I recently spent the afternoon with the Wild Horizons‘ team in Livingstone as they showed me around some of the attractions and developments in the town. What an amazing and fun team- these guys have fantastic camaraderie. Four members of the team have recently passed their ten year mark with Wild Horizons and you can tell that they have a strong bond after working together for so long.
Next door to the Wild Horizons’ Booking office is the Gwembe Reptile Park. I arrive early and while I was waiting one of the employees from Gwembe kindly offers to show me around. My visit to the Reptile Park is greatly enhanced by the friendliness and knowledge of their staff.
My guide eagerly shows me their tortoises and how to age them by counting the rings on their shells. We then proceed to the crocodile pens and he continues to pepper our conversation with interesting facts. As we enter the walkway over the crocodile enclosure I freeze at the sight of a leviathan.
This huge crocodile has an estimated age of 80 years old. He is responsible for the deaths of at least two people after which time he was captured and bought to the park to prevent any more deaths. I stare awed and silently hoping the walkway I stand upon doesn’t collapse.
Following my tour the Wild Horizons Zambia team and I got in the Christmas spirit by donning santa hats and going on a tour of Livingstone. There was lots of laughter as we drove around and small children were particularly delighted to see Santa drive by!
Our first stop was a new attraction in Livingstone; the ‘Lion King’. This new cruise vessel is owned by Royal chief Mukuni of the Toka-leya People. It’s an unusual vessel with traditionally thatched umbrellas and canopy on the upper deck lending a distinctly African feel. The boat offers morning, midday and evening cruises daily. A cruise on the Zambezi is a must do if in Livingstone or Victoria Falls offering spectacular photo opportunities and the chance to see wildlife.
The Lion King Cruise Vessel
We then went on to the Livingstone Art gallery. The Gallery is run by the National Arts Council of Zambia and provides a modern space for exhibitions of contemporary Zambian art. This was the highlight of the trip for me as an art lover and is a great way for anyone with a few spare hours to spend them.
The gallery offers a diverse range of art- with sculptures, mixed media, paintings and photography on show. I was seriously impressed with many of the paintings. Many are are for sale and would make a fantastic souvenir for any visitor. I fell in love with vibrant acrylics with embedded chitenge (a type of local fabric) panels, watercolours depicting wildlife, traditional smooth stone sculptures and a modern spiky kinetic sculpture.
I had had a great day and really encourage all who visit Livingstone to check out the many attractions offered. The Wild Horizons transfer service is the perfect way to see all the town has to offer on your schedule and our driver guides are enthusiastic about sharing their town with visitors. We will gladly assist you with information and bookings of the numerous other activities and excursions on offer in Livingstone.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to book.
A barista is defined simply as ‘a person, usually a coffeehouse employee, who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks.’ Tawanda Dube is one of the employees at The Lookout Café and the definition above does apply to him in the true sense.
However Tawanda also has something more- a real passion for the work he is doing. The Lookout Cafe’s espresso machine arrived a few months ago and Tawanda began learning the art of coffee making. He was immediately drawn to it and says he loves making art from coffee. After making me a perfectly delicious cappuccino Tawanda drew out his cell phone and showed me the only videos on it- of how to make coffee art, how to clean the machine and more. ‘One day’ he said proudly as he showed me a video of a man shaping a flower by pouring milk into espresso ‘I will make you a coffee like that!’
I don’t doubt he will with his passion to learn in his spare time and wanted to take the time to say that it doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you Tawanda for your hard work!
The Elephant Camp
Bradley and Annie White
The Elephant Camp, General Managers Brad and Annie are the new general managers of The Elephant Camp situated just outside of Victoria Falls. Together they have spent 7 years sculpting a successful career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry. Brad has an extensive background in hospitality management and Annie has a background in hospitality and beauty therapy. After completing various courses in South Africa, Brad and Annie worked their way upwards from working at South African game lodges and hotels to running high-end lodges in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. They joined Wild Horizons 3 years ago and managed Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge. Brad grew up in Victoria Falls, so The Elephant Camp really is like home to him.
