Bigger isn’t always better and it helps to have good neighbours. These truisms are never more apt than when dealing with safaris. Imbabala ( is a perfect case in point.

It has the most amazing location, 70 kms west of Victoria Falls, just inside Zimbabwe, right on the Botswana border. More importantly, the 2,023 Ha (5,000 acre) concession sprawls along the Zambezi River for 14 kms of private Zambezi river frontage and also borders Botswana’s famous Chobe Forest Reserve. Game, including Chobe’s elephants, travels freely between the two.

This is serious Big Five territory, with spectacular scenery, superb transport connections and over 400 species of bird. But there are other lodges that have equally good settings and wildlife, so why do I like this so much? It isn’t the grandest or the most luxurious but it is cosy, friendly and caring.

Sitting having tea on the lawn, watching the impala grazing nearby, I felt immediately at home. Next morning, I saw was quite possibly the most breathtakingly beautiful sunrise of my life during a breakfast river cruise. My fellow guests mingled and chatted as we played with an orphaned genet who wasbeing reared in the camp. It was like the best house party.

Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

By Melissa Shales
United Kingdom UK

Melissa is an award winning travel writer for Fodors, Frommers and Insight, including guides to Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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