Disconnect to Reconnect

We seldom get the opportunity to simply disconnect from society – our screens, traffic, other peoples’ drama, deadlines the hustle and bustle of everyday life… which can cause us to sometimes loose perspective on what is important and “the bigger picture”.

We live in an ever-connected world – sometimes filled with 18-hour workdays. Constantly demanded of, moving from one place to the next and always online. Our days are busier than ever before.

Taking time to decompress and wind down is essential to keeping balance and contentment in our chaotic lives.  Can you think of a better way to unplug and slow down the pace of your life than with a relaxing stay at the beautiful Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience? The tranquillity of the lodge, staff, gorgeous bush and serene Zambezi River will soothe your mind, body and soul.

Disconnect from the busy world and reconnect to the natural world.

Find some perspective while being awed by mother nature as the game rangers take you on open vehicle Game Drives or a river safari and introduces you to the meandering Zambezi River, the gentle bush pace and the creatures who live there.

Cruse the 4th largest River in Africa courtesy of the Zambezi Grande Fishing Co. Spend the day listening to the gentle lapping of water against the boat, breathe in the expanse and space, encounter a hippo or two, catch a fish and end the experience sipping a cold beer and watching the sun go down.

Amble over to the tranquil Spa for a calming massage…. And just breathe.

Once you have absorbed the slow rhythm of the grasslands and river, an unhurried evening of star gazing around the fire pit, a leisurely meal of carefully prepared delicacies and the best local wines will be yours to indulge in.

Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience will spoil you. The staff, lodge, mighty Zambezi River and pristine environment create the perfect setting and atmosphere to ensure you disconnect from the demanding world and reconnect to nature and, ultimately, yourself again.

Come disconnect with us – reservations@zambezigrande.com

Learn more here;

Spa – https://www.zambezigrande.com/wellness/
Zambezi Grande Fishing Cohttps://www.zambezigrande.com/fishing-2/
Cuisine – https://www.zambezigrande.com/cuisine/

Zambian Culture Is Rich And Full Of Colour

From the moment our feet touched soil at the Muguramano Cultural Village, we were welcomed with warm smiles and open hearts.

Zambian culture is rich and full of colour. As we settled in to meet with the “Head Man”, we were serenaded by a few of the elder woman.

As the welcoming ceremony progressed, we were given the opportunity to share a dance with the elders; the warmth of being invited into their culture and festivities was overwhelming. After the ceremony, we were shown around the museum and were taught about their ancient methods of building bricks for homes, pottery, hunting, clothing and survival. Their culture is creative and colourful, but you especially see it come to life in their beautiful beadwork – a skilled craft going back generations, representing their diversity and heritage.

Our next stop; the Mugurameno Primary School, which is about a 15 minute walk from the museum. As we journeyed to the school we enjoyed the running around of chickens, bleating of goats, and children playing around us, before we stopped off at one of the local communal kitchens where food is stored and prepared. The kitchen was very basic with an ongoing fire to prepare meals when the time calls for it. It was interesting to observe the skilful use of their clay pots (which we learnt about at the museum) to store and keep water cool in the 450Csummer days. Numerous bore holes provide daily water for the people within the village.

At the Mugurameno Primary School we were met by the principal, Mrs Masalti who welcomed us into her office for an information session about her school, pupils and educational structure. The school boasts around 12 teachers and 550+ pupils, and we left with an immense feeling of hope as all the children carried a contagious excitement for education.

From there we ventured off to the newly upgraded maternity ward – what an inspiration! The ward is kept immaculately clean, with newly donated equipment meaning they are now able to monitor a baby’s progress from conception to birth, and accommodates up to four mothers at one time. Monitoring mother and baby progress is a huge step forward for this rural community, as it means avoiding many unnecessary complications with further investigations done at the nearest hospital which is in Chirundu, about an hour from the village by road.

In addition to the maternity ward, a brand new general ward is being built, and estimates to open in 2020. This ward will be aiding patients with malaria, TB and HIV cases.

The Cultural Village visit was an absolute stand out activity for all of us. The villager’s warmth and hospitality is tangible, and I highly recommend anyone visiting Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience to consider stopping by the Muguramano Cultural Village. You’ll stand in awe at how the community lives in harmony with nature and one another.

