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Walking Safaris and Hiking Trails in the Chitake Wilderness Concession - Zambezi Valley

The Chitake River has its source in the Mana Pools escarpment of the Zambezi Valley - Zimbabwe. A perennial spring, at the foothills, which flows for 1km within the canyon walls of the Chitake River provide the only source of water for a large concentration of game in this area. Herds of buffalo, elephant, zebra and antelope that depend on this water for survival sustain prides of lion and numerous leopards.


Chitake Wilderness Concession is ideally suited to conducting walking safaris and hiking trails. There are a number of pools and springs in river beds which provide permanent sources of water and are connected by game trails or gwashas, as they are known in Shona, established by elephant over millennia.

Being situated on the rim of the Zambezi escarpment we enjoy spectacular views and a cool climate. Chipembere Safaris' exclusive rights to the area ensure that it is possible to set off on your safari knowing that for the next four days you will not see any sign of human presence.

We are also fortunate to be situated within comfortable (20km) walking distance of Chitake Springs in the Zambezi Valley. During the dry season there is a phenomenal concentration of game in the vicinity of these springs - elephant, herds of buffalo, antelope and several prides of lion. Sightings of leopard are regular and on one occasion in 1993 we recorded cheetah which was a first sighting for the area - The Department of National Parks were not aware of their presence.

Walking Safaris

Chitiva Camp (includes optional abseiling)

There is no set time scale for this safari, but 4 days/3 nights is usual. Chitiva Camp is our tented camp in the Chitake Wilderness Concession from which we conduct walks in the area and to hides at viewpoints; we also visit local, ethnic villages and if possible can combine this with a meeting with Chief Chundu at his kraal. This is a permanent tent camp and is fully staffed with large, comfortable, two-man tents with beds, sheets, blankets etc.

 

Chitake Springs Safari (May to October incl.) 4 days/3 nights

This safari is run monthly over full moon, which enables us to see the nocturnal goings on more clearly. As mentioned above, there is phenomenal game at the Chitake Springs and this safari is highly recommended for serious bush lovers. This camp is fully staffed and large, walk-in, two-man tents with beds, sheets, blankets etc. are the order of the day.

 


Hiking Trails

The Chitake Springs Elephant Trail

No fixed departure dates - 4 nights/5 days - first night spent at Chitiva Camp and the next morning the trail starts by following elephant paths down into the Zambezi Valley to camp in the vicinity of the Chitake Springs.

 

The Lion Trail at Chitake Springs

For those who have already done the Elephant Trail or who do not have the full 4 nights/5 days available this safari starts about 2km from the Springs so that three nights are spent in the Chitake Springs vicinity. The chances of meeting up with "Kavinga" and his pride are increased.

 

The Chundu Trail (includes optional abseiling)

3 nights/4 days - walk either from our Chitiva Camp to Pfundundu Lodge or vice versa. The game trails we follow lead us to a number of permanent sources of water where we stop or camp and will be able to observe game unobtrusively.

 

The Chimombe Trail (includes optional abseiling)

3 nights/4 days - the first night is spent at Chief Chundu's village where there could be an opportunity to meet Chimombe, the tribe's Iron God. The next morning we walk through numerous villages past Kashumba Mountain for abseiling and the second night is spent at a Spirit Medium's kraal then on to Chitiva Camp.

 


Logistics

Kariba Pick Up: Clients must arrange their itinerary to spend the evening before the safari in Kariba. The following morning there is a early pick up from your hotel or campsite in Kariba at about 07:30.

Clouds End Hotel - Makuti, Pick up/drop off: Clients can overnight here or drive from Harare (depart Harare 06:00am), to meet our vehicle between 09:30/10:30am on the day of departure. The hotel has a nominal charge for looking after vehicles during the owner's absence.

Drop off: The safari vehicle arrives at Clouds End Hotel, Makuti between 12:00/14:00pm in time for a sandwich lunch. This enables people who have left their cars at the hotel to drive to Harare that afternoon. The vehicle arrives in Kariba in time for the afternoon flight to Harare. 

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Last update 2 August 1997