Chitake Tented Camp Safari

Highlights: 
Chitake Camp is for the lover of the wild places and who want a true ‘up close and personal’ wilderness experience. Chitake Springs is a unique water source approximately 45km inland from the Zambezi River. From the camp you will go on explorations to track lions, or find vantage points along the riverbed to watch the action unfold. Relaxing sundowners will be enjoyed overlooking the scenery at the end of each day.

About Chitake Camp

Chitake Spring is a perennial water source and flows down the usually dry Chitake River bed. The spring provides the only source of water for a large concentration of game in this area and herds of buffalo, elephant, antelope and the predators depend on this water for survival. The area is also home to good concentrations of lion, leopard and painted hunting dog.

The rugged Zambezi escarpment is only eight kilometres away and provides a superb backdrop to the area. The mixed Mopane, Combretum and Acacia woodlands of the vast valley floor are home to many animals. As the dry season progresses the concentrations of wildlife increase, all searching for water.

Chitake can be an extremely intense experience for the avid bush lover and for someone who likes to feel the challenge and close proximity of the wild. When walking you have to concentrate particularly carefully on your surroundings and remain silent so we do not disturb the order of things. Sounds are amplified in the narrow riverbed and it is a very up-close-and-personal experience to sit quietly in the riverbed in front of camp at night and watch the drinking herds of elephant and buffalo and possibly see the resident lions wonder past. 

For the avid birder there is no disappointment, as with the combination of dry and wet, woodland and open scrub, mountain and plain, there are well over 300 possible bird species to be seen. Bird lists are provided.

From camp they will conduct walks (long or short) and track the lions or find a vantage point along the riverbed to watch the action unfold. Our guests will dictate the length and pace of the wild walks and choose when to get back to the camp for refreshments and relaxing. Sundowners will be enjoyed at a variety of vantage points.

Day by Day

Day One

Fly in by air charter or transfer by road into Mana Pools National Park. If flying in you will be met by your guide at the airstrip with ice cold drinks. Drive approximately 1.5 hours through Jesse Bush and Mopane habitats to Camp Chitake for lunch. Alternatively transfer in by vehicle with Sunpath Safaris via Makuti or from Mana Pools at the end of a Canoe Safari with Sunpath Safaris.

A mobile tented camp will have been set up by the camp staff - walk-in mosquito-proofed tents, external ‘long-drop’ toilets, bucket showers, dining table, iced drinks, sumptuous bush-prepared meals and directors’ chairs at each tent. Their chef will have prepared a delicious lunch to give you strength for the first afternoons walk. You will do a short walk to acquaint you with the area and perhaps find where the lions are hanging out!

Back in camp for sundowners, a hot (or cold if you prefer) shower, and a fine dinner. Enjoy the closeness of the wild in the evening with herds of elephant in close proximity. Listen out for the roars of the lions and rasping leopard in the vicinity.

Day Two

An early morning wake up (before first light), tea, coffee and cereals then go straight out to check for spoor and animal activity around camp. Enjoy a beautiful African sunrise and a walk, the direction depending on what has been heard during the night.  

The guides carry a heavy calibre rifle, handgun, first aid kit, and extra water. Guests will carry extra personal water and personal items such as binoculars and camera for the morning.

Walking options include exploring the course of the Chitake River as it flows to the Ruckomechi River, or upstream towards the escarpment to explore this incredible region dotted with baobabs.  Alternatively we may walk to the dinosaur remains, or to the hollow baobab which is the old lair of a leopard.  

That is the beauty and excitement of walking - there is no hard and fast route or schedule. 

Then back to camp for a late brunch, siesta out the heat of the day, or sit quietly in the shade and watch the animals come to drink in front of the camp. At approx. 3pm you will set off again for another walk, returning before last light for cold drinks, snacks, a nutritious meal and hot shower.

Day Three

Another early wake up. You have the option of heading out immediately or have breakfast first then set out for a whole day of hiking. Alternatively, stay near the spring to sit and watch the action from a secure place. In the earlier and cooler parts of the year, i.e. May - end July we can do longer hikes from the camp. As it gets drier and hotter i.e. August - October it is more rewarding to stay in the vicinity of the spring and early morning and late afternoon walks are then advisable.

Long viewing “sits” can be extremely rewarding as one gets to see wildlife behaviours not possible when walking. It is fascinating to watch the wild animals going about their daily activities. To be able to observe the natural daily cycle of activity gives one a greater understanding and appreciation of nature. Some of the wild residents you may likely encounter are impala, baboon, vervet monkey, kudu, eland, grysbok, elephant, buffalo, mongoose, variety of birds, bushbuck and, hopefully, the lions coming to drink or setting an ambush. This third night will again be spent at the Chitake campsite with all the trimmings.

Day Four

If you are leaving today or if you are moving on to a canoe trail or alternative camp, you may either take another early walk before breakfast or have a lie in! After that, there will be a short game drive to the airstrip where we bid you farewell or transfer you out by vehicle.  If you opt to stay a few more days, the up close and personal encounters will continue!

Tour Categories: 
Walking Safaris
Wildlife Tours
This Tour Explores: 
Lake Kariba and Lower Zambezi