You are a photographer!!! Yes, you…

Whether you own a cellphone with a tiny 1mp camera or the most expensive SLR camera with all the lenses out there, you can happily admit that you have taken a photo of a specific moment that was frozen into millions of pixels and you’ve saved it, edited it either on your phone or computer, shared it with friends around the world, posted it on social media, or even printed it out and put it in a frame at home. You have taken a photo, which makes you a photographer, but the question is, do you want to be a better photographer? Do you want your images to start looking similar to the ones you see online? Do you want to know more about the basics of photography, camera gear, lighting, composition and what there is to know, particularly for wildlife photography?

Below are some simple tips that will help you capture the perfect shot the next time you choose to press the shutter button.

To get the shutter clicking, we are first going to touch on the basics about camera equipment.

There is so much to know about the camera gear you own or are looking to buy, so make sure you invest time before you invest money. You are the photographer so don’t let someone else push you into buying something that they love, as what they love is not what you may love. Do research online, chat to professionals, read blogs and rent equipment. There are hundreds of places that rent out gear and this way you have all those opinions in your head, good or bad, and then have the chance to test it out and enjoy it before you choose to buy.

Once you have the gear, make sure you have a quality camera bag to protect your equipment from dust, bumps and bad weather. Keep a spare memory card in your bag, and always buy more than what you need (32/64/128GB) as you don’t want to start having to delete photos at a critical sighting. Oh, and a little extra -keep a soft pen brush to clean lenses and avoid those ugly dust spots that will appear in your images… and service your camera every few months if you’re shooting a lot. Just like a car, if you service and look after your camera equipment it will last. My personal camera gear I choose when going into the bush is a semi-pro or professional camera body.  When looking into buying my body I looked for 3 things – shutter speed, megapixel and ISO count.

I look for a faster shutter speed (starting at around 6 or more frames a second) with a strong megapixel per image count such as 13mp. The reason behind this is I don’t want to miss an image hence the fast shutter speed, and also want the highest megapixels so I can use that image to blow up on the wall or place it in a magazine, so it needs to be high resolution and extremely sharp. Also, ISO count is extremely important when in low-light situations to avoid a lot of “noise”, which is the grain you see on images when you overuse ISO. It also allows me to shoot in darker situations without having to use additional light sources or flashes.

Regarding lenses, my must-have is a zoom lens. Something over 300mm as I want to get up close and personal with the subject when sitting on a vehicle. If it were a bird perched on a branch or a long-range shot of an animal in a distance, this is the lens to have.

The next lens you want in your bag is a nice all-round lens to cover those images that are too close for a zoom, and you want more in your subject. The shot of a lion walking next to your car, a group shot of your family at a bush breakfast or a beautiful sunrise pic on the reserve. This lens usually comes with the camera as a kit lens and works perfectly.

Ever wondered how a photograph can capture so much in one frame? As if you were to take a panoramic on your cellphone and get a similar feel, this is where we introduce the wide-angle and fish-eye lenses. These lenses are amazing for those beautiful sunsets and landscape shots, but use them wisely as they offer so much foreground in your subject you need to apply the rule of thirds – 2/3 sky showing in the crop or 2/3 land showing (I’ll teach you about composition in our next blog.)

Remember we all started somewhere and it’s true we’re always learning, so NEVER EVER feel embarrassed when you are sitting on a game drive and the person next to you whips open his camera bag and has every lens and camera body on the market. There’s a good chance that if you pull out your camera and start snapping away you’ll both have something in common, you’ll get talking about photography and I’m positive you’ll walk away with a new friend, a head full of photography knowledge and some great shots you can look back on and remember a special moment in time.

They say you can’t catch a fish if you don’t have a line in the water, so take your camera out and shoot as much as and whenever you can, as the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Don’t be afraid to create your own style of photography either, it’s often how a photographer’s work is recognized.

Keep shooting, and send us pics from your recent trip to marketing@zambezigrande.com if you’d like us to feature your images on our social media and website.

Keep posted for the next photography blog of camera settings and composition and editing…

World Ranger Day 2019

World Ranger Day is celebrated around the world on July 31st each year on the founding anniversary of the International Ranger Federation, an organization that supports the work of rangers as the key protectors of parks and conservation. World Ranger Day is also a day to remember the many rangers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty while protecting national and state parks. 

