Local Independent Destination Management Company: Botswana • Zimbabwe

Safari Destinations

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Monday 18 June 2018

Why we love it: the 10N Authentic Lodge & Mobile Safari

The combination of a mobile safari with time-out at a lodge or camp on either side provides the best of both worlds. There is time to get dirty and experience all the action up close and personal, and  time to dust off, relax and indulge in some modern comforts.

Ilala Lodge is conveniently located in close proximity to the Victoria Falls Hotel for afternoon tea, the local market for some shopping and the mighty falls themselves. Ilala is well known for having one of the best restaurants in town. view_from_patio

The Bush Ways Fully Serviced Safari is glamping at its best, an experience of the wild in comfort, covering some of the prime wildlife areas in Botswana, including the Chobe Riverfront, Savute marsh & Moremi Game Reserve.  This is the perfect balance of adventure, relaxation & comfort with all camp chores taken care of for you.  You’ll enjoy a luxury camp set-up for you on arrival, including walk-in tents, en-suite bathrooms, comfortable camp beds and a guaranteed a window seat on game drives.
The mobile portion of the itinerary is easy to book and there is still availability for 2018.  Select departures run with German or French-speaking translators.  Click on the below to read a firsthand account from one of our experts. DSC04711

No safari to Botswana is complete without a fly-in to the Okavango Delta to view the waterways from the air and glide through the channels on a mokoroOddballs Enclave is an old classic whose style and intimate atmosphere works well in combination with the mobile safari. okavango_delta_activities_41

This safari offers excellent value for money !

Last but not least, we are passionate about mobile safaris because…

  • the guides are among the best and get to know their clients over the course of the safari, focusing on their interests and building on their knowledge.
  • travellers get to experience more of the country when they drive between locations, making it as much about the journey as the destination.
  • mobile safaris give you access to exclusive campsites in prime wildlife areas, and the flexibility for an extended exploration of areas en-route between locations.
  • mobile safaris take travellers out of their comfort zone, creating memories to last a lifetime.
  • mobile safaris offer a more intimate wildlife experience than most lodge stays.
  • mobile safaris offer great value for money, catering across all comfort and budget levels, and can be booked privately for families and small groups.

Click here to read more about the mobile safari experience: http://www.safaridestinations.net/we-get-around/bush-ways-safaris-mayonnaise DSC04651

 

Lorraine Potter

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Lorraine Potter

Sunday 10 June 2018

Flying High

It is pretty special when you take your first aeroplane flight. But when your first flight is in a caravan, flying over the Okavango Delta, on your way to Khwai, there is something extra special about it although it can be something of a scary, bumpy ride. For Resego, she was excited at the thought of flying. “I was looking forward to seeing the earth from a bird’s eye view”. Resego received lots of advice: “Kay told me to remember my pressure points if I felt air-sick. I did but it didn’t work! Helmie advised that I should get some ginger ale but with the excitement and nervousness, I forgot. Lisa told me to drink water before the flight but I was worried about having to use the bathroom once we took off, so I ignored that advice. Amandine’s advice: keep swallowing to unblock your ears, that worked. I was super excited when we took off”. And the actual experience? “Ten minutes into the flight I wanted to jump off! My tummy was in knots, I was nauseous and my ears kept blocking. The flight being bumpy didn’t help either. It was the longest thirty minutes of my life. I kept telling myself that I was on a bus to Gaborone and the bumps were the potholes. This seemed to work for a while but as soon as I looked outside, that illusion disappeared. As I felt the Mack air caravan getting ready to land, I breathed a sigh of relief. After getting off, a bottle of water helped ease my nerves and I was good as new again.  I am thankful my first flight experience was with people I consider my SD family, as they helped me through it.”

