May 12, 2015 | Expert Africa
Travel to Zimbabwe is increasing apace. A vibrant country with dramatic landscapes, welcoming people, abundant wildlife, world class guiding and charming lodges, following some difficult years it’s now well on its way to re-establishing its rightful place on Africa’s safari circuit. Recent and imminent developments only add to the country’s huge appeal:
Victoria Falls’ new international airport
Opening this summer, the new airport (costing $150 million) will accommodate wide-bodied aircraft, potentially increasing travel options with direct flights. The project includes the construction of a 4,000m second runway, expansion of the existing runway and a new 20,000m2 terminal building.
The Elephant Express
For 20 years a rail transfer option for safari guests to the south-east of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park has been dreamt of; now it’s a reality. The elegant Elephant Express, complete with teak tables, transports 22 passengers to a bygone era (when safari by rail was part of the adventure) along the park’s northern boundary, gliding past wildlife and wilderness in comfort, with a cool drink in hand.
There’s been significant investment in new lodges across the country, giving travellers more choice than ever in terms of appealing places to stay. In particular, Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe’s premier big game park – has some exciting new accommodation options.
Zambezi Sands, Victoria Falls
A very smart tented safari camp in a remote area beside the Upper Zambezi in the Zambezi National Park, Zambezi Sands is close enough to Victoria Falls for guests to enjoy all of the activities there – including bungee-jumping, white-water rafting and micro lighting – whilst far enough away (about an hour and a half’s drive) to experience a true wilderness area that’s well worth exploring.
Camelthorn, Hwange National Park
Opened in 2014, this is a stylish lodge hidden in a forest of camelthorn in a remote spot just outside the south-east corner of the national park. Run by an experienced team, Camelthorn is well-situated for game watching, being only a ten-minute drive from the park’s open plains and network of waterholes.
Bomani Tented Lodge, Hwange National Park
Located on its own private concession just outside the national park, Bomani offers an exclusive game viewing experience. The lodge is adjacent to Ngamo Plains – well known for big game, especially elephant. Less design-focused than its sister camp Camelthorn, Bomani is simple but comfortable, and ideal for travellers wanting an affordable but genuine wilderness experience.
Jozibanini, Hwange National Park
Opening in July in a very new area of southernmost Hwange, Jozibanini is far from any existing camps – and indeed from anywhere that’s seen a camp for the last few decades. Those building the camp have worked closely with local communities and are focused on safeguarding the park’s wildlife.
Africa specialist Expert Africa offers an 11-day trip from £3,837 pp (based on two sharing) including return overnight flights from London to Victoria Falls (via Johannesburg), two nights at each of the new camps / lodges mentioned above, full board plus most activities and drinks throughout, two two-hour transfers on the Elephant Express, plus all other transfers. Call Expert Africa on 020 8232 9777 (www.expertafrica.com).