Your full Bushlife Safaris experience begins as you land at Mana Main airstrip, where your guide will be waiting for you. From here you will depart and start your adventure to Chitake Mobile Camp. The drive takes about 1.5 hours but could take longer depending on any game you may see on the way. You will arrive at Chitake in time or lunch/sundowners. Your mobile camp will be set up and ready for your arrival. Driving is very limited at Chitake, so mostly walking activities will be done. After siesta, your afternoon activity will be spent walking in the area and visiting the Chitake Spring. You will return back to your campsite for sundowners and dinner.
Chitake Mobile Camp is located in the wild Chitake area close to the Chitake Spring, famous for its fantastic wildlife and amazing close up encounters with animals. As it is only one of three camps in the area, and with a maximum of 6 guests at a time, it is a truly immersive and exclusive experience.
The Chitake River flows out of the Zambezi escarpments’ southern mountains and during the dry season, the river turns into a sandy riverbed so that all that is left is a small spring which becomes the only water source for miles around. It is for this very reason that the spring becomes active in the drier months with wildlife congregating around it to drink. Guests can look forward to a parade of animals, starting from troops of baboons to herds of playful elephants and even the elusive leopard. The lion in the Chitake area are well-known for their hunting skills and guests can be lucky to either witness a kill or the aftermath of one in close proximity to the camp.
There is no driving at Chitake and mornings are spent on incredible nature walks around the Chitake foothills where the search is on for spotting the first animal and afternoons can bring you much excitement as you watch the spectacular game come down to drink for hours on end from the vantage point of a nearby cliff.
One of our best days at Chitake springs was when we saw nearly 2,000 buffalo come to drink in the morning, followed by numerous elephant and later that day a lioness and her cubs, a male lion, a pack of wild dog, several hyenae and a leopard. This wildlife was seen within 5 to 10 meters away…it’s truly an awe-inspiring area of Mana Pools!
- The same spacious Meru style tents with flush toilets and bucket showers, which are used for the Ruwesi Canoe Trail, are set up for the duration of your stay at Chitake.
- Each tent is furnished with large proper beds on steel frames with a comfortable mattress on a wooden base and a bedside table. Paraffin lamps are used throughout the camp.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served alfresco style with a private chef on site each day preparing fresh, wholesome meals.
- The camp is run entirely on solar and there is no WiFi available…which guests find a welcome reprieve from modern life!
- All game activities are done on foot – no vehicles activities are provided so adequate fitness is required for a truly enjoyable trip.
The Ultimate Bushlife Explorer Itinerary
Join us for the experience of a lifetime as you spend 2 nights walking in the wild Chitake Springs area, 2 nights at Vundu Camp and the final 2 nights adventuring down the mighty Zambezi River on a mobile canoe safari. You can be guaranteed of a spectacular walking safari in the wild and rugged exclusive-use Chitake area.
- Day 1
- Day 2
After a light early breakfast, you will go for your morning activity which will be a walk. On this walk, you will go to the Chitake Spring looking for lion tracks from the night before and await the herds of buffalo that may come down to the water. You then return for a full brunch. After brunch and a siesta, you will go for another walk. At sundowners on your last evening, your departure details will be discussed. Your final evening at Chitake Mobile Camp is spent having dinner under the starry African sky.
- Day 3
You will depart to Vundu Camp after a light breakfast and a walk to check out the Chitake Spring. This drive takes about 3 hours but will be combined into a game drive. You will reach Vundu Camp in time for a full lunch. After lunch, you will have a chance for a siesta. On your afternoon activity, you will go for a drive and walk to see the different areas of Mana Pools. After sundowners on the banks of the Zambezi River, you will return to Vundu Camp. After refreshments and snacks, dinner is served. Activities at Vundu Camp include game drives in an open and comfortable 4×4 vehicle, up-close game walks as well as canoeing, river cruises and fishing – these will all be discussed at dinner and your schedule planned for the next day.
- Day 4
After a continental breakfast, you will depart for your morning activity, which will be a game drive or game walk in a different area of Mana Pools. Similar to Day 3, after your morning activity, you will return for lunch and a siesta. After siesta, tea is served, after which you will go for your afternoon activity which may be a drive, walk or canoe the first section of Mana Pools. Sundowners will be served in a new spot. Bar snacks, drinks and dinner will be served in the Main Area back at camp.
- Day 5
This morning you will have an early start as you depart after a light breakfast and begin the paddle to your next night’s accommodation – camping in the wild at the picturesque and exclusive-use Chessa campsite which is 25km downstream. Normally, you canoe for a few hours before pulling up to the bank to enjoy a morning walk. After the walk, you will have a full brunch and continue on your canoe safari in the early afternoon, usually, around the time the elephants are moving out onto the islands. This makes for a great afternoon on the Zambezi river, gently drifting up to these elephant bulls in your canoe. You will arrive at your mobile tented camp in the late afternoon where, if time allows, you will be taken on an evening game drive before dinner.
- Day 6
After a light breakfast, you set off for your last night’s accommodation at Ilala campsite which is 24km downstream near the Sapi River. Similar to the previous day, you will stop along the way to enjoy a game walk or game drive before continuing to your mobile tented camp, arriving between 4-6 pm. This is the final night’s accommodation and one of the most spectacular locations you will find anywhere!
- Day 7
Depending on your time of departure, you will either have time for a morning walk before returning for a light breakfast. Alternatively, you will leave directly after having a light breakfast and begin your drive back to Mana Main Airstrip in time for your departure. We hope that this African safari has been everything and more and that you will return again soon!