The Elephant Camp, Assistant Manager
Hilda joined Wild Horizons 4 years ago as the Assistant Manager at ‘The Elephant Camp’. She has dedicated the past 10 years to the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe and has worked in and around the Victoria Falls area for most of her time. She previously managed Matetsi Water Lodge. Her experience in managing 5-star lodges radiates through and shows off her capabilities, which seem unending. With a safari background and a hotel management qualification, she brings a strong understanding of customer care and attention to detail to the team.
The Elephant Camp West
The Elephant Camp West, Manager
Stacey joins Wild Horizons as Manager of The Elephant Camp West and we are eager to see her enthusiasm shine through in all that she does. She qualified in the hotel management industry in South Africa and has an advanced knowledge of catering and service brought about through her training at Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town. Stacey comes to us after spending the past 3 years managing Spurwing Island on Lake Kariba in the Matusadona National Park.
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Jon and Sarah Lucas
|Jon & Sarah Lucas
Jon and Sarah are very much at home in the bush and are passionate about sharing the splendours of Zimbabwe with visitors from far and wide. They have both been in the tourism and hospitality industry since leaving school. Jon went to the International Hotel School in Cape Town and Sarah studied Tourism Management in Pretoria. Sarah’s 10 years of experience have all been in Zimbabwe while Jon’s experience has taken him from top hotels in Cape Town to a Villa in Italy, onto guiding overland trucks through Southern Africa and finally the opening and running of Chundu Island before they joined Wild Horizons to manage Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge.
Himal first joined the Wild Horizons team as a freelance fishing guide at Imbabala Safari Lodge, after which he then joined as part of the management team. He has grown grew up in Victoria Falls and as such a career in tourism was imminent. Himal studied Hotel Management and Hospitality and enjoys working with people. He now provides relief management across all three Wild Horizons properties – The Elephant Camp, The Elephant Camp West, and Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge.
On Friday 15th August, Wilderness Safaris staff members attended a team building session at The Wild Horizons Lookout Cafe. The afternoon proved to be high entertaining, whilst at the same time further enhancing the bond of this dynamic team.
The first challenge required an elected team member to embark on a Zip Line across the gorge, with his task being to “bomb” an inflatable canoe on the river below with a water filled balloon. This was highly entertaining as in most cases, the inaccuracies were something to behold! Those brave enough then had the opportunity to earn their team an extra 5 bonus points if they endured a 70m free fall on the Gorge Swing (only 3 brave souls!).
The next activity that followed entailed team members hoisting a harnessed teammate up a tree using ropes and pulleys, in order for them to find and retrieve a hidden toy Guinea Fowl.
After the Guinea Fowl retrieval, the three teams then moved to the new Lookout car park, for a game of “sausage soccer”. This entailed each team lining up in a relay fashion, and then using a sausage tree fruit, tied around their waist, to hit a soccer ball across the playing field to their next waiting teammate. No touching of the sausage fruit was allowed, and many, many laughs were had!
After the sausage soccer, came the tent-erecting race – whereby each team had to work together to quickly and efficiently set up a safari tent, complete with a bed and bedding on the interior. After a suspicious amount of skulduggerous pole-snatching and rope-pinching, the ‘orange’ team emerged victorious in this round! (Their attention to detail clinched it for them in the end, as their bed was made complete with hospital corners, and a flower on the pillow!).
After the tents, the teams then found respite in the shade of the Lookout platform, and undertook a fun quiz which covered all essential aspects of Zimbabwean life, including the colours of the Zimbabwean Flag, and of course some essential wildlife facts!
Finally, a Zimbabwean culinary tasting competition saw the end of the day’s activities – team members had to consume an array of traditional Zimbabwean delicacies such as Mopani worms, dried vegetables, a whole chilli, and of course, a coca-cola!
Once the results were tallied, and the quiz sheets had been marked, it was seen that 2 teams, the orange and the green, needed to compete in a tiebreaker. This came in the form of performing a verse of the Zimbabwean National Anthem – some bringing music to the ears of those who listened, and others, well – they got ½ points for smiling ‘n miming!
All had a wonderful afternoon, and the Wilderness team is now undoubtedly stronger than ever before, for having been through a Wild Horizons team build!
