Matetsi is a well established Conservation Corporation camp (now rebranded as "And Beyond", which is reminiscent of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story) right on the banks of the Zambezi about 50km upstream of Vic Falls. At the moment, only the river camp is open due to Zim's ongoing economic woes, and there are some very good deals available just to cover costs. Try websites such as Mtbeds.com or Bushbreaks.com, although note that some offers are only available to visitors from visitors in the SADC region.
The camp is tranquil, with individual plunge pools for each room. The rooms are beautifully designed and are extremely luxurious and yet unobtrusive enough to be consistent with the lovely riverine forest setting.
The food is outstanding and - as usual with Zim - the hospitality is amazing.
The game guides are well experienced and eager to share their knowledge. We were there during the summer, just after a couple of weeks of heavy rain, so the vegetation was extremely lush, limiting game viewing. Despite this, we were lucky enough to get up close to a breeding herd of sable antelope (Zim's national animal, which is notoriously wary) and were rewarded with the amazing experience of witnessing a pack of 11 wild dogs hunting impala (and stuffing it up!). After 24 years of trying, this was my first sighting of wild dog in their natural habitat, and was worth the wait!
However, Matetsi's major claim to fame is its extraordinary birdlife, and you don't have to be a dedicated twitcher to appreciate the amazing diversity of species - many of which are usually hard to see. On the sunset cruise for example, we had tremendous sightings of five different kingfisher species.
Unique Quality: The rooms are elegant 'bush chic' and luxurious without being intimidating
Private plunge pools are wonderful for cooling off, and designed so that you can watch the forest and the river from the water.
The food is imaginative and beautifully prepared, and the beer is invariably ice cold!
Matetsi must be tremendous for game viewing during the drier months when animals come down to the river and water holes. Even after rain, when the vegetation is lush and restricts visibility, there is plenty to see, particularly if you're not fixated on big game (eg. the insects are wonderful).
They offer game walks in the dry season, which must be a wonderful way to appreciate the bush and the 'smaller' attractions (birds, insects, plants).
Don't miss the 'bat tree' - a hollowed out (but still living) baobab, which provides a home for a bat colony.
However, the big drawcard has to be the amazing birdlife, which even rabid 'twitchers' wax lyrical about!
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