BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Batoka Hospitality, a luxury ecotourism and community development group, is preparing to reopen the doors of Zambezi Sands River Lodge, offering visitors five-star luxury in the heart of Zimbabwe’s rich natural landscape.
Just one hour from the magnificent Victoria Falls, the newly renovated resort is nestled in the stunning western end of Zambezi National Park and offers guests unrivalled luxury in one of the world’s most breathtaking natural settings.
As the first black female-owned Safari Lodge in Africa, Batoka Hospitality is reinventing the way the world views African hospitality.
“We are empowering the African dream of success through ecotourism and hospitality,” said Vimbai Masiyiwa, executive director of Batoka Hospitality.
“At Batoka, people come first: Whether it is our staff, our guests or the community surrounding us. As much as we enrich the lives of our guests through a truly authentic African experience, we want to create self-sustaining villages and economic growth for the communities around us.”
The opening of the property will coincide with the launch of Tesse Fund. The fund will be financed by 10% of the revenue made from each guest’s stay. The purpose of the fund is for staff members within the Batoka Hospitality family to come up with projects that benefit the local community.
The destination’s 10 beautiful tented suites have been redesigned by renowned South African interior designer Yvonne O’Brien, known for creations which are understated, personal and quietly refined.
Each of the suites has a private plunge pool and spectacular view of the Zambezi River. For Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) travellers, a two-bedroom suite, complete with a private swimming pool, lounge and dining room and deck will be available for those desiring more privacy and an opulent home away from home experience.
The natural materials and tones O’Brien and her team have brought to the Batoka Zambezi Sands River Lodge blend seamlessly into the Victoria Falls landscape, where breath-taking vistas greet guests from every suite.
Bedrooms are styled as large African style tents offering exceptional views from the huge veranda to the soundtrack of the area’s magical wildlife. The boardwalks that interlink each tent with the main dining area and bar offer protection from wandering hippos which often spend at least part of the night feeding in and around the camp.
The lodge’s elegant bar, lounge and dining area sit above the river, the stilted structure surrounded by the area’s lush wild landscapes. Decorated with stylish teak furniture, wooden flooring, pewter ornaments and leather chairs and sofas, it is quintessential African luxury. Outside, an expansive deck has dining tables and a sunken fire pit where pre-dinner drinks are the order of the day.
More than just a safari destination, Zambezi Sands River Lodge offers guests an array of activities without even leaving the estate. In addition to the resort’s spa and fitness centre, guests can enjoy a wide range of activities which include game drives along the river and inland, game walks with an experienced professional guide and day or sunset river boat cruises.
In 2020 Batoka Hospitality acquired 100% ownership of the former Zambezi Sands River Camp and its sister attraction, the Gorges Lodge. Sustainability and local employment are at the heart of the resort’s mission, enabling guests to experience true African culture and hospitality with as little harm to the environment as possible.
Batoka Hospitality is a luxury ecotourism and community development group focused on preserving and empowering local communities that the company’s operating units (lodges) are situated in. It says by doing this, the firm is able to foster the preservation of local wildlife and the environment surrounding its lodges.
The company owns and operates Batoka Zambezi Sands River Lodge, and Batoka Gorges Lodge, both situated at Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.
Each lodge imbues a fully-immersive African luxury safari experience including the use of bespoke natural resources and eco-friendly materials featured in the design and construction of the lodges; a variety of on-site leisure activities tailored for the individual, couples and the family as a whole; and a variety of cultural immersion activities which encourage guests to learn the history of the local destination and culture in which their lodges are situated.