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By Mishka Ramdas, Digital Copywriter
Zimbabwe – steeped in history, rich in culture and beauty in all its glory. This beautiful landlocked country is a haven for intrepid travels and adventures alike. We were thrilled to be part of African Bush Camps latest adventure where we were able to see a few of their camps and surrounding reserves.
After an hour, 40-minute flight from Johannesburg to Harare, our talented Travel Specialist, Natasha Wilkinson, touched down in Zimbabwe and was met by the efficient team that would escort her to Bumi Hills Safari Lodge. Set on the shimmering waters of Lake Kariba with the Zambezi escarpment as its backdrop, Bumi Hills is truly captivating. Not only is Kariba’s shoreline wildlife-rich, but the lodge’s proximity to Matusadona allows for the wildlife to freely move between the national park and Bumi Hill’s private concession, creating endless game-viewing opportunities, led by a passionate team of guides.
Once settled in, the team headed for a short game drive and then stopped along Lake Kariba to see the sunset and enjoy a few sundowners. The views are immaculate and truly take your breath away. The lake is unfenced, and while the water may be tempting in the Zimbabwe heat, we do not recommend dipping your toes! Everyone then went back to the lodge to enjoy a hearty meal, and rest up for the next day of adventure.
Day two was quite a busy day. With an early wake up call and some tea, coffee and snacks, the team headed into the local Bumi village for a cultural experience. There is something special about seeing African culture, its people and their lifestyle in real life that ignites one’s soul. The school in this region, is the only one with running water. Which is a major achievement for the area and perfectly illustrates the steady growth of Zimbabwe.
The team then had a specially prepared lake side lunch followed by a game drive through the Bumi Hills private concession where they treated to an array of game sightings. Zimbabwe offers great opportunities for photographers as each region has a perfect backdrop to catch a great sighting of an elephant, some wild dogs or other game. After some well-deserved game viewing, the team then tested their skills on the water with catch & release fishing. Within Zimbabwe, there are over 80 species of fish and it is important to maintain the ecosystem by releasing them back into the water.
On day three, the team departed to Nyamatusi, which is one of African Bush Camps flagship lodges in terms of its eco-conscious style. perfectly set in one of the wildest and most remote parts of Africa and perched along the banks of the Zambezi River, this camp offers a sustainable design that embraces comfort and the superb African landscape. This Mana Pools National Park safari all plays out against a sweeping riverine landscape, where epic encounters of the giants take place.
Mana Pools is the only National Park in Africa where you can walk freely without being accompanied by a professional guide. This is what made day three truly epic. On game drive, a pack of wild dogs were trotting along, and the team were able to hop off the vehicle and walk just a few steps behind them. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Another fascinating aspect of game drives in Mana Pools is the elephants. Did you know that the elephants in this region stand on their hind legs to reach their food from the trees above? At first it looks quite strange, but when you think of evolution and the way the world has had to adapt you understand the beauty of it all
The last stop on the adventure was Kanga Camp, which is situated in a private concession in the Mana Pools National Park. The camp is situated adjacent to the seasonal Kanga Pan offering a truly authentic Mana Pools Safari experience. The Zambezi River is many miles away, therefore the Kanga Pan is the sole source of water during dry seasons, creating a haven for wildlife. With sustainable tourism in mind, Kanga Camp is fully solar-powered and perfect for the conscious traveller.
Natasha, our wonderful travel expert tends to be intrigued by unique stories and was excited when she heard that there is a resident hippo at the camp, who lives in the Kanga Pan. A few years ago, a hippo was kicked out of his group and sought refuge in the Kanga Pan. He is now on his own, blind in one eye due to a fight in the wilderness just floating about the water.
To end the last day, a feast was laid out for the team and stories were shared about the last few days. As travel specialists, we are truly lucky to experience these spectacular destinations and learn all about the uniqueness of each region. Whilst this helps us provide each of our guests first-hand knowledge of area, it also teaches us a deep sense of gratitude. There is something about Africa that leaves your heart completely fulfilled, whether its through an interaction with a young scholar in a rural school or walk with a lion, it reminds each and everyone of us how important sustainable tourism is.