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A proud WINNER of the
Zimbabwe Achievers Tourism Award!
We promote travel opportunities to the wild areas of the Zambezi Valley 
WILD ZAMBEZI invites you to a world of nature where the pace is slow, the sun is warm, the sky is huge and the people are friendly.  Our travel promotion focus is the Zambezi River and its iconic wildernesses, including the Victoria Falls & Zambezi National Parks, Lake Kariba, Matusadona National Park and Mana Pools National Park and World Heritage Site.  We provide web-based, up-to-date information on operators, activities, accommodation choices, tours and services in this magnificent area, and offer a reliable, independent travel advisory service.
WILD ZAMBEZI NEWS - JUNE 2016
Explore our travel listings & share your own
experiences on our website

PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-NEWSLETTER!
NEWS HEADLINES - JUNE 2016
-   Cash shortage in Zimbabwe
-   ZimParks tarrifs 2016 - clarification
-   Travel Specials
-   Meet Wilderness Air 'sChief Pilot
-   Safari Logistics upgrading
-   Lake Kariba/Zambezi River water levels
-   Zambezi Cruise  Safaris set sail in 2016
-   Musango - an island of excellence on Lake Kariba
-   New self-catering chalets & camp at western end of Lake Kariba
-   Ruckomechi's design - inspired by the Zambezi
-   New spacious tents for Zambezi Expeditions in Mana
-   It's wedding season along the Zambezi!
-   African boma evenings at The Elephant Camp
-   New game-viewing platform at Imbabala
-   Tail Ender

CASH SHORTAGE IN ZIMBABWE:
CARDS ACCEPTED MOST PLACES, BUT PLEASE BRING SOME NOTES WITH YOU

There has been some concern over a current shortage of US Dollars cash in Zimbabwe.  However, this should not impact negatively on the majority of visitors to the country as most mainstream tourism operations accept International Visa and Mastercard payments.   

Cash payments will only really be required for personal purchases (e.g. souvenirs), tips and some small accommodation facilities, shops, restaurants and craft markets which do not have card facilities.  

The banks are currently limiting ATM cash withdrawals (some have more stringent limits that others) and visitors should be aware that it may not always be possible to withdraw the amount of US dollars in cash that they require.

We strongly advise, therefore, that visitors bring enough US$ notes with them to cover any cash payments required for accommodation, meals, souvenir purchases or tips etc. where Visa/Master card facilities are not available.   Carry some small denomination bills ($20, $10 and $1)  and ensure that you keep your cash in a safe place at all times.


The  Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has advised that  “The importation of currency into Zimbabwe by travellers is not restricted. This implies that any person can bring in any amount of currency into Zimbabwe. However, with immediate effect all visitors to Zimbabwe are hereby encouraged to complete a Baggage Declaration Form (Form 47) and declare the currency in their possession at the time of entry. The processed declaration forms may be used to support re-export of any balance of currency at the end the visit to Zimbabwe, should it exceed the allowed export thresholds” (currently US$1000).
ZIMPARKS TARIFFS 2016 - CLARIFICATION
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has yet to issue a Schedule of Tariffs for 2016!  This has caused some confusion for visitors.  

Wild Zambezi has checked the current situation with the Authority's Tourism Office.  We are informed that problems with implementing the new online booking system have caused the delay.  In the meantime all current ZimParks tariffs are the same as for 2015, with some minor adjustments to accommodation costs for chalets and camping in certain National Parks.

Wild Zambezi published the ZimParks Fees for 2015 online in our News section on 25th May 2015.  We have now updated that existing Schedule with the aforementioned amendments.  
See:   
ZimParks fees 2015 (and 2016).

Please use the above link as a guideline for ZimParks pricing in the Zambezi Valley's National Park areas until we receive further official notification from the Authority.   We will then publish the new Schedule.


