Jen Cox, her husband and 3 ex school friends decided to revisit Zambia and explore memories of the past. They came to celebrate amazing childhood experiences as well as their first jobs: ex Ndola City Council employees. Jen and her crew were recommended to contact Marion Gatchell, a director of Voyagers Zambia, to help with planning this special trip!
Jen left Marion an amazing review which we just had to share.
Here's an overview of our recent trip arranged through Voyagers.NDOLA
Overall I would like to thank you and all of the staff I dealt with at Voyagers for nothing but efficiency, pleasantness and individual care.
On arrival, we were met by our designated driver for the four days we were there. Raphael was nothing short of professional, caring, patient and obliging, from start to finish. There were many nostalgic moments for each of us and you were right, Raphael knew just where the potholes were. Our accommodation at The Lodge was fabulous. Again, the staff were pleasant, obliging and efficient. Even warning us not to stand under the avocado tree for fear of them falling and hitting us. The restaurant service was excellent and the staff liaised with us regarding whether we would be in or out for certain meals. The rooms were spacious, clean and overall very nostalgic for us all. The laundry service was just another super, added bonus. I would like to thank you personally Marion, for assisting me when my luggage was left behind at Johannesburg. These things happen. Raphael took me to Pep Stores (haha) for an emergency shopping trip. Roland and I were especially heart warmed by your hospitality, inviting us around to your home for two evenings. Meeting you, Howard and Grant was delightful. Getting to know you a little was such a pleasure. Raphael would not leave until we were out of sight. He shed a tear and so did I. Extremely touching. Our flight to Livingstone was excellent and the staff were fabulous. On arrival at Livingstone, we were met, on time and taken to our next stay.MARAMBA RIVER LODGE
Delightful. The accommodation was fabulous and most unusual. Takes ‘glamping ’ to another level. The bed and ‘tent’ was most comfortable and the bathrooms, beautifully themed. We enjoyed a jacuzzi under the stars with the hippos serenading us in the background… somewhere. We were introduced to Malawi Shandy, either virgin or with gin. What a refreshing drink, that is. Immediately we arrived home and at first opportunity, Roland went out and bought the ingredients. We are enjoying these on a fairly regular basis. Again, laundry service, fabulous. Our visit to the Victoria Falls, as you advised, was a must. Our guide ‘Kisswell’ could not have been better for the job. He was happy, attentive, caring and informative. What a wonderful experience.
Dusty Road, was a wonderfully, unusual experience. Being given such a lot of information from clearly a passionate group of people and then to sample the food was a delight. Towards the end of our visit the local dancers came on, fabulous. Unusual and certainly a must.
Our Zambezi river cruise was absolutely wonderful. The captain, Mudenda, was multi-talented and our first meeting was him fixing our jacuzzi, he then donned his uniform and took us out on the river. He was extremely cheerful, informative and funny. He delighted us by managing to get us to see the elephants swimming across the river. He has stayed in touch with us and I had an extremely warm Easter greeting from him on WhatsApp video.
5 STAR VICTORIA FALLS HOTEL IN ZIMBABWE
We were transported over the border, all very straight forward. Our arrival at the Palm River Hotel was very straight forward and everyone was most welcoming. Libby, the guide, met us and gave a quick account of what was to happen, the following day. It turns out the Libby’s father just happens to live on the outskirts of Cambridge and she visits annually. We have exchanged telephone numbers. The hotel was absolutely fabulous. We called it modern/colonial. Loved it. Being only 15 months old, one can imagine it was super, luxurious. Again, staff were nothing short of delightful, helpful and informative. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. We were surprised and thrilled to find out that as we were staying for 3 nights, we actually had three complimentary dinners. We chose to go to the Ilala restaurant, a super time being had by all. Libby met us the following day for our Vic Falls visit and gave a wonderful chat about the life of David Livingstone. Some points we knew others we did not. So much was learned here. Again, the trip to the Falls was fabulous but personally, my experience in Zambia, was better. Getting very wet was par for the course.
LOOK OUT CAFE
What a truly lovely experience. Overlooking part of the Falls was delightful. Spacious and lovely food.
BACK AT THE HOTEL
So, there we are sitting enjoying a drink when the manager came and alerted us that a whole family of elephants were coming. You can imagine our delight at seeing the beautiful creatures at such close proximity as maybe 5 metres. It was interesting that the little electric walls would deter them. As we know, they are clever creatures. The warthogs, roaming around, were not however. So, we not only get one visit but two, absolutely thrilling. The Manager along with all of his staff were very accommodating on every level. We would have no problem, revisiting this hotel.LUXURY LODGE IN HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
A long journey to this extremely, fantastic place. Unfortunately, we were caught in a massive rain storm, so despite the fabulous rain attire, arrived at the lodge drenched. All good fun. We were greeted with an array of happy, smiling faces.
You were right, absolutely the Lodge was fabulous and we loved it. Our guide, for the duration, Tongo was so educated, well informed, attentive, knowledgeable. He wanted us to have the whole experience, stopping every so often to give us information about the flora in the bush. Tongo was even well versed about the galaxy (one of Roland’s interests). He took care of us all and escorted us to and from our tents ensuring our safety each and every step of the way. Any questions we had, had the response of full information from the gorgeous teak trees, to the ‘graveyards’ of the wild animals. Now, about the food and service at the Lodge. Absolutely no criticism whatsoever. The staff were so friendly, accommodating, relaxed and we felt, trustworthy. The food, of which there was much, was really top class. Being in the food industry myself, I could not wish for anything better served up to me. The variety, every day, something different. Our day started with a light breakfast of scrambled eggs, cereal, fruit and yoghurt. Off on safari at 06.00hrs, back at 11.30 ish, for lunch, which really was brunch of ‘full English breakfast’ salads, fruit and meat. Then free time until 15.30hrs when afternoon tea was served. Always a sweet and savoury offering along with tea and coffee. Back on safari by 16.00hrs until anything from 18.30 to 19.30hrs, depending on how well we got on. Tongo was determined we saw everything. Sundowner happened somewhere in between. Such fun and by the way Tongo was a barman too, managing to pour the wine well or mix the G&T’s to perfection. Back to the Lodge for dinner, three out of four nights, under the stars. Wonderful. On another note, just proving how attentive and caring the staff were. Roland had a really painful toothache so we spoke to a manager, who contacted the nurse/doctor, who interviewed Roland with regards to his medication before prescribing him paracetamol. On asking how much we owed for services, were told, nothing, all part of the service. How caring is that?
Roland and I are still reeling, even here on the island of Lanzarote, telling people we encounter and showing our photographs. In fact, our accountant, who is Spanish, made a comment, ‘I would never have thought Zambia and Zimbabwe could offer this’. He’s very interested and you may be hearing from Javier at some point. His enthusiasm was lovely.
Once again, a very big thank to you for all of your assistance. For us, the $ very well spent. We hope to see you and Howard again.