Sindabezi: A River Island Retreat

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Set in the middle of the Zambezi river, a luxury lodge flirts with the wild side


Loving every moment on the Zambezi river with Tongabezi, we decided to go a little deeper into the wild with their sister property, Sindabezi Island. Tongabezi bought this private isle almost twenty years ago to bring their guests even closer to the African bush. Named by Fodor’s as one of the top ten eco-lodges in Africa, Sindabezi is adventure at its most luxurious.


We loved how Sindabezi didn’t clear-cut the forest for this island hotel, they used it as their inspiration. Natural thatch roofs and mangrove walls simply scratch the surface of how they incorporate nature into their designs, but my favorite example is the pathways. A massive fallen tree laid right in the middle of walkway to our room but instead of chopping it up, they built a set of stairs up and over the trunk. Respect.


There only five villas on the island for a completely secluded feel.  For our honeymoon, we snagged the most private spot on the island with riverbanks on three sides.


As you can see, the entire front of our villa is open to the wilds of the Zambezi. From our bed we could watch the monkeys play in the trees, see the birds dance from limb to limb, and hear the hippos honking nearby.


Not exactly roughing it, we enjoyed a soak in our villa’s porcelain claw-foot tub, relaxing to the sounds of the river.


For our first excursion with Sindabezi we set out for a kayak excursion ending with a picnic. A picnic in our mind assumes turkey sandwiches served on a checkered blanket, but when we arrived at this small private island, this beautifully set table is what we found! Sindabezi had sent a chef and waiter ahead to surprise us with a proper sit-down meal with multiple courses, wine, the works!


Each night at sunset all ten guests gather by the fire for drinks and hor’deourves. Chatting over wine in the comfort of our cushy sofas and chairs, before and after dinner, we were all great friends by the end of the night.


The beauty of Sindabezi is how intimate it is. This central space is used to share bountiful breakfasts together or to curl up on the sofa with a book or a board game. Like Tongabezi, the collection of antiques and thoughtful accents makes every space on the island a treat to be in.


For our early morning farewell, the Sindabezi team organized a sunrise breakfast on the boardwalk. The sun cast a golden glow over the hippo pools as we nibbled on our coconut french toast, fresh fruit, and French press coffee. This certainly didn’t make leaving any easier.


A visit to Tongabezi and Sindabezi wouldn’t be complete without at stop at their trust school, Tujatane. It started in 1996 as a primary school for the owner’s and staff’s 15 children but with fantastic success, it now serves 190 kids in the community. We took a tour with the principal and he proudly regaled us with stories of students that had gone to be commercial airline pilots, doctors, and leaders in their community. Amazingly the school is run entirely on donations and proceeds from the gift shop. Be sure to buy something if you get the chance to go!

Staying a few nights at Tongabezi and a couple nights at  Sindabezi was the perfect way to experience the Zambezi and Victoria Falls. All the same river and safari activities are available from both properties –so regardless if you want the excitement of camp or the creature comforts of the hotel by night, you don’t have to compromise any adventures by day.

Much love from Sindabezi Island,
Anne & Mike
HoneyTrek.com

Note: Sindabezi invited us to be their guests; however, all opinions are our own.

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