Monday, June 6, 2011

Zimbabwe Trip Report Preview: Camp Amalinda

This year before INDABA, New Frontiers Tours introduced and, in some cases, reunited a handful of our top North American trade partners, a travel journalist and myself, as New Frontiers North American representative, with wondrous Zimbabwe. Here is a preview of my trip report, stay tuned for the full report coming soon!

Outside Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - April 30, 2011: We continued on to Camp Amalinda - one of my favorites of the trip. The camp was set lower than Big Cave Camp so it didn't offer quite the same elevated, panoramic views, but what it possibly lost there, it made up for in service, rooms and atmosphere. We were immediately greeted by Sharon, the owner, and her team at the camp. The welcome was warm and we felt at home right away. I knew then that one night was going to be far too short of a stay.

We got settled in our rooms, which are what I would call rustic chic - all constructed of local materials (fallen wood, gathered stones, intact boulder, which became intrinsic to the room design, etc.), finished with fresh white linens and draped mosquito nets. The rooms are all very different and free-form in shape. Bathrooms are quite open, so there's not much privacy if you are traveling with someone you don't know well. Something about this camp is absolutely unique and quite special - this is the bush: that organic smell that only exists in Africa hangs in the air and fingers of smoke from the donkey boilers swirl between the massive boulders. As we headed out to the pool area for sundowners, the magic of this place began to sink in. The huge pool is built on top of the natural rock and looks out over the valley towards the park (see photo) and is easily one of the most beautiful pools in Africa. Behind us, you can see clearly that the camp was built into the kopje and to the west the sun is sets with the colors that only seem possible in Africa. Gin and tonics all around and we sat back to hear the story of the camp, how they made it through the really hard times and what Sharon and the camp staff hope lies ahead...

Photo by Lyndsay Harshman

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