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Victoria Falls experience charms American executives

by Staff reporter
21 Aug 2021 at 07:28hrs | Views
VICTORIA Falls is a must-visit basket of attraction and leisure. That is how 10 American executives summed up their three days and two nights at one of the worlds' prime tourist resorts. They came, they saw and they were totally wowed by the splendour of the country's premier resort city. The 10 landed in Victoria Falls for the inaugural Roar Africa Emirates Executive Private Jet trip dubbed "The Greatest Safari on Earth" on Wednesday morning.

The group flew out of the Victoria Falls International Airport yesterday morning enroute to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. They marvelled at the hospitable locals, sight of nature and the Big Five complemented by relative safety from Covid-19 as Victoria Falls is one of the few places in the world that has achieved herd immunity through vaccination. Ms Deborah Calmeyer, a Zimbabwean based in America and Roar Africa founder and CEO, is co-hosting the group with two of Africa's most prominent safari guides Dr Ian McCallum and Mr Humphrey Gumpo. The adventure is a 12-day trip covering Victoria Falls– which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Okavango Delta in Botswana, Kenya's Great Migration and the world's last wild mountain gorillas in the forests of Rwanda.

The basket list of activities enjoyed by the group in Victoria Falls include the Flight of Angels, guided tour of the Victoria Falls, cruise, game drive combined with bird viewing, fishing, Gin and wine tasting as well as enjoying local dishes. Having choppers landing at the airport to pick clients for shuttle around the town to hotels and places of attraction in the vicinity of the city has never happened before.

Usually, after landing at the airport, clients are picked by tour operators' cars or shuttle buses or private metered taxis to various lodges and places of leisure. It was a different tale for 10 Americans as they preferred to be airlifted in three choppers from the airport to town to get an aerial view of the Falls and the gorges. All they could say was "WOW" to the charm of Zimbabwe's hospitality and abundance of nature and wildlife. The sight of three of the Big Five, warm hearted locals and incredible accommodation facilities sums up the excitement for the group that pioneered what is meant to be an annual trip.

Nothing beats a bird's eye view of the Falls and gorges. The tourists were treated to God's easel where he slashed meandering gorges that form part of the greater Victoria Falls, intertwining to spectacularly show an end to the flat bed Zambezi River upstream of the waterfall. Immediately after, the scenic gorges that run up to Binga welcomed them. This is where rafting and high-octane activities such as gorge swing and bungee jumping take place.

 Hundreds of different animal species running in different directions upon sight and noise of helicopters in the sky as if to play a "catch me if you can" game enthralled the tourists. They had an opportunity to see elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, kudus, impalas, waterbucks and other animals, including baboons both in the Zambezi National Park and around town. They also saw lions that are usually not easy to come by in the bush. A normal helicopter flight over the Falls is usually a 10 to 15-minute eye feast.

After an aerial view of the Falls and Mighty Zambezi River, the executives had a feel of the natural spray from the mist and drizzle generated from the water falling more than 100 metres down the more than one-kilometre-wide gorge which is the world's biggest blanket of falling water. They were at the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon that is the world-famous rainforest. Sometimes people carry umbrellas or raincoats when they tour the Rainforest but the light showers are what make Victoria Falls hence one should go for it without rain cover.

The tour of the Falls takes between one and three hours and also gives a perfect view of the Victoria Falls Bridge from the cliff. The tourists literally ran out of superlatives in trying to describe the mighty falls, which is one of the seven wonders of the world. Must-see and must-visit featured prominently in their descriptions. It was time to fly back to Matetsi River Lodge giving tourists more game view across the Zambezi National Park where the luxurious Matetsi Lodge is located.

The on-the-deck lodge was renovated four years ago and is a perfect choice for people who want harmony with nature. It is an example of numerous other facilities dotted around the national park and Victoria Falls which give visitors real and natural experiences in the jungle. The nights at the hotel were characterised by dinners and cocktails with a buffet of various local and international dishes to suit every taste.

The tourists also enjoyed tiger fishing, boat cruise where Gin tasting was also done as well as game and bird viewing, with hundreds of species literally ready to welcome visitors. Friday morning was time to depart from the airport. Three choppers landed one after the other on the domestic side from where the group disembarked and made way through the domestic terminal before disappearing into the overhead tunnel leading to their "hotel on wings."

The private A319 jet owned by Emirates aircraft normally carries 150 passengers but was redesigned to have 10 luxury cabins with lounge, spa, dining and bathrooms. Love for Africa, one of Zimbabwe's leading hotelier and tour operator, is Roar Africa's local partner and was responsible for organising the itinerary both in Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta. While the news crew could not speak to all the tourists, Ms Calmeyer said they all enjoyed the adventure in Victoria Falls and would want to visit again.

"We had the most amazing time, from warm welcome and hospitality, spotless airport, to fantastic flight above the Falls and other activities such as wine tasting and tiger fishing. Now is the time to go to Okavango Delta and have another experience but our guests loved it.

"For Zimbabwe tourism, this is a real Olympic Torch that is going to kickstart and bring a lot of Americans to Zimbabwe which is what I really hope will be achieved. We are going to be doing this once in a year bringing other groups and we want to get United Arab Emirates market to start using this place," she said.

Ms Calmeyer could however not be drawn to give details about individual members of the group. One of the travellers, Ms Catherine Heald, owner of Remote Lands, a tour operating company in New York said she will definitely return to Victoria Falls. This was her first visit to Zimbabwe and second trip to Africa. "I loved it here and saw many animals. I hope Zimbabwe can continue to keep them safe and healthy because they are absolutely amazing. I loved the sight of animals and hospitality of people her  and would love to come back," she said.

Source - chroncile