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Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00

Triple Play: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana

Written by  Lisa Loverro

Africa-Chinzombo Zambia
Southern Africa is home to some of the best safaris, natural wonders and luxury lodges anywhere on the African continent. Here we break down Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, all easily accessible from Johannesburg, and should be on your radar as an alternative for an African holiday. Last year, the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization general assembly was co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe in their resort towns of Livingstone and Victoria Falls, the first time Southern Africa has hosted the UNWTO, solidifying their dedication to tourism.

Zimbabwe
Although this country has been off the radar for the mainstream tourist, its natural and cultural attractions, along with the adoption of using the U.S dollar currency; Zimbabwe has been consistenly emerging as a major player in the tourism market. The latest numbers from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority reports that the number of visitors to this country has increased 17% to 400,000 in the first quarter of 2013 compared with 2012. The main attraction to this country continues to be Victoria Falls with some new properties, including one five star, that have helped to boost tourism numbers.

Located at the Falls, The Victoria Falls Safari Club (www.victoria-fallssafari-lodge.com/safariclub) is a 20-room block nestled within the grounds of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge resort, overlooking a private waterhole, and the only 5-star property in the area. This Club was considered the showcase accommodation at last year’s UNWTO. The Club includes 4 suites in an environment where African history and nature deliver an atmosphere of exclusive African luxury. In Hwange, Zimbabwe’s largest national park, elephants, lions, and wild African dogs have long lured visitors. The Ivory Lodge (www.ivorysafarilodge.com) located within the Park is a family-friendly lodge with 7 en-suite rooms and 2 new suites, making the total capacity of the lodge just 18 guests. They offer game drives both on the private concession or into the National Park.

Currently, the three major airlines to offer service into the capital of Harare are Emirates, KLM and South African Airways. For more information visit www.zimbabwetourism.net

Zambia
Zambia has recently become one of the prime tourism destinations in Africa offering safari, lake and river adventure. There are a total of 20 national parks, and 34 game areas devoted to the conservation of spectacular variety of animals.

The latest news in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is Camp Chinzombo (www.normancarrsafa ris.com), part of Norman Carr Safaris. Chinzombo Camp, newly opened to the public on June 8th, 2013, is situated on 60 acres of private land along the Luangwa River. The Chinzombo Camp is environmentally conscious and designed with minimal impact to nature. The building uses recycled or recyclable materials with interiors of locally produced leather and floors of recycled composite timber. There are six villas here, five private villas and a larger family villa, with luxurious bathrooms and private plunge pools overlooking the Luangwa. The decor is simple and minimal, utilizing raw linen, timber, copper and handmade crockery. Each villa is equipped with wireless Internet, a yoga and exercise area, as well as a spa facility. The riverside location offers a bevy of wildlife to its guests and, along with direct access into an area of the Park rich in game, this place is truly special.For more information visit www.zambiatourism.com

Botswana
Botswana continuously delivers as one of Africa’s most stable countries. 2013 showed an increase in tourism, almost 70% over numbers from 2012. One of the most sought after wilderness destinations in the world, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the major tourist attractions, with areas of game viewing, birding and boating. A recent overview of the Okavango records 122 species of mammals, 444 species of birds, 64 species of reptiles and 1,300 species of flowering plants. While there are a variety of accommodations in this region the “&Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp” (www.andbeyond.com) enjoys luxurious solitude on its own Delta island within an exclusive 62,000-acre wildlife concession. A camp consisting of just nine sleek en-suite safari tents that combine canvas and bleached timber offers private plunge pools in each tent, an indoor bathtub and al fresco shower. Experience guided walking safaris, interpretive game drives and traditional mokoro (dugout
canoe) excursions.

Botswana’s other tourist treasure, Chobe National Park, is home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa. A sundowner cruise on the Chobe riverfront is highly recommended to view elephants at play along with hippos and crocs. While land drives are common in Chobe National Park, cruising is perhaps the best way to experience it’s unmatched elephant wildlife, because you’ll be viewing these animals when they come to the river to enjoy their daily drink. In Botswana’s Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, one of the newest camps, the Duma Tau Camp (www.wilderness-safaris.com), offers 10 tented solar-powered suites with majestic river views. The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife from lions and cheetahs to wild dogs.
For more information visit www.botswanatourism.us

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