Thursday, July 22, 2010

Head for the Blu Zoolu!

Newest night spot in Victoria Falls is the trendy Blu Zoolu lounge bar, with late night DJ, in the Elephant Walk shopping centre. Christie Brookstein is the drive behind this new venture and that says a lot....Christie is our favourite expert when it comes to decor and entertainment. It’s only just opened, but Bu Zoolu is already a blast and the hottest spot in town! 

A regal train and dinner experience

Green Route’s creative flair has led the way for 20 years at Victoria Falls...and here’s another spectacular idea.

Your group, of up to 150, arrives by coach at the famous Raffles-style Victoria Falls Hotel in mid afternoon for a sumptuous high tea on the terrace overlooking the bridge, the gorge and the mighty Victoria Falls – the perfect spot. A local personality will provide a scene-set and a fascinating snapshot into the glorious 100-yerar-old history of the hotel.

Then take a red-carpet walk just 100 metres to the station, pick up a glass of champagne, and board the Victoria Falls Sunset Steam Train – an authentic vintage train of colonial elegance to suit the mood and the occasion.

Take a journey to the impressive Victoria Falls bridge, a historical landmark that was completed in 1905. Disembark and wander along this beautiful bridge whilst viewing the awesome Victoria Falls from one of the most unique sunset cocktail spots on earth. This bridge run was recently voted by BA’s Horizons Magazine as one of the most spectacular 15 sundowner spots in the world.

Return on the train to the station as darkness descends and again enter the Victoria Falls Hotel for pre-dinner drinks on the lawns overlooking the Falls before going in to a dinner-dance in the Victorian style Livingstone Room that seats 120. This uniqueness should not be under-estimated because until recently the Livingstone Room was off-limits for groups and for exclusive use by non residents. So here’s a chance to indulge in a wonderful experience from a by-gone era

Perfect bush location for groups

Look at the picture! Enticing isn’t it. Just 15 minutes from the centre of Victoria Falls, overlooking the Masuwe River, this is a perfect solution for exclusive-use group breakfasts, lunches or dinners – the thatched Elephant Boma that can seat up to 100. 

This is also home to the domesticated elephants that guests may ride on a short safari through the private game concession or merely enjoy an interaction and photographic session as part of the meal experience. Enjoy your meal while the elephants are in the background, mud wallowing, swimming or enjoying a meal themselves.

Boma for local culinary delight

The favourite dinner spot in all of Victoria Falls is far and away The Boma – Place of Eating – on property at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Not only is this an intriguing culinary experience, with a plethora of local dishes cooked before you BBQ style, but it is also a fascinating experience.

Drummers and dancers entertain while you dine in the large thatched kraal and then you’ll be invited to pick up a drum yourself to join in the harmony. Highly recommended for incentive and conference groups as it can seat 300, but individual “bubbles” also make it special and exclusive for smaller groups. 


A stunning gala dinner

The plaintiff cry from all DMCs is “give us something new, exciting, unusual, authentic, amazing, extraordinary….so here’s a sure-fire winner for a gala dinner. Take a look…the setting and d├ęcor photos tell it all. 

In the mid-afternoon step aboard a Zambezi boat and cruise the legendary mile-wide river whilst enjoying the ambience, gin and tonic or ice cold beer in hand. Sunsets are often glorious and on occasion you will see elephants, crocodiles, hippos and more. The vista is pure authentic Africa and you feel it in your soul. Take one boat for 80 or several if you have a group of up to 300.

As darkness descends the boats gently pull in to the riverbank where a surprise and spectacular scene awaits. First you become vaguely aware of lights; then you see that these are lanterns forming a path from the jetty up to an area of well-manicured lawn where there is a dramatic and stunning set-up for your gala dinner – under the stars or under marquee and the choice of several themes.

Entertainment is at your discretion – a strolling saxophonist, village choirs, marimbas, full ethnic traditional shows, jazz bands, interactive drumming and more. 

Rousing Rafting!

Adventure groups cannot resist the white water rafting in the gorges below Victoria Falls, widely rated as among the best in the world. A full day trip usually runs 23 rousing rapids, though you can also opt for a half-day. 

This is pure adrenalin joy, but beware – there’s a steep climb out of the gorge of at least 250 metres at the end and you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness.

At the right season there are two or three grade five rapids to navigate where you’re likely to be tossed into the raging river! This is not for the feint-hearted!

Walk with the Lions

A thrilling and truly unique experience is to wake early and instead of a jog in the park go for a walk in the wilds.....with the Lions! 

No leashes, no collars – just a natural African wildlife adventure where you walk alongside and interact with the lions for more than an hour. Great photo opportunities – you’ll sure want to make this your Facebook profile.

ALERT (African Lion & Environmental Research Trust) is Africa’s first genuine programme to ethically re-introduce the off-spring of rehabilitated captive-bred lions back into the wilds, thus safeguarding the future of the king of the jungle. Look at www.lionalert.org

You may choose from a sunrise walk, followed by full English breakfast, or a sunset walk concluding with cocktails and snacks. A maximum of 10 people per walk are allowed to keep control and optimise the experience.

Said Susan of the USA: “What an amazing experience to walk in the wilds and watch these beautiful beasts explore. It’s as if we were part of their pride.”

Majestic NEW camp opens

New and perfect for the small, upmarket corporate experience are nine luxury suites under canvas, each with own outside shower and plunge pool, that make up the Elephant Camp at Victoria Falls. The tents and decor are pure wow factor...and so is the view over the spray of the Falls and the spectacular gorges that separate Zambia and Zimbabwe.

