super inflation meant until recently you were buying your sundowners with 10 trillion dollar notes; political instability was a national pastime; and protests a regular occurrence. But Zimbabwe is turning over a new leaf and a big factor in that turnaround is tourism, which hopes to tap into the country’s surprisingly effective conservation efforts and world-class wildlife diversity to become the next big name in safari adventure.
If you fancy playing Livingston, make a beeline for Matetsi River Lodge, a luxury safari camp operated by adventure gurus andBeyond that’s just over the border from Zambia and a short drive from the stunning Victoria Falls, which the explorer “discovered” in 1855. Nestled on the banks of the Zambezi River, the lodge boasts luxurious villas (including one four-bedroom, private-use River House) wreathing an open-air main lodge building, complete with al fresco dining and a hidden wine cave. When you’re not competing for space by your plunge pool with the local baboon troop, you’ll explore the camp’s 50,000 hectare reserve, home to everything from lion prides and roaming cheetah, to leopards, elephants, hyenas, zebra, giraffe and magnificent birds of prey, on morning and evening game drives, led by experienced guides in custom-built Land Cruisers. Watch the big cats stalk their prey, sip gin and tonics as elephant herds graze nearby, or cruise the Zambezi in search of its illusive hippos, before returning to camp in time for gourmet dining served riverside.
“If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.” ― David Livingstone
Matetsi River Lodge
From US$675 per person, all inclusive