An Armchair Game Watcher’s Delight

The last few days of our trip to the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe was spent at the four-star Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. The lodge borders the Zambezi National Park and, situated as it is on a natural plateau, offers a fantastic view of a nearby waterhole and the park’s residents as they come each day to quench their thirst. Gareth and I spent most of our time there sitting on our room’s balcony, intently staring through binoculars.

At 11:00 in the morning and 15:00 in the afternoon, the sky is a mass of brown speckles, circling high up above, ever closer down to earth and then one by one alighting on the scraggly trees. This is when local conservationists feed the vultures, who come en masse to gorge on the bits of meat set out for them.

They are joined by the odd caribou stork who are also after the scraps left over by their more endangered friends. I particularly enjoyed the storks, after the feeding frenzy was over, who then lazily spent the rest of the day standing at the edge of the waterhole with their wings outstretched, sun worshipping.

The waterhole’s visitors were not limited to the local denizens of the sky, however. A large herd of elephants came every morning and every afternoon for a drink, the older matrons clustering together as if gossiping over tea while the little ones played in the water, trumpeting and splashing each other.

Much to our great delight, another, more elusive member, of the Big Five also pitched up in large numbers every day. The group of buffalo would first gather around the waterhole, then move up along the rise towards the hotel, munching on the dry grass until they were right underneath our balcony.

The lodge boasts a library high up on the third storey from which to do some bird watching, or you can cool off in the pool with a drink in hand, admiring the view of the waterhole. If game-watching is what you’re after, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel. From the warthogs gambolling on the lawn to our long-fingered simian friends, the vervet monkeys, playing on uninhabited balconies, nature is right on your doorstep.

Click here for more posts in the African Adventure 2011 series.

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