Resego's first flight

This trip was also Resego’s first educational ever.  With nights at Little Machaba and Khwai Tented Camp plus site inspections to Kwai Guest House, Sango, Khwai River Lodge and Machaba, complete with all the activities on offer, Resego was immersed in the Khwai experience. Visiting together with a more senior consultant, meant that Resego was able to learn from Gen’s experienced eye and put the properties into perspective.  Resego commented: “I got to see first-hand how busy Khwai really is and experience the importance of starting an itinerary with a lower end property and ending with a high end one. The personal highlight was the mokoro as I have always wanted to do that”.  Resego Mokoro 1

 

These first-time experiences are because Resego has recently been promoted to Associate Consultant. For the first time, she will be allocated her very own agents, creating her own itineraries and experiencing the pleasure of a confirmed booking.  Fresh from the University of Botswana, with her Honours in Tourism Management degree in hand, Resego joined the Safari Destinations’ team two and half years ago. In this time, Resego has teamed together with other consultants, working directly with suppliers learning about their camps, rates, activities as well as about Botswana as a tourist destination.  Resego is just one of many such Motswana graduates being trained as part of SD’s staff development programme.

As a new consultant, Resego will continue to be supported and guided by her team leader, Karen Reed, who has over 20 years of experience in the travel business.  Key to the training of our consultants, is the visiting of numerous properties that Safari Destinations sells to our agents. These educationals with a night at certain lodges and site inspections to others, ensures that our consultants get to feel the vibe of the camp, interact with the staff, taste the food, ride in the mokoro, experience the guiding: the stuff that the travel brochure does not tell you, giving our consultants unique insight into the camp and what it has to offer. All this translates into better product knowledge to be shared with our agents. Group 1

The SD family is very proud of Resego’s achievements. Kay, our Reservations Manager, has been working closely with Resego for the past year. She had this to say about Resego and her going off on her first educational and flight: “To be honest I feel like a mum, watching her kid go off on her first day at school, very proud … I am sure that Resego will take the confidence we have placed in her and run with it …” Or is it a case, of flying to new heights?

 

Sarah Fischer

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Sarah Fischer

Friday 6 April 2018

Chasing Rainbows in the Kalahari

On arrival at Dinaka Camp we were welcomed by a lively song sung by the camp staff, which brought a smile to everyone’s faces and set the mood for a fun and most enjoyable weekend. Dinaka has just recently opened after an extensive refurb following it’s take over by Ker and Downey.  This beautifully constructed camp is set on a private conservancy bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.  It still had the “new car aroma” one would expect of a newly refurbished camp, so I have to take my hat off to the staff who created such a welcoming and homely atmosphere, that one could be lead to believe that the camp had already been operating this way for a several years.

After a sumptuous lunch we had a little time to enjoy a short siesta in our rooms or a relaxing moment by the crystal clear pool overlooking the water in front of camp before our afternoon game drive.

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The Kalahari is truly a kaleidoscope of colours during the green season. The contrast of colours created by the budding flowers from the scrubland and the summer skies is simply amazing. The thick scrubland can make game viewing a little harder during this time of year, but this is compensated for by the landscape and birdlife, not to mention the chance to observe young offspring. The skyline makes for incredibly rich and vivid pictures and when the sun breaks out from the rain cloud formations, spectacular rainbows arch across the landscape. The wildlife also makes for picture perfect conditions as a large male giraffe posed for us against the back drop of the dark rain clouds heading north. The sunsets are spectacular at this time of year and provide the perfect scene at sundowner hour.  On our game drive back to camp, we were lucky enough to spot a caracal with its cub and a puff-adder before settling down to an amazing dinner under the stars. Our guide’s knowledge of astrology was really impressive and star gazing and identifying the different constellations around the camp fire after dinner completed what had been an excellent day on safari.

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I was lucky enough to be allocated the spacious family room all to myself, with the only disadvantage being that it is quite close to the main area so I was awoken earlier than I had planned by the generator starting up and to the voices of a few of the staff starting off their busy day. We then set off on a safari walk with the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the Ker and Downey Guides. I appreciated having the guides there with us as they were armed for our safety which is paramount in an area renowned for our favourite big cats, the lions. Getting down on the ground and immersing oneself in the surrounding wildlife is always an exhilarating activity, as we were walked through the ancient survival techniques used by the Bushmen in the harsh terrain that is the Kalahari. We returned to camp to say our goodbyes and could not help thinking how this area would be completely different during the winter season as the foliage disappears and the wildlife concentrates around the waterholes on the conservancy.

