proper job with long lasting materials. Just too much hassle to maintain. A few communal taps fed from the main water supply will be enough. One could also add a braai/fire pit alongside the shelter. That is pretty much all the extra luxury a camper needs to take care of the midday sun/shade/rain and storm challenge.
    4 – Cooling off – If a pool/splash pool is beyond the budget or not possible to maintain – the next best thing is a simple set of open outside cooling off showers near the ablution block and fed from the ablution block water system. Most overlanders have been to places where after setting up, getting back to camp or during mid-afternoon in camp the only thing you can think of is cooling off and getting rid of the salt and sweat. It becomes an obsession. If nothing else is available I have resorted to filling a container with water and pouring it over myself sometime still fully clothed (minus shoes and things in pockets). I am sure others have done the same many times. Having at least a basic outside open shower at the camp to do this will be a real bonus. At Ngepi Lodge in the Caprivi (I will mention Ngepi again) they have as a pool, a large square strong wire cage (sides and bottom) with a wood slat walk way around the sides with hand rails, floating and anchored in the river with a short walk way to it. The river simply flows through it. One of the best pools I have ever been in and it is relatively maintenance free. There is a big sign prohibiting peeing in the pool. Makes sense.
    5 – Spotlessly clean and well maintained ablution block with a hot/warm water supply to the showers and basins - it does not matter that the camp site is on the back of the moon, middle of the Sahara or at the South Pole. Your loos and showers can make or break the business and will often be the most talked about feature of your camp despite all the other positive features and great activities on offer etc. Guaranteed, even if the camp site is on a platform overhanging Devils Cataract at Vic Falls with gin and tonic on ice waiting, the Swambos will check out the loos and showers first, open the taps, test the water quality and check that the hot water is working, there are mirrors and that they are clean, there is an adequate supply of loo paper, the soap dishes in the showers are clean and are ones which will actually hold the soap and that the windows have insect screens on them. The checklist goes on. What has been mentioned is only the beginning. All this and much more is capable of being checked within a matter of practiced seconds , a bit like a computer working on overdrive with all lights furiously blinking. Then an official verdict will be formally delivered to those creatures whose place in life it is to unpack vehicles, drop tyre pressures and put up tents. They are fully aware of the critical nature of this report because a thumbs down may even mean packing up again and moving on. A thumbs up means get to work and we will be back. These reports are always received with mild confusion but relief if positive because it means that one may now at some stage wander off to mark the newly acquired territory. The owners of Ngepi Lodge are fully aware of the critical importance of good loos and showers. In fact they have elevated the supply of loos and showers into an incredible art form and with a great sense of humour thrown in. To make the point regarding their sense of humour, while they have an established 2 wheel drive road to their lodge from the main road, they have made a 4 wheel drive one as well. Good people. Very understanding. I digress however. At Ngepi, Swambos and young wannabe Sambos go so far so as to constantly make any excuse, day and night to head off to the loos and showers. They just cannot stay away. They even take photographs, including selfies and videos. What is the camp site I have spoken most about and why? Enough said!
    Regarding hot or at least warm water supply – it is a challenge. If you go the gas route, gas bottles have to be constantly hauled in and out and gas water heaters are notoriously unreliable. Just look at them and they get vengeful. I have been on the wrong side of so many gas heaters I have lost count. Laugh them off unless you are prepared to become an expert in maintaining them and sorting them out and setting up home directly outside the ablution block so you can be on 24hr repair call. Donkeys require wood and fire makers who are not hell bent on seeing if they can make the things explode. Regularly checking that hornets/wasps do not block the 5 meter high pressure release pipe with their nests can also get interesting. In reality, there is no doubt that in your part of the world solar is the way to go coupled, unfortunately with a sign saying ‘When the hot water is up it is up, come back tomorrow’. Fact is, in your part of the world, just warm water will do for a shower most of the time and solar will supply this. I have a solar geyser at home. You may, need, however, to take more discerning SWAMBOs who measure acceptability of the hot water in degrees C, on a tour of the solar system, explain the realities and beg their understanding and acceptance. But with sufficient charm you should be able to get away with it.
    Otherwise:
    6 – A communal freezer room set up for meat and other stuff that needs to be kept cold. Actually not an essential and it is a serious capital investment but if and when affordable and possible, it is a major bonus and attraction factor. It also adds up often to being able to stay longer.
    6 – A simple pub with a nice atmosphere and outside area with comfortable low chairs and tables with a decent view, sufficiently removed from the actual camp sites so it can stay open sufficiently late without being a noise problem. In short an oasis in the desert where you can take a breather, get a cold beer and otherwise ice in your drink. Again not an essential and maybe a longer term plan but it is a serious luxury and a good earner if managed right. Focus on ensuring that the pub and outside area are constantly used via keeping the prices reasonable and earning profit via the volume of sales rather than via pushing the limits when it comes to mark-up. This is all too often a classic mistake and people do not like getting ripped-off. I have walked away from a few of bush pubs in my time because of this or otherwise only stayed for one drink. Not because I could not afford the prices but because the unfair advantage being taken just made the experience irritating. The pub, outside area, view and pricing strategy at Elephant Sands in Bots when I was last there and at Kaliso Lodge in the Kaprivi on the Zambezi are good examples of working formulas I came across and were great experiences leaving fond memories.
    Hope this helps and good luck with your decision making.

  13. #13
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    Hi Roadman

    Thanks so much for the very informative feedback and suggestions.
    All information will be used/considered as I would like this whole project to become successful and the final product to be enjoyed by all.

    Marius
    Last edited by MariusvdM; 2014/01/21 at 04:01 PM. Reason: spelling

  14. #14
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    Great pleasure

  15. #15
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    If you look at Mana Pools the private campsites with no
    facilities are mostly booked up.
    Campsites which are more private and remote are normally more sort after and your capital outlay is a lot less.

  16. #16
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    Good point Craig

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    Hi Marius,

    we just returned from a 4 week camping-trip through Zim, Zam, Mal, Moz and Bot.
    You have received many excellent points for the camp. Not much to be added in my opnion.
    What we always enjoyed-now in the rainy season especially, was a good shelter, good drainage of the ground, clean toilets and showers and the luxury of space. Often enough the simple, but well planned and maintained things make the big difference, not necessarily the big range of activities offered.
    Good luck with your camp. Please keep us updated.
    We will definately add it to our list :-)

    Best regards from Windhoek

  18. #18
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    What would your take be on a wild bush camping camp with just a pub overlooking a very busy water hole in the dry months .

  19. #19
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    And don't forget those of us in wheelchairs who also appreciate the pleasures of camping and getting out into the bush. You don't have to have state of the art, fully fitted ablutions for us but ramps instead of steps and decent sized doorways make a huge difference. Mazou in Mapungubwe has a toilet/shower that is accessible and it makes a huge difference to comfort levels.

  20. #20
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    To Davesg, noted and will take that into consideration too.
    Thanks

    Marius

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