Whilst planning this trip back in the summer with Marc Reading of Talking Stick, who and set up my earlier ride this year with SANParks, I was invited to a promotional event in London at Zimbabwe House.
Whilst there I was lucky enough to meet with a lady by the name of Wendy Bourne who is Marketing Executive for Africa Albida Tourism. It was Wendy who arranged for me to stay at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge on my first night in Zimbabwe. I already knew this place had a good reputation as some friends of mine from Cape Town had stayed here but I have to say I was blown away with just how good this place is and how high the level of customers service is.
As many bikers will have experienced when you turn up to nice places looking like something the dog dragged in you sometimes get a bit of a cold start to your visit…..I was covered in dust and very hot and sweaty but I was greeted with the biggest smiles by the ladies on the front desk who already knew my name and just what I was doing there. Cool drinks and cold towels were also ready and waiting. You have no idea just how good that felt that day. I had a large double room on the end of the row which looked out directly over the waterhole, where I could already see a number of buck and birds. Within ten minutes of being there I saw a herd of buffalo come to the waterhole to drink.
That evening I had dinner at The Boma – The Place of Eating. As we arrived we were given traditional greetings and cloths were draped around us. Many of the younger of the dinners were encouraged to join in with the traditional dancing which looked a whole lot of fun but rather energetic for an old fella like me. There was ceremonial hand washing at the table and a chance to sample some local traditional beer. I couldn’t believe the selection of food that was on offer at the buffet. I had a starter of smoked Guinea Fowl followed by buffalo stew and the Zimbabwe version of Pap, which looks like mashed potato but is in fact ground maze mixed with water. I rather wish I had been more hungry as I didn’t get to sample anywhere near half to great foods on offer but I think I was probably feeling the effects of the ride that day so I had an early night. ( told u I was old..)
The next morning I knew I only needed to travel some 4km to the next accommodation so I took advantage by having a relaxed wander around the lodge to see what is on offer. There is never a chance of finding anywhere unattended as the staff are very on the ball and will help no matter what they are involved in. There is a TV room if you want to keep up with the news, a dedicated Activities desk which is manned into late evening for those that want to book things outside the lodge such as Helicopter flights over the Falls. The Buffalo Bar is very cool indeed looking out directly over the water hole and the lunch menu is very very good indeed. There is a dining room upstairs for evening meals and of course breakfasts. I am sure I could write a whole blog just about the food here! Fantastic and cooked to order. I must admit if I don’t see another buffet for a very long time I will be happy.
I decided to write a blog about this place specifically because as you will know if you have been reading the previous blogs I have been having trouble with The Beast for the last week. After a bad fix in Namibia where the fuel pump was refitted but facing the wrong way thus crimping the replaced fuel pipe, the pump has decided to fail. This has left me stranded in Vic Falls for the last seven days. I decided to make VFSL my home one because it’s a fantastic place but mostly because the staff here are so helpful in getting things sorted. I have been given e use of the workshop where The Beast currently sits in pieces awaiting the arrival of the new pump. That should have been today but for some reason it had ended up in Harare and would now take another two days at least to firstly be driven to Bulawayo then back up to Vic Falls. Once again Wendy has come to the rescue and with her contacts and team at Safari Lodge they have managed to get it here on a plane for tomorrow morning. This should mean I can fit it tomorrow and be back on the road for Wednesday morning.
In short this place is bloody marvellous! Jonathan the General Manager has been so helpful and considerate during my extended stay, as indeed has every one of his team here. One thing you can be assured of here is a great personal service from everyone involved in the lodge. If you have something special to celebrate then this is most definitely the place to do it. What do you think Tanya? Honeymoon maybe??
Thank you Victoria Falls Safari Lodge!