“Inside tips from your local experts”

  • Guests are accommodated in seven spacious twin and double-bedded safari tents on raised decks. Each en-suite bathroom has an indoor and outdoor shower, hot and cold running water and flush toilet. Families are accommodated in a two-bed-roomed tent, sharing a spacious en-suite bathroom.
  • The area is a big contrast to the Delta so works well when combining different locations within Botswana.
  • In green season, the annual rains transform the arid desert landscape into a lush profusion of Kalahari vegetation, offering guests a unique insight into the lesser known desert experience.  It gets very bushy and lush with thick, green vegetation, so spotting game can become very difficult.  However, there is still game about and the birding is good, so this would be a great time for birding enthusiasts.
  • Dinaka being based in a private concession outside the Central Kalahari Game Reserves offers a different experience to the camps inside the Game Reserve. Our experts recommend it in dry season, ideally combined with camps in the Delta. The camps inside the Game Reserve (namely Tau Pan and Kalahari Plains offer a great experience during our green season when the Kalahari comes to life again).
  • Activities include early morning, afternoon and night game drives, birding, guided walks and photographic hides.
  • Best suited to your mid-range clientele along with families or honeymooners.  People who want to experience something different and are not highly concerned with lots of game but rather quality game viewing opportunities.  Such as from the underground bunker, viewing decks, hides, game walks etc.

 

Tlotlo Saleshando

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Tlotlo Saleshando

Thursday 22 February 2018

The River Club on the Upper Zambezi

Staying at one of the lodges on the Upper Zambezi is a nice reminder that there’s a calmer, more peaceful and service-centric experience on offer than the B&B hotels in Vic Falls town on the Zimbabwean side of the falls offer.  That there are still quiet pockets of calm and tranquility near Victoria Falls itself, where you aren’t hearing the buzz of helicopter scenic flights overhead throughout the day.the_river_club_-_scott_ramsay_-_river_suite_view

At the River Club, the lodge has an incredible vantage point out over the Zambezi River, from an elevated point of view, where the sun sets beautifully in front of the lodge.  The property gives you a thorough grounding in the colonial history of Nothern & Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe) as well as a relaxed setting to do as much or as little as you like.

Price wise, on a three night stay, it provides a fantastic alternative to other Livingstone favourites such as Waterberry, Toka Leya and Sussi & Chuma.The_River_Club_2015-91.11

Clare Doolan

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Clare Doolan

Monday 19 February 2018

Maun’s Tourist Funded Community Bus

 

Can you believe that it’s been on our roads for more than a year now? We thought we’d take a look at how Maun’s Tourist Funded Community Bus is benefiting our community.

“The Community Bus has been a ray of sunshine to our children brightening each day through its vibrant colours and comfort”.  Taboka Rotsi.

cheeky 1

Taboka is the Project Co-coordinator of Bana Ba Letsatsi (BBL) a care centre for orphaned and vulnerable children in Maun. BBL is one of the organisations benefitting from Maun’s unique Community Bus.

Last year – in celebration of Botswana’s 50th Anniversary – Safari Destinations and Travel for Impact (TFI) launched the Community Bus.  For the past year it has been making a real difference in the lives of the less fortunate, whilst adding a splash of colour to Maun’s streets.

This unique collaboration between travellers to Botswana, private enterprise and charitable organisations is directly benefitting Maun’s disadvantaged communities.

So, what does the Community Bus do?

bus 1

It’s a school bus, granny transporter, safety zone and life line that empowers our community all rolled into one. It solves the transportation challenges for not one but several charities by operating on a scheduled basis.

In the morning and afternoons, it does a round trip picking up and dropping off kids for Bana Ba Letsatsi. This coincides with the school run pick up and drop off for children staying at the Woman Against Rape (WAR) shelter for victims of gender based violence. Without the support of the bus most of these children simply wouldn’t attend school due to the distances involved, and those that did, would be late and tired from having to walk several kilometres.

