By: Emma Seaman
It was with great excitement (and a bit of trepidation) that I set off on my trip to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe to meet up with one of our very special agents and a dear friend, Phoebe Weinberg. Phoebe had travelled from the USA to spend some time in camps in Botswana and South Africa and we met for 2 nights at the Victoria Falls Hotel. On arrival into Livingstone Airport I was met by Wild Horizons and transferred cross border to the hotel. The border crossing was quick and smooth. I had my PCR negative test and my vaccination card at hand and everyone was friendly and welcoming. On arrival at the Victoria Falls Hotel I was met warmly after going through my sanitizing and temperature check and shown to my room in the Stables Signature Wing. During the course of our two night stay we were treated like royalty by Farai and his team, served wonderful food on the Terrace and all in all had a very special trip down memory lane. Our Covid Tests were done on our day of departure - quick and easy and results delivered later that day ready for our onward travels.
Phoebe and I took the opportunity to visit a few properties during our stay. Our first stop was Old Drift Lodge, located just inside the Zambezi National Park. One of my favourite lodges, I was delighted to see how fresh and welcoming the lodge was looking with some great new touches from my last visit. From Old Drift we headed further into the Park with Jono Hudson for a site visit of the new Mpala Jena Camp. The camp has a wonderful private location and once it opens will be a great spot for those clients who don't mind staying further in the park and want more of a safari experience. We were then transferred to Victoria Falls River Lodge where we had a site inspection of the Island Treehouse Suites with Roddy Meiring, General Manager, before having a declious lunch at the main lodge. The Island Treehouse Suites are definately some of the most luxurious rooms I have come across with the most incredible views over the Zambezi River. Two of the rooms have Starbed Treehouses - not for those afraid of heights! Our day of site inspections finished off with a visit to the new Palm River Hotel where their new General Manager Martijn showed us around. The hotel was busy preparing for a wedding so lots of activity and most rooms were full which was wonderful to see. An incredible location right on the Zambezi River, with the ra-ikane boats docked at the jetty on the property so easy access for in-house guests.
On my day of departure I met Glenn from Wild Horizons, our Victoria Falls and Livingstone Ground Handler, for lunch at the Look out Cafe. I hadn't been to the newly built venue yet and was excited to see the changes and fresh new look. Lunch was delicious and the views of the gorge from the restaurant are breathtaking. I would highly recommend lunch at the look out cafe for anyone in the Falls - and we hope that as business picks up they will open once again for dinners. My final stop on my visit was at the newly built The Residence in Livingstone. Located on the Kazungula Road about 30 minutes from the airport, this lodge is going to be a winner. They are hoping to open by the end of 2021 and we can't wait to visit and experience this product first hand. Small, exclusive and owner run it exudes warmth and creativity.
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