You can find out more about Wild Horizons’ team building packages by emailing email@example.com
Wild Horizons is a multi-faceted tour company that provides a large array of activities, operates out of multiple locations, has a huge fleet of vehicles, 2 luxury bush camps, employs over 400 people and operates at full tilt, 24/7. So you can imagine, that as a new employee arriving on day one of the job, the introduction is both hugely exciting and somewhat overwhelming. For my first blog post, I thought I would recount what my first couple of weeks in the Wild Horizons marketing department has been like!
One of the things that struck me first and foremost was the friendliness of absolutely everyone. From the gate-guards to the mechanics, to the camp managers and the directors – I was instantly made to feel welcome. I started off with a tour of the main HQ in the industrial sites of Victoria Falls, the size of which blew me away. Four large wings of offices surrounding a big courtyard with lush green buffalo lawn and teeming flower beds around the sides. A large workshop at the back and ample room to park the large fleet of vehicles and luxury transfer busses. My tour of the HQ was accompanied by mass introductions to all the staff in every department – around 100 people in total would be my guess. I admitted to myself that it would be pointless to stress too much about everyone’s names as I would never remember them first time round. No doubt I would pick them up one by one as I deal with each department in due course.
One of my first tasks is to join the marketing team in coming up with a marketing campaign for one of Wild Horizons’ many products – the Vic Falls CanopyTour – the newest of 4 products which Wild Horizons offers from its jump site – “The Lookout”.
The Lookout (#wildhorizonslookout) is a thatched deck structure, which is perched right on the lip of the Batoka Gorge, just downstream of the Vic Falls Bridge on the Zimbabwean side. It has a spectacular view of the bridge and sits overlooking the first ‘bend’ in the zig-zagging gorge which occurs below the Victoria Falls. There is even a tame wild goat called Dixon who hangs out there like all the time!
The other 3 products which operate from The Lookout are the ‘Flying Fox’ – a foofie slide which extends across the width of the entire gorge; the ‘Gorge Swing’, which is a death-defying free-fall off a platform into the gorge attached to a rope, which then ‘swings’ you as you reach the bottom; and the ‘zip-line’ – which is a dual-cabled foofie slide that makes a rather steep downward parabola, but without quite putting you into freefall. Finally, the Vic Falls Canopy Tour is a series of 9 shorter, low-speed cable-slides that crisscross the inside of the first bend of the gorge (below the Victoria Falls Hotel) where the vegetation is thick and very jungle like – with vines and steep drops galore. It offers a very mild adrenaline rush and is the perfect ‘in-between’ activity for those who can’t quite bring themselves to do the more intense adrenalin activities such as the gorge swing, whitewater rafting or the bungee jump.
So off I go with a group of paying clients on the Vic Falls Canopy Tour. We harness up and set off on a path down the side of the gorge, and it’s not far before we get to slide no.1. The guide hooks our safety lines up to a safety rope that runs along the entirety of the course – all the walkways, bridges and even on the actual foofie slides where is a second steel safety cable which we are attached to whilst sliding. My first impression is that the safety is being taken very seriously.
We step up onto a box/platform that overlooks a cliff and the guide hooks our main & safety lines to the respective cables, and upon hearing a whistle through the trees from another guide indicating that he is ready to receive us – we step off the platform and start whizzing down the slide. Now we have been given thick leather gloves for our hands, and we have been instructed to hold our harness line which connects us to the cable with our left hand, and then loosely hold the cable with our other hand, BEHIND the pulley. This allows for us to squeeze the cable with our hand to slow ourselves down when we start reaching the end of the slide. It took a few go’s to get the timing right, but before long I was timing my hand-braking perfectly and was landing gracefully on the box as is required for the guide to dismount you from the pulley and hook you back up to the ground safety line.
This carried on for 8 more slides of varying lengths and speeds, and I looked forward to each slide more than the last – the views were just spectacular and the ambience of being in the Batoka Gorge canopy, with the view of the bridge right in front of you, and the Zambezi roaring beneath you – was just incredible. A really great product indeed, and it even had really nice boarded walkways and rope bridges for the more difficult parts. So far, I’m thinking I love my job!