After the morning school run, it’s time to collect and distribute daily food parcels for AGLOW to Maun’s impoverished elderly. Often our driver OB and AGLOW volunteer Lesang, are the only people some elderly see all day. So the bus becomes a lifeline, enabling AGLOW to daily monitor the elderly’s wellbeing, and equally importantly, it provides an opportunity for a chat and some friendship and companionship.

smiles 1

Between its scheduled duties, the bus is pressed into service to assist charitable organisations with ad-hoc requests. Perhaps it will be sent to the local butcher to collect a donation of meat for BBL. It may be dropping or collecting the elderly at the clinic. Transporting MAWS volunteers, collecting dog food donations, delivering donated clothes, collecting food parcels for flood relief…on and on the brightly coloured bus bustles about town!

The weekends are equally busy. It may be transporting the elderly to and from a lunch, transporting the hearing impaired on a photography course, taking children on a field trip or providing transport for a disability workshop.

With over 30,000km on the clock, the bus has delivered approximately 1305 meals, completed over 600 school runs and in the process, has indeed become a lifeline for the Community. These words, from one of the elderly that the bus visits, sums up the vision of the Community Bus. Softly spoken, and with a tremble in her voice, she whispers:

“Every day I am looking forward to seeing the bus coming. I like these people who don’t know me, but come and bring me food. I now sleep full every day.”

ladies with food

A video, The Years Pass By, highlights the work of the bus in the community.

The Community Bus was jointly sponsored by Safari Destinations, with the balance and ongoing expenses supported from The Safari  Destinations / Travel for Impact 1US$ Bed Night Levy.

Caroline Mokaba

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Caroline Mokaba

Friday 12 January 2018

Nxai Pan: A hidden gem in the desert

Having never been to Nxai Pan National Park this was my first chance to discover this somewhat hidden gem in the desert. The landscape was stunning. One could see that the area had experienced some rains prior to our arrival as the flora was slowly coming back to life with bright green shoots and leaves providing a stark contrast to the dry landscape. The majority of trees and shrubs were coming into bloom with a stunning array of multi coloured flowers making for great landscape photography.

We could not have scripted our arrival at Nxai Pan Camp more perfectly. We arrived to a very warm welcome from the Managers, Lets and Thabo. Our camp orientation, however,  was delayed for forty five minutes due to the fact that one rather cheeky elephant had decided that the camp pool would make for a better source of drinking water than the waterhole directly located in front of camp. Spectacular to say the least!

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After high tea we went out on a short game drive towards the busy waterhole where elephants were dominating the water point to the chagrin of the other wildlife such as buffalos, jackals and other desert species. The inter-action between the elephants themselves and the other wildlife was fascinating, keeping us mesmerized as Chester explained the animals behaviour we were observing.

Nxai Elly Lots

The next morning we embarked on a short nature walk with Shoes, the resident bushman and our tracker. He provided us with numerous anecdotes and information in the ways of his forefathers during a short walk in the vicinity of the camp. Quite a character if there ever was one, explaining that my failure to start a fire would guarantee that I would never find a wife to marry! The following game drive provided great sightings in the form of three cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, elephants galore and the highlight for us, aardvark out in the open during the day time!

We went through to Baines Baobab’s on our way to the Nxai Pan National Park gate. The baobabs stand out rather majestically as one approaches and the experience is quite humbling as one realises just how long these immortalized baobabs have stood the test of time.

FACTS ABOUT NXAI PAN CAMP

Nxai Pan Camp is run by Kwando Safaris

Activities on offer include game drives, bushman experience and day visits to Baines Baobabs

Camp consists of 8 custom-built rooms (including 1 family room). All rooms are en-suite with thatched roofs and insulation making them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter

 

Tlotlo Saleshando

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Tlotlo Saleshando

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Duba Plains – I found paradise

Set in the heart of the Okavango Delta, the renowned and brand new Duba Plains Camp is a wildlife haven and the perfect place to visit year-round. andreapics4

The constraint of the deep permanent waters of the delta means the wildlife on the 77, 000 hectare private reserve remain here across both wet and dry seasons. A matrix of palm-dotted islands, flood plains and woodland, one of the most beautiful concessions in the Okavango Delta.

Game viewing was mind-blowing, my short 24 hour stay in early January was filled with great sightings.

