“But though we live in a world laced with threads of magic, triflings like tooth mice and firefly fairies pale next to the powerful magic that dwells in the forest.”
It is impossible to travel through the dusty Zimbabwe plains without scribbles of Lauren Liebenberg’s The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam wandering through your head. Liebenberg may have only spend a short time in Zimbabwe, but it had an outsize impact on her life and writings. Driving through this enigmatic landscape,it’s not hard to see why.
But we weren’t headed to the town where Liebenberg briefly made her living, but rather to soak up a few days of the Zambian sun. A third installment of #SAfricansTravelToo was more than enough excuse to hop on a red-eye Fastjet flight to Harare, then Victoria Falls and tackle the road to Avani Victoria Falls Resort courtesy of Bushtracks Africa.
— Papi Mabele (@Papi_Mabele) November 20, 2017
Bush breaks tend to be synonymous with broken budgets. While I’m as partial as the next guy to private plunge pools and gourmet cuisine, sadly my bank balance doesn’t stretch that far (But that’s the whole reason for #SAfricansTravelToo, remember? We want to show YOU how affordable travel is).
And honestly? All you get is some good game viewing, hearty meals, endless activities, THE VICTORIA FALLS and a chance to to soak up the silence beneath the uninterrupted African skies. Besides, that is all I need for a memorable few days in the veld.
On that score, Avani Victoria Falls Resort ticks all the right boxes.
A perilous fee?
The Avani Vic Falls Resort is home to 212 rooms and suites with breathtaking views of the pool and landscaped gardens, but it is the laid-back charms of Mosi-oa-Tunya that offer an accessible, at-no-charge peek at the wilderness with zebras and buck roaming the resort grounds that had us hooked. Here, the wildlife comes to you.
For the tourist in you, morning and afternoon game drives are a staple of safari lodges, and we heard these don’t disappoint.
There’s so much to do
“And just remember to breathe” with these wise words from our guide, we waded the Zambezi gorge, knee deep into the gushing waters and jumped onto a raft. It was 9am. I had woken up at 6am to catch the sunrise and grab some breakfast. “One tropical juice, fruit salad and omelette with extra chilli,” I requested. The atmosphere at Avani’s breakfast venue is one laid-back paradise. Shortly afterwards myself, Lelo and George took a stroll to the Safari Par Excellence meeting point to meet our guide for the day and embark on the stroll to the Zambezi River gorge.
On this, our first day at the Victorial Falls, we were in for a white water rafting treat. The long, but scenic rafting journey took about two and a half hours to complete, during which our guide shared tales and historic takeaways of the Zambezi River as well as Zambia and Zimbabwe’s relations. We opted for the half-day rafting excursion, with the raft dropping us roughly halfway before the mouth reached the Mibizi area. Once you’re off the raft and start ascending the gorge back to the top, then you really start to notice the majestic Zambezi River in the distance. Most importantly, you better brace, gym and pray for that ascending climb as it took us a good two hours to get to top, with resting stops in-between.
We made our way back to the resort for a rest and refresher for the evening’s proceedings. Besides, I was ready for my daily two hour nap.
After an activity filled morning (the walk included) we cleaned up for the Royal Livingstone Express for dinner which included majestic sunset views. Aboard the train we were treated to a fine selection of wine and a delectable 5 course menu.
Sunday, 19 November saw us bid farewell to fellow traveler Lelo Boyana of chica.co.za as she had to return to Johannesburg. This allowed myself and George to enjoy the day at leisure where both of us had planned to put our feet up and pen down a few thoughts on this very same excursion and a few others.
I cannot seem to remember where things went wrong, but my draft sheet remained untouched and I later discovered a half empty bottle of Jameson in my room. Yet again, this was discovered after my daily two hour nap. All of the day’s loafing was followed by a romantic Zambezi River sunset cruise specially arranged for myself and George (no, we are not dating… yet). Once on the African Queen cruiser, we were joined by a few other visitors who marveled at the breathtaking views. We really do love our sunsets and the Zambian plain is a memorable one!
Victoria Falls is served by flights from Johannesburg (with a Harare connecting option) by Fastjet. Fastjet offers a low cost alternative, with retained professionalism and a service that’s always on-time. Fares for November travel from around R3 500 one way.
This excursion would not be possible without our amazing friends at Avani Victoria Falls Resort , Fastjet and the below companies that made on the ground travel and activities happen:
- Return Airport Transfers from Victoria Falls Airport to the Hotel
- USD 30 per person one way
- Royal Livingstone Express Train Dinner
- USD 180 per person ( Inclusive Train ride Experience, wines, beers and soft drinks and a 5 course dinner)
Safari Par Excellence
- Half Day White Water Rafting on Saturday
- USD150 per person (Light Lunch inclusive)
- Full Day Trip
- USD 160 per person
- Sunset Cruise on the African Queen on Sunday afternoon.
- USD 75 per person ( inclusive snacks, wines, beers and soft drinks)