You are remote and isolated in pure wilderness on a private wildlife concession and yet the town and the falls (10 km) are a mere 10 minutes away and the airport is just 15 km away.

Here you’ll find private viewing deck and plunge pool, private lounge area, air conditioning and fans, bat, inside and outside showers, 220v mains electricity, mini bar and tea/coffee station.

Elephant Camp opened on 01 July 2010 and offers close interaction with wildlife, particularly the elephants at the nearby elephant sanctuary.


Ooo-la-la! Ilala!

Small and exclusive incentive groups will take great delight in staying at the family-owned and superbly managed Ilala Lodge. It has 32 stylish en-suite standard rooms and two deluxe suites, all with air-con, satellite TV, Wi-Fi internet and leading onto open lawn or a balcony. The a la carte Palm Restaurant is perhaps the finest in all of Victoria Falls. 

Ilala is a distinguished luxury boutique hotel, ideally situated as it is the closest property to the Victoria Falls, the town centre, the crafts and entertainment village, the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, the Kingdom casino and restaurants – all within a few minutes’ walk. These factors can add up to a big saving in transfers. Wild animals often graze on the hotel lawns and the spray of the falls may be seen (and heard!) as a backdrop.

Green Route highly recommends Ilala Lodge as incentive class for smaller, exclusive groups.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

VFSL is simply the BEST!

If your group numbers between 40 – 144 then the favourite place to stay is the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge – voted Zimbabwe’s best safari lodge for 14 consecutive years by the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents.

The thatched African style lodge has 72 rooms and an astounding view over raw African bush with no man-made object in view into the far distance. It borders the Zambezi National Park and its waterhole in front of the rooms, bar, dining room and pool provides year-round game viewing. Herds of buffalo and elephants often pass through.

The Makuwa-Kuwa dining room is also remarkable, often voted as Zimbabwe’s best deluxe restaurant. Split-level in design and overlooking the water hole it has a special ambiance.

Elephant Hills Conference for 500 or 1500

The supreme conference hotel at Victoria Falls is Elephant Hills Resort. It has 276 rooms at an alluring location and can accommodate 500 people theatre style in its Kalala Room. There are six other conference rooms.

But it’s the fairways of the 18-hole Gary Player golf course that provide the unique setting – so close to the Falls and to the Zambezi River – for larger conferences that go under state-of-the-art marquees. Here 1,500 or even 2,000 people is not a problem and there are plenty of quality beds at hotels and lodges around the Falls (within a 10-minute radius) to accommodate this number.

Take a look at the photo of the set-up for the COMESA Conference in the middle of 2009. There are 5,000 sq.m. of structures set up here for the 1,500 delegates – now how’s that for a WOW location?
In so many respects Elephant Hills is a powerfully positive choice:

Unbeatable cost effectiveness. Try us for a quote and be surprised!

  • The Victoria Falls, at centre stage, is a Natural Wonder of the World. 
  • Wildlife roams free on the dramatic championship golf course. It is not unusual to walk the fairways and enjoy seeing such species as impala, kudu, warthog, baboons, monkeys, etc. 
  • The Samukele Restaurant, Kasibi Terrace, bar and lounge areas are all open and allow for a free-flow of hundreds of people and there is also a superb vista overlooking the pool and golf course. 
  • Just 24km and 30 minutes from the international airport




      A is for ACCESS

      Group planners may be assured that ACCESS is easy into Victoria Falls. There are two international airports at Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone (Zambia) that both offer transfer times of half-an-hour to the main Zimbabwe hotels, plus a border crossing from Zambia for formalities that Green Route can speed up.

      BA Comair, South African Airways, Air Zimbabwe, 1Time all fly daily from Johannesburg and it’s just 1.5 hours. Then it’s just another half-hour to your hotel, so your adventure can begin very quickly.

      The time to go is NOW!

      A magical destination like Victoria Falls is highly cost-effective right now because the momentum is building to revive its fortunes after a period of political unease. Good rates and deals may be negotiated by Green Route on your behalf due to our massive influence and buying power – we have created and delivered more than 600 groups to Victoria Falls in the past 20 years and it’s where our amazing brand was born.

      The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) economic impact report for 2010, just released, states Zimbabwe will become the third fastest growing country for travel and tourism Gross Domestic product – buoyed by a stable political environment and the spin offs from the World Cup, growing by 9.4% this year. The report estimates that between 2011 and 2020 Zimbabwe will record annual growth rates of 8.7%, trailing China as the fastest growing tourism economy.

      The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is already helping Zimbabwe in many areas, such as brand development, statistics, conservation and competitiveness and several global tour operators have put Zimbabwe back in their brochures.

      Bench International, for example, has re-launched a Zimbabwe safari package after many years on the back of returning consumer confidence in the destination. Bench chairman Mike Kirkland said growth in the last three months of 2009 took a leap with Zimbabwe now the second most popular of the 15 countries to which Bench sent Australian travelers.

      The currency switch to US$ and Rand has changed everything and there’s a sense that the challenges Zimbabwe has faced over the past 10 years have passed.

      Ross Kennedy of the GotoVictoriaFalls campaign says: “Because of its remoteness, 900 km from Harare, Victoria Falls has been isolated from political issues and has always been a safe, popular and friendly destination and the ideal stepping-off point to Chobe National Park, home to Africa’s largest elephant population.