Over the next few days I will be staying at African Luxury Hideaways, Elephant’s Eye, Hwange. During the coming days I will be writing a blog to give you a first-hand account of the camp and all the activities you can enjoy whilst at Elephant’s Eye.
Elephant’s Eye is just over 2 hrs drive from Victoria Falls airport and approx. 2 hrs 30 mins from Victoria Falls Town. This makes it possible to connect straight through to Elephant’s Eye if you arrive on the BA, SAA or Air Zimbabwe flights in Victoria Falls. A transfer to Elephant’s Eye from Kasane takes approx. 3hrs 15mins meaning that flights in or out of Kasane are also an option when staying at Elephant’s Eye. The majority of the drive between Victoria Falls and Hwange is on good tarmac roads with the last 10 minutes through Elephant’s Eye’s concession being off road. If you leave Victoria Falls early you can pop into the only painted dog rehabilitation centre in the world. Here you can learn all about painted dogs, see injured dogs in rehabilitation and also being prepared for release back into the wild. You can also visit it during your stay as it is not far away from Elephant’s Eye.
On Arrival I was welcomed with huge smiles by the Elephant’s Eye team who were keen to show me around, settle me in and explain the eco conscious ethos behind the Camp. Elephant’s Eye was built on an old lodge site and the new structures made of renewable and removable resources have been cleverly fused with the old. The existing swimming pool has also been fitted with an ozone filter to bring it in line with the rest of camps eco credentials. It doesn’t stop there, all the chalets are fitted with a solar system to provide hot water and are stocked with Earth toiletries which have been designed to be bio degradable and have no effect on the environment. As much of the food as possible is also sourced from the local communities and all the bottles, cans etc are removed from the property to be reused and recycled.
Once I was introduced to everyone and the ethos of the project I was shown to my chalet. Elephant’s Eye has 8 guest tents, all overlooking a small plain with 2 waterholes. At the moment the Hwange area is very green and the views in front of the lodge are fantastic with crowned cranes dancing on the plains as they feed. As Hwange dries up the waterholes become a magnet for all wildlife especially huge herds of Elephants. The chalets have been custom designed using Aluminium and canvas, with a solid wooden floor and thatched roof, creating spacious rooms with huge double beds which can also be made into twins if need be and for families with younger children there is enough space to make a triple by adding an extra bed. As Hwange can be extremely cold the chalets are all fitted with a fireplace. With the fire lit and double skin canvas walls the chalet stays warm even on the coldest of nights. Tucked under the mosquito net is a ridiculously comfortable bed with a nice thick duvet should you need it. Stepping out of the bedroom you enter a light an airy bathroom with 2 sinks, a bath, outside shower and separate loo. Showering at Elephant’s Eye is an experience on its own, standing under the high pressure solar heated rain showers whilst watching animals around the waterhole is truly amazing. There was just enough time to sit and take in the magnificent views through the massive mosquito mesh window which can be fully opened before heading to dinner.
On the way back to the main areas there are more signs of the attention to detail to keep Elephant’s Eye eco-friendly as solar lanterns light the path. As there are no fences around the camp the wildlife comes in close, so this is not a walk you will do alone but Shepard or Dollar, Elephant’s Eye’s great guides will escort you.
The main areas are the hub of the camp, the bar in the middle with sunset decking above it, a lounge with comfy sofas and plenty of wildlife books to brush up on your knowledge or remind yourself of your day’s game drive on one side, a dining room to the other side and soon to be a small massage area with 2 rooms where you can relax after your days game drive.
I sat at the bar chatting with Dollar and Shepard planning tomorrows activities whilst watching the sunset over the plains in front of the camp before heading into the open dining room for dinner. At this time of year when showers can crop up at any time dinners are in the dining room but during the drier seasons dinners can be moved to be around the fire in front of camp so you can be closer to the wildlife as it comes to drink.
Gabriel the chef produced a tasty dinner of butternut soup, beef fillet with glazed carrots on a tower of mash potatoes and a fruit panacotta for desert.
Up at 5:30am tomorrow to explore Hwange with Shepard so time to close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the insects, frogs and birds.
You can see more about Elephant’s Eye, Hwange at www.africanluxuryhideaways.com
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