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Issue 6
Africa Travel> Issue 6
UPDATED: August 27, 2014
Where the Wild Things Are
Zambia – a destination for all the attractions Africa has to offer
By Jo Kromberg

Tongabezi Lodge

We fly directly to Livingston and then it's a short 15-minute drive to Tongabezi Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi, just upstream from the Victoria Falls.

We are warmly welcomed and led down to the river for lunch. Tongabezi reveals itself like the dance of the seven veils. It must one of the most romantic places on earth. The dining area is designed to accommodate different parties in split-level nooks and crannies, all under a canopy of trees overlooking the mighty river. A 15-minute boat ride with our guide Brian takes us to our own exclusive private island camp Sindabezi, also belonging to Tongabezi. All the staff including Joe, our private valet, welcomes us. The island is tiny with only five open-sided thatched cottages and a distinct castaway feel about it. It is one of the Top 10 Lodges in Africa according to Fodor's and deservedly so. There is absolutely no connectivity or cell phone reception of any kind so I soak up the serenity instead. The bed is elevated and I feel like I am floating above the river, watching the hippos play. The linen curtain "walls" bulge lazily in the soft breeze as the sun fades. The exposure to nature is disconcerting at first – there are no doors or walls at all, only tents flaps that can come down at night – but after a while, you realize that your soul actually craves this commune with nature. The outdoor shower really is outdoors, giving the entire animal kingdom of the Zambezi a full-frontal visual treat of your naked, showering self for the best shower ever. We all congregate on the beach around the fire as the light plays across the river that evening with the other guest and drinks are served. For dinner we are served fillet steak fit for a king. When I retire for bed I find that Joe has magically transformed my room into a romantic sanctuary with the curtains and mosquito netting drawn, the bed turned down with candles and soft lighting everywhere.

The next morning after breakfast we are transferred back to Tongabezi via boat for our last night's stay. After lunch, Forbes, once again a personal butler assigned to only us, escorts us along the pathway to something called the Dog House. Tongabezi's bespoke accommodation options differ like day and night, each offering an experience rather than a somewhere to sleep.

The other "houses" are called Bird House, Tree House, Nut House and Garden House.

As Forbes opens the door to the Dog House, the sun streams over polished wooden floors, inviting us into one of the most spectacular spaces on earth. The Dog House simply occupies another world at the furthest edges of the Tongabezi garden. Three separate decks are connected to each other and the rest of the world only by elevated walkways. Sustainable pine forests have provided the beautiful wooden decking that is raised high enough to allow the mighty Zambezi River to run underneath all the rooms during high water. Views are spectacular from every window, sofa, bed and bath. You just want to curl up on whatever luxurious spot is closest, lose yourself in reverie and never leave. The open plan central deck was designed around play, games, relaxation and conversation with "east wing" and "west wing" king-sized bedrooms on either side with luxuriant lounging areas and stunning en-suite bathrooms. It has a private infinity plunge pool, concertina glass doors, a double-sided fireplace facing onto both the lounge and the dining room and a spectacular bar. The Dog House is expansive and comes with its own exclusive valet, guide, vehicle and boat ensuring guests' full control over the ultimate bespoke itinerary. I spend a wonderful evening having dinner at Tangala House – the owner's home - with new friends from America while Louise takes photographs of the Lodge in the setting sun and on my return Forbes makes me a cozy fire while I curl up with a glass of wine. I ponder our return to South Africa the next day and this past week in my life, offering me a glimpse of heaven.

As we stand at the edge of the Victoria Falls the next day on a quick visit before going to the airport, the sense of Man's insignificance rushes at me with visceral and raw ferocity in the face of one of the magnificent Wonders of the World beneath me. The thundering falling waters go on for miles and it looks to me like a place where the earth broke. My poetic proclivities leave me bereft like a joke searching for a punch line when trying to describe this corner of Africa. Zambia, of thee I sing.


Norman Carr Safaris: http://www.normancarrsafaris.com/

In conjunction with Norman Car Safaris, Asia to Africa Safaris organized Jo and Louise's trip to Zambia. A to A Safaris introduced the African safari to Asia and they have since arranged thousands of life-changing journeys. They don't take a one-size fits all approach and they offer total flexibility when planning a safari. Each of their trips is designed with the client's preferences in mind including the length of their holiday, the type of wildlife and scenery and activities they are interested in, who they are travelling with, and of course their budget.

Since opening their doors in 2002, Asia to Africa Safaris has grown and they now have offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and more recently New York City. They also have representatives in China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. Go to http://www.atoasafaris.com/ to find out more and to book your safari of a lifetime today!

Getting there:

There are currently no direct flights between China and Zambia. South African Airways operates a daily flight between Beijing and Johannesburg in South Africa and from there they fly to Zambia on a daily basis as well. Go to http://www.flysaa.com/za/en/flyingSAA/News/saa-introduces-non-stop-flights-to-beijing-china.html for more information.

Additional sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zambia

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