It is common practice worldwide for those in the travel industry to be invited, by the hospitality sector, to go on a joint “Familiarisation”
trip (“Famil”) staying over in a variety of destinations during the green / off season. Bayete Lodge in Vic Falls organised one such trip
this week starting immediately after the completion of the highly successful Africa Eden week hosted this year in Livingstone.
One of the agents pulled out at the last minute so I, as the creator of the very popular Nzira Travel magazine, was given a last minute
call on Friday afternoon asking if I would like to fill in the resultant gap. What a treat! I gladly obliged flying up to Vic Falls on a very
comfortable fastjet flight on Saturday afternoon. The first night was spent in the immaculate 5 star Bayete lodge boasting 30 spacious
rooms situated not far from the city centre. Bayete lodge is the perfect place to stay in Vic Falls being reasonably priced at amounts
very similar to what I generally pay when staying overnight in Bulawayo.
Back home in Harare, I bath rather than shower most mornings, so I was very chuffed to find one in Bayete’s large bath / shower
area. Arriving late afternoon I hit the road running being whisked away, immediately after my bath, to the unique Dusty Road
Restaurant located in the centre of the nearby Chinotimba high density suburb.
Sarah Lilford has created a gem here that is a must for anyone visiting the Fall s – she has transformed an old house adding so many
features as they could be found in any of the homes of the local people – from the old bakkie and Kombi in the entrance; to a washing
line hanging with torn clothing and underwear; and, a small outdoor kitchen built around a wooden stove using large black Kango,
“Sadza” pots for cooking the meals.
The 3 course meal was so different – made completely using local Zimbabwean ingredients including teas boiled with all sorts of
berries found in our bushes; Maize fritters; Bream fillets; Meat and Chicken Stews; along with Sadza and Rape alternatives. The food
was, of course, served on those tinny Kango plates that are commonplace in the homes of local residents. Dinner was rounded off by
an excellent chorus of singing by half a dozen young, local kids who looked, appropriately, like they had just interrupted their evening
street soccer to entertain us guests.
Next stop was off to the newly created outdoor theatre, just behind Elephant Walk, to listen to a magical hour of song and dance
performed by a group of 16 highly talented artistes called Simunye. This has to be one of the best performances I have seen in many
years based around a typical scenario that could have happened in a tribe based somewhere in the heart of Africa: – tough guys
fighting for the hand of a beautiful maiden. The MC announced at the end of the evening that this troupe had just won a highly sought
after award for their show.
Next stop today is a boat trip up the Zambezi to The Serondela tented camp situated on the river banks in the Caprivi Strip of
Namibia. Just taking some long overdue time out. Mike G.