Tongabezi and Sindabezi Island
As the number of large hotels in the immediate vicinity of Victoria Falls continues to grow, discerning travelers are increasingly looking for destinations from where they can enjoy the amazing spectacle of the Falls, but escape the madding crowds and the buzzing of helicopters.
Set in indigenous bush and forest, right on the banks of the Zambezi River, and twelve miles upstream from the Falls on the Zambian side, Tongabezi offers a tranquil and stylish retreat from which to experience the full magic of 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' ('the smoke that thunders') and the mighty Zambezi River. Tongabezi's architecture is an organic part of its stunning natural surroundings. Trees, rocks and molded polished clay meld beautifully with soft cotton sheets and intricately patterned textiles. Superb service is assured with a dedicated valet assigned to take care of guests throughout their stay and serve as a private concierge.
Each of Tongabezi's five large thatched houses is completely unique and appropriately named: Tree House, Bird House, Honeymoon House, Nut House and Dog House. Four are open-plan (Nut House is fully enclosed), and each has a private veranda overlooking the mighty Zambezi. The "Tree House" bathroom was voted one of the top five in the world - and no wonder, with its sunken bathtub, undulating walls and high perch commanding a glorious river view.
There are also five River Cottages overlooking the banks of the Zambezi. Each has a large double bed or two singles, plus a mosquito net and en suite bath and shower, along with indoor and outdoor areas where guests can dine privately under the stars or simply sit and enjoy the ever-changing river views. Because the River Cottages are closed with gauze netting in the windows, we find they are better suited to guests who feel nervous about sleeping “outdoors”, but still wish to experience the sounds of the bush at night.
For an even more exclusive, though slightly less luxurious option, Sindabezi offers a wonderfully intimate hideaway. The camp is set on a private island in the middle of the Zambezi River, just downstream from Tongabezi. With only five open-sided chalets, the atmosphere is idyllic, secluded, and tranquil. Sindabezi has been voted by the London Times as "one of the best remote places to stay in the world!"
Like Tongabezi, each of Sindabezi's chalets have private verandas with magnificent views over the riverine habitat. Sindabezi Island has its own resident hippo and elephant! In the evenings the island is lit only by candles and lanterns. Channel Robinson Crusoe with the sandy soil under your feet and the gentle river breezes carrying the sounds of wilderness.
Activities at both lodges focus on the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls. You will have the opportunity to enjoy personally guided tours of the Falls on the Zambian side, and you will also be offered a host of activities on the quiet stretch of river on which the Lodges are located - canoeing, fishing, and romantic sundowner cruises are some of the main highlights. Both lodges look across the river onto Zimbabwe's Zambezi National Park, making for some very good game-viewing during canoe paddles and river cruises. Game-drives in the adjacent Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, guided bird walks, and a visit to a local village and market are other rewarding ways to wile away your time, as you relax and absorb the magic around you.
Both Tongabezi and Sindabezi are perfect destinations for those seeking to "get away from it all" and experience one of the most beautiful spots in Africa, in a setting that offers a unique combination of unobtrusive comfort and style. Watching the sun set over the river with the calling of birds, and the snorting of hippos, while sipping your favorite cocktail, it's not difficult to understand what inspired the editor of London's Daily Telegraph newspaper to describe Tongabezi as a corner of heaven.
Social responsibility initiatives at Tongabezi and Sindabezi are focused primarily on education, environmental protection, and HIV awareness and prevention. For example, through the creation of housing for teachers, highly qualified teachers have been attracted to the local schools. Tongabezi is a member of the Aids Council of Zambia, and staff have benefited immensely from the HIV awareness programs. Tongabezi and Sindabezi lodge is also “going green” through recycling programs, organic gardens, and solar energy supplements.
For more information about Tongabezi and Sindabezi Island call toll-free: 888.227.8311
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