Our journey begins in Kadoma as Intercape Pathfinder takes us to Bulawayo to meet Beks Ndlovu who was going to take us on a road trip of a lifetime to SOMALISA Camp. Every fibre in me is excited about the journey and am so impatient I don’t even want this overnight stopover.
But Beks check us into this lovely gem in Bulawayo called the Taveller’s Guest Lodge. The ideal spot for travellers that want some clean linen a hot shower with an awesome breakfast in the morning. This is a property setup well and what an awesome stopover. We arrived late and the kitchens in the nearby restaurant was closed but we had one of the most awesome GUIDES in the world with us so finding food wasn’t going to be difficult. Beks takes us to this old school bulawayo members only club that invigorated my desire and passion for local cuisine because we had boiled beef, fried intestines and chicken with drinks great conversation and loads of chilli!
The road trip continues
After breakfast we are off down the ZRP infested highway paying our fines as we attempt to enjoy a road trip. Our excitement dampened at each spot check from the authorities, but we must continue this is a journey of a lifetime we say. What is a trip to HWANGE or Victoria Falls without stopping by the now dilapidated but still popular HALF WAY house to take a much needed toilet break replenish our drinks and set off to WILDERNESS PARADISE.
You can already see this is going to be an amazing couple of days when Mr Ndlovu says “Ok guys this is the last point we will get some MOBILE RECEPTION so send your last emails before we go OFF GRID” Oh my word I thought, this is special ALREADY. This is only at the GWAYI river turn off and we still have an hour or so to go but boy am I already getting into this. On the way we are welcomed by the usual celebrities by the drinking hole, ZEBRA and ELEPHANT with the ability to do close up’s on my camera without needing a special sense. This is already like a game drive. Driving past many water holes retrofitted with solar pumps to keep them going and relics of old school diesel generators that used to do the same function.
I see SOMLISA in the distance but an elephant bull crossing in the foreground. The staff or team at SOMALISA waving at us ready with towels to refresh us from our not so long road trip. The elephant bull walks over to the pool to take a drink as if this was a rehearsed intro straight out of their BROCHURES, what an amazing start.
OMG the TENTS
Bags offloaded and am in awe of this so called tent. Hardly a tent as I have seen 5 star hotels that can’t lift a finger to these well thought out creations that we were going to call home for the next couple of days. No televisions but a super wide screen opposite the be looking out to the watering hole with no on or off button and animals just coming out to give a show whenever we were in the tent. The finishing the copper tub, the outdoor shower, the rustic look of the rooms said I am in the BUSH but I will do this in style!
Ok so we had to leave the rooms at some point and the CHEF is out by the decking explaining what we are having for lunch. We are part of a birthday party with the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Ashleigh who has just turned 21. Great themed meals in a different setting all the time so we can’t really remember where you can or can’t eat when you are at SOMALISA, great idea because everyone’s experience is different it seems.
There we go for our first of many game drives, the knowledge of these guides is impressive. Their admiration of their boss is inspiring to quote one of the guides CALVET “Its inspiring when you see one of ours create such an amazing place like SOMALISA” wow I thought to myself this is the vision of a former guide and it inspires everyone around him, I could feel how all that knowledge was put together to make this a truly special place.
Drinks by a waterhole
We end our game drive by going to a watering hole called the CHRIS PAN to have a sundowner. I just put my camera down to notice breathtaking sunset. I put my feet up and took stock of all the things that have brought me to this one place. A gin and tonic in one hand and a beer stick in another i’ve made it mom, I whispered to myself!
The real stars
The team at SOMALISA led by the energetic and amazing Yvonne (you’ll know when you see her) have taken so much care to making the fear of the bush as safe as possible without being intrusive and the animals have shown me that they are not out there to hurt you and are even happy for you to watch them. Its the IDIOTS that come out here shooting at everything that spoils it for the rest of us!
So that’s it for my very first travel DIARY entry on one of my favourite #visitZimbabwe experiences and I encourage you to keep dreaming and keep travelling!