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…
Having travelled fairly widely and been lucky enough to stay in various outstanding places on my trip to Zimbabwe (thanks to safari specialists Sikeleli Africa Safaris), I can say with simple honesty that it was The Elephant Camp that truly made me the saddest.
Sad? You ask. Sad, because no one wants to feel that their life has peaked at age 22. Yet I strongly felt, and really still do, that I won’t stay anywhere nearly as magical and breathtaking again as Victoria Falls’ Elephant Camp.
Don’t get me wrong – there are many camps I stayed in which hold a special place in my heart (namely, intimate Vintage Camp and stunning Somalisa). But, there’s something about The Elephant Camp which makes you remember it forever.
Perhaps it’s the exclusive location, on a private concession by the Masuwe River, or maybe it’s the spectacular accommodation, Zambezi gorge-facing and with plunge pools, but the camp takes luxury to whole new levels.
On offer is accommodation for 24 guests in 12 luxury tents, but calling them ‘tents’ comes nowhere near close enough to describing just how glam the suites really are.
Each one has a different view of the Zambezi, but wherever you are you’ll still hear the roar of the water, see the smoke from the falls and gaze at the picturesque sunset.
The rooms themselves come with every modern convenience – air-conditioning, tea and coffee stations and a generously stocked mini bar.
Oh, and the beds are absurdly warm and inviting.
More importantly, however, every way of bathing is a fantastic way of bathing.
Each luxury tent comes equipped with an inside shower, an (idyllic) outside shower and a bath with a view.
And there’s a sitting room that could pretty much house a small Zimbabwean village.
(Perhaps an inappropriate remark, but you’ve got to have a sense of humour/ self awareness when staying in such luxury in a poverty-stricken country.)
For me, the tent’s private viewing deck with pool was a camp highlight.
There’s little point in describing it because 1) I’ve already shown you a photo, 2) here’s another one and 3) how much do you really want to think about me drinking a G&T in the pool whilst you’re staring at a screen?
But there’s so much more to The Elephant Camp than merely taking selfies in the above scenario (guilty).
There’s a whole host of included activities – from bird walks to village tours to meeting Sylvester the cheetah.
The cheetah, discovered by a game scout called Sylvester, wasn’t able to survive in the wild thanks to a lion killing his mother within two days of giving birth.
So now he works as an ‘ambassador’ cheetah, interacting with guests and schoolchildren to raise awareness of the challenges cheetahs face as an endangered species.
The knowledgeable staff really make meeting Sylvester the most wonderfully memorable experience. But, thankfully, even if you do very little at camp, your trip will be too.
The public areas are designed for maximum relaxation, with dark wood and armchairs dotted all over.
There’s also a larger swimming pool, in case you’re in the mood to swim lengths over the stunning savannah.
Food, too, is an experience in itself. It’s all incredibly fresh and seasoned with herbs grown in the lodge gardens.
The main lodge ensures that every meal proves a treat, with an extensive buffet breakfast and candlelit courses aplenty for dinner.
The only way to really conclude describing The Elephant Camp is to tell you that a couple I got talking to when there had got just got engaged.
Yes, it’s kind of idyllic place. A place where memories are made and where happy marriages begin…
To book The Elephant Camp please visit Sikeleli Safari’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For my reviews of other nearby accommodation, check out Vic Falls Safari Lodge, Vic Falls Safari Club and The Vic Falls Hotel.