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An enthralling experience from morning till night. Thank you to Great Plains & the managers & staff at Duba for hosting me last weekend. I was absolutely blown away by every aspect of my stay, in particular the surprise evening in the interactive kitchen, a truly unique experience, where chef Herrmann managed to captivate and entertain while preparing an array of gourmet dishes. 2017-greatplains-dubaplains-experience-3

 

Quick Facts:

Belongs to Great Plains Conservation

Five tented rooms, max 10 guests

Activities: early morning and late afternoon/evening game drives, boating (water levels permitting)

 

 

 

 

 

Andrea Reumerman

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Andrea Reumerman

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Pelo: A heart shaped island in the Delta

If your client is looking for a unique, cozy, romantic and chilled camp, then Pelo is the answer.

Most of these requirements will already be met as the little aircraft descends over the palm tree dotted, flooded landscape of the Jao concession. Your eye gets caught by a tiny island in the shape of a heart; the Setswana word for heart is PELO.

Pelo

All 5 tents are on stilts facing the water, the intimate terraces open up to the safari wonderland of the deep Delta and are filled with the beautiful cacophony of birdsong.

Pelo is a water camp, meaning there are no vehicles on the island. It therefore combines superbly with productive land camps in Khwai, Moremi Game Reserve or Savute. This camp is a little jewel and shines well at the end of a safari.

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Here you come to glide silently over Delta Waters in a Mokoro and explore the endless diversity of the floodplains by boat. Most importantly you come to chill and enjoy yourself and the universe – it should also win the prize for the most stunning pool in the Delta!

Jao water levels vary greatly, your safari consultant will have the best advice for you. Pelo sits in fairly deep waters, which dry out last in the Delta – another reason to include Pelo in your next itinerary!

Pelo Mokoro

FACTS ABOUT PELO

Pelo is run by Wilderness Safaris as an Adventures camp.

Activities on offer include mokoro trips, boat based game viewing and seasonal catch and release fishing.

The camp has five guest tents, complete with a covered front veranda, and both an indoor and outdoor shower.

Pelo is open annually from 1 March to 30 November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christine Ess

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Christine Ess

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Magical Silhouettes and an Authentic Delta Experience at Rra Dinare

As much as I tried, I simply couldn’t jump over the sunset!  Clearly I’m not fit enough, as it took a couple of attempts to get as high as I did! Lack of fitness aside, I’m sure you can see it was quiet fun to try! Fun and enjoyment sums up Rra Dinare camp, a new stunning camp on the Southern side of the Okavango Delta.

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Upon arrival it’s immediately apparent that everything is still super new. The wood still smells woody, the linen is nice and crisp the mosquito nets are super white and I’m sure there is not a single mosquito that can go through those! I absolutely loved this camp!

The food was delicious and generous with a wide assortment of drinks, teas and coffee. It was a really special thing for me to be brought a piping hot cup of tea in the morning! Talk about being pampered like a princess! Nobody has ever brought me tea at 6am! I could do this every morning.

The stilted Boma area overlooks the Gomoti River, where elephant, buffalo and hippo amble past. In the afternoon bushbucks are often around the camp nibbling on bushes underneath the tents…so cute! I got to relax by the pool and the amount of game viewing in front of the camp could easily make one think about opting out of a game drive – not that I did.   Despite my notions of relaxing poolside, the game drive did not disappoint – I saw loads. I’m no photographer so I really appreciated how the game always seemed to be right in front of me, at the right time, for me and my camera. At one point a lioness rolled upside down and looked like it wanted to be petted, waited for me to snap a couple of pictures, and  then turned over again.

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We also went on a Mokoro excursion. I´m not a big fan of water but after a lot of jiggling on the game vehicle a Mokoro was the best thing that could happen to me. It was so smooth and more than appreciated. Our Mokoro poler was knowledgeable and cautious and told us when we could not go further as there was a hippo “tanning” on the other side of the channel. I told him that I was very happy with his precautions! I don´t take risks!

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FACTS ABOUT RRA DINARE

Rra Dinare is an Under One Botswana Sky Camp, sister camp of Pom Pom Camp.

The camp is run on solar power.

