We are off to Zambia and Zimbabwe on a site inspection trip which involves seeing as many lodges as possible in ten days. This is an intense, but exciting program of internal flights, boat transfers, game drives, and a final-day option of floating on a luxury cruise in Victoria Falls, known as the Ra-Ikane Cruise. The itinerary states that “if you are not too tired,” you can join the boat cruise. When I read this, I thought, how could we possibly be too tired to enjoy a luxury cruise in Victoria Falls?
This will be my first time on a site inspection in Zimbabwe, and I was informed to stay as fit, energetic and healthy as possible for our busy itinerary. Fortunately our travelers stay at the same lodge for several nights, and therefore get time to relax, and enjoy the early morning and late afternoon game drives.
I’ll be traveling with Jim Holden, owner of Holden Safaris who was born in Zambia, and lived in Zimbabwe. Jim is used to site inspections having been in the travel business most of his life. For me, it will be an opportunity to see things from the perspective of one of our Holden Safaris travelers, experiencing the adventure and beauty of Zimbabwe’s wildlife, and the exclusive lodges we book on our custom Safaris.
I’m looking forward to flying in small planes as we move from one lodge to the next. These planes only carry 4-12 passengers and are strict about luggage since there is a 33 pound weight limit and only soft-sided duffel bags are allowed. These are crammed into small spaces. Large hard-shell suitcases do not fit on these planes, and for most U.S. travelers, especially women, this can be a challenge. So I’m perfecting my packing skills, and following the guidelines that we spell out to our clients. The lodges have laundry facilities, so no need to bring 10 pairs of pants and 10 T-shirts. In fact, please leave your fancy dresses and high heels behind and wear your comfortable Safari shoes. Remember where you are, and despite the lodges offering all the creature comforts of home, you can stay casual. There are wonderful outdoor showers and bath tubs where you can sometimes watch the wildlife from your tub as you sip a glass of wine. As far as your meals, you might be surprised to learn that you’ll be enjoying the freshest of ingredients, both fish, meat, vegetables fruits and sumptuous desserts, all while watching a large hippo climb out of the Zambezi river at Ruckomechi Camp,
Take a look at the Ruckomechi Camp video below, located at Mana Pools, in Zimbabwe, and the lodge we’re staying at.
On the last day of our site inspection, after checking out the Victoria Falls Hotel, and the Royal Livingstone, we’ll be transferred to the Thorntree River Lodge is set in Zambia’s Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, just a short distance from the famous Victoria Falls.
What I look forward to is celebrating my birthday in Zambia, at the Thorntree River Lodge. It’s stunning architecture, built with an environmentally-conscious design. Despite it’s contemporary design, it still has the tented roof structures to maintain the feel of authentic Africa. We have sent several of our Holden Safaris travelers to this gorgeous lodge where you can experience wildlife and get pampered in one location.
I hope you follow us on our site inspection as I look forward to sharing our photos and experiences on the Holden Safaris FB page, as well as updates on the blog.
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Author: Sonia Marsh