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.