Friday, June 18, 2010

Toka Leya, Zambia

Lovely Toka Leya camp on the edge of the Zambezi River.  The silky water runs silently by.  High flood stage when we were there but starting to recede slightly.  A couple of pythons and a black mamba had slithered into camp the previous week when the water level peaked - glad we missed that happening, I do not like snakes!

Camp consisted of 12 spacious, bright and comfy en-suite safari style tents - again I must reiterate that these are beautiful rooms unlike any tents I'd ever seen!  Expansive wood deck overlooked the river - bird songs, grunting hippos and elephants provided the usual lullaby sounds.

Main camp area consisting of dining, bar and lounge decks under a shady canopy of jackalberry, knobthorn and waterberry trees, complemented by the infinity pool and a large outdoor pizza oven. Lovely seating areas to relax and all dining was open air.

Native crafts were everywhere, woven into the more light and bright contemporary decor, giving the camp a special touch that I loved...............even though you know I'm a shabby chic/vintage/romantic French style decorator!!!

Paula, Jen, Babs and me..........after the Vic Falls soaking we all enjoyed lunch on the deck where you can see the river was actually flowing underneath.  Great food here at every meal...........

.....such as bruschetta..................

........and the popular outdoor oven made excellent pizza!

Toka Leya kept us jumping.......perhaps that's why I missed getting a shot of the entire interior of my tent, I was fixated on the lovely little decorative bits when I did have a few minutes to spare.

Crystal chandeliers, created locally, adding a pretty touch to the main camp areas.

Although we had no game drives here, we did spend some delightful hours on the river.  This was our six passenger boat.....................

........and our captain, Donald, who knew the Zambezi like the back of his hand. Behind him you are able to see the spray from Victoria Falls down river.  We took a late afternoon cruise the day of our arrival, then an early morning one on our final day at Toka Leya........

The Zambezi's banks were so interesting with a great mix of trees and shrubs, including palm trees..........

.............along with wildlife including really huge crocodiles which we insisted Donald stay far away from!

In the early morning light, sightseeing boats, including one named the African Queen, lay quietly at their moorings on the Zimbabwe side of the river.

Hippos, some already active, munching on their breakfast..........

.........others still sleeping on the edge........

African Openbill Stork and Egyptian Geese

...and of course many waterfowl and birds both in the water and in the trees.

The glassy surface of the mighty Zambezi River broken only by our little boat.......and in the distance the spray from Victoria Falls.

Visiting the village of beautiful, friendly children............come back for my next post which will touch your heart.


  1. Thanks a lot for keeping us posted with tons of beautiful photos! I can only dream about a trip like this....

  2. Wow!! You gals looked so pretty and all that food so delish!! I saw you call dear later last night, wanted to call back but it was already too late. Glad to hear from you! Love, Vanessa

  3. Mary, these posts keep me in total awe. This is a trip like no other. Your photo journal is amazingly detailed with gorgeous photos and excellent commentary. Thank you for sharing this with us. I've shared your blog with friends who are interested in making a trip such as this.
    Have a great weekend!
    Hugs ~ Sarah
    I saw the little camo bag on the table in one of the pixs. :-)

  4. Mmm...
    You had me at pizza. ;)
    Awesome pics Grandma!
    ~ Jasmin XOXO

  5. Gorgeous camp, yummy food, and great pictures! It makes me want to go! Carla

  6. Beautiful photos..lovely camp and the food looks amazing!
    xoxo Gert

  7. Mary, I give you a huge, huge compliment when I tell you that I would not follow anyone else's travel blog so closely. But indeed this HAS been the trip of a lifetime, hasn't it? I continue to be bowled over by the beautiful accommodations to which you have been treated. I would love to sleep under such romantic mosquito netting.

    PS - Thank god no snakes, especially thanks for no snake pictures. If you do show some, please give me and other squeamish people a big heads up!!

  8. Mary, I haven't been able to visit earlier as I"ve been working hard on the final stages of my book. I did post a farewell to you before you left for your trip but for some reason, no comments were going through.
    What truly sensational photographs! You're like an American/English Michaela. I shall have to show David these as he's always wanted to go on safari. You're so brave to be in the water with those crocodiles. And you look beautiful in the lunch shot. xx

  9. I think I like this camp the best so's those chandeliers! The hippos and crocodiles are scary though...

  10. Oh, all so lovely, and your photos are superb. I have seen tents like this, mostly in pics (though I had some Connecticut Yankee friends with a camp like this -- not quite so luxurious). Your pics of the Victoria Falls mist reminded me of when I used to work in Niagara Falls and saw the mist rising every day as I drove in from Buffalo. Thanks for this visual feast!

  11. Chandeliers and hippos, what more can you ask. Just breathe taking!

  12. I think I would have wanted to stay away from the crocs too!! Camera zooming would have been close enough for me!! The quarters you had looked wonderful once again, and you could probably zonk out real fast. The food, yum-oh!!
    Take Care,

  13. Thank you for this wonderful post. I will come back to see it again. You had the trip of a lifetime. They really mean HIGH TIDE there. I would panic. Did you go on the river boats?
    Enjuoy this soooo much. yvonne

  14. Oh, how I would love to go on an African safari. My aunt has been a couple of times because she does some photograhy and her work has been published before. I would love to be able to tag along with her on one of her amazing trips. Your photos are just wonderful and tell such a story.


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