Zimbabwe & Zambia

5 Magical moments in the Zambezi wilderness




Erika Hobart


From Hwange to Victoria Falls

Last November, I had the opportunity to travel with Wilderness to some of the most remote and wild corners of the world: I spent a week between Wilderness Linkwasha in Hwange National Park and Toka Leya on the banks of the Zambezi River, in Zimbabwe and Zambia, respectively. From the very start of the adventure, I could feel in my bones that extraordinary things were going to happen. Here are five of the most magical moments I’m still daydreaming about:

Sundowners with a herd of elephants


Linkwasha has a waterhole that’s frequented by thirsty animals and I was lucky enough to be there at sunset when a herd of elephants decided to stop by. I climbed into the camp’s hidden bunker [sunken hide] and from just a few feet away, was able to safely observe the gentle giants drink, bathe, and play. (The younger, more mischievous ones took to blowing bubbles in the water). Since the bunker had a mini fridge, I even joined the family’s happy hour with my own drink of choice (a gin and tonic).



A rare glimpse of a cheetah


Cheetahs are known for being shy and elusive, but my guide Liberty was determined to track one down. We so often talk about safaris in terms of animals, but it’s the guides who make these encounters possible. Their knowledge of nature is astounding and your conversations with them are some of the most fascinating you’ll ever have. It's hard to describe the wonder of seeing a cheetah in her natural environment for the first time, but I distinctly remember marveling that she seemed almost machine-like in her sleekness. I was just as impressed by Liberty’s commitment to finding the creature and loved that he seemed as excited as I was about the sighting.



Boating on the Zambezi River


The mighty Zambezi is supposed to be one of the most rewarding rivers in the world for a wildlife cruise and I was not disappointed. The animal appearances were abundant: crocodiles sunbathing on riverbanks, hippos semi-submerged in the water, elephants in the distance feeding on lush vegetation. At Toka Leya, I felt like I was in my very own nature documentary.



Visiting Victoria Falls


It rained relentlessly on the morning I visited Victoria Falls, but the moody weather made the trip all the more exhilarating. I loved watching the billowing clouds of mist rise up from the falls and drench everything (and everyone) within reach. To witness one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in person was a privilege. Another plus: I ran into some guests I’d previously met at Linkwasha, and we greeted each other like long-lost relatives. (Strangers become fast friends when they’re sharing such life-changing experiences together.) Again, we often discuss the animals we see on safari, but the people you meet and the connections you make on the journey are just as rewarding.



Up close with white rhinos


Zambia’s only white rhinos are watched 24/7 by armed guards who work tirelessly to protect them from poachers. It was comforting to observe these gorgeous creatures grazing in peace, completely unaware that they lead such perilous lives. It was also an honour to meet and speak to the guards, who play such an important role in a world where beautiful things disappear every day. The experience made me more appreciative than ever of the conservation work that Wilderness and its colleagues are involved in, and gave me hope for the future of Africa’s wildlife.


Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.