Day 1 – 3: Mpala Jena Camp, Zambezi National Park
Day 3 – 7: Camelthorn Lodge, Hwange National Park
Day 7 – 10: Tembo Plains Camp, Sapi Private Reserve
Day 10 – 14: Singita Pamushana, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve
Zambezi National Park lies on the southern banks of the Zambezi River, west of the tourist center of Victoria Falls. At over 100,00 acres, the reserve is part of a huge conservation area that extends westward across Botswana and beyond to Zambia, Namibia, and Angola. The area is dominated by beautiful teak and mopane woodlands and wildlife abounds. Elephants, buffalo, hippos, and crocodiles are common, and lion, leopard, and wild dog can also be found. The birding is exceptional with species like the shy African finfoot being fairly common along the quiet river banks.
There are plenty of ways to experience this wildlife haven, from walks to game drives to enjoying a sundowner cruise down the Zambezi River.
Mpala Jena Camp is located on a private concession within the Zambezi National Park. The camp is named after the natural spring-line, Mpala Jena, which runs through the centre of the concession, and which attracts an abundance of wildlife throughout the year, particularly during the drier months. Mpala Jena overlooks a beautiful stretch of the Zambezi River shoreline. There are three guest tents and two family tents, all positioned under the dappled shade of a mixture of indigenous trees, including Kigelia Africana (sausage tree), Lonchocarpus capassa (rain tree), and Syzygium cordatum (water berrytree).
The three guest tents are located on the banks of the Zambezi River with views of the river frontage. Each tent has en-suite bathroom facilities, indoor shower, separate loo, and double basins. Decking in front of the tent leads to views of the calming and peaceful flowing waters of the Zambezi River.
Activities available from Mpala Jena camp include visting the iconic Victoria Falls, boating on the Zambezi River, and wildlife drives in Zambezi National Park. The Zambezi National Park has a healthy and ever increasing number of wildlife species, with higher concentrations of buffalo and elephant during the months June through to October.
Victoria Falls National Park
Victoria Falls National Park is a tiny piece of protected land surrounding Victoria Falls, one of the world’s three great waterfalls. Situated in western Zimbabwe in the town of Victoria Falls, the views are incredible and you can follow a path right along the edge of the gorge. The mighty Zambezi creates a roar and a huge spray of mist that can be seen from many miles away. The falls are also known as Mosi-oa- Tunya, an incredibly descriptive name that captures the essence of this very special place so well – translating to the “Smoke that Thunders.”
As a result of the spray from the falls, a mini rainforest exists in the surrounding area, creating a wildlife hotspot. Species such as lion and leopard occasionally come through while sightings of elephants are more common. Above the falls, hippo and crocodiles abound, amongst a large array of wildlife – an added bonus to a visit to this World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Hwange National Park is situated in western Zimbabwe and is the country’s premier game reserve. With easy road and flight access from both Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, the reserve is extremely popular with both local and international tourists. Hwange is renowned for its huge elephant and buffalo herds, sable and other rare antelope as well as an excellent concentration of large predators including lion, leopard, wild dog, hyena, and cheetah. Birders will find plenty to keep them busy with over 400 species of birds recorded and the park is especially known for its spectacular sunsets.
At almost three million acres, Hwange is a huge wilderness area open to Botswana on its western side, allowing wildlife to traverse across countries and making it extremely valuable for the conservation of large mammals like elephant, lion, and buffalo.
This flagship lodge is nestled in a patch of pristine woodland just west of Ngamo on the edge of the southeastern corner of Hwange National Park. The lodge is unique in its style and design and has as its centre piece a huge ancient Camelthorn tree. Enjoy al fresco dining under our ancient camelthorn tree, savour your morning coffee in front of a roaring fire, track herds of elephant by foot, and enjoy close up photography from inside our look-up blind. This flagship lodge ticks all the boxes for your authentic African safari experience.
Forest Villa Double
Large bedroom with overhead fans and fireplace, large glass sliding doors, mini bar and en-suite lounge. King-sized bed, en-suite bathroom with bath in front of picture window, shower, double basin and toilet, outdoor maisonette via spiral stairway provides an outdoor deck/roof with hammocks ideal for a siesta, private dining or a night ‘under the stars’.
Less than a kilometre away from the lodge and inside Hwange National Park, the camp has an underground hide in front of a beautifully located waterhole – elephants can be photographed from toe level silhouetted against the sky at a distance of 25 feet. Such close proximity to Hwange’s giants is truly breathtaking! The friendly and knowledgeable guides will take you on walks or drives inside this truly wild and remote region of Hwange National Park, famous for its giants, the elephants, as well as a plethora of different wildlife.
Rhinos at Camelthorn
The first two white rhino to roam Hwange in nearly 20 years are now settling into their new home in the Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary which borders the park and sits on the same land as Camelthorn Lodge. Imvelo’s CRCI – Community Rhino Conservation Initiative – represents a massive paradigm shift, with the rhino living on community land with local communities as custodians. Guests staying at Camelthorn Lodge and nearby Bomani Tented Camp will have the opportunity to potentially see the Big 5, something that has not been possible since 2005!
You will visit the Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary to see Thuza and Kusasa, the first two white rhino bulls at the sanctuary, as well as meet Imvelo’s incredible anti-poaching unit, the Cobras.
The heart of the 120,000-hectare private Sapi Reserve, located on the eastern boundary of the Mana Pools Reserve, expands by default the area under conservation for wildlife by an additional two-thirds area of protection. The Sapi Reserve is a remote and wild safari experience.
