Zambia (2): Day Thirteen : Into Zimbabwe (Lokuthula Lodge)

Tour Operators promoting Zimbabwe will tell you that, despite the ravages brought about by Robert Mugabe’s lunatic internal policies, the game viewing/safari side of the country remains unimpaired. But we have always felt that it is unnecessary to take the huge risk that most of the game has already disappeared, to feed a starving population, together with the substantial personal risk due to internal unrest, when there are other destinations that already offered at least as good a safari experience, even before the current troubles developed.

However, given that Livingstone is situated virtually on the border with Zimbabwe, reached across the ‘bungee-jumping’ bridge (camera icon), we therefore had decided to take a first incursion into Zimbabwe during this notionally Zambian itinerary.

It has to be said, though, that while Zambia’s attitude to tourism is highly professional, many of the hotels and lodges situated in Livingstone’s twin town of Victoria Falls, can’t even be bothered to respond to enquiries. However those that we chose to visit on this trip turned out largely to be beyond criticism.

After being picked up by a transfer vehicle at the Zambezi Sun Hotel, we were transported across the bridge to the frontier post. After getting our passports stamped at the Zambian border, we then we had to get visas at the Zimbabwe border. From here we were transferred to another vehicle which took us the five minute drive to Victoria Falls Hotel (camera icon), where we were due to take lunch. From the dining terrace we had an excellent view of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the associated bungee jumping.

Following lunch we took a slow walk into the town itself, which was very interesting, and quite a contrast to Livingstone. We were then shown around the hotel itself including one of the executive suites, dining areas and swimming pool (camera icon). We would certainly recommend staying here, although we were booked in elsewhere ourselves.

During the afternoon we were taken to Lokuthula Lodge (camera icon), a self-catering apartment-like budget location, an offshoot of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, in whose grounds it is situated. Quite bizarrely, in such a location, the grounds were full of fairly tame wildlife, including vervet monkeys, warthog (camera icon), banded mongoose (camera icon) and bushbuck.

Not having been in a position to purchase our own food, we didn't take advantage of the self-catering facilities, and in the evening we went over to the Lodge itself for dinner at their renowned Boma restaurant.

This was quite a new experience for us in Africa. The restaurant was a huge place, absolutely full, and with African singing, drumming and dancing throughout the evening (camera icon). The food on offer included kudu, warthog, eland, crocodile tail and Mopani worms, and we tucked in with considerable interest.

The only downside to staying at Lokuthula turned out to be the absence of mosquito spray being provided in the room, with the inevitable outcome.

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