An African Safari is a sensory experience. From the moment you step out of the plane onto the tarmac, the smell of earth mixed with heat rises up to welcome you. You are immediately enveloped in its charm, both pure and unrelentingly wild.
There are no boundaries or borders to the adventurous spirit, whether it be tackling fresh terrain outdoors, or absorbing surroundings in inner exploration; the soul is equally fulfilled. Africa’s landscape calls to the wild wanderer, the culturally curious, the artist as well as the philosopher. Its rivers summon the athletic explorer, whereas its vistas beckon the dreamers, and its cultural quilt, historians. Africa offers a travel tincture for everyone, reaching out in recognition of what you seek in a journey.
One of these soul food destinations for us is Zimbabwe, a country very close to our hearts. Zimbabwe’s charm stretches from one side of the country to the other, its rich and varied scenery irresistible to the safari seeker. It calls to the adventurer as well as the culturally curious, fulfilling the travel appetite for both.
Recently celebrating the travel transition from the armchair to the safari seat, Jenman African Safaris Content Creator Kim Sparrow embarked on a journey with Kenya Airways on their direct flight to Victoria Falls. Experience her journey through reading her recount below:
“Having had my imagination stretched in lockdown, now ready to stretch my legs, I was eager to follow in the footsteps of the wild. I went from being on the edge of my plane seat to the edge of the safari seat with anticipation for what was around the corner, my curiosity for adventure fully ignited.
Travelling is different to what everyone is used to. There is a level of trepidation involved, however if done in the correct way, with intention and awareness, fears and hurdles can be overcome. One of the biggest challenges has been the ever-changing protocols and flight connectivity between destinations, making planning a trip overwhelming. Kenya Airways provided their service with effortless efficiency, all safety protocols were adhered to, allowing travel to be both an adventurous and responsible affair.
Arriving in Victoria Falls, a Wild Horizons transfer vehicle was waiting to take me to my accommodation for the night; the elegant Ilala Lodge. Ilala Lodge is conveniently located in the heart of town, a mere 8 minute walk to the waterfall wonder! Rising with the dawn, I went to explore Victoria Falls, the spray of its water inviting from a distance, living true to its name, ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’.
The next two nights were spent at Hideaways Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park. Luckily, Nantwich is located a mere hour’s drive from Victoria Falls, on the north western wing of the park. The lodge sits on the borders of both the Matetsi concession as well as Chobe National Park in Botswana, animals migrating freely between the areas – a veritable animal intersection.
A sunset game drive was an invitation for further exploration of Hwange National Park. The drive was led with the advice of, ‘expect anything and assume nothing’. The park bestowed us with gifts of lion, elephants, hippo, zebra and giraffe sightings, as well as displaying the more delicate side of nature through its flora and fauna. Simply happy to be in the bush and immersed in nature, I drank in each sighting with enthusiasm, quenching my safari thirst.
My next adventure took me back to Victoria Falls, onto the elegant Ra-Ikane boat launching from the Palm River Hotel for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Our cruise was blessed with the sighting of elephants grazing along the riverbank, proceeding to wade into its waters and swim across to the other side of the wide Zambezi; a breathtaking safari spectacle. This is where a safari upon water holds its charm – it’s invitation to unwind with the proximity and viewpoint of the African landscape unlike any other. Zambezi waters offer a consistent channel of wild wonder, from its wildlife, to its ecosystems and iconic African sunsets.
My final evening was spent at The Exclusive Safari Club Suites, overlooking a watering hole favoured by wildlife in the area. Getting ready for the evening, I watched a herd of kudu wander gently down to the water for their evening drink, navigating the bush with constant awareness. I had the pleasure of dining at their Boma restaurant, the evening filled with the heartbeat of Zimbabwe, djembe drums leading traditional dancers around the floor. Culinary and cultural appetite fulfilled, I fell into bed that evening enveloped in satisfied exhaustion, dreaming of freshly collected memories of Zimbabwe.
A straightforward transit with Wild Horizons took me seamlessly through the border to Livingstone and onto the airport, checked in and ready to fly once again with Kenya Airways. As I waited to board, I reflected on the destinations that we now have access to, in our backyards and neighbouring countries. The understanding that adventure is just on our doorstep, around the corner or just over the border has reignited a pride in Africa. My trip to Zimbabwe reminded me why Africa is the motherland, and I have never felt prouder to share the wild wonders of her colourful and quilted landscapes.”