A’Zambezi River Lodge: Standing the test of time

Isdore Guvamombe Tourism Matrix
A’Zambezi River Lodge in Victoria Falls is stunning in every detail. Riverine trees sway in the cool Zambezi River breeze. Sand and hued flowing water sparkles alluringly under the silhouette tropical sunset.

On the lodge lawn, warthogs graze on bended front legs, as if they ordered the lush-greenery from heaven and their ghostly figures systematically melt and blend with the new architecture, the humans and vehicles that drive in and out. Vehicle and human movements do not seem to disturb the warthogs from their sumptuous meal, since they are the permanent residents of A’Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls’ only riverside lodge.

The lawns also attract Sebastian, the resident hippo who grazes on the lawn much to the amusement of patrons. These days Sebastian has a wife and the couple is blessed with a child and the hotel’s first family is quite a spectacle, when it comes out for its dinner.

In the stealth of the night, a leopard passes by the hotel lawns eastwards on its daily hunting escapades only to return using the same route just before sunrise.

Lucky guests have seen the lone and secretive cat. A spitting distance from the lodge window, southwards, kudu bulls, hoist their iron-polished corkscrew horns above a graze-line that looks like a spectacular schoolboy haircut, on the southern view of the lodge.

Elephants are also regular visitors. On the river, traditional sunset cruise boats – propelled by billowing and puffing engines – criss-cross and compete to catch a glimpse of crocodiles, mostly invisible except for a pair of sentry-post eyes that peak menacingly above the surface to monitor boat movements.

Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Zambezi River come with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine riverine birds, including the kingfisher.

On a lucky day one could see a herd of elephants crossing the mighty river. Discerning tourists enjoy the coming back of the 87-roomed A’Zambezi River Lodge, whose majority of rooms have balconies that distinctly face the river and the swimming pool.

You can unwind in the elegant rooms where your every need is met, or simply refresh your mind, body and soul in one of the best hotels in Zimbabwe.

The rest of course face the amphitheatre of wildlife, the Zambezi National Park and the lush green gardens. It is fact not fiction that A’Zambezi River Lodge is the only hotel in Victoria Falls with a river frontage and a jetty site. It is also outstanding for paraplegic facilities in rooms and restaurants.

The hotel is back after years of renovations, offering guided tours, boat cruises on the Zambezi, elephant back safaris, game drives, white water rafting, Bungee jumping, flight of angels helicopter rides, game walks, cultural village tour, among others.

Amulonga Restaurant has riverside dining facilities offering ethnic and Western dishes in both buffet and a la carte style, live entertainment, garden breakfast and lunch on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Umulonga is Tonga language for the River and the decorum on the restaurant The rooms have complementary tea/coffee facilities, individually controlled air conditioning, satellite television and mosquito nets and insect repellents, are available.

Outstanding at A’Zambezi is the introduction of the Jecha Bar, a drinking spot whose floor is glittering beach sand. It is the first such drinking facility in Victoria Falls, where guzzlers can enjoy themselves on the sandy floors.

It is immaculate and unique. The new conference room accommodates 250 delegates and has state-of-the-art audio-visual and conferencing facilities. A’Zambezi, which has won international accolades and has remained on pole position in the international Travel Advisory Council, has been selected the exhibition centre for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly, slated for August 24 to 29.

The lodge’s lush green lawns will host two sets of exhibitions, the international exhibition near the front office and a Zimbabwean traditional exhibition on the eastern lawns.

Who can ignore the charm of the mighty Zambezi, the river that even the gods in their unchallenged wisdom gave the falls that have become the cynosure of tourism attraction the world over.

The A’Zambezi River Lodge is serene, sensual and exquisite. There you can re-ignite the spirit of Africa in your battered soul.

Feedback: isadore.guvamombe@zimpapers.co.zw

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