Safari, Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River and excellent safari lodges, you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime on safari in Zimbabwe, but look out for wandering lions
Warthogs, running around at Africa Albida’s Victoria Falls Safari Club, were the first animals we saw on safari in Zimbabwe. As newcomers to safari holidays, we were giddy with excitement at having seen an exotic animal roaming freely. Little did we know what the rest of Zimbabwe had in store.
After a warm welcome from General Manager Jonathan Hudson at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, we paid a visit to the world famous Victoria Falls. This magnificent waterfall on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and understandably so.
Back at the luxurious club, we headed over to The Boma restaurant for an unforgettable evening of interactive African entertainment (Amakwezi traditional dancers, drumming, face painting, fortune telling) and an exquisite Zimbabwean supper, not to be missed.
The following day we left Victoria Falls and flew to Hwange National Park.The drop in temperature had us all reaching for the blankets and ponchos our guide, Tendai from Wilderness Safaris, had thoughtfully packed for us in the open 4×4. As Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, it was winter while we were there in June, but nothing prepared us for the how cold it became during our stay at Davison’s Camp.
On our first afternoon game drive we struck safari gold, spotting a pack of African wild dogs frolicking in the bush. These endangered canines were a sight to behold — a fellow guest admitted that, despite being on safari eight times already this year, he was yet to see one.
Tendai’s expertise tracked down an impressive list of animals including large herds of elephant, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, gnu, water buffalo, impala, eland, waterbuck, and a pride of lions. We also tracked down a mating pair of lions, who had broken away from the pride to procreate. On a night drive we spotted African wild cats and shared the road with the pride, quietly admiring the cute cubs.
Later that night, an almighty noise woke me from my slumber. We were sleeping in tented rooms (Davison’s is an Adventure Camp), so you’re close to the action. That night, we couldn’t have been closer. The pride of lions chased a herd of around 100 buffalo through camp and past where I was lying in bed. It was terrifying, until I realised the lions weren’t interested in me, safely tucked away in the tent. In case of an emergency you have an air horn next to your bed (in the bush there are no telephones, mobile reception or wifi) but fortunately no one had to use it while we were there. While the bush experience won’t be to everyone’s tastes, it was exciting and exhilarating to me. In the morning, we caught up with our lions feasting on their kill. The cubs no longer cute; a gory circle of life.
It was with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to Tendai, John and Shayne (who looked after us brilliantly) and the team at Davison’s. From here we flew to Mana Pools for the final leg of our stay, via a pit stop at Little Makalolo, a luxe neighbour to Davison’s in Hwange.
Ruckomechi Camp in the Zambezi Valley’s Mana Pools National Park is a Classic Camp (like Little Makalolo). The tented rooms here are larger and more luxurious than Davison’s, and come complete with en-suite bathrooms and views of the Zambezi river.
Our guide in Mana Pools was Chris, who took us out on a canoe safari as well as game drives. We were safari experts by now. In addition to elephants, buffalo and impala, we saw pods of hippos (getting up close and personal with them and crocodiles while out on the canoe), as well as fascinating and rare birds, including birds of prey. Back at camp, sitting in Ruckomechi’s communal area sharing stories around the open fire was a wonderful way to relax. ‘Adventure finds you,’ concluded manager Elizabeth after hearing about our action-packed safari. It certainly did, and we loved it.
Mahlatini offer a five-night stay in Zimbabwe staying 1 night at Africa Albida Victoria Falls Safari Club (Bed & Breakfast), 2 nights at Wilderness Safaris Davison’s Camp and 2 nights at Wilderness Safaris Ruckomechi Camp on an all-inclusive basis (food, beverages (excluding premium brands), accommodation, selected activities and light aircraft transfers) from £2,550 per person (Based on 2014 rates). South African Airways fly daily from London Heathrow to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (travelling via Johannesburg) from £960 per person. For your bespoke safari to Botswana contact Mahlatini Luxury Travel, +44 (0)28 9073 6050).