We drive past Bulawayo. It is weekend and along side the road we see groups of people dressed in white robes. We suspect it has something to with the local tribes, but we’re not exactly sure. We try to dodge the giant potholes in the tarmac and are on our way to the north-west: towards Victoria Falls.
We take a break between Kenmeur and Hwange at Halfway hotel. We park our Landcruiser in between a couple of Safari cruisers where guides are waiting for the arrival of their customers. We start chatting to them and they tell us about Hwange NP and the luxurious Imvelo Lodge that they work for. We introduce ourselves, tell them about our travels and a few phone calls later we’re invited to stay over at Imvelo Lodge.
The Safari vehicles are driving in front of us over the sandy track. The tourists, mainly Americans, are slouched on the bench seats in the back of the car. Including the driver, you can fit 11 people in one of those cars. These cars are open on all sides and the benches in the back that can sit 3 people are all a different height like a theatre to give everyone an open view. The track is rough and the vehicles are tossed to either side. We can see the guests in front of us sliding left and right while they try to hold on to their expensive cameras with tele-lenses, which they purchased for this trip of a lifetime.
The drive to the lodge takes about 1,5 hours and we arrive just before dark. One of the managers takes us to our accommodation: a luxurious tent that looks more like a chalet than a tent. The floor is made out of teak wood, as are the window panels and doorposts. In the middle of tent is a very comfortable looking high bed, with many pillows on top.
On my way back to the main building I meet the pilot of the small 6 person Chesna airplane. He tells me that he has the best job in the world. He flies back and forth between 6 luxurious safari lodges in the remote parts of Zimbabwe. He doesn’t fly in the dark and he doesn’t take off until all the wildlife is off the airstrip. The next morning we see him fly over us. Just in time, because we can see a herd of wildebeest make their way to the airstrip and towards the nearest waterhole.