ENJOY THE PARKS VIDEO
In the meantime, lovers of  Zimbabwe's wild places will enjoy a new video highlighting the beauty of the country's National Parks.  You can view this on WildZambezi.com at this link:  ZimParks


If you would like to share your experiences of ZimParks facilities within the Zambezi area, please feel free to submit a Travel Review online at the above link on WildZambezi.com.
LATEST TRAVEL SPECIALS ON WILDZAMBEZI.COM 
Don’t forget the great SPECIALS on offer from some of Wild Zambezi’s network partners.  
Check them out on each of these page links (scroll down and to the right):-
African Bush Camps (Kanga & Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools):  LAST MINUTE 10% OFF RACK RATE - for new bookings in the High Season (travel between 1st July - 31st October 2016). This reduction can be used in combination with all African Bush  Camps packages and specials.   MANA MADNESS SPECIAL – stay min 3 nights at one of these properties (6 nights altogether at African Bush Camps facilities) and get FREE flights in and out of Mana Pools. (Valid November 2016 and 1 April - 30 June 2017)    LONG STAY SPECIAL – at any combo of African Bush Camps – 5% discount for 6+ nights; 10% discount for 9+ nights.  LOVEBIRD SPECIAL - spend your honeymoon at any African Bush Camps properties and get 1 Night FREE when you spend 6 nights or more.  AUGUST FAMILY SPECIAL - Spend 3 nights or more with African Bush Camps and the 5th person stays free.
Baobab Bookings (agents for Kariba): July Specials on Wild Heritage and Nzou self-catering lodges in Kariba  (US$80 per lodge per night & US$60 per lodge per night).  Min 4 people.  Valid until end July 2016.
Changa Safari Camp (Lake Kariba/Matusadona):   ZIMBABWE WINTER SPECIALS  for July  - Full Board: US$150 per person sharing;  All Inclusive:  US$200 per person sharing (min. 3 ngihts stay).   COMBO SPECIAL with The Hide (Hwange) - stay 6 nights (3 in each camp) and pay for 5.   INTERNATIONAL SPECIALS for Nov-Dec 2016.
Gorges Lodge & Little Gorges (Imvelo Safari Lodges) (Outside Victoria Falls):  Green Season Safari Special - Stay 3 nights, pay 2 (All inclusive rate only)  Valid 1 Dec 2016 - 28 Feb 2017.
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge (Zambezi River upstream from Victoria Falls):  Imbabala-Elephant Camp combo special.  3 nights Imbabala, 1 night The Elephant Camp. Includes tour of Vic Falls.
Marineland (Lake Kariba):  Winter specials on selected houseboat charters
Musango Island Safari Camp (Lake Kariba):  Cool Waters Package (Vic Falls/Kariba/Mana Pools) and Get a Night on Us (Stay for 4 nights, pay for 3)
Rhino Safari Camp (Lake Kariba/Matusadona):  Weekend Winter Warmer Special (2 nights min):  US$99 per person per night full board.
Spurwing Island  (Lake Kariba/Matusadona):  Winter Special valid till end July 2016 - US$85 per person per night including all meals & accommodation. 
Victoria Falls River Lodge (Zambezi National Park/Victoria Falls):  FAMILY VALUE SPECIAL  Share a Family Suite with 2 or more children (4-17 years) and the youngest child stays for FREE. In the case of a twin or a triplet, 1 x child stays for free. (Valid between 1 Nov & 20 Dec 2016 and 7 Jan - 31 March 2017.)
Wild Dog Tours (Kariba):  Special Discounts on selected Lake Kariba houseboats and self-catering accommodation in Kariba Town. Valid July 2016.
Zambezi Sands River Camp (Imvelo Safari Lodges) (Upstream of Victoria Falls): Stay 3 nights, pay 2  (all inclusive).  Valid until 31 Dec 2016.
 
WILDERNESS AIR'S CHIEF PILOT -  FOLLOWING HIS PASSION
Meet Anesu Jireh Musakwa, Wilderness Air's new Chief Pilot, who says the key to achieving his goal in life is  "Do what you are passionate about and you will never fail!"

Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Anesu went to High School at Watershed College in Marondera.    He trained as a commercial pilot in Cape Town, South Africa and started working for Wilderness Air Zimbabwe in April 2014.  He currently flies the Cessna C206 and Grand Caravan C208.

Says Anesu: "My passion for flying is inspired by my father who dreamed of becoming a pilot, but could not achieve this due to financial constraints. I am driven by my hard working parents and loving siblings who have been supportive in my flying career since the day I started flying. I enjoy working at Wilderness Air Zimbabwe because each day brings its own lessons and challenges that I do my best to prepare for. Not only have I acquired better flying proficiency, but my interpersonal skills have improved remarkably over the years. Being part of the Wilderness team has undeniably benefited my career and personal life!....... I have developed an interest in wildlife photography which was made possible by flying into the beautiful world class Wilderness Safari Camps that I spend majority of my time in."

