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.