“For me it wasn’t falling in love, it was growing up in love with these beautiful parts of the world and the wildlife experiences.”
We’re in great company with Sara Gardiner, Co-Founder of Matetsi Victoria Falls where she, along with her family and team, offer the ideal combination of safari, river and relaxation, all wrapped up in warm genuine Zimbabwean hospitality.
Matetsi Victoria Falls is the embodiment of the Gardiner family’s dream to marry their passion for conservation and luxury hospitality, in order to sustainably protect one of the most beautiful landscapes in their home country of Zimbabwe, the 136,000-acre wilderness area that is Matetsi Private Game Reserve.
In this episode, Sara shares why she counts her blessings every day that this dream has become a reality, and how through it she is able to conserve vast areas of pristine wilderness and create opportunities for her local Zimbabwean community.
[1:20] A special childhood growing up in the Zimbabwean bush inspires Sara’s passions today to protect her community, landscape and wildlife.
[5:00] How Sara finds purpose in her name, meaning “I remain,” especially having returned home after many years traveling abroad.
[6:00] As a family, the Gardiners share a commitment across generations to give back to Zimbabwe all that it has given them.
[10:00] What started as hosting friends and family for long Sunday lunches to now, the hospitality of welcoming guests from all corners of the world to Matetsi Falls, as if it were their own home.
[11:20] Matetsi Falls is a quite large, “pocket of