20 May 2019

We Lost Our Hearts in Zimbabwe!

YZ client Claudia B. just returned from a safari to Zimbabwe, where she witnessed one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls, and went on a safari in Hwange National Park and Mana Pools.

April 23rd, 2019: Exploring Victoria Falls

We started our Zimbabwe adventure in Victoria Falls, spending two nights at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Because we had only one-and-a-half days at our disposal, we decided to focus on the Zambezi River and the Falls. So why not book a 1.5 hours Sunset Cruise Deluxe? A comfortable boat, drinks, snacks, 27°C and the first sights of hippos, crocodiles and birds. A perfect start to the holiday after a long flight from Switzerland. The lodge organised the booking and transfers.

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The next morning, we took the shuttle bus to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. If you don’t bring rain coats, you can rent them for $3.00 each at the little market in front of the park entrance.

Once in the park, we were walking along a pathway with 16 viewpoints. Nearly every point was spectacular and offered a different view on the Falls. Slowly, the spray became more intense and we were happy to have the coats. Although it was quite busy, it was an exceptional experience. The Falls are huge, loud and wild.

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After 2 hours’ walking, we decided to explore also the Falls from the Zambian side. The border post was only a short walk away from the park. As we had already bought the KAZA visa at the airport immigration, it was very easy to enter into Zambia and come back. We only had to follow the signs and get the exit and entry stamps. We took a taxi to cross the bridge for a few dollars only.

Right after the Zambian border, there was the entry to ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. The walk was a lot shorter and the points offered different views on the Falls. This time, we got really, really wet. Don’t wear your favourite leather shoes! We laughed so much, especially crossing the short, slippery bridge. What a blast!

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Unfortunately, there is not much more we can tell about the town of Victoria Falls. It looked quite nice, with its hotels, restaurants, shops and galleries.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is a bit outside the town but offers a complimentary shuttle service. Due to its location, an immediate safari feeling is guaranteed. The main sector has an open, wooden design, with restaurant, bar and pool. There is a waterhole where we spotted elephants at night.

April 25th, 2019: Safari Time in Hwange National Park

In the morning, we were transferred by car to Hwange Main Camp. During the 2 hours’ drive we were stopped several times by the police. There was nothing to worry about, as they only checked the driver’s papers, but at the same time, you can imagine what control can imply. We passed kilometers of bushes and trees, a coal mine and some small villages.

At Hwange Main Camp, we met our driver from Somalisa Expeditions. It was another 2 hours’ drive to the camp, but we stopped several times for game viewing and a lunch snack. Somalisa Expeditions is a great camp with only 6 tents and a nice main area where guests enjoy all the meals, can take a drink or relax at the elephant pool. The tents are beautifully decorated and have an open bathroom with all amenities. At night we could listen to the birds, hyenas, elephants and even lions roaring.

 

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We immediately fell in love with the camp and the staff. What we mostly enjoyed was the concept of ‘togetherness’. All guests take breakfast around the campfire in the morning and have lunch and dinner together with the guides and camp manager. We had so many great talks, especially after dinner at the campfire staring at the stars.

One of the highlights was the visit of ‘Warthog’, the elephant who enters the camp frequently to pick the nuts from the tree and the roof. The first afternoon, around 15 elephants visited the pool to drink. We were breathless being so close to these big animals.

As the dry season had just started, the grass was high and the bushes very thick. It was really hard to spot animals. But we saw lions, zebras, giraffes, leopards, hippos, birds, impalas etc. David, our guide, was very experienced and taught us a lot about wildlife and nature.

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April 28th, 2019: Mana Pools, Nyamatusi and Dynasties’ Wild Dog

Around midday, a very tiny airplane took us to Mana Pools, where our guide Alf welcomed us after a bumpy 2 hours’ flight. Nyamatusi Camp, our home for the next three nights. Compared to Somalisa, the camp and the tented rooms are more luxurious. The tents are bigger with a sitting area, a small plunge pool on the terrace. There is a great mini bar, yoga mats and even weights for workout. The camp area offers two floors with lounge, bar and library as well as a boma and pool area.

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You have an amazing view over the Zambezi River on the mountains of Zambia. Especially at night, you hear the hippos calling. Nyamatusi offers the same concept of ‘togetherness’ as Somalisa does. You share your day with people from all over the world and get in contact with the people of Zimbabwe.

The second morning, we did the canoe tour on the mighty Zambezi, which was a great experience. We were led by a specially trained guide to avoid any unexpected contact with hippos. Even elephants were crossing the river to graze on the nearby, small islands. On that day we were also lucky to see a pack of wild dogs, known from the BBC documentary Dynasties. Although they were resting in the shade, it was a special moment for us.

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Moreover, we saw a lot of hippos and crocodiles in the pools as well as thousands of impalas. We spotted e.g. lions, zebras, elephants, kudus, warthogs and a lot of birds.

Alf was a great guide. Besides his huge knowledge about wildlife, he gave us a lot of creative tips on how to use a smartphone camera.

May 1st, 2019: Our Experience with Yellow Zebra Safaris

Time to say ‘Goodbye’. Full of impressions and emotions, we boarded the tiny airplane again with destination Harare International Airport.

Yellow Zebra Safaris did a very good job. Not only did they choose the right camps for us and our demands, but they also organised everything perfectly. From the first contact to the welcome back email, YZS created the feeling that they are taking care of us and that our trip will be comfortable and safe.

We appreciated the fact that the philosophy of both camps met our personal philosophy. Dedicated to wildlife, nature, development of the communities, sustainability and education. Environmental protection is important for us and in both camps we had our personalised water bottles refilled every time.

We have only spent some days in Zimbabwe, but we are already big fans of the people of this country. They are friendly, cordial and hospitable.

If you'd like to experience a safari like Claudia's then why not contact us here. Alternatively, take a look at the below destination pages for more inspiration: