Taita Falcon Lodge
Taita Falcon Lodge
In May I went out to have lunch at Taita Falcon Lodge. The lodge is on the edge of the gorges downstream of the Victoria Falls. I wanted to see the lodge again and to see the height of the water in the gorge below.
The road to Taita Falcon is through the park and then to Nsongwe village and more bush. It was a pretty, if a bit bumpy, 9-km drive, from the turnoff near Avani. Some of the streams still had water in them and the trees were in leaf, the grass high.
After parking the car, I walked through the grounds to the bar and restaurant. Water for the lodge has to be pumped up from the gorge, about 90m down the cliff. Although the grounds immediately around the main area are kept green by irrigation, the rest is left to nature and only the tough stuff grows. Anmarie and Faan have, however, over the years, organised nature to be very welcoming.
The view from the deck at Taita Falcon is stunning. On a bend in the river, one can see quite a distance in both directions. It is a great spot to watch the whitewater rafters as they come along the river, but, at this time of year there is no rafting; the river is too high.
The water was raging down the river, the level being almost to the tree line. It was not as high as the 2008 floods, but not far off. Dickson, the barman told me that some fishermen had tried to do a spot of fishing the other day but, after walking down into the gorge, they could not find a place to stand by the river. They had climbed back up the gorge empty-handed.
Looking at the cliff faces of the gorge it is clear to see the layers of basalt which oozed from the ground millions of years ago. Each layer is separated by some looser soil which has allowed plants to find a root-hold. The gorges are a favoured place for eagles and, of course, the falcon. The taita falcon visits in October and November, hence the reason for the name of the lodge. Black eagles nest here.
Anmarie and I enjoyed lunch together; Anmarie telling me all about the lodge. She and Faan like people to come out for lunch or dinner. The bar and restaurant are not just for residents of the lodge.
We went for a sneak peak at one of the rooms. They are ensuite thatched chalets with reed-matting sides. Each chalet is set along the edge of the gorge and has its own private garden. Perfect for the morning cuppa.
After a couple of hours soaking up the view and enjoying the quiche lunch, I left Taita Falcon and trundled home, enjoying the bush drive once again.