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Elephants at Amakhala Bush Lodge. Photo by Priscilla Pilon

area with indigenous foliage, they are also heavily involved in rhino and cheetah conservation. The eco-system in managed by a team who educates local school aged children. After each game drive we returned to our comfortable tent where a lavish hot bath had been drawn, perfect for relaxing after bouncing around in a jeep all day. Nightly dinner up at the main lodge began with generous pour cocktails by the fire. My new favorites, Amarula and Caramel Vodka on the rocks, were served with dispatch.  The al fresco tables were elegantly set and were aglow from the campfire that made them all the more beautiful. Every amenity we needed was in our tents, from wonderful lotions and bath salts to electric warming blankets in the beds for the cold wintery nights. Although more rustic than the other safari accommodations we experienced on this trip, it had an authentic charm not repeated by any other property. ZIMBABWE Stanley and Livingstone - At this Mantis Collection property, the Victorian-style main lodge lounge areas and dining rooms are filled with antiques and historical art. They also have an expansive terrace outdoors, which was our favorite spot for breakfast. We gobbled up fluffy pastries, fresh fruit, and savored our first cup of Joe while sitting silently in awe as a herd of elephants slowly made their way to the watering hole situated about 50 feet away from our table. Sharing our meal with these magnificent creatures set the tone for a wonderful retreat. The game drive rangers were so much fun! Along with the African elephants, enormous kudu, hoards of zebra and other noteworthy animals, our guide good-naturedly brought us closer and closer until we were within five feet of a protective black rhino mother and her enchanting baby. We sat in the vehicle jaws-dropping. Knowing how endangered this species is, made this sighting a truly memorable experience. On our way back to the Lodge, we stopped at the educational center where rangers give talks to tourists, locals, and children on the importance of conservation. Our room was a comfortable and spacious thatched roof villa with Wi-Fi, laundry service, and a relaxing porch with sunset views.   Victoria Falls is a short 10 minute drive from the property and the property. The affable concierge arranged for us to have a driver take us to the Falls, show us the ropes of where to rent a rain poncho (essential), and picked a meeting spot for us to find him for our return. Gourmet cuisine, first-rate hospitality, and stimulating game drives await visitors at this charming property. 54 Upscale Living Magazine |

Issue 38

Photo by Priscilla Pilon

ZAMBEZI QUEEN - Not your average river cruise, floating on the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia on the Zambezi Queen is heavenly. Spacious staterooms are efficient and luxurious with soft linens and modern bathrooms. Stepping on to the Zambezi Queen for the first time, the staff singing for us traditional African music, offering us warm towels and welcome drinks, we swooned under the open skies with unobstructed views as faras the eye could see. Water safari guides offer excursions on small tender boats that took us to the water’s edge where animals feed and hunt on the islands in the middle of the river between Botswana and Namibia.  We were invited to a local village and were welcomed by its residents to witness their traditional way of life. Men bring water to the skilled women who build the walls of huts and our hearts melted as we interacted with the little children clutching our hands. Their smiles were infectious!  The community gathering space was filled with artisanal handmade crafts such as woven bowls, wooden spoons, and a multitude of African animal carvings. To make us feel even welcomer, the villagers sang and danced, pulling in a few of our fellow outgoing travelers into the celebration. Our gutsy guide was able to bring us ever so close to sleepy crocodiles sunbathing on riverbanks, water buffalo grazing and, most memorably, a herd of elephants crossing the river. As the water deepened, only their elegant trunks were in sight. Mothers pushed tiny babies completely submerged until all arrived safely on the opposite bank, their darkened backs glistening in the sun. The grace and beauty of the crossing brought me to tears. Our quarters consisted of cozy beds with wall-to-wall sliding doors that opened up to the Chobe River, revealing panoramic views with breath-

Issue 38 Upscale Living Magazine  

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