Providing protection for our precious natural recourses comes in many forms. Front line fighting, investigation, rehabilitation and public education. Although the rangers at Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience are not fighting on the front lines against poachers and putting their lives at risk, their function in this fight is no less crucial or important. While creating a fun and entertaining experience for their guests, they educate and pass on their passion for nature, the environment and the creatures found in it. We all know that education and understanding is the key to any sort of change we want in our world.  And our noble rangers have devoted their lives to this cause. With their wealth of knowledge and passion for wildlife, our rangers endeavour to help to our guests understand, appreciate and love our natural world and, hopefully, become ambassadors and guardians when they return to their normal lives.

So, without further ado, we would like to introduce the game rangers of Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience:

Levy

Levy has been working in the Lower Zambezi as a Ranger for over 14 years. He loves gardening as well as being a Ranger, proudly helping to farm the kitchen’s vegetable patch.

What’s your favourite Lower Zambezi National Park animal?
“Any of the big cats, Leopard sightings are always special.”

What spectacular sighting have you witnessed first-hand in the Lower Zambezi National Park?

“Witnessing a leopard hunt. Two females successfully caught an Impala, which only took about 3 minutes to take down, and started to feast on their kill. It wasn’t long before three hyena turned up and chased the two leopards away. Karma was on the leopard’s side though, as some elephants then came through the area and scared the hyena off, allowing the leopards to retrieve their kill and safely take it up into  nearby tree with them.”

Given

The youngest of the our Rangers, Given has been a ranger for 12 years. “I enjoy playing soccer and try to watch an English Premiership game most weekends. I also enjoy fishing on the great Zambezi River.

What’s your favourite Lower Zambezi National Park animal?

Wild dogs and leopards”

What spectacular sighting have you witnessed first-hand in the Lower Zambezi National Park?

“A vervet monkey trying to take on a porcupine…. He soon regretted that decision!”

Thomson

Thomson has been working as a Ranger since he was 21 and loves his job. His huge passion is fishing on the Zambezi, having landed a few 10lb+ Tigers!

What’s your favourite Lower Zambezi National Park animal?

“We’re so fortunate to have many wonderful animals here – lions, leopards, wild dog, pangolin, honey badgers…. They’re all special.”

What spectacular sighting have you witnessed first-hand in the Lower Zambezi National Park?

“I’ve seen some amazing sightings in my time as a ranger. Nature is a privilege to observe. I recently saw some lions successfully hunt a bushbuck, and the elephants here in the Lower Zambezi are always fascinating to watch.”

A Ranger’s enthusiasm and knowledge can make any safari magical. Now that you know the Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience Rangers that little bit better, come test their talents!

The Eco-tourist on World Environment Day

#BeatAirPollution is this year’s World Environment Day focus.

The importance of nature reserves and protected areas in the #BeatAirPollution drive is crucial. These pockets of pristine natural environments help maintain balance and need your support.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 92% of the world’s population now breathes polluted air. That’s nine out of ten people! WHO estimates that 4.6 million people die each year from causes directly related to air pollution such as carbon monoxide emissions. In fact, there are more yearly global deaths linked to air pollution than to motor vehicle accidents. A sobering thought don’t you think?

The basic objective of any National Park is to safeguard the conservation of its natural values. It is, therefore, a place of protection that carries with it a special legal regime in order to ensure that conservation. High levels of biodiversity keep ecosystems healthy and resilient, continuing to provide vital services such as climate regulation, air and water purification and pollination, in a world where such systems are in decline.

The International Tourism Society (TIES) defines Ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience is incredibly fortunate to have several effective eco- initiatives supporting the Lower Zambezi National Park, such as Conservation Lower Zambezi and TUSK, which provide protection for wildlife and the environments in which they are found, but equally as important, educate local communities on how to look after these precious resources.

So, with a sense of Eco-tourism when booking your holiday, you can help ensure National Parks and protected areas receive the support and exposure required to keep these vital natural resources alive and, essentially, breathing for our entire planet. 

World Wildlife Day 2019

In 2013, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

If you are a fauna and flora enthusiast, look no further than Zambia.

The number of good quality parks, with an abundance of diverse wildlife, make Zambia a truly unique destination. The parks in this area, such as the Lower Zambezi South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks, are all ranked amongst some of the finest national parks in the world.

Nestled in the remote Eastern part of Zambia, the Lower Zambezi National Park encompasses everything that World Wildlife Day celebrates – the true essence of untamed wilderness.

