Personalised African adventures @ Chishakwe Camp

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A panorama of some of the lodges at the Chishakwe Camp

Tawanda Musarurwa
If you are thinking about spending a “personalised” excursion in the bush then breathe a sigh of relief, Chishakwe Camp has just the package for you.

Gone are the days when you had no preference and had to settle for what the tour operator defined as your travel itinerary, usually a very limited holiday package.

Chishakwe is bringing back the personal in “personalised holidays”.

Chishakwe, a small private camp situated on the sublimely tranquil and shaded banks of the Msaize River within the Savé Valley Conservancy, can fine-tune your adventure in the African wild.

“We specialise in creating a personalised experience and encourage clients to let us know of any particular preferences they may have with regards to their stay so that we can make their experience as unique and special as possible,” said Nicky Muller, one of the managers of the Chishakwe Camp.

Imagine a rhino sneaking up on you while you’re enjoying your morning coffee, or a fearsome crocodile floating past your boat as you angle for bream in the dam waters.

These are the sort of encounters that await you at Chishakwe Camp.

According to Nicky, they offer a wide variety of outdoor activities for both the craven and the intrepid adventurers.

“There are a number of ways in which to spend days at Chishakwe, depending on the mood and interests of the visitor.

“If adventure beckons, tracking animals on foot or on horse-back are exciting options; or climbing a kopje to look down on an eagle’s nest.

“Canoeing and fishing get visitors out on the water. Our big dam is home to several bass and bream fish species, as well as crocodiles. The fishing at Chishakwe Dam is considered to be particularly good by a number of keen fishermen.

“Game drives assist in exploring some of the stunning and diverse scenery of the ranch as well as allowing for the possibility of seeing game. Night drives with a spotlight offer visitors a rare chance to see some of the nocturnal bird and animal species,” she said.

“Time spent at a hide offers visitors quiet time to see animals at their most natural and relaxed. Taking the time to learn about some of the smaller life forms and, ecologically speaking, the bigger picture can be incredibly rewarding. Our fully qualified and experienced guides offer a wealth of fascinating information.”

Nicky took us for a sight-see of the milieu and my personal favourite was the Chishakwe Dam, where eerie skeletal treetops jut out of the water (planning to shoot a horror film any time soon).

And there was a huge crocodile in the water to add to an ambience of dread.

Or you could take an excursion into nearby villages and craft markets.

The villages — set in beautiful, unspoilt woodland — are attractive examples of traditional Zimbabwean rural villages.

The absence of wild animals in the immediate area means it can safely be visited by bicycle, horseback or on foot.

The villagers are most welcoming of visitors for an overnight excursion or a meal. The area is also particularly famous for basketry and a visit to Birchenough Bridge to see the famous bridge as well as to purchase baskets is worthwhile and contributes towards stimulating the local economy.

Accommodation at the Chishakwe Camp is comfortable and pleasant without losing the sense of being in a bush environment.

“We have deliberately kept our camp small to allow for private bookings on request. Think bush camp, individual attention to detail and seclusion as opposed to safari hotel and you have a good idea of what to expect,” added Nicky.

Each of the five comfortable, two-bed thatched chalets has an en-suite shower bathroom and a private balcony overlooking the river and nearby waterhole.

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