Activities on offer are Game drives with each vehicle carrying 6 pax, Walking Safaris and seasonal Mokoro excursions are also available. The Guides are very knowledgeable and informative.

Rra Dinare has a maximum of 8 tents with one family room inter-leading. The rooms are very spacious with outdoor showers (no inside shower).

Wakeup with coffee/tea brought to the rooms every morning. The dining for all meals is communal. Private meals for honeymooners or for guests who prefer more privacy are available on request.

To get more info please click here and see recent images and general information about Rra Dinare.

Caroline Mokaba

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Caroline Mokaba

Thursday 14 September 2017

Top 5 NEW & Unique Things to do for travel in Victoria Falls

 

It is with great excitement that I write this list. This little town is abuzz with whispers of all things new and interesting. We have been growing in leaps and bounds and it seems that has not stopped yet. Here are 5 more wonderful additions to our fun filled town:

Zambezi House

Zambezi House

This may very well become the newest hotspot in Victoria Falls. A vibrant and chic restaurant/bar that is situated right on the banks of the might Zambezi River is providing yet another fantastic social dining spot for locals and tourist alike. The menu provides choices of mouth watering oven baked pizzas and succulent chicken dishes as well as several breakfast options. The deco is modern and tastefully done. It has a generally up-beat vibe with live music over the weekend. It is a wonderful place to dine or just meet up for a drink to talk about a day full of adventure.

Tribal Trap Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms have become a fast growing, worldwide thrill and Pana Karasavvas and Hayley Plaskitt are very proud to open Zimbabwe’s very first escape room right here in Victoria Fall. Participants are given 60 minutes to escape from the room by solving puzzles, playing games and discovering clues within a themed room. It is a thrilling activity and is aimed at a wide range of travellers, young and old alike. One of the things we find most exciting about this product is that not only is it a fun activity to do as a group but the rooms will be themed around the rich culture and traditions known in Zimbabwe and particularly Victoria Falls, so there is educational value behind the product alongside the fun and adventure. We cannot wait to see what the Tribal Trap team have in store for us!

The Victoria Falls

Bushtracks Africa will be launching their new cruise boat. This cruise will float along the Might Zambezi River near the top of the Victoria Falls as most sunset cruises do. However, there is a difference with this boat to the other cruise options. The main one being the luxurious standard they promise to offer guests as well as an option to snack on freshly made Sushi prepared aboard by one of the talented chefs from The Victoria Falls Hotel, as well as other mouth-watering gourmet canapés. They offer a wild range of local and imported beverages for you to sip on as you float along this famous river just meters from one of the Seven World Wonders. If you are lucky, you might just spot some of the different types of wildlife that are drawn to drink or wallow in the river especially during the upcoming hotter months. Click here for their Promotional Video.

Prana Africa Yoga

Prana Africa Yoga

Could you imagine a better way to start a day full of adventure then with a sunrise, early morning Yoga session with some of the most spectacular views in the world? Yoga is another lifestyle that seems to be taking the world by storm and so it is no surprise that home-grown Victoria Falls local – Danielle Connelly is beyond excited to practice with travellers in this beautiful environment, with the powerful energy from The Victoria Falls. Danielle is very well trained in the Art of Yoga and has been practicing for some time. The classes are suitable for all levels from complete beginners to regular practitioners. The sessions will be offered at The Victoria Falls Hotel and Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, so why not watch the sunrise over the river or falls and prepare for a day full of excitement in a beautifully calm and relaxing way.

The River Brewing Co.

The River Brewing Co. 2

Another first of its kind in Zimbabwe, created by ‘four merry men’ is The River Brewing Co. They are establishing a micro-brewery in one of Victoria Falls oldest buildings. This artisanal concept is growing in popularity worldwide and we are very excited to see this product showing its ‘crafty’ face in the bustling town. Their main brews will be a ‘Steam Lager’ and an ‘IPA’, but there will be a variety of thirst quenching options on offer as their Brewmaster experiments with different taste combinations. The River Brewing Co. will be opening in October, so all you thirsty tourists and locals better get your taste buds ready for a craft beer invasion!

Ursula Edwards

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Ursula Edwards

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