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Somewhere over the Rainbow..._

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					Somewhere over the Rainbow...!
Sunday, 12 August 2007 02:00




eating out with Dusty Miller

CONTINUING touring Matabeleland resorts with Rainbow Tourism Group operations director,
David Church, we pulled into a favourite destination: Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel, with
trademark cupola bar in the welcoming swimming pool.




There was a power cut, but we got a warm hello from general manager Ivan Kasozi. An unusual
name going with a face which "rang a bell", the Ugandan-born hotelier said we met when he
was at St Lucia Park.




Ivan was due to leave for in-depth training in Singapore, along with Ivy Marimbe, Bulawayo
Rainbow’s youthful gm. We briefly met her, passing through "Skies" on Thursday, but she and
Ivan would be in flight when we returned to overnight there on Sunday.




Good to see how seriously local tourism views international training at high levels and on-going
in-house courses pay dividends in enhanced chic-ness and sleekness in the group.




A month before, I stayed at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, where Heath Dhana is general
manager. His brother, Ryan, is gm of RTG subsidiary Tourism Services Zimbabwe, based at the
Falls and ran us to TSZ’s jetty at A’Zambezi River Lodge.




Incidentally I was tickled to hear I was in the "Hoo-oo suite" at VFRH. Because I’d had the
luxuriously appointed room before, I knew that if brass letters weren’t missing from the
nameplate it would be Hoopoe Suite. Wasn’t sure whether staff were winding me up, or perhaps
someone had taken the "P" so long ago they didn’t know its original name?




Noon isn’t the best time to game-view, but we saw and photographed many animals from the
pontoon Diruchi I, plying the Zambezi from the historic site where British Imperial Airways flying
boats landed, carrying Colonial civil servants, soldiers, adventurers and ordinary tourists, from
England, the length of Africa, calling at the bits printed red on the map once a week.




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Sunday, 12 August 2007 02:00




Those early pith-helmeted explorers would have relished the two hour Zambezi tour, during
which drinks were served, as was a buffet lunch comprising salads and stir-fried goodies in
which seafood, generally, prawns particularly, played prominent roles.




The captain drew our attention to a large school of hippopotami (which he called
hippo-pottum-arses!). My god, thought I, for the sake of female passengers, I hope we don’t see
rhino!




Back at VFRH, David Church did laptop business and I relaxed by the brilliant pool. He’d
obviously said I was "very fond" of lager. (Is that actionable?) as, deep in a book or nodding off
in warm sunshine, I kept being asked: "Would you like a Pilsener, sir?"




Had I accepted half, I’d have needed to take them intravenously and would probably have been
in a coma by trip end!




Oddly, the novel I read: Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, was being read in French by a stunning
blonde, chain-smoking Gitanes, on the next recliner and in Czech by a guy lodged firmly at the
pool bar and who, judging by his                                                       "dop-bop
", is even fonder of lager than I!




Dinner was in The Kraal: an al-fresco version of VFSL’s Boma. I worried about possible cold,
but the weather was mild, fires and braziers abounded and a hint of air-less claustrophobia felt
at The Boma was missing.




Food was traditional African village fare (making up in bulk what it lacked in subtlety!) as was
the entertainment. I declined to eat with fingers (which Poles, French, Russians, Czechs and
Germans did) and once again failed to earn a diploma proving I’d grazed mopani worms!




"You live here, when are you going to try them, Dusty?" I am often asked.




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Sunday, 12 August 2007 02:00




""Never," I reply, "how does ‘never’ grab you?"




Getting over an icy Dete Vlei-caught head cold, I refused an invitation to Wild Things bar at The
Kingdom (and/or casino.) As folk who did went on to an all-night backpackers’ pub and got in
after 3, I was pleased about the sniffles. (But the next week, back in Ha-ha-ha-rare — Africa’s
fun capital — I left a karaoke joint at 4:40AM on Saturday, feeling ghastly until Monday!)




Cold gone: felt much healthier than hung-over fellow travellers, when we breakfasted at VFRH’s
Simujinga Restaurant, before leaving for Zambia for essential shopping. After cereals, fruit and
juice and before cheese and cold meat, I wolfed an RTG "bespoke" breakfast: smoked bream
fillet on herbed potato cake with crispy bacon and kedgeree.




We moved into the stunningly designed A’Zambezi River Lodge, with its vast expanse of thatch,
where you fall asleep to throaty, guttural, lion roars above sibilant river sounds.




Isadore Mujati has the enviable task of being general manager there. The menu at his
Amulonga Restaurant, offering exclusive dining on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, is rich in
fish and shellfish.




After a great butternut soup, I had pan-fried sardines, in olive oil, dressed with sauce
remoulade;                                                                               pleas
ant salad and calamari steak: much nicer than often chewy calamari rings and rarely seen here.




We had a friendly argument about RTG’s concept of "game chips" which I have always known
as potato crisp-like in flavour and texture: finely cut, fried intensely, twice, and heavily salted.
These are what I grew up with, served with wood pigeon, partridge, pheasant or grouse I’d
poached with a much-loved very powerful 0,22 calibre Webley & Scott air-rifle. RTG menus
describe what I call "wedges" as game chips. Google’s first recipe (from Wales) backs me
totally. See, Churchy!!!!




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Sunday, 12 August 2007 02:00




Pre-supper, we’d seen wonderful game: hordes of elephant, on a sundowner cruise, during
which the sunset was spectacular. RTG seem to believe guests need feeding every waking
moment. We had burgers at a late al-fresco riverside lunch; soon after, substantial snacks on
board the Diruchi II: almost an old fashioned booze cruise, the way drinks flowed; we
disembarked over bobbing poop-rail just 90 minutes before supper.




Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel: single bb $3,6 million; double $4,6m; suite $5,6m.




Tel 013 45871/4; cell 011 440 055 gm@rainbowvfa.co.zw




A’ Zambezi River Lodge: single bb: $2,975m; double $4,6m; suite $5,95m.




Tel 013 44561/4; cell 0912 380 876. gm@azambezi.co.zw




Next week we’re at Matopos Hills Lodge and Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel.




Comments, queries: dustym@zimind.co.zw




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