Like the Selinda Reserve in Botswana, the Sapi Concession was a former hunting concession that Great Plains Conservation assumed the responsibility of a few years ago to conserve and protect as a photographic safari destination.
There is the opportunity to explore this stunning wilderness by vehicle and, in the footsteps of early explorers, guided on foot, canoe and boat by expert wildlife guides.
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools is an almost 500,000 acre national park and one of the most iconic in all of Africa. A photographer’s paradise, its beautiful setting of endless Ana forests along the Zambezi River provides a scenic backdrop for a huge variety of wildlife that congregate here in the dry season. Mana means “four” in the local Shona language and refers to four permanent pools that are a mecca for game viewing. Activities are mostly conducted along the river area with some of the best walking in all of Africa. You can get up close to big elephant bulls or even follow African wild dogs on the hunt. Enjoy a slow game drive or take a canoe or boat to see huge pods of hippos, along with a plethora of bird species including the African fish eagle. Fishing is excellent and there is no better place to watch endless wildlife activity while winding down the day with a drink in hand.
“Tembo” meaning Elephant, reflects more than just a place and a name honoring the animals on these plains. It speaks to long and unique relationships we have with elephants. Their pace and their essence is the inspiration for the atmosphere in camp. Tembo Plains was also designed to reference the famous Zimbabwe Ruins without losing site of the under-canvas look that Great Plains is known for. The result is a unique combination of canvas and stone walls.
Tembo Plains is built into the thick riverine forest on the Zambezi River’s edge, in the private 118,000 hectare Sapi Reserve. This beautiful private photographic reserve bordering Mana Pools National Park, is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site recognised as one of the finest wildlife destinations in Africa. Painted (wild) dogs, lions and leopards are common around Tembo Plains while buffalo, hippo and of course, elephants, are seen up and down the river. Enjoy the privacy of a safari, in a wildlife-rich sanctuary along the Zambezi where you don’t have to worry about anything except how best to soak up every moment.
Tembo Plains has four double or twin bed configuration suites, each with its own private indoor lounge area, outdoor swimming pool, (with exercise bikes on a wide veranda) and outdoor dining area. Stunning, handmade bathtubs and indoor and outside showers give the tent a sense of ‘home’ where you can move in and live. Each tent comes complete with a professional camera with lenses, plus binoculars for guests to use during their stay.
The focus of each stay at Tembo Plain is exploration and adventure. Many activities involve day and night wildlife viewing including drives and walking as well as canoeing and boating opportunities on the Zambezi River. Great Plains’ custom-built, open Toyota Landcruisers are specially designed for photography, including fold-down windscreens, raised roofs, photographic bars, and multi-plug inverters. Each of the Landcruisers is fully stocked with reference books, drinks, and snacks.
Guests have the opportunity to experience up-close encounters with elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, buffalo, eland, zebra, and other ungulate species. This is a prime bird-watching country, and opportunities abound for guests to spot resident and migrant species, especially in the early morning and late afternoons. Guests staying 3 nights or longer have the option of a wildlife experience in the Mana Pools National Park proper as well as the Sapi Reserve.
The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is set on 130,000 acres of wilderness in the southeastern corner of Zimbabwe, bordering the Gonarezhou National Park. Malilangwe remains virtually untouched by humankind and occupies a key position in an area that is potentially one of Africa’s largest bio-refuges. The vegetation on the ridges and rocky outcrops is characterized by flat-topped Mountain Acacia woodlands and ironwood thickets. The area is home to hundreds of baobab trees and an unrivalled assortment of birds with more than 500 species, including many raptors.
This is where you will find Singita Pamushana Lodge, one of Africa’s most exclusive, remote hideaways.
Singita Pamushana Lodge is set amongst towering trees overlooking a lake of 1,500 acres in the remote reaches of the pristine Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve which spans some 130,000 acres of wilderness in the southeastern corner of Zimbabwe, bordering the Gonarezhou National Park. This forest-like lodge with its rough-hewn architecture, is inspired by the bold and vibrant culture of the local Shangaan people who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
Beyond the lodge, hundreds of baobab trees punctuate the untouched wilderness of ridges, outcrops, ironwood and Mountain Acacia woodlands which are home to a great variety of rare and abundant wildlife, as well as hundreds of bird species and ancient rock paintings.
Perched high on a sandstone ridge overlooking the shimmering expanse of the Malilangwe Dam, Singita Pamushana Lodge’s eight elegant suites – all with private plunge pools – draw inspiration from the rich tribal history of ancient Zimbabwe. Maximising opportunities to be immersed in the restorative power of its incredible wilderness setting, the lodge’s guest experience allows for a safari that’s both soothing and inspiring – with comfort, intuitive ease and a complete sense of freedom underpinning every stay.
Featuring a series of staggered and interlinked platforms, the main lodge area provides a variety of living spaces from which to appreciate the astounding natural beauty of the area. Expansive decks deepen connections with the landscape and a cliff-top fire pit and bar-deli overlooking the dam provides the perfect setting for alfresco dining and fireside storytelling.
The suites offer the ultimate luxury in a truly African setting. All master bedrooms feature en suite bathroom and shower, as well as an outdoor shower, private plunge pool, double-sided fireplace, mini-bar and fridge, room safe, air conditioning, overhead fans, private lounge, direct dial telephones and game viewing deck with Swarovski spotting scope.
Pamushana Lodge is set in Zimbabwe’s remote southeast, within the 130,000-acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. Guests have exclusive access to this untouched wilderness and can immerse themselves in nature on twice-daily game drives, bush walks, sundowner boat cruises, excursions to rock art sites and more.
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