So, it appears on most people’s bucket list, and Senior Consultant, Nathan, got to tick it off. A weekend in the company of the magnificent Victoria Falls and all the adrenaline filled activities that come with it! Here’s what he had to say about a life long dream coming true.
Arrived at OR Tambo International Airport and checked in for my flight to Victoria Falls. On arrival into Zimbabwe and seeing the majestic Victoria Falls in the distance the excitement started really to build. I kept thinking wow, my first trip to Victoria Falls and I’m so super excited.
I landed at Victoria Falls Airport and went through 3 check points before collecting my luggage. It was quite strange, you normally take your luggage from the rotating conveyer belt but when we passed the final passport control check point our luggage was spread out on the arrivals floor [weird].
I was met by Craig from Wild Horizon and transferred to Elephant Camp (journey time 15mins). At Elephant Camp I was met by Himal & Shane and sat down for lunch. After a lovely meal, we made our way to the main event, Victoria Falls. The tour guide Albino gave a briefing on the history of the Zambezi River and David Livingstone discovering the Falls. With raincoats on we began our tour; I took pictures at every lookout point. I was simply in awe of the sheer force, energy and power of the mighty Victoria Falls.
We completed the tour and went for sundowners by the gorge at the Elephant Camp Reserve before returning to the lodge, for a quick freshen up and dinner in the boma area. The food was amazing, I even tried the Mopani worm, a Zimbabwean delicacy [I didn’t go back for more].
The Elephant Camp is located on a private concession within and bounded by the Masuwe River and the Zambezi gorges. The camp has 12 tents with private deck and plunge pool, private lounge area, air-con, bath, inside and outside shower, mini bar and tea/coffee stations.
The next morning breakfast at 07:00, followed by a very nice surprise – I met ‘Sylvester’ the Cheetah Ambassador. He was the only survivor of four cubs who were attacked by a male lion. Sylvester [as a cub] was discovered by a game scout named Sylvester and cared for by Norman and Penny English who became his surrogate parents. Sylvester was never destined to become a pet and is a specially protected animal on the endangered species list. I had an opportunity to take a picture with him, which was amazing. Following the cheetah experience we took a short transfer to the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary for a video orientation and interaction [feeding] with the resident Elephants.
Thereafter I was transferred to Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge [towards the Kazungula Boarder] for a site inspection (journey time 1hr: 30mins).
The Imbabala Zambezi Safari lodge is situated on the fringe of the Zambezi River where Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia converge. Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge has 9 individual thatched lodges with en-suite facilities. Each lodge is uniquely decorated and positioned with spacious verandas opening onto sweeping views of the Zambezi River.
After the site inspection was completed I returned to Victoria Falls stopping for lunch at the ‘Lookout Cafe’. Next up, adrenalin activities. The 3 Adrenalin on offer activities at the Zambezi Gorge:
1) Flying Fox – jump into the air and soar horizontally over the gaint Zambezi gorge.
2) Zip Line – the rush of hurtling across the gorge at 106km/h while hanging 120meters above the Zambezi River.
3) Gorge Swing – free fall for 70 meters before going into a 95m long swing.
I only had the courage to do the Zip Line – it was a truly awesome experience and buzzing and still on a high the next stop on the agenda was the sunset boat cruise on the Wild Horizons, Zambezi Royal boat. Two hours spent on the Zambezi River with sundowners, snacks and an amazing sunset.
I then transferred to the Stanley & Livingstone Safari Lodge, completed a quick check-in and freshened up for dinner. I sampled their 3 course menu, and the food was amazing and I had the Zambezi Beef Fillet with apple crumble for desert. The group in house then moved from the dinner table to the boma fire area enjoying the warmth and recapping the day’s activities.
Stanley & Livingstone Safari Lodge, has a colonial style and feel to the rooms. There are 15 suites and honeymoon suite, each suite has a spacious bedroom, Victoria style bathroom, living area with a secluded patio overlooking the bush.
Up at 06:30am the next morning ready for a game drive in the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve, the first vehicle left and immediately had a clear leopard sighting. When my vehicle joined, it was difficult to try and locate exactly where he was hiding! We continued the journey and had sightings of buffalo, zebra, giraffe and black rhino. After this we returned to the lodge for a sumptuous breakfast and a quick site inspection of Ursula’s Camp which is located just 5 minutes from the Stanely & Livingstone Safari Lodge.
Ursula’s Camp is a private retreat with 4 chalets and ideal for families and small groups. It boasts a main area and swimming pool, with the game drives being conducted on the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve.
We departed Ursula’s Camp and transferred back into town for another quick site inspection at Batonka Guest Lodge.
Batonka Guest Lodge is situated in the quiet residential area of Victoria Falls. Set in lush gardens with main area offering dining indoor and outdoor, a cosy lounge and veranda. 22 Spacious Rooms with a Private Veranda, 1 Family and 8 Inter-leading rooms.
Following the last site inspection, it was time to say goodbye and with a heavy heart, I transferred to Victoria Falls Airport for the flight home. Being able to tick off my bucket list Victoria Falls is certainly something I am truly thankful and grateful for. I can assure you it won’t be long before I am back again!