The Herald (Harare)

17 August 2012

Zimbabwe: A'zambezi Lodge's Perfect Return

As the countdown to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation 2013 General Assembly begins in earnest, the new-look A'Zambezi River Lodge has emerged as one of Zimbabwe's gems. Riverine trees sway in the cool Zambezi River breeze. Sand and hued flowing water sparkle alluringly under the silhouette tropical sunset.

On the lodge lawn, warthogs graze on bended front legs as if they ordered the lush-greenery from heaven and their ghostly figures melt and blend with the new architecture, the humans and vehicles that drive in and out.

Vehicle and human movements do not seem to disturb the warthogs from their sumptuous meal, since they are the permanent residents of A'Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls' only riverside lodge.

A spitting distance from the lodge window, kudu bulls hoist their iron-polished corkscrew horns above a graze-line that looks like a spectacular schoolboy haircut.

On the river, traditional sunset cruise boats - propelled by billowing and puffing engines - criss-cross and compete to catch a glimpse of crocodiles, mostly invisible except for a pair of sentry-post eyes that peak menacingly above the surface to monitor boat movements.

Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Zambezi River come with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine riverine birds, including the kingfisher.

On a lucky day one could see a herd of elephants crossing the mighty river.

Discerning tourists enjoy the coming back of the 91-roomed A'Zambezi River Lodge, whose majority of rooms have balconies that distinctly face the river and the swimming pool.

The rest, of course, face the amphitheatre of wildlife - the Zambezi National Park - and the lush green gardens.

It is fact not fiction that A'Zambezi River Lodge is the only hotel in Victoria Falls with a river frontage and a jetty site. It is also outstanding for paraplegic facilities in rooms and restaurants.

The hotel is back after years of renovations, offering guided tours, boat cruises on the Zambezi, elephant back safaris, game drives, white water rafting, bungee jumping, flight of angels helicopter rides, game walks, cultural village tours, among others.

Amulonga Restaurant has riverside dining facilities offering ethnic and Western dishes in both buffet and a la carte style, live entertainment, garden breakfast and lunch on the banks of the Zambezi River.

The rooms have complementary tea/coffee facilities, individually controlled air-conditioning, satellite television and mosquito nets and insect repellents, are available.

The new conference room accommodates 110 delegates and has state-of-the-art audio-visual and conferencing facilities.

Who can ignore the charm of the mighty Zambezi, the river that even the gods in their unchallenged wisdom made the falls that have become the cynosure of tourism attraction the world over.

The A'Zambezi River Lodge is serene, sensual and exquisite. There you can re-ignite the spirit of Africa in your battered soul.

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