Wilderness Air Zimbabwe operates out of Victoria Falls with a varied fleet of light aircraft, chosen for their ability to transport visitors to remote wilderness destinations with short, dirt-surfaced landing strips.   Their safe, efficient and reliable service links the Wilderness Safaris properties of Makalolo & Little Makalolo Camps, Davison’s and Linkwasha Camps in Hwange National Park and Ruckomechi Camp in Mana Pools.  


For more information and contact details, see Wilderness Air Zimbabwe
If you have enjoyed the service that Wilderness Air provides, please submit a Travel Review on their Wild Zambezi listings page at the above link.

SAFARI LOGISTICS - UPGRADING AIR & ROAD TRANSFERS

In a continuous effort to improve services and maintain reliable air access to the wild, remote areas of Hwange, Kariba and Mana Pools, Safari Logistics, through their strategic partner, HAC (Halsteds Aviation),  have added a King Air C90 to their aircraft fleet (see above left & centre).  

This is a luxurious, pressurised craft, with a cruising speed of around 410 kms per hour.  It can accommodate up to 7 passengers and will be based largely out of Harare. Luggage limits are 20kgs per person in soft bags (for hand luggage, camera equipment and checked bags). Additional fees may apply for overweight luggage. 

In addition, the company has added a new 7-seater Toyota Alphard Mini Bus (pictured above right) to their fleet for personalised road transfer services throughout Zimbabwe. A second, similar vehicle,  is expected in the coming weeks. 


For more information and contact details, see Safari Logistics.
Let us know what you thought about the transfer services offered by this company by submitting a Wild Zambezi Travel  Review online at the above link.

KARIBA
LAKE KARIBA STILL RISING, BUT INFLOWS NOW SLOWING
Marineland Harbour reports that water levels in Lake Kariba have risen 3.13metres since the lowest recorded level this year on 22nd February.   And the lake is still rising.   It seems that the authorities are also carefully controlling the turbine discharge rate through Kariba Dam for electricity generation, thus ensuring that the lake continues to fill.   You can see from the picture below how much this has improved boating access and mooring space within Marineland.  

However, as happens every year,  water flows in the upper catchment of the Zambezi River have started to recede and flows out of Barotseland in Western Zambezi are dropping fast.  While levels still remain good over Victoria Falls, these are also dropping off.   Marineland  hopes to see a further increase of around 30cm in Lake Kariba before the dry season finally takes over.

Marineland is Kariba's largest boat chartering harbour, with a large number of cruise boats for hire.  It provides fuel, fishing bait, drinks, ice and catering supplies as well as trans-lake transfers. 


For more information and contact details see Marineland Harbour
Have something to tell us about your experience at this harbour?  Submit a Wild Zambezi Travel Review online at the above link.

ZAMBEZI CRUISE SAFARIS SET SAIL IN 2016

The prestigious fleet of Zambezi Cruise Safaris (pictured above) is now offering a fantastic new opportunity to cruise the expansive waters of Lake Kariba from one end to the other,  in luxury boats designed for maximum relaxation and comfort.    

Experience unbeatable scenic views, wildlife, fishing for tigerfish and delicious bream (tilapia) and soaking up the warmth of those notorious African sunsets!    

The fleet consists of three boats, Karabezi  (14 Pax), Shikra (30 Pax) and Umbhoza (28 Pax), which are decorated and furnished similarly.   They are all staffed by a dynamic, friendly and knowledgeable crew, expertly trained and managed by our new hostess, Chooks Langerman.  In addition, a professional guide is on hand to answer all your wildlife questions and accompany you on the many activities on offer.

These cruises are in a class of their own - like nothing offered before on Lake Kariba.  This is an all-round luxury experience with beautifully-appointed, en-suite cabins, top-rate cuisine and magnificent lake and African bush surrounds.  

Bookings can be made as a group or as an independent traveller. Cabins can be twin or double and there are family rooms as an option.

The cruises run on an all-inclusive basis and depart on set dates from Binga, (with a road transfer link to Victoria Falls), and from Kariba Town, (with a road transfer link to Mana Pools or Harare).


For more information and contact details, see Zambezi Cruise Safaris.
Once you have had a chance to sample this new and exciting product, please let us know what you think by submitting a Travel Review on WildZambezi.com at the above link.
MUSANGO: AN ISLAND OF EXCELLENCE ON LAKE KARIBA
The team at Musango Island Safari Camp on Lake Kariba, tell us that they are excited to have been awarded a “Certificate of Excellence“ by TripAdvisor, thanks to their guest reviews!  

