We all acknowledge that we spend too much time on our electronic devices, so it was a treat to “tune out” and be WiFi deprived on a recent trip into remote Zimbabwe.
Great Plains Conservation Company has just opened an authentic bush camp in the 118,000-hectare Sapi Private Reserve, just east of Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.
So, I had to check it out!
Sapi Explorers Camp is accessed by a 2-hour flight in a light aircraft from Victoria Falls Airport to Chikwenya. On arrival, there’s an easy transfer/game drive to the camp. After enjoying sundowners over the Zambezi, we arrived at Sapi Explorers in time for a gourmet dinner – which had been cooked in a trunk “oven” fashioned from hot coals dug deep into the ground.
During our stay, we were taken on a game drive into the adjacent Mana Pools National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most remote and least developed safari parks in the country. It teems with wildlife and birdlife – especially between June and October. We were also led on informative bush walks – with an armed ranger, of course and even saw pangolin ….. tracks. This magnificent, yet elusive animal managed to hide from us despite our best attempts to find him.
On our final night at the camp, we were treated to a sunset canoeing expedition down the Zambezi. “Dip, dip, dip” I shouted authoritatively from the stern of my canoe, providing the pace for the nine of us paddling down the river. As a Canadian who spent 10 years at summer camp, this was a highlight for me – even if I might have been deemed bossy in my teaching of paddling techniques!
It was a wonderful 3-nights’ stay at Sapi Explorers Camp. The guides and the hosting staff were exceptional and they really “gel” as a team. Without ruining the surprises that the camp creates, I can tell you they are very creative; not only with the bush cuisine, but also the locations in which they serve it.
Leaving the bush behind, we headed to Victoria Falls to stay at the deluxe Mpala Jena Camp in the Zambezi National Park. This magnificent camp is a new addition to Great Plains. The camp is located 16 kilometres from Victoria Falls, so you get to enjoy a game drive on the way to camp. Alternatively, the property can be accessed by boat from town, so you can see elephant and hippo frolicking in the water en route. The camp is environmentally innovative, using recycled hardwood and canvas in its construction. The opulent rooms even feature stonework designed to emulate the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. While it was too cool to enjoy the private plunge pools, the stationary bikes in each of the five rooms were a welcome antidote to all the gourmet food we had been eating!
All too soon it was time to get back to civilization… and the hundreds of messages that needed answering.
If you’d like a well-deserved break and some digital downtime, get in touch with us and let us plan a trip for you to Sapi Explorers Camp or Mpala Jena Camp in Zimbabwe.