The new andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge opened near Victoria Falls on 1 August, following an extensive multi-million-dollar rebuild. Situated in a 50,000-hectare private wildlife concession on the Zambezi River, the lodge is set to provide the most luxurious accommodation and most unique wildlife experiences in the area.
andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge comprises two camps of nine suites each, including a family suite at each camp. With one camp fully open and operational on 1 August, the remaining camp is scheduled to open in September.
Highlighting the area’s cultural heritage, Matetsi is decorated with traditional abstract carvings of wood and stone and features a strong copper theme in homage to the mineral riches of the region. The lodge boasts a generous Safari Shop and state-of-the-art gym, as well as a massage sala and conference facility. A 20-metre-long rim-flow swimming pool stretches along the river’s bank.
A sole-use private villa, andBeyond Matetsi River House, adds exclusive accommodation for private groups of up to eight. The four-bedroom villa boasts its own kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a private verandah overlooking the Zambezi, a swimming pool and its own fire pit. It comes with a dedicated guide, private vehicle, chef and butler.
Located on one of the largest wildlife concessions in the area and boasting extensive river frontage, andBeyond Matetsi offers the richest and most exclusive game viewing experience in Victoria Falls. Extensive planning and reserve management has taken place on the concession for almost two years, encouraging wildlife to thrive in this ideal riverside location. A diverse range of habitats is home to an extensive number of species. As part of the ambitious project, 14 new waterholes have been created on the reserve, using strategically placed troughs and solar pumps. Additional pumps were placed at existing boreholes to ensure a steady water supply. A new network of roads has opened up the reserve for game drives, while bush clearing programmes have limited the encroachment of fast-growing plant species, increasing the habitat for plains game.
The wildlife population has also benefited from increased security efforts, with both armed National Parks staff and privately sourced employees being utilised for anti-poaching patrols.
The meticulous land management means that guests are in for exceptional game viewing on game drives led by highly trained andBeyond guides, including consistent sightings of zebra, giraffe and buffalo, as well as the big herds of elephant that Matetsi is justly renowned for. Wild dogs and hyena are spotted on a regular basis and large prides of lion have made the reserve their home. Cheetah and leopard, as well as the elegant sable and roan antelope, are also among the species seen at Matetsi.
With the lodge situated in close proximity to the World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls, a complimentary tour of the falls is included in the rate for a stay of two nights or more at andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge. This interpretive tour, accompanied by andBeyond guides, includes the opportunity explore the beautiful paths around the Victoria Falls Park, visit the Livingstone statue and learn about how the falls were created. Afterwards, guests enjoy a decadent high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel.
“Having originally been involved in the conversion of the Matetsi concession from wildlife hunting to photographic safaris, we are very excited to be relaunching Matetsi to the world,” says Joss Kent, andBeyond CEO. “Not only does this well-loved reserve offer an outstanding guest experience for its stunning location on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, but it also allows them the opportunity to tour the world-famous Victoria Falls in true andBeyond style, using our own vehicles and guides. The lodge itself will without question also set a new standard in Zimbabwe and at Victoria Falls.”