They have also been working hard on their ecological footprint:  "Our beautiful camp is now almost entirely run on solar power.  This works perfectly for us  as we have so many sunny days.... The organic herbs in our veggie garden are thriving and we have already started to harvest and use them in the camp kitchen.  The bushbuck population in the area is also thriving and the veggie garden is being looked upon with greedy eyes! …luckily it is fenced off!....   Musango continues to protect the fauna and flora within our concession and recent snare sweeps by our Musango Anti Poaching team have produced amazing results."

They are also installing a new terrace overlooking the Musango River (pictured above right) which will give guests an additional area to enjoy views of the beautiful setting sun.

The evening Pontoon Dinners under the stars continue to be a huge hit with guests now that the evenings are a bit cooler with warm winter days. Fine dining to the tune of hippos and distant lion calls really is a special experience!


For more information and contact details, see Musango Island Safari Camp
If you have stayed at this camp and would like to submit a Travel Review on WildZambezi.com, please do so at the above link.

NEW SELF-CATERING CHALETS & CAMPSITE AT WESTERN END OF LAKE KARIBA

Good news for self-drive visitors to the western end of Lake Kariba, or for those wanting to travel the long dirt road from west to east along the entire length of the Lake, linking between Victoria Falls/Hwange and Karoi.   Karen Learmonth from Africa Spectacular in Bulawayo tells us of a new tourism facility called Maabwe Bay, offering self catering chalets and a campsite.  This is situated on the Kariba lake shore near the Sebungwe River mouth, between Mlibizi and Binga,  and about 22km from the Binga road.  A perfect spot for some tigerfishing, birding, relaxing or stopping over en route to somewhere else.

For further info and reservations contact Africa Spectacular
If you have visited this campsite, please tell us about it by submitting a Travel Review online at the above link. 

ZAMBEZI VALLEY
RUCKOMECHI'S DESIGN:  INSPIRED BY THE COLOURS OF THE ZAMBEZI
Interior Designer, Mandy Langebrink (pictured) is responsible for the beautiful colours, textures and decorative touches inside Wilderness Safaris' newly-rebuilt Ruckomechi Camp.  

Subtle interiors were chosen for the guest areas and tented suites to ensure that the main focal point remained the sweeping views of the surrounding wilderness. “We used lots of blues in the guest tent interiors which were inspired by the beautiful deep-blue colours of the Zambezi River at sunset; these hues are picked up in the Trading Glass beads in the Lozi wooden bowls and the handblown glass vases on the console tables and desk, as well as the natural cotton linen denim scatter cushions”, says Mandy who is a bush enthusiast and has worked with Wilderness Safaris on a number of camps for the past 20 years.


The coolness of the Zambezi River is reflected in the light elegance of the stylish interiors, with the blues offset by the light tones of the solid wooden furniture, all complementing the old African artefacts of the Turkana and Tuareg bowls and the rustic coffee table. Large leather sofas create the perfect space for relaxing in between game drives and the elegant louvre screens provide a sense of lightness and temporary style of the ‘old camping days’, she adds.   “The camp epitomises luxury in style; one that is totally in touch with its surroundings”.  

Ruckomechi Camp re-opened in May this year with a complete re-design comprising eight spacious tented suites and a further two family suites due to open on 1 August .   All the tents, as well as the central dining, bar and lounge areas have retained their wonderful wide-angled views of the Zambezi River and the dramatic purple-hued escarpment of Zambia in the distance, with the occasional elephant or two often included in the spectacle. Fans of the "old" Ruckomechi will be glad to know that the upgrade has retained the pool, star-gazing deck and famous outdoor ‘bath with a view’.


For more information and contact details, as well as a NEW VIDEO of the camp, see Ruckomechi Camp.
Please let us know what you think about this newly refurbished camp.  Submit a Travel Review on WildZambezi.com at the above link.

NEW SPACIOUS TENTS FOR ZAMBEZI EXPEDITIONS IN MANA POOLS

Here's a look at the new Zambezi Expeditions camp in Mana Pools with its recently upgraded, spacious Meru-style tents. The tents each have twin beds, a dressing area, en-suite bathrooms with flush toilets and al fresco bucket showers, with warm water, and a covered verandah with seating in the front.  The rooms are lit by solar lamps and natural light from the big, gauzed windows.

