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Matetsi Lodge, Zimbabwe

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I have read varying reports about Matetsi Lodge on this blog but I just wanted to add my own comments. I just returned from a 2 week safari that included Zimbabwe and Botswana. Our first lodge was Matetsi. I had read that we should ask for Casey as a guide which we did but by the time you arrive, they have already assigned guides and trackers and ours were Sib and Reuben. I explained to the manager of our lodge, Moses, that Casey had quite a following on the Fodor’s website. They were not aware of this and they made a point of having Casey come by to say hello. He was quite nice and I am sure he was a great guide but I want to sing the praises of our guides.

Sib was incredibly warm, unbelievably knowledgeable and absolutely hilarious! Reuben, who is a bit more reserved was a fabulous tracker and a kind soul. We bonded with these two like none of the other guides we had in Botswana. They were open and told us a great deal about their lives and Zimbabwe in general.

We can’t say enough about the rest of the staff at Matetsi. Vivian was our waitress and saw to all our needs including arranging a surprise cake for me on my 50th birthday. From the first day, she remembered our likes and dislikes and saw to it that we were well taken care of. Her warm smile and easy laughter made it seem like she was an old friend.

Moses, who was the manager, spent some late evenings with us discussing everything from the economy to politics both local and international. I think it was a great learning experience for all of us.

Samkello, who was responsible for our rooms, together with Vivian surprised us one evening with such a sweet gesture that it brought me to tears. We had spent the day whitewater rafting down the Zambezi (that’s a fabulous but scary adventure – highly recommended) and were completely dirty and exhausted. We were anxious to get back to our rooms and clean up before dinner. We were told that we would have to wait a few minutes because someone had seen hippos in the area and they wanted to be sure that they were cleared away before bringing us to our rooms. After a few minutes we were escorted back to our lodge. When we opened the door, the floor in the entrance and all the way into the bathroom was “painted” with flowers and candles. There were hearts and messages written in all kinds of flowers. When we reached the bathroom, they had drawn us a nice hot bubble bath and set a bottle of champagne and two glasses next to the tub. I was completely touched by their thoughtfulness. It could not have been more welcomed.

And I cannot forget our chefs, Francis, Clement and Jeffrey. The food at Matetsi was by far and away the best we had on the whole trip. They all seemed to put their hearts and souls into the food. On our last evening, we loved the chicken so much, we asked Jeffrey if we could have the recipe. We didn’t really expect to get it but the next morning he came by with typed copies.

The staff really pulled out all the stops to make our trip memorable. Needless to say, it was hard saying goodbye to our new friends. They seemed more like family by the time we left and we were a bit choked up. Hope that we will be back and that we can keep in touch.

I would recommend to anyone that was going to Vic Falls to stay at Matetsi – even though it is a half hour drive. It is a beautiful lodge, dining along the Zambezi is truly wonderful and the staff is absolutely the best.

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