THE VICTORIA FALLS          - 21/ 6/ 2006      <--Prev : Next-->

The Victoria Falls is the perfect place to be on a Zimbabwean winters weekend !!

And the 67th Annual Mining Conference held at the Elephant Hills Safari Lodge brought home to me just how special this country still is.

Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it is and always will be magical and breathtaking.

The Victoria Falls village has had a major facelift. There are Tourist Police to look after the tourists and they do their job diligently and efficiently. The hotels are not crowded but Tourism seems to be on the increase again thank goodness.

The shops are stocked with a delightful selection of good quality curios and Zimbabwean Objects d'art. There are bikes for hire, or beach buggies or trail bikes and go carts for the rough roads.

The Elephant Hills Hotel is absolutely striking, the decor cleverly incorporates the essence and mystery of Africa and yet remains regal, cool and imposing.

Instead of massed arrangements of flowers, which would have to be imported at great cost from other centres, the hotel uses beautiful soapstone carvings of hippo ponds with tastefully arranged bamboo shoots nestling in the water.

How subtle and original and artful !!

The service is impeccable, the waiters are friendly and attentive to one's smallest need and yet discreet and highly trained.

The food was excellent. We had a full on sit down banquet the first night for the 120 delegates to the conference, served with acceptable local wines or imported wines at a price !!

The next night we had a true African experience - the Bush Dinner, served under the stars surrounded by braziers to keep away the cold, with the tables beautifully laid and an excellent array of local and traditional dishes.

Marimbas played and young ebony skinned maidens kept us entertained while we feasted from tables laden with macimbi, mazondo, braised sable, fried capenta and sadza and relish.

Of course there was plenty of steak and chicken and salad too for the less adventurous tourist !

The logistics of serving over a hundred people under the stars and the brilliant full moon, in the magical African bush must be seen to be believed.

A sundowner cruise on the might Zambesi River brought back all those memories of days gone by when life was lazy and less stressful.

Elephant, hippo, crocodile and bush buck were apparent and the boat crew kept us entertained with gin slings and river anecdotes.

A morning jog on the golf course was however the "piece de resistance" Bushbuck, duiker, waterbuck and warthog were everywhere, watching me with their deep onyx eyes, suspicious yet unafraid. Those minute mesh spider webs were everywhere glistening with silver dew, hopeful of an early morning ant snack. It made jogging difficult as one tried hard not to stand on the diamond patterns.

Hornbills mewed like babies, vultures soared lazily in the thermals overhead as if trying to compete with the helicopters and microlites which forged backwards and forwards ferrying tourists eager to get an aerial view of the mighty Victoria Falls.

Back in the sumptuous conference rooms, mining matters were discussed heatedly, but all this seemed very far removed from the real things in life at the Victoria Falls hamlet.

Beauty, majesty, rivers and massive trees that all meet in harmony at the foot of one of the most amazing sights that Mother Nature has ever produced and it is all here to be found in Zimbabwe at the Victoria Falls.