Fresh off a long flight from the UK via Johannesburg, we arrived into Victoria Falls. The first thing we noticed when we stepped off our flight was how hot it was here in Zimbabwe – different from the 11 degrees we left in the UK, it was over 35 degrees here. Sailing through customs and the visa process – remarkably easy if you have everything you need to hand ($55 USD per person for visa, passenger locater form filled out, negative PCR test done 72hours before departure and your Vaccine certificate, jobs a goodun!)
We were met by our lovely taxi driver who transferred us about half an hour outside of Victoria Falls Airport to an entrance to Hwange National Park where we met James, who would be our guide for the next day and a half. It was a long, hot, and bumpy transfer through the reserve, but we passed a few animals on the way which obviously made the trip much more exciting.
Before arriving at Deteema Springs, James took us on a little detour to an area known as Big Tom where we chanced upon a truly magical sighting. 3 huge and healthy lionesses with 5 small 6-week-old cubs who were playing, rolling in the dusty earth, tripping over their mothers, jostling for milk, and chirruping away. As some people know, a lion’s favourite hobby is sleeping, which they do for most of the day, so in this case it was a delight to watch them play as the sun began to turn the sky purple and pink as it disappeared below the horizon.
Finally, we arrived at Deteema Springs. We had a warm welcome from the camp managers, unloaded our bags which were hastily taken away to our rooms, while we walked down the decked pathway to the main area. Arriving at night has an air of magic about it as you cannot truly see the whole details of the camp. You can certainly hear things rustling in the bushes, deep rumblings from passing elephants, which, of course, adds to this magic.
A welcoming glass of wine was handed over by the excellent bar staff and we snuggled into our chairs around the campfire discussing the day’s activities, hardly believing that 24hours before, we were in the UK.
After supper, we made our way back to our tented rooms, to enjoy a good night’s sleep. As I mentioned before, arriving in the dark has a sense of magic about it, and not more so when we settled down to sleep – we heard a lion roaring in the distance along with what we could only assume was an elephant doing his evening ablutions within the muddy river below our room. All would become clearer in the morning. For now, we have this as our night melody to fall asleep to, along with the frogs and beetles of the night conducting their midnight chorus.
Our morning wakeup call came a lot sooner than expected. An abrupt awakening, but worth it. The sunrise from our tented room across the decking was incredible. We could now see, in the day light, what our surroundings were, and the views were rugged and stunning. Our tent looked over a rather dramatic drop to a dried-up river bed below where our elephant friend had had his bath. Dressed and ready to face the day ahead, we wandered down to the main area where a warm cup of tea and coffee were waiting for us. Hopping into the Toyota cruiser, we began our morning game drive. The air was slightly cooler this morning which was a relief from the oven hot air of the middle of the day. From zebra to pronking impala, even a pair of secretary birds meandered their way across our paths. It was a wonderful awakening to be back in this wonderful continent. It’s not just the big animals that count, the small ones have a huge impact too.
Returning to camp, we re-packed our bags, bid farewell to our very comfortable room and returned to the main area for a delicious brunch overlooking the river bed and cheeky crocodile that had found its way a bit away from the nearby watering hole.
Deteema Springs is a wonderful and incredibly comfortable luxury tented camp where we felt remarkably safe (even with lion roaring nearby!) we were looked after impeccably from the moment we arrived, to the moment we left. I could not recommend staying here more, the wildlife surrounding the camp is beyond magical as well and the guides knowledge make it that extra bit more special.