Much of the park is covered in thick bush and an unbelievable amount of flora, despite and there being little permanent water in these areas. Going on Safari through these areas feels like an absolute celebration of nature in its purest form.

While you are sure to see many animals, like elephant scratching up against trees, or leopard lazing in shaded canopies, the majority of Zambia’s wilderness are found somewhere else…

It gathers around the Zambezi River, the result being a stunningly beautiful rich landscape.

Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience is surrounded by mesmerising wildlife, from large game animals such as elephant, lion and hippo, to vivid birdlife like African skimmers and southern ground hornbills.

Exploring the terrain, you will encounter a variety of vegetation ranging from forest to open plains, thick bush to palm groves, complimenting the splendour of the mighty Zambezi River that runs adjacent to the park.

Enjoy the flora and fauna found at Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience with twice-daily Game Drives and celebrate the natural wonders which we are blessed to share this beautiful part of Zambia with.

 

Sleep Easy

My skin cooled from a citrus-infused towel and refreshed from a deliciously sweet welcome cocktail, I walk through the entrance arch and drink in the vistas, the silhouette of a driftwood Tiger Fish sculpture at the centre. The river ambles by, as it has done for centuries, and I am immediately stripped of any cares or worries, a feeling of serenity washing over me.

Juliet offers to show me to my room, the conversation easy as we stroll from the main lodge, past the sparkling swimming pool, over a replica Victoria Falls Bridge to Room 4 – a Superior Suite.

The epitome of luxury, these are the ‘crème de la crème’ on the Lower Zambezi. With a sweeping veranda, generously sized room and prime riverfront position, I can’t imagine a better place to relax.

A double outdoor shower, plush King-size bed and comfortable seating area capture my attention, but the devil is in the details – the welcome letter propped up on my pillow is sealed with a traditional wax stamp; the pictures that adorn the walls depict the coats of arms from the various regions of Zambia; and an indulgent claw-foot bath, a nod to the country’s colonial past, sits proudly in the corner, willing me to sink into its cosy decadence.

Sitting on my terrace, the gentle hum of the fan slicing through the mid-afternoon heat, the occasional groan of hippo and the ice cubes clinking in my glass, I watched the river idle by, satisfied I’d found a true piece of paradise.

 

The Grande Arrival

Leaving Lusaka on our small Cessna charter, we took in the distant views of the city, the green farmlands and the wall of mountains to the East. But soon, as the plane banks, we are treated with our first tantalising glimpse of the river, the mighty Zambezi. I’m surprised at how fast the flow of the water is, mesmerised by the swirling currents bringing the calm water to life.

We circle around, flying over the lodge, and the thrill of anticipation hits me once again. The pilot points out the landing strip, a clearing of tarmac surrounded by dense bush and watering plains.

An expertly smooth landing and a short taxi to the end of the runway to where our vehicle is waiting for the next leg of our journey. The game viewer is pristine and Levy, our Guide, has a huge welcoming smile and a cooler full of refreshing beverages. This is certainly one of those places where the journey is as spectacular, and the anticipation of arrival as magical, as the destination itself.

Bags loaded and cool drink in-hand, we set off on the 10-minute drive to the lodge. Impala, warthog and elephant lazily acknowledge our presence with no more than a raised head as we drive past.

Through the trees I spot the iconic clock tower, the same one I’d stared at dreamily on the website, reminiscent of the property’s Cape Dutch past. The extent of our arrival quickly became apparent as music and singing filled the air, and we are greeted with enthusiastic handshakes and warm smiles. And that’s it – that moment right there – that I know I’m going to enjoy our stay here already.

Water Spirits of Zambia

If you feel there is magic in the water – you may be right

Cultures around the world celebrate unique traditions and beliefs, and in rural African communities traditional folklore is still a popular method of sharing stories.

Despite being land-locked, Zambia has a huge network of rivers and tributaries, so it is therefore perhaps understandable why River Spirits feature so widely in local tales. In Africa, water means prosperity. This has been true for all of time. Water builds cities and grows crops. It nourishes animals and gives life to the bush…

In the rainy season, Zambia turns bright green. Elephants find their home in mud baths, and you would swear that a secret prayer of the wild had been answered. Destruction can also follow – when days of rain burst river banks and destroy all in its path. With no water the land becomes dry. The sun seems cruel and plant life starts to wilt. Leopards and other animals hide away and take refuge in the shade. It’s easy to understand why water is such a sacred power in Zambia.

Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience enjoys a prominent riverside position on the Lower Zambezi, where myths of a River God have special significance for the area.


The Legend Of Nyami Nyami
For years, there have been myths and legends about the great Zambezi River, passed down from elder to child in the Tsonga people.

Considered to be an immensely powerful god, Nyami Nyami is believed to control life in and
around the Zambezi River. A dragon-like creature, with the head of a fish and body of a
snake, Nyami Nyami is said to be 3 metres wide, but the Zambian people don’t dare to
guess the length of him.

Legend has it that the building of the Kariba Dam deeply offended Nyami Nyami because
this barrier separated him from his wife. It is said that he withdrew from the world of man the
day the wall was finished.

To this day, you will still hear the testimonies of many men, about their sightings of this creature, revealing himself as a whirlpool to some, with many wearing pendants of the
mystical creature for protection and prosperity.

Book your stay now at Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience to be enchanted by the
majesty that is the life-blood of Zambia and the source of many folktales…

Zambia through the lense

 

Recently Zambezi Grande had some incredible visitors. The group was an ordinary family, on a much needed vacation – but to our surprise, they had a skilled photographer amidst them. This special Guest decided to share their photos with us and we couldn’t be more delighted. As a thank-you, we wanted to feature her and her work, asking a few questions about the experience of shooting along the Lower Zambezi River.

“The area is so incredibly hard to explain – it is Africa in the wildest most majestic sense.
There is a reserve minutes away, which is unfenced, so there is no difference to the animals whether they are in the reserve or not. This means there are plenty of opportunities to photograph an array of wildlife.
Elephants cross the mighty Zambezi at all points between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this place knows no boundaries. So you’ll get the most fantastic shots of these wild animals in the water.
It’s jaw dropping to go in the dry season and see all the empty river beds. The area is unbelievably arid, but then you drive over a small hill and find a huge body of water that feeds everything during this dry time.
The dust is red and super fine – it gets everywhere while on Open Vehicle Safari!
This adds to some very dramatic effects when taking pics and the animals tend to stomp up dust.
The vegetation is like nothing you can imagine. Despite the dry climate, there are forests of Winterthorn trees where the elephants and buffalo love to graze.
You can park in the middle of these forests and watch hundreds of animals foraging and eating off the trees. Although you can’t capture it on camera – the crunching sound of the elephants chewing is one of the most incredible sounds I’ve ever heard.
The amount of baby elephants with their mothers is mind-blowing.
They are the cutest little characters to capture on camera. They have the most playful and curious interest in the vehicles on a game drive, but the mothers tend to be protective. The thrill of capturing some of these adorable characters in their playful and sometime shy states was so fulfilling.
I’ve never photographed wildlife before, and I wouldn’t consider myself a “wildlife photographer” by any means, but there are so many opportunities to get incredible shots of such a large variety of animals, in countless environments.
From those forests of Winterthorns, you get the alien Palm Frond Trees. These palms transport you to a more “colonial” time. It just reminds me of “olden days” especially the picture in black and white – it almost adds a vintage element with loads of texture and depth.
The Zambezi River itself is monstrous – the rate the current flows, and how fast the water moves is something you can only really believe when you see it.
It’s so dynamic and makes for the most beautiful shots.
The river is at its most beautiful during sunrise and sunset. The sun rises on the opposite side of the river (the Zimbabwean side) and shines right onto the patios of the rooms at Zambezi Grande. It reflects on the water and there is no way that the beauty of it could ever be captured on camera. There is no picture that does it justice, I tried… and tried… and tried again – but nothing ever came close to the real thing. Drinking a cup of tea/coffee on the veranda watching the sun come up is relaxation and raw African beauty at its finest.
The staff at Zambezi Grande are some of the friendliest and helpful people I have ever come across. They want everyone to be happy and will go out of their way to help if they can. Their smiles are constant and they make everyone feel super comfortable and at home.
Every time you look around you, whether you are in your room, by the pool, on a game drive, or fishing on the river – There is always a photo opportunity and a moment that you want to capture and remember forever. The moments and beauty are unrelenting and constant. It never ends.”

We loved reading this response and hope that all our guests experience the same wonderful opportunities. Would you like to capture the beauty of the great Zambezi for yourself?

Your Zambia awaits…

Happy World Photography Day!