Sundowners from a private boat on the Zambezi River? Don’t mind if I do.
At Tongabezi Lodge everything is done with comfort, luxury, romance and quite frankly, pure indulgence, in mind. The lodge sits elegantly on the banks of the river, just downstream from its resident natural wonder of the world – the impressive Victoria Falls. It gently whispers, “Let us spoil you!” and that it certainly does. The graceful and dreamy accommodation is one thing but this place even lets guests get all ‘Diva’ on it and pimp up their safari ‘Tonga style’.
Meet Ann and Marlon Lewinsky from Dallas, Texas. Ann works in finance and Marlon in sales. They work hard to play hard. They recently stayed at Tongabezi Lodge and its sister lodge ‘Sindabezi’ on the private Sindabezi Island towards the end of their African adventure which included some hardcore safari-ing in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Ann discovered Tongabezi through some online research and immediately dropped it into her ‘must visit’ file. “Tongabezi is where you go to relax and be pampered after those early morning safari wake up calls” Ann explained.
Ann describes one of the highlights of their Tongabezi stay when they got up close and personal with the local wildlife from the comfort of their private, guided boat excursion on the Zambezi River…
“I was a little unprepared for how much wildlife there was right at our doorstep, or boat slip, since most of the magic is seen from a boat! On our first evening, I shared with our boat captain my strong desire to capture some photographs of hippo out of the water. I had lots of photos of them bobbing on the surface but a nice image of one out of the water was eluding me.
The next morning after breakfast I was hanging around the lodge and my captain said, “Come quick there are hippos out of the water.” Off we sped across the very swollen Zambezi (we were there in May with very high water) to the opposite riverbank. I captured several splashing into the water but that was it. He took a slow cruise back and came around some reeds in the middle of the river to show me a pod of hippos hanging out on the shallow sand bar. As the boat approached, they stood up, snorted and glared as hippos are prone to do. The cutest little calf was very interested and gave me a photo that was more than I’d hoped for.
We were also lucky enough to see a large breeding herd of elephants on the riverbank every day and our captain was always kind enough to stop and let us sit with them to enjoy their antics.”
The happy safari couple were deservedly taking it easy at Tongabezi, lapping up some R&R time after a busy trip. The beauty of the Tongabezi setting is that nature comes to you, given that you relax long enough in your chosen spot to allow it to present itself. Ann and Marlon sauntered from their boat to their daybeds under the trees at Sindabezi Island (Tongabezi’s sister lodge) for their next bout of being at one with nature. Ann described it as magical:
“My afternoons were spent on the day bed in front of our room under the trees, close to the river, waiting for birds to visit. I was thrilled to see a Giant Kingfisher both afternoons. I always knew when the kingfishers were nearby. They catch their fish and then bang them on the tree branch before eating them! One morning our alarm clock was a pride of lions roaring just off the riverbank.”
Ann is passionate about photography (and very talented too!) She captured some unforgettable moments from their time at Tongabezi, some of which are featured in this article. But the full range of images from their African adventure at her website Ann Lewinsky Photography.
On the couple’s last morning, as they drove back to the lodge, ‘their’ elephants (as Ann describes) were out again so they stopped. Some males were playing and trumpeted as they left. Ann concluded…“I like to think they were saying thanks for visiting and come back soon.”
So if you are craving the African safari experience but also favour ultimate tranquility and relaxation, know that you don’t have to get your hands or feet dirty at Tongabezi. Pimp up your safari with a stay at Tongabezi Lodge where you can do as much, or as little, as you like and where you can view some of Africa’s most wondrous wildlife in ultimate serenity, with that optional glass of bubbly in hand too…of course…darling!
Stay at Tongabezi: www.tongabezi.com