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Because I've always wanted to...

Autumn greetings!

In July I spent two weeks travelling down parts of the Chobe and Upper & Lower Zambezi rivers. My first stop was Ntwala, a heavenly six room camp surrounded by lush vegetation and the waters of the Zambezi. Second stop a rather civilised house boat on the Chobe River in Botswana. Thereafter I visited a selection of outstanding properties along the banks of the Zambian and Zimbabwe sides of Victoria Falls. After crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge I spent several days exploring the local town and enjoying the multitude of activities available - not the zip lining or the bungee jump off the bridge for me however!

After my highlight heli trip - pictured above - I headed into Hwange National Park to explore the many safari camps that are on offer in this beautiful area. Finally I flew over the Kariba Dam to an area that is known as the Lower Zambezi where there are a number of wonderful camps mostly, with one exception, on the Zambian side of the river.

Below I have selected what I feel are some of the best of the bunch but by no means the holy grail such is the variety and choice available to everyone. The flow of water over the falls along with the low humidity, hot clear days and cool nights makes June - September a perfect time to visit this stunning part of Africa.

The parks in Zimbabwe, along with the charming town of Victoria Falls were indeed a pleasant surprise, after all one imagines regarding recent Zimbabwe politics.

With my best wishes,
Nick Matthews, Laterallife London, UK.

Sindabezi

Tongabezi/ Sindabezi - Zambia  

Upstream of the falls, Tongabezi would certainly be my pick of the bunch. If what you enjoy is a small and beautifully stylish well run hotel, with sumptuous accommodation dotted along the banks of the river with stunning views of the Zambezi, then Tongabezi is the one for you. The hotel is situated 20 minutes by road from Victoria Falls.

Ten minutes away by boat downstream is the smaller, more lateral option of Sindabezi - not a place for children but certainly one for those seeking real peace and quiet.
This was the owner's private island retreat which has now been opened up to visitors of theirs who are happy to stay in luxury tented accommodation. It has no electricity - just paraffin lamps, a camp fire and the stars

Elephant Camp

  The Elephant Camp - Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe 

This camp, just ten minutes away from the falls, is simply the perfect place for a family. There are twelve magnificent tents with en suite bathrooms, wooden decking and plunge pools overlooking the park.

Part of the experience at this camp is meeting and interacting with the Wild Horizon elephants which are used for elephant back safaris. 
There is also the opportunity to meet the resident Wild Life Trusts ambassador - Sylvester the Cheetah. He was rescued as a cub and is often seen walking around at breakfast time… on a lead!

The Hide Safari Camp

  The Hide - Hwange National Park - Zimbabwe  

Just a twenty minutes charter flight from Victoria Falls and you will find yourself at The Hide Safari Camp. It is a great favourite and has been located in the National Park for nearly twenty years. The camp recently underwent a complete refurbishment and is now one of the most luxurious in the Park. 
It is beautifully managed with a magnificent watering hole right in the front of all the accommodation, so excellent game viewing is guaranteed whatever the time of day.
The luxury tented suites are more than one would expect but for those with a sense of adventure spend a night at the Dove's Nest - a tree house camp right out amongst it all!!

Ruckomechi

Ruckomechi Camp - Mana Pools - Zimbabwe

This camp fits in well if you are visiting Victoria Falls, The Hide in Hwange National Park and then you fancy a few days on the river with an abundance of game and bird life thrown in.

Boating and kayaking trips are a must do here and if like me, you have "always wanted to …" catch a Tiger Fish then, as you will see from the picture, this is a great place to stay!

Elephant, leopard and lion were all very much around to be seen as well as all the usual bird and game suspects.

Nick Tiger Fish + Mongol Rally

 

Nick's Tiger Fish!  

The waters of the Kariba Dam and the Upper and Lower Zambezi Rivers are teeming with these aggressive, bony, inedible fish!

From July onwards, as the water temperature rises, fish up to 10 kg can be caught. This was a mere 4.4 kg - but it ticked the "Because I've always wanted to catch a Tiger Fish" box!!

What makes the fishing such a special experience are the views of the Zambezi, with the Rift mountains as a backdrop as you gently float down the river.

It was a really unique Africa moment!

The Mongol Rally 2013  

Laterallife was proud to be a co-sponsor of these intrepid young men with the Nissan Micra opposite! The rules - the car must have an engine size of 1.2 litres or less and there is no set route or help provided along the way. Essentially, if you get in any sort of trouble it is up to the individual teams to sort it out! The trip -Leg 1:  Bodiam Castle-Romanian coast. Leg 2:Romanian coast to Georgia. Leg 3: Georgia-Turkmenistan Border with Uzbekistan. Leg 4:Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan. Leg 5:  Kazakhstan to Russian Mongolian border. Leg 6:  Mongolia, the Chinggis Khan hotel in Ulaanbaatar

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