The camp also features a new, spacious, open-sided lounge and dining area which offers 360° views of the surrounding bush.

This is an "Immerse yourself in the heart of the wild" experience as the camp is unfenced, so animals are free to wander right past your tent.


For more information and contact details, see African Bush Camps
Submit a Travel Review of your experience with Zambezi Expeditions on WildZambezi.com at the above link.

NEVER MIND THE FISHING, IT'S WEDDING SEASON ALONG THE ZAMBEZI RIVER!

Along the Zambezi River the winter months of May - August are almost always dry, the days are lovely and sunny and the weather is mild.  It's the perfect season for romantic, outdoor weddings.  

Jecha Point Fishing Lodge & Camp and Tiger Safaris, both situated on the banks of the Zambezi just downstream of the border town of Chirundu, make ideal wedding venues.  They are relatively easy to get to (only a few kilometres off the main Harare-Chirundu highway) so it's not too much of an effort to organise the logistics.  Both have beautiful, spacious lawns and shady trees facing right onto the river, both offer comfortable accommodation and excellent catering facilities.  

If a wedding in the wild is what you've always dreamed of... and you're happy to limit your guest list to a reasonable number of bush-loving friends and relatives who love the outdoors and aren't looking for 5-star luxury, then this is the place for you!  

Be aware, though, you need to be flexible....  You could have some interesting and unexpected arrivals in the form of passing elephants keen on sampling the local vegetation, and hippos munching the lawns at night!


For more information and contact details, see Tiger Safaris and Jecha Point Fishing Lodge & Camp
If you have been lucky enough to experience a wedding on the Zambezi near Chirundu, please let us know about it by writing a Travel Review at one of the relevant links above. 
VICTORIA FALLS
AFRICAN BOMA EVENINGS AT THE ELEPHANT CAMP

The Elephant Camp & The Elephant Camp West have introduced traditional African Boma evenings, as part of the exclusive services available to guests staying at this magnificent property set in its own wild concession just 10 kms outside of Victoria Falls. 

The ambience is wonderful with lanterns and firelight setting a rustic African mood. A ceiling of stars twinkles above and an ‘mbira’ or African thumb piano sets the mood. This experience is not guaranteed on every stay as it is dependent on stay length and weather and is a welcome surprise for those guests who can experience it.

A stay at The Elephant Camp also includes complimentary Lunches at The Lookout Café, Victoria Falls and sundowners at the beautiful gorge site overlooking the Zambezi River on the concession.


For more information and contact details, see The Elephant Camp.
Tell us about your experience at this camp by submitting a Travel Review at the above Wild Zambezi listings link.

NEW GAME-VIEWING PLATFORM AT IMBABALA....WATCH THIS SPACE
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge, (which is located on the Zambezi River upstream from Victoria Falls, near the border town of Kazangula) is building a new game viewing platform on the floodplain near the lodge.

The structure will enable wonderful views of the Zambezi River and the numerous animals, in particular elephant, that drink daily. It will also offer great birding opportunities. The platform will be used for early morning coffee on the banks of the river or for Gin and Tonics in the evening, watching the sunset over the Zambezi.  
This promises to be a great place to relax between activities. More to follow once the construction is complete.....


For more information and contact details, see Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
If you have stayed at this lovely lodge and would like to share your experience with readers of the Wild Zambezi website, please submit a Travel Review online at the link above.

TAIL ENDER....  
something fishy...

Bream and tigerfishing in Lake Kariba and the Zambezi River is apparently disappointing at the moment due to the cool weather of mid-winter.  

However, some of the larger fish, like this Cornish Jack (left) and Vundu (right), were caught by the folks from Marineland Harbour.

These photos were taken to back up the fishermen's tales and the fish were duly released again.   

"Catch and Release" of all large fish is encouraged in the lake and along all the Zambezi River waterways to ensure that good breeding stock is maintained for the future.

So... don't let the cool weather deter you.  Pack your rods and head for Kariba or the Zambezi.  There'll be something exciting to catch, if you're not fussy about what....and anyway..... you can always just enjoy sitting in the warm sunshine.  Winter temperatures during July are Max: 27o C
 (day) and Min: 12oC (night) with 10 hours of sunshine and NO RAIN!    So.... what are you waiting for?

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THERE'S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE ON THE BANKS OF THE ZAMBEZI!  
PLEASE PASS ON THIS NEWSLETTER! 
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