Luxury Zimbabwe holiday
Description of Luxury Zimbabwe holiday
As one of the best safari destinations in the world, Zimbabwe is gaining in popularity. On this holiday, why not choose to stay in some of our beautiful premium accommodations, as you take in the spectacular wildlife in this country? With excellent game densities and guides who are some of the most qualified in Africa, it's a must on many safari enthusiasts list of destinations.
The camps and lodges you will be staying in offer a great level of luxury you may not believe exists in the African bush and this is a perfect way to see some of the premier sights of this beautiful country.
On this trip you will start in Harare before heading north to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mana Pools on the lower Zambezi River. In the rainy season the arid land turns into a broad expanse of lakes. As the rains disperse, the lakes gradually dry up and recede, and once again the areas attract large game in search of water, making it one of Africa's most renowned game-viewing regions. Rather than rush to see as much as possible, you have three nights here before moving on and changing the pace with a luxury houseboat on Lake Kariba. There's nothing quite like going with the flow and experiencing life on the water.
Hwange is the next destination, its sheer size means that its scenery, vegetation and game vary hugely this game rich park and never fails to impress. Large herds of elephant are quite a spectacle, and the land ranges from the desert like on the edge of the Kalahari in the south, hills, valleys and forests, in the north.
The last two nights will be spent in the quaint town of Victoria Falls and where else to stay but the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel where service is excellent, and you can relax in beautifully manicured gardens close to the beautiful falls as you reflect on your time in Zimbabwe.
PlanetThe company that organises this holiday is a multi-award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travellers are well-informed, as an informed traveller tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveller. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.
Our partner operates the Somalisa Acacia camp and have recognized the sensitivity and fragility of their environment and acknowledge the need to operate in a friendly and sustainable manner for a long time. Somalisa Camp and Somalisa Acacia in Hwange National Park are the only properties in Zimbabwe that have a gold certificate from the internationally recognized body, Green Tourism, because of the sustainable focus on energy, water and waste. To achieve this prestigious award and accreditation, Somalisa and Somalisa Acacia were recently graded on-site by qualified and independent environmentally friendly assessors against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and social involvement and communication.
The properties are completely solar-powered and 80% of the water used in camp is recycled. All guests are given a reusable water bottle on arrival and the camps have also been challenged to come up with new techniques on how to reduce plastic use.
Today far more African lions are lost to conflict with humans and their livestock than from any other cause of mortality. Together with Elefence International, our partner has now partnered with the Wildcru Hwange Lion Research Project, supported by the SATIB Trust and which has been running for 15 years, and is aimed at understanding, managing and conserving the lion population of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. As part of this valuable research, the Hwange Lion Research Project focuses on reducing human-animal conflict, which poses a significant risk to the survival of all carnivores in the wild, through a detailed understanding of the ecological and social factors that influence conflict. In the Hwange area, this conflict arises from lion preying on the livestock of rural communities who frequently retaliate by killing the lion as the people are subsistence farmers and the cattle are a vital part of their being able to support their families. Livestock is a highly valued part of people’s livelihood. Efforts like these resonate with community members and serve as an acknowledgement of the value of their livelihoods. Mobile Cattle Bomas have assisted in mitigating human/wildlife conflict by protecting livestock from predators. The concept involves communal herding, which results in many benefits including reduction of labour and improved soil fertility for better crop yields.
For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.
The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair-trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).
As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.
As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. The company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.
Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.
PeopleOur partner further acknowledge the importance of community, by measuring the impact they have on the area, to their staff which is part of the community and the greater community at large. A portion of their revenue is donated to our partner's Foundation. In 2018 US$286 000 was raised by them for the foundation. With operational cost being covered internally this results in 100% of funds raised or donated is directly utilized by the cause to which donors intend their funds to be used. A further $167 543 was raised for the Conservation Wildlife Fund which is utilized directly by CWF in various conservation projects
Our partner's Foundation is a registered not-for-profit organization that began operating in 2006 with the vision of creating opportunities that empower rural communities located in vulnerable wildlife areas. They are committed to sustainable development, through creating opportunities that empower rural communities located in vulnerable wildlife areas in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia, working to create these opportunities through education, community empowerment, community infrastructure and conservation. The Foundation identifies needs, skills and resources within communities and forges meaningful partnerships amongst the stakeholders, creating opportunities to empower the communities and their members to become self-sustaining and independent, whilst also promoting conservation and community spirit. They work with the rural communities living in and around the wildlife areas in which our partner operates.
They also offer scholarships to boarding schools from two communities they partner with, in working towards sustainable development. They currently support 23 orphaned and vulnerable children with High School and Tertiary Level Scholarships. Orphaned and vulnerable children are at particular risk of dropping out after primary school, particularly in rural areas. Scholarship students attend boarding schools to be within conducive learning environments. Students and guardians commit to scholarship conditions to stay in the program, creating a sense of both responsibility and pride
Another programme that they are involved in is a partnership with a local Bulawayo organization ‘Precious Life Foundation’ which identifies vulnerable girls and women from difficult backgrounds to alleviate the orphan crisis of baby dumping, offering Precious Life graduates internship places for their 6-month hospitality and catering attachment where they learn the ins and outs of every department within the camp, receive a mentor from our team of staff and leave with training and recommendations to set them up to become independent with future job prospects.
In terms of information, all travellers are given guidelines on Travelling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have a Community Tourism Information sheet for travellers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad). For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients. They are also have a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide too. For anything more specific, e.g. rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveller being more aware.
The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveller wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.
They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed, they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.
The company backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. It is a charity we encourage our travellers to donate to if they would like to give something back.
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From £3350 10 days excluding flights
A captivating trip visiting some of the gems of Zimbabwe