The Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel

“The air is filled with an aura of mystique, a subtle reminder of the legendary adventures of Dr. David Livingstone and journalist Henry Morton Stanley in the heart of Africa”

Article: Rudo Nhamoinesu  Images: Stanley and Livingstone Hotel

As I stood at the entrance into the grand hallway of the Stanley and Livingstone Hotel, I found myself immersed in the colonial elegance that seemed to have been frozen in time, subtly influenced by the rich history of exploration and discovery. It is as if the hotel itself is a living testament to the tales of bravery and fascination that unfolded in this very land.

I was warmly welcomed by Benjamin and offered a very cold beverage- just what I needed! My check in process was quick and easy and thereafter started on my tour of the hotel, going through the hotel’s manicured gardens. I couldn’t help but stop several times to admire the pathways lined with various vibrant flowers and plants, their scent filling the air with a sweet, earthy aroma- just what the doctor ordered! The gardens at the Stanley and Livingstone are an oasis of tranquillity, with the perfect soundtrack of birds chirping, creating a serene soundtrack that blends wild beauty and careful cultivation.

Having just come back from the bush in Hwange, I was excited to reach my suite and put my feet up, and oh boy was I not disappointed! This large suite offered a fusion of colonial elegance and modern comfort. The warm, earthy tones of the décor created a sense of timeless sophistication, while the contemporary amenities promised a truly luxurious stay. The spacious bedroom boasted a large bed adorned with crisp, high-thread-count linens and plump pillows that gave me a wonderful night’s rest. The headboard and bedside tables exuded an air of old-world charm.

The adjoining sitting area was an inviting space, featuring plush armchairs and a well-appointed writing desk. The carefully selected artwork and decorative accents added character and charm to the room, infusing it with a sense of refined elegance. And it didn’t end there, the suite came with a seating area equipped with a bar and TV for those nights you want to spend inside. The en-suite bathroom was a sanctuary of indulgence, with a deep soaking tub and a spacious walk-in shower. The marble countertops and gleaming fixtures exuded sophistication, while the array of premium bath amenities promised a pampering experience and I couldn’t wait!

Stepping out onto the suite’s private terrace, I was greeted by breathtaking views of the hotel’s meticulously landscaped gardens. The expansive outdoor space was furnished with comfortable seating, creating the perfect spot to savour a morning coffee or a glass of wine as the sun dipped below the horizon.

After settling into my room, I went down to the Stanley and Livingstone Hotel, 1871 restaurant for lunch. The name itself evokes a sense of history and elegance, paying homage to the year that marked the arrival of the first European explorers in the area. The ambience was one of timeless allure, with ornate furnishings and subtle nods to the region’s rich heritage. The decor seamlessly blended classic elements with contemporary touches, exuding an understated opulence that was utterly captivating. The restaurant’s commitment to excellence extends beyond its exquisite menu, the attentive service and warm hospitality of the staff elevated the dining experience to new heights, ensuring that every moment spent in the enchanting surroundings of 1871 was nothing short of magical.

 After my scrumptious burger, it was time to embark on my next adventure- a game drive in the Victoria Falls Game Reserve. Set on 4,000 hectares, this is the only privately owned game reserve in Victoria Falls. As part of the renowned MORE collection and an extension of the Stanley and Livingstone Hotel, the reserve promised an unparalleled safari experience.

As the safari vehicle wound its way through the rugged terrain of the reserve, I found myself immersed in the untamed beauty of the African bush. Our guide shared fascinating insights about the diverse ecosystem and the conservation efforts that were integral to the reserve’s mission. The commitment to preserving the natural habitat and protecting the indigenous wildlife was evident at every turn, adding a profound depth to the safari experience.

Even after being in the bush and after several game drives, there was something special about witnessing a black rhino in its natural habitat. The sight of this majestic creature, a symbol of strength and resilience, left me in awe. Learning about the tireless efforts and dedication put into protecting these endangered species reinforced the profound impact of conservation initiatives. The opportunity to witness these incredible animals thriving in their natural environment was a humbling and unforgettable experience.

Throughout the game reserve, the diversity of wildlife was astounding. From graceful giraffes and imposing elephants to elusive leopards and a myriad of bird species, each sighting offered a glimpse into the captivating tapestry of African wildlife. The thrill of encountering these magnificent creatures against the backdrop of sweeping savannahs and lush woodlands was an experience that resonated deep within my soul.

The Victoria Falls Game Reserve’s commitment to conservation and its dedication to providing guests with an authentic safari experience stood as a testament to the harmony between luxury hospitality and environmental stewardship. The opportunity to explore this pristine wilderness and witness the wonders of the animal kingdom in their natural habitat was a privilege that left an indelible impression, deepening my appreciation for the delicate balance of nature.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting the sky in a palette of fiery hues, our game drive culminated in an enchanting bush dinner. Nestled under a canopy of stars, surrounded by the symphony of the African night, we were treated to a culinary feast that celebrated the rich flavours of Zimbabwe. The crackling fire cast a warm glow over our gathering and the tempting scents of traditional dishes infused the air with an irresistible allure.

The bush dinner was a sensory extravaganza, a harmonious blend of delectable cuisine and the enchanting ambience of the African wild. It was a celebration of the timeless traditions of the land, an invitation to partake in the communal spirit that has bound humanity to nature for generations. As we dined under the vast expanse of the starlit sky, I found myself immersed in a profound sense of connection—to the land, to the wildlife, and the enduring spirit of Africa.

The MORE Foundation and Rhino Conservation

The More Foundation, a prominent non-profit organisation, is making significant strides in black rhino conservation within the Victoria Falls Game Reserve. The foundation’s black rhino conservation program is an integral part of their wider commitment to preserving endangered species in the region. By collaborating closely with local authorities and conservation experts, the More Foundation has implemented a multifaceted approach to safeguarding the black rhino population in the reserve.

The foundation’s efforts encompass a comprehensive strategy that includes anti-poaching initiatives, habitat preservation, community engagement, and scientific research. By focusing on these key areas, the More Foundation aims to address the complex challenges facing black rhinos in the Victoria Falls Game Reserve. Through the deployment of advanced monitoring technologies and highly trained field rangers, the foundation has significantly enhanced its anti-poaching efforts, thereby reducing the threat posed by illegal wildlife trade.

In addition to their on-the-ground initiatives, the More Foundation is dedicated to advancing scientific research on black rhinos. By collaborating with leading conservation biologists and ecologists, the foundation is working to deepen our understanding of black rhino behaviour, ecology, and genetics. This crucial research provides valuable insights that inform the foundation’s conservation strategies and contribute to the broader body of knowledge on black rhinos.

The MORE Foundation’s ethos of responsible tourism and sustainable conservation resonates throughout the hotel, shaping its values and guiding its endeavours. With a focus on community empowerment, environmental stewardship, and wildlife preservation, the foundation and the hotel stand as beacons of hope for a future where humanity and nature coexist harmoniously.

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