Zambia & Zimbabwe, Chapter 1: River Club
Notes from my recent trip – organized and hosted by Wilderness Safaris.
The Victoria Falls area has it all, and during a recent visit I was thrilled to be able to participate in much that the area had to offer. My arrival was into the very nice and newly constructed terminal at Livingstone Airport. Exiting into the arrivals areas I was met and transferred to the River Club first by road and then by boat, and what a lovely way to arrive at my new “home”. (Being October it was hot, and the queue at the arrivals to get visas was long with processing time slow; that may change as the new terminal becomes more familiar.)
The lodge is located on the banks of the magnificent Zambezi River, approximately 11 miles upstream from the Falls. I arrived just in time for lunch, which was served at tables set up around the pool, I then retired to my “room” to regroup; much needed after a long journey. The “room” is huge; each of the accommodations is elevated and most – soon to be all – are two stories with facilities on both levels. They are positioned along the side of a steep bank overlooking the Zambezi therefore each room enjoys a great view across the river and the Zambezi National Park. In addition a beautiful two bedroom/two bath Luxury Suite has been recently added to “inventory”, providing a great escape for family or friends.
After settling in it was time for afternoon tea, complete with some delicious cheesecake; then on to the cruise on the Zambezi hosted by Peter (a walking encyclopedia). We enjoyed the bird life and animal activity along the banks, and later the sunset. Sunset in Africa! What can be said about that? It’s truly a special time of the day, and in those moments it seems that all MUST be right with the world! “Thank you yes, I would love another drink, and do pass the snacks please.”
During our sundowner cruise I learned that “Bob the Birdman” died in 2012. Bob was one of those characters who were larger than life, a true eccentric whose love and life was Africa, and the birds. I had the pleasure of experiencing an afternoon in his company many years ago. Once met never forgotten I can tell you – they just don’t make them like that anymore!
I digress….back to the River Club, the main building, called Zambezi House, is an Edwardian styled house with a lounge, dining room, library, shop and veranda – on the veranda is where I enjoyed tea, dinner and breakfast. Throughout the interior you will find lots of historical nuggets as well as photos revealing a bygone era. All fascinating stuff! It’s well worth taking a few extra moments to ask someone to tell you about the history of the lodge and the area, there are so many stories to hear.
Lunch might also be served on the lawn (complete with croquet court). There is a gazebo and a “Summer House” (with snooker table) providing additional alternatives for private dining. There is a nice sized pool overlooking the river, and a secluded deck below. (During the hot time of the year the pool is a saving grace as is the A/C in the rooms.) Massages can be easily arranged with a little notice.
During dinner the other guests were celebrating a birthday and so were enjoying a private dinner by the pool, whereas all of the guests might normally be served dinner together (unless requested otherwise of course). Another guest and myself were hosted at dinner by Peter, and I have to say, what an enjoyable evening. Candles, great conversation, the African night sounds, stars, and an absolutely delicious dinner! I didn’t think I could eat it all, but not a scrap was wasted.
Activities (on an inclusive rate) include a Victoria Falls Tour, sundowner cruises, tiger fishing, and visiting a nearby village. Others activities easily arranged (extra cost) include white water rafting, bungee jumping, micro lighting, canoeing, and flights over the Falls and more. I recommend you dare!
More on the activities to follow……