Welcome to thethoughtfultraveller.com’s Zimbabwe accommodation series!
Thanks to the wonderful Sikeleli Safaris, this lucky blogger has gained an exclusive insight into the best safari camps, lodges and hotels that the country has to offer.
Stay tuned for Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls highlights…
As Zimbabwe’s tourism industry continues to grow and develop it can be difficult to really distinguish between the myriad of similar safari camps on offer.
Vintage takes the ‘back to basics’ approach and manages to make it look both effortless and super cool. That’s no small feat considering the camp doesn’t even have running water.
What it does have, however, is a surprisingly comfortable array of vintage style tents, with either twin or double beds.
Inside, they’re pretty basic. But that’s what makes them so charming – the feeling that you’re (somewhat) experiencing life in the bush.
And that’s not to say they aren’t perfectly comfortable, especially the beds.Remember to fully zip up the tent and to use ‘bush perfume’ (bug spray) liberally – you’re quite literally in the middle of a national park.
The bush life experience wouldn’t be complete without each tent’s very own compost toilet and bush shower. Honestly, the latter isn’t half bad, as long as you’re an efficient shampooer.
To sum up the above, Vintage is pretty much the best way of feeling like you’re camping in Hwange National Park’s wilderness, without having to get bogged down in the boring bits.
That’s because the incredibly friendly staff are readily available to prepare (warm!) water for your bucket shower, or serve up a stunningly tasty meal.
For me, the quality of the food was particularly impressive, since the camp’s facilities are minimal, to say the least. (In fact, owner Francie boasted that the whole camp could get up and go, without leaving a trace, in a matter of hours.)
The steak I had was outstanding, and the candlelit surroundings made it all the more memorable.
In an industry where heavy three course meals are rife, Francie’s stance of rejecting intricate or fusion cuisine in honour of a ‘simple is best’ philosophy is nicely refreshing.
A typical evening at Vintage consists of a leisurely meal, followed by sitting round the cosy campfire for chats and drinks. You’ll then be escorted back to your tent – a necessity when animals are in SUCH close proximity!
If you can tear yourself away, it’s worth going to bed fairly early, because going on a bush walk is the perfect morning activity from somewhere like Vintage.
For this, there’s no-one better than Roy Aylward of Wild Walks, an incredibly experienced guide.
Not only can you learn about (and see) the multitude of flora and fauna on offer, but a bush walk makes for a healthy break from length game drives.
You might even see a beautiful sunrise too. If Vintage could plan one for their guests, they certainly would – that’s the type of outstanding customer service on offer at the camp. It’s a special place and one you won’t forget.