andBeyond Returns to Zimbabwe with reopening of Matetsi River Lodge

The experiential travel company andBeyond is thrilled to announce that Matetsi River Lodge in Zimbabwe, on the Zambezi River and only 25 miles upstream from Victoria Falls, will rejoin its portfolio in July 2016, following a $10 million rebuild and renovation.

Located on one of the largest wildlife concessions in the area (123,500 acres) and boasting a prime river-front setting, andBeyond Matetsi will offer some of the richest and most exclusive game viewing experiences near Victoria Falls, with sizeable elephant herds and the rare sable antelope as some of the highlights. It is opening just as Zimbabwe grows as a safari destination.

andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge consists of two camps of nine suites each, including a family suite at each camp. The main lodge will house a generous Safari Shop and state-of-the-art gym, as well as a massage sala and conference facility. An 82-foot-long rim flow swimming pool will stretch along the river bank and a wine cellar that is ¾ submerged underground will look out onto the Zambezi at eye level. A private, four-bedroom villa, andBeyond Matetsi River House, will accommodate groups of up to eight. The villa has its own kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a veranda overlooking the Zambezi, a swimming pool, and fire pit. It comes with a dedicated guide, private vehicle, chef, and butler. In addition to twice daily game drives, andBeyond Matetsi will also offer interpretive bush walks, riverboat cruises, and canoeing.

CEO Joss Kent cites the expansion of the Victoria Falls airport – Including a new 2.5 mile runway, a new international terminal, and the construction of a new fire station and new control tower – as a major reason for the change in the travel dynamics, making it a perfect moment to revitalize an old safari favorite of the brand (andBeyond managed the lodge from 1996 to 2011).

“The lodge’s owner is totally passionate about the project and has worked incredibly hard to resuscitate the concession, focusing both on wildlife and habitat. This matches andBeyond’s core ethos of Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People,” explains Kent. “Having originally been involved in the conversion of the Matetsi concession from wildlife hunting to photographic safaris, we are really excited to once again be helping to protect and nurture this beautiful and unique wilderness area back to pristine condition. The game experience that we will create at andBeyond Matetsi will provide an element that has been missing in the Victoria Falls area for far too long.”

Thanks to its years of involvement with the staff of Matetsi and its model of promoting conservation through involving the people who live near wildlife areas, andBeyond will be working with its community development partner, Africa Foundation, to engage with the local communities. andBeyond will follow its usual principles of employing from the local community as much as possible and purchasing as much as possible locally, contributing to the economy of both Matetsi and Zimbabwe.

The lodge is ideal for multigenerational travel. andBeyond’s specially designed children’s program, WILDchild, will keep young guests busy with activities such as making and using their own fishing rods, and making plaster casts of animal tracks.

Sitting areas and dining spaces will make the most of the river views, with an interactive kitchen. Pre-dinner drinks will be served in an open bar area looking out onto the river or in a cozy lounge complete with fireplace. An open area with a blazing fire-bowl centerpiece will provide the perfect setting for sundowners.

While the area’s cultural heritage will be highlighted with traditional abstract carvings of wood and stone throughout, a more contemporary touch will be brought in with recent art by Zimbabwean artist Helen Teede. Splashes of bright blue will mimic the waters of the Zambezi River. A strong copper theme will run throughout the lodge in homage to the mineral riches of the region, from copper drums in the open-air outdoor enclosure known as a boma, to copper pots and pans in the kitchen and copper details on the bathroom taps. Simple glass coffee tables will showcase objects found along the banks of the Zambezi, such as driftwood, nests, and rocks.

andBeyond is one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, designing personalized luxury tours in 15 African countries, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Chile and Argentina. The company also owns and operates 33 safari lodges and camps in Africa and India, as well as privately guided expeditions in Botswana, which positively impact more than 9 million acres of wildlife land. Established in 1991, &Beyond takes exceptional care of its guests in order to make a difference; its commitment to sustainable responsible travel, conservation and community empowerment has been globally recognized with multiple awards over the years.


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