andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge: The Experience

Located in Matetsi Private Game Reserve, Zimbabwe

Life at Matetsi—for guests and resident wildlife alike—is centered on the water. With its private access to the mighty Zambezi, the lodge offers an intimate encounter with of one of Africa’s wildest rivers. Connect with the Zambezi’s tranquil side as you canoe, cruise, or fish the waterway; or head upstream to Victoria Falls for an adrenaline-fueled adventure sure to get your heart pumping. Go white-water rafting on thrilling Class V rapids. Take in an aerial perspective on a scenic helicopter ride or while bungee jumping, zip-lining, or swinging over the gorge. There’s plenty to do on land, too, from game drives and walking safaris to private tours of Victoria Falls.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 4-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

Zambezi Cruise

Float down the Zambezi River on a riverboat or paddle a stretch in a canoe. As you go, marvel at the stunning wildlife of the Matetsi Private Game Reserve, including vast elephant herds that come down to drink the water. Watch and listen for “laughing” hippos, singing birds, and snapping crocodiles.

Game Drives

Each early morning and late afternoon, set out in open-air safari vehicles into the bush. Accompanied by a ranger and expert wildlife guide, track massive herds of elephants and buffalo, sable antelopes, lions, spotted hyenas, African wild dogs, leopards, and more.

Walking Safaris

Join a professional ranger on an interpretive walk through the Matetsi Private Game Reserve, and experience eye-level encounters with the wild inhabitants of the African bush, big and small.

Victoria Falls Tour

Embark on an afternoon excursion to Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls and a UNESCO World Heritage site. With your private guide, explore the scenic paths around the park, capture photos of the falls from many different angles, visit the bronze statue of David Livingstone (the famous British explorer who named the falls for Queen Victoria), and learn the history of the natural wonder. Cap off the experience with high tea at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel, built in 1904 along the path of Cecil Rhodes’s never-completed Cape-to-Cairo Railway. This excursion is complimentary with a minimum two-night stay

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Tiger Fishing

Take on the ferocious and acrobatic tiger fish on a guided (catch-and-release) fishing trip on the Zambezi River. Peak fishing season is May to December, and tilapia can also be found here.

Bungee Jumping at Victoria Falls

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia will take your breath away: With the ever-present roar of Victoria Falls in the background and a secure bungee cord tied to your ankles, peer over the edge of the Victoria Falls Bridge, leap into the air, and plummet more than 350 feet toward the Zambezi River below.


Hurtle through no-man’s-land on this zip-line adventure between countries. Begin on the Zambian bank of the Batoka Gorge, glide towards the century-old Victoria Falls Bridge, and come in for a gentle landing on the Zimbabwean side. Go solo or with a flying partner.

Gorge Swing

Channel Tarzan and Jane on a giant swing that swoops 400 feet above the Zambezi River, starting with a stomach-churning free fall. Opt to go solo or as a pair on the Tandem Bridge Swing.

Flight of Angels

Get a bird’s-eye view of Victoria Falls on an unforgettable helicopter ride, complete with aerial flip. Whether on a 13- or 25-minute scenic flight, enjoy an abundance of photographic opportunities as well as a bit of game viewing. The name references explorer David Livingstone’s remarks upon viewing the area for the first time: “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

White-water Rafting

Hang on tight for this white-knuckled rafting adventure on the Zambezi River’s Class V rapids—boasting the highest designation for commercial runs. Paddle one of the world’s wildest river corridors as you navigate the domain of the Nyaminyami, the river god of the Tonga people.


Indulge in a rejuvenating massage or body wrap at the lodge’s open-air spa pavilion overlooking the Zambezi. Body wraps apply natural materials, from soothing rooibos and lavender clay to hydrating African potato and marula oils; while massages integrate sound meditation featuring Tibetan singing bowls. Children can book a special massage using plant derivatives and oils in tandem with “magical fairy dust.”

Food and Drink

At Matetsi, days begin with an espresso in the airy dining area amid the cries of fish eagles; they wind down over multi-course meals under the star-studded African sky. Trained at the Institute of Culinary Arts in South Africa, Chef Nico Meyer pairs the lodge’s epic setting with world-class cuisine served indoors and out. Organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs from the kitchen garden are prominently featured, and guests are treated to specialties from the lodge’s famous burgers, to homemade ice cream, and delicious buttermilk rusks based on Meyer’s mother’s recipe.

Dine amid lanterns under the trees along the water’s edge, swap safari stories over a sundowner cocktail in the cozy bar, take high tea at the lodge, and sip South African wine in the extensive wine cellar, with eye-level views of the Zambezi River.

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