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Matetsi Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)

Matetsi Victoria Falls is an intimate luxury lodge setting new standards in Zimbabwe, and is a firm Ampersand favourite. Secluded in a fairy-tale Zambezi riverside setting, Matetsi’s 18 suites and private villa are ultra-sexy yet understated, designed with a modern twist by innovative local architect Kerry van Leenhoff.

It is owned by Zimbabwean John Gardiner, who spent more than £7 million turning it into one of the best lodges in Africa and boasting some of its best guides. He spearheaded a conservation story which has seen the lodge undertaking an extensive restoration of Matetsi Private Game Reserve, with the installation of 16 new water holes, troughs and solar pumps to revitalise the resident wildlife. The lodge also works with local park authorities and police who undertake anti-poaching patrols through the Reserve.

Other exceptional features at Matetsi Victoria Falls are its 66-foot lap pool, its four-bedroom private villa (with its own pool, kitchen, chef, guide, private vehicle and butler) and its world class chef, who formerly worked at Singita. All rooms have large sliding glass doors, air-conditioning, freestanding tubs, indoor and outdoor showers and a private plunge-pool with terrace area overlooking the spectacular Zambezi River. Breaking away from the usual safari-chic styling, the design of the lodge features Scandinavian-style furniture, abstract artworks and natural materials like stone, copper and wood which give centre stage to the natural habitat.

The lodge’s facilities include a spa, small gym, wine cellar stocked with fine South African wines, a shop, and its gorgeous pool to gaze out at the hippo-filled waters. Organic meals are served up indoors or beneath a canopy of mangosteen and waterberry trees. Wildlife thrives at this prime riverside spot and game drives and walking safaris provide regular sightings of zebra, giraffe, buffalo, huge herds of elephants and a plethora of birdlife, as well as the chance to see lion, leopard, African wild dog, spotted hyena and sable antelope.

Other than safari game drives and activities on the river, activities are centred around Victoria Falls, Africa’s top adventure playground and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Here, you can go white water rafting, bungee jumping, take helicopter and microlight flights over the Falls or zip line across the gorge. For a slower pace, there is fishing, canoeing and sunset or sunrise boat cruises to be savoured.

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