This Watch Wednesday, Victoria Falls welcomes a new gem 17 November 2021

Where Ghosts and Angels Fly

There is a connection between our Botswana camp, Selinda and the great thundering Zambezi River of Zimbabwe. We are introducing a rebuilt and new camp set on its banks. The story goes like this…

A wandering Scottish explorer, still at that time unknown in the world, ended up camped on the south bank of a nameless river. The year was 1854. He had made it through what is now Botswana, got lost, was mauled by a lion but forged on to this point. The present-day Selinda Camp is within sight of his crossing point to a village on the northern bank.

He wanted to meet the chief but was kept in this nearby ‘waiting room’ for months, but that wait was probably worth it. While he was waiting, he needed to deliver some mail, so he ‘borrowed’ some porters and made a quick two-year round trip to Luanda in Angola.

When the chief finally granted an audience, what Livingstone heard about in that Linyanti village, was a marvel located downstream – Mosi-oa-Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders. So once again, he ‘borrowed’ some men to take him there.

The colonial arrogance of ‘discovering and naming’ this place Victoria Falls is beyond imagination, but it still stands out as a natural wonder of the world. Not far from the water’s sudden drop over the edge is this newly rebuilt camp, Mpala Jena.

A story from 170 years ago now connects the line between these two camps. Still, the style, under thatch, casual atmosphere and attention to detail is what makes this new camp a great twin and completion of any Botswana/Zimbabwe itinerary.

Our newly opened Tembo Plains Camp in the Sapi Reserve is an ideal companion safari experience for those staying at Mpala Jena.

So, after a year of building some quite tense moments where containers were delayed for weeks at border crossings, we are proud to announce the opening of the new Mpala Jena.

Mpala Jena is a stunning combination of camp and location at this moment in time. This is where images of Livingstone’s party of strong men from the Linyanti come to mind as they paddled past in their massive ten-man dugout canoes. They are as evocative as the rising mist of the Zambezi.

The camp’s barefoot luxury feel, under shaggy thatch, is as close to a relaxed island style experience in the centre of a continent as one can get. But here is where elephants and buffalo wander through to the magical waters, wild dogs and lions, waterbuck, giraffe, and baobabs leave enduring memories of an exceptional place no more than half an hour from the main Victoria Falls but a century away from that hustle and bustle.

We are very proud to bring you this new camp.

All the best,
Dereck Joubert

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