The Elephant Camp, Green Season 2018

The Elephant Camp - Text by Jess White, Images by Lesanne Dunlop • 8 May 2018

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A recent photo shoot at The Elephant Camp inspired us to share the beauty of Green Season with you. We invite you to enjoy the photo journey with us.

At this time of year a breathtaking volume of water flows over the Victoria Falls and clouds of spray rise hundreds of metres above. It is now that the reason behind its local name of ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ or the smoke that thunders becomes apparent.

The green landscape, with its backdrop of clouds, is punctuated by riotous colour. These splashes of colour dart from tree to tree and are the vibrant plumages of the many bird species.

When we arrived at the Elephant Camp, I was blown away by two things. The first of these was how close we were to town, yet how far away it felt.
A short drive in an air conditioned mini bus transported us from the busy bustling town, to a natural haven where tree tops stroked the clouds, the breeze carried the gentle rustlings of the bush and the atmosphere was both wild yet serene.

The second was the exquisite camp itself. The modern luxuries of the camp in no way detract from a true safari experience. The beige tented roof, wooden decks and African artifacts mirror the colors of the rich red soil, dark brown tree trunks and crisp white clouds that encompass the camp. As we gratefully accepted a refreshing towel and cold welcome drink, we let our eyes roam over the landscape before us.

Plumes of white mist erupt between the mottled green of the National Park and the darker blue shades of the land beyond it.

I would have been more than happy to sink into the couches on the deck or stretch out on the sun loungers next to the glistening swimming pool, but we decided to go to our chalet to settle in first. When we reached the tented room, I decided that I could very happily spend the rest of the day there.

Our tented suite was nestled on the forests edge, over looking a patchwork of colors in the National Park. The expansive marquis style tent welcomed the air through glass sliding doors, creating an open aired feeling without exposing us to the elements. When we stepped into the bedroom, we were greeted by a magnificent view that poured through the glass doors.

A large four poster bed was surrounded by a billowing cascade of mosquito nets, secured at each post in a chitenge bow. A little elephant designed out of our towels sat proudly on the bed, guarding a welcome letter addressed to us from the camp.  It is these small, invaluable touches that make Elephant Camp feel like a home away from home just moments after arrival.

A personal bar and comfortable couch were on the right hand side of the room, and though there were no doors or walls separating each area, it still felt incredibly spacious. The open plan encompassed the easy flow of nature outside.

A deep set bath tub and shower were in the bathroom, and two fluffy white robes hung there begging to be wrapped around us. However, the outside shower stole the bathrooms attention very quickly.

There is something incredible freeing about showering outside with the cool wind blowing steam into the dark wilderness. A small plunge pool beckoned to us on the private viewing deck, a wonderfully exclusive finishing touch.

Before we came to Elephant Camp, we had heard raving reviews about the sundowners at the Batoka gorge. However, no words could have prepared us for the incredible experience that awaited us. We climbed into the Land Rover and set off for the gorge, passing a herd of curious buffalo along the way.

When we reached our destination, my breath was swept away. An enormous crevice tears open the earths crust, exposing the raging Zambezi river one hundred meters below. As we crept closer to the edge I felt my legs tingle, but my fear of heights could not stop me inching closer to witness the incredible power of nature so brazenly displayed by this spectacle.

With a glass of Champagne in hand, we hunkered down in the camping chairs and watched the sun slowly sink below the horizon, stars creeping into the pink and orange sky long before it had completed its descent. Once darkness had settled over our group, we returned to camp for a delicious three course dinner.

You will often hear of famous Zimbabwean hospitality, and there is no where that you could appreciate it more than at the Elephant Camp. Each member of staff smiled at us warmly, and when we saw them again they greeted us like we were old friends.

Everyone was cheerful and happy, but then again, how could you not be smiling in such a magnificent place?

This article first appeared as a Wild Horizons Blog.

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