In March next year, the Batoka Hospitality Group will launch its refurbished five-star Batoka Zambezi Sands River Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River.
Located in the western part of the Zambezi National Park, and only an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls, the lodge offers guests the chance to luxuriate in the African bush where they can take in the waters of the might Zambezi or marvel at the abundant wildlife.
Having previously partnered with Imvelo Safari Lodges, in 2020, Batoka Hospitality acquired full ownership of the former Zambezi Sands River Camp and its sister attraction, the Gorges Lodge. This move paved the way for the company’s director, Vimbai Masiyiwa, to execute her vision for creating uniquely African luxury destinations that are deeply connected to their communities.
The daughter of Strive Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean philanthropist and founder of technology giant Econet Global, Masiyiwa is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps by empowering Africans through sustainable projects that provide partnership and employment for generations to come.
She is driven to grow the hospitality sector for Africans, by Africans, particularly considering the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic. Masiyiwa is aiming to rejuvenate the sector by appealing to local tourists from countries including Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, and Tanzania – all the while improving the lives of the local Zimbabwean community.
“We put people first – the people in our communities, the people in our teams, and our guests. We choose to learn from each other and consistently look for a better way to do what we do. We create opportunities for our societies to thrive,” she says.
The lodge’s 11 suites have been reconceptualized by contemporary furniture and décor firm The Private House Company under the eye of renowned South African interior designer Yvonne O’Brien.
Known for creating rooms that are understated, personal and quietly refined, the Private House Company boasts an incredible portfolio, having designed and furnished luxury lodges at Londolozi, Lapalala and Simbithi, as well as high-end homes and residences in Steyn City, Hyde Park, Dainfern and Clifton in South Africa.
The natural materials and tones O’Brien and her team have brought to the Batoka Zambezi Sands River Lodge blend seamlessly into the Victoria Falls landscape.
The 24-bed lodge comprises 10 standard suites, each with a private plunge pool and spectacular views of the Zambezi River.
Later in 2022, a two-bedroom suite, complete with private swimming pool, lounge and dining room and deck for those desiring more privacy and opulent ‘home away from home’ experience will be added to the lodge’s offering.
A big part of Batoka Hospitality’s vision is sustainability, not only for local communities, but the environment as well.
Masiyiwa and her team have gone to great lengths to instill a culture of knowledge and responsibility for the land and have emphasised the importance of preserving Victoria Falls’ fauna and flora.
Equally, they have made sure to extol the virtues of local customs and traditions.
“Our vision is to become a leading luxury safari company on the African continent, but we also want to create opportunities for economic growth in the communities we build in. We are empowering the African dream of success through ecotourism and hospitality”.
“As much as we enrich the lives of our guests through a truly authentic African experience, we are building self-sustaining communities across Africa through our brand.”
Batoka will unveil its second major project late next year, the four-star Batoka Gorges and Little Lodge.
The 30-bed lodge comprises 10 tented suites and five stone chalets overlooking one of Zimbabwe’s most captivating attractions, the Batoka Gorge
This offering, which is targeting the younger adventure traveler, will boast many of the same amenities found at the Batoka Zambezi Sands River Lodge, and once again, be imbued with the African spirit of caring, hospitality and hope.
“For us, it’s all about becoming completely immersed in the local culture,” she concludes.