Premium safari outfit andBeyond has opened a smart lodge on a 50,000ha riverfront concession near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, East Africa.
Two camps of nine suites (including two family options), set above the broad Zambezi River, are the result of a multi-million dollar rebuild; the famous concession, once a hunting reserve, has also been upgraded with the addition of numerous waterholes, solar pumps and access tracks while anti-poaching patrols have been stepped up.
Guests can expect to see large herds of elephant and buffalo as well as hippo, lion, leopard, African wild dog and cheetah, plus antelope species such as sable and roan, along a 15km private stretch of riverfront.
The large, super-smart suites are daubed with natural thatched finishes and decorated with artworks by Zimbabwean-born artist Helen Teede; interior concrete floors are complemented by compressed earth outdoors.
Each suite opens on to a private plunge pool and terrace with sweeping river views; even the king bed is set at the floor-to-ceiling window to take advantage of the stunning outlook. There’s contemporary outdoor furniture and day beds on the terrace; the bathroom features a deep tub and indoor and outdoor showers.
The main lodge building is set among mature trees above the river with a 23m-long rim-flow swimming pool stretching along the bank, set about with funky daybeds beneath a thatched pergola. Lodge facilities include a safari shop, gym and massage pavilion and, if you’re after total privacy, a stand-alone four-bedroom villa comes with safari guide, chef and butler. DON’T MISS: An interpretive tour of Victoria Falls (just 40km away), free for guests staying two nights or longer.
DINING IN & OUT: Head chef Nico Meyer is in charge of the interactive kitchen offering homestyle meals in the lodge or al fresco beneath sheltering mangosteen trees. The menu draws heavily on vegetables and herbs grown in the lodge garden. Popular dishes include the generous luncheon burger and delicious buttermilk rusks, based on Nico’s mother’s recipe. And look out for the welcome macarons in the trademark shade of Matetsi blue as well as a selection of Christmas truffles planned for the festive season.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: A sundowner boat cruise on this private stretch of the mighty Zambezi is not to be missed.
CHECKING IN: Special opening rates from $US495 ($652) a person a night apply for bookings made by January 31 for travel until the end of next year. Safaris by private touring vehicles are available at extra cost. More: andbeyond.com.
ALSO TRY: Sanctuary Chief’s Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana; Banjaar Tola Tented Camp, Kanha National Park, India.
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