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Symphony World Travel - Kingswood

30th October 2019

Zimbabwe – Out of Africa

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

My dream was to see the Victoria Falls and experience the Zambezi Queen River Cruise. We started our journey on 24th August, missing the heat and the rainfall. After packing for every occasion we flew to Johannesburg which was an 11 hour flight then transferred to a connecting flight to Victoria Falls where we stayed for one night. We ate our dinner listening to an African band playing music and dancing.

The next morning we were slickly transferred to the Elephant Express to Bomani – this was an open train run by IMVELO to transfer us to Bomani Camp. We were running a few minutes late but we were told the train would wait. Yes it did wait with 8 other people on board; we were all going to Bomani so it was such a fantastic way to meet them all.

Train tracks into the Hwange National Park

This journey was to take about 2 hours. As we arrived near to the end of the ride the train stopped as a Lion known to the guides was having a nap in the sun on the rails. We waited about 15 minutes before we slowly moved forward, and the lion moved. This was an amazing experience that we were all so excited about.

We were met by a truck and the IMVELO guides to take us to the next part of our journey. This was a comfortable and well appointed lodge nestled in a remote corner of a 50,000 acre private reserve of the Hwange National Park. We were greeted and shown to our rooms. The rooms were amazing. The tent had an en suite bathroom a very cosy bed, 2 wash basins and a private veranda overlooking the water hole and a vast area of the park. We really felt out in the jungle, but safe.

We were collected half an hour later to go back to the main tent for our dinner. Petts, our guide explained the various drives, varying from night drives, game walks, game drives, village tours and game viewing. This was going to be a busy few days. At 06:00 the next morning a flask of hot water was delivered to our tent so we could have some coffee Breakfast was at 06:30 we were collected by Petts and taken to the main lodge where we met all the others for the trip.

We all scrambled into the truck to begin our first adventure. We drove around the game park which all looked the same to us until we eventually saw an Elephant. This was so exciting but we didn’t know how many more we would see as the trip went on. We then drove across the rail track and went into the National Park where we found a quiet spot and Petts got out the coffee and cake for a break. We carried on and saw some more elephants, and giraffes, and zebra.

We headed back for lunch at the Bomani Camp. It was time for a rest before we came back out for a night Safari. We sat by the fire and had a drink before our food. Over the next 2 days we frequently went out in the truck and saw all the game. On the 3rd day we went to a hide out and saw the Elephants that were only a few feet away. They could smell us but not see us. We were so close but so safe in the hands of the guide.

The food prepared by staff in a very small area was amazing. Each day was an adventure; picnics were prepared for long days out. And the truck catered for a variety of beverages. All the food was exceptional. At the end of 3 days we were back on the elephant train to another Lodge.

We now went to Nehimba Safari Lodge which was a luxury safari Lodge nestled away in the Hwange National Park, each Lodge with exquisite decor, an outside shower. At this Lodge they had a fresh water pool which the elephants came and drank from in the evening; this was so fascinating we didn’t want to leave the pool. We had a fantastic 3 course meal watching the elephants. We had had a long tiring day with so much to talk about and discuss.

We saw cheetah, vultures, more elephants, a pride of lions and so many more animals. We visited a school and went on many drives through the Mopane woodlands in the northern area of the Hwange Park.

When we had finished visiting the parks we went to the Zambezi Queen River Boat which was moored on the Chobe River. All suites were tastefully designed with open patio doors to the river. This was a luxury boat with only 14 rooms, it drives down the river stopping frequently for small river cruises. Here we were able to spot amazing birds, crocodiles, eagles catching fish; the most fabulous event was watching the elephant crossing the water from Botswana to Namibia.

We met the most fabulous people at all the camps which included all nationalities, everyone here to experience the same things. You could never begin to imagine the hospitality, the service and the friendly staff at all of these destinations. Luckily we experienced another night at the falls where we had a helicopter ride over both the Zambia and the Zimbabwe side of the falls.

This trip was so amazing I am going to do something similar next year.

By Sue Manuel
30th October 2019