By: Tendai Bushe
Hello Green Season!!! What a gorgeous time of the year to be out in the bush. Everything is so lush and bright it’s a totally different feel to the dry season. I got to experience some camps in Hwange first hand- which I am sure we can all agree is the best way to learn about a product and sell it effectively. After an exciting 4 days in Victoria Falls at Africa's Eden Travel Show I got up bright and early to go to Victoria Falls airport to meet some other agents for a post-show Fam Trip. On arrival I was ushered into the Wilderness Lounge where I enjoyed a cup of coffee and sat out in the garden- yes you read that right, Wilderness Safaris have a little garden in their airport lounge! Before I knew it, we were up in the sky on a smooth flight to Linkwasha Airstrip in Hwange. On arrival into Linkwasha we hopped off the plane and into the game drive vehicles, ready to start our safari adventure. The drive from the airstrip was very scenic, we passed the sleep out decks and I imagined how special it must be for guests to sleep under the stars and wake up to an open plain with endless possibilities of game sightings. We navigated the dirt road through the thick bush, splashing through puddles of water and then ended up at camp.
Wilderness Linkwasha Camp is absolutely gorgeous – perfect for those who love luxury! The main area is decked out with all the bells and whistles, a spacious lounge with an indoor fireplace, a beautiful bar with a nice machine for all your decadent coffees, a library where you can connect to the WI-FI, a restaurant area and of course a pool with a view! The rooms are spacious with extra touches to make your stay more than comfortable. The indoor lounge area and outdoor seating on the deck are both perfect spots to enjoy some downtime between activities. Speaking of activities - the Wilderness Concession, particularly Ngamo Plains is known for great game throughout the year and I must say we were very spoiled with great sightings of Cheetah, Lion, Large Herds of Wildebeest with babies (even some incredibly cute new borns, one was fresh out the womb with shaky little legs), Elephants- also with lots of babies fooling around with their trunks, Dazzles of Zebras, lots of leaping Impalas and of course a variety of Birds!
The Cheetah in particular was so amazing for me to see up close. I always seem to miss it with Cheetah sightings (cue the guide telling me they were spotted the day before) so watching a Mama and her very playful cub was a delight. We later saw a different Mama Cheetah with 3, yes 3 almost older cubs. It was so lucky you would have thought I picked a four leafed clover! Another highlight which we shared on our Instagram page (shameless plug) was tracking a male lion. We followed his tracks and parked in front of him right before he let out a belching call for his brothers. They reunited and then crossed the train tracks into the distance. Of course, we had to line our stomachs between all these great activities, please believe me we were spoiled with 5-star food cooked to perfection.
Next up, we went to Camp Hwange. It was a long and bumpy drive from the South Eastern area where Linkwasha is located to the Northern area where Camp Hwange lies. Sidenote- I would prefer to have guests fly especially now that Mack Air have come on the scene and will be introducing very affordable rates starting April. Camp Hwange is the perfect place for the traveller who prefers a more classic and wholesome approach to safaris. The main area is very homey, all meals (delicious and cooked with love) are done family style so there’s a big table on one side and a lounge area on the other. There is a fire pit out on the sand right in front of a plain which is a perfect place for pre-dinner drinks, under the stars. The camp is all ground level so you must keep your eyes peeled as you go from the main area to the rooms. You are one with the earth and with your surroundings. The rooms are simple but comfortable with everything you need. They open up to a verandah overlooking the plain where game often frequents.
Game viewing tip – send clients who love walking safaris. Dave Carson, owner of Camp Hwange is a seasoned professional guide in Zimbabwe who is a walking enthusiast. Despite him not being in camp at the time (he was away volunteering his time to upcoming guides with an examination), the spirit of walking safaris was apparent. We were told to wear walking shoes, appropriate clothing and be ready to jump off the vehicle and explore the bush by foot at any time. We located a lone bull elephant who was calmly enjoying his greens. We parked, jumped off the jeep and then our guides walked us around to see him closer up. It was amazing to quietly approach the Elephant and watch him carry on without seeing us or feeling our presence. It was a special moment to be so insignificant in nature and just observe. The next day we did two one-hour long walks in two different areas. We observed the little things, listened to birds and saw the cycle of the life right before our eyes with decomposed bones, mushrooms growing on Elephant droppings and fresh, deep lion prints by one of the water holes.
Finally, we ended with Deteema Springs. It was very short – we only spent one day there but it was a sweet ending much like a dessert! The perfectly balanced Machaba Safaris Camp gives you lots of luxurious touches but also ties in classic safari aspects. The main area has a library with Wi-Fi, a pool with a view, lots of seating where you can cosy up and a gorgeous camp fire area where the night remains young. The staff work together like a family and that true hospitality is felt throughout the camp. Meals were communal with our guide, the sundowner was extra special with a gorgeous set up and the stories shared with all the other agents, the staff and every single person who is passionate about tourism and travel left a mark. I loved Hwange and all she had to offer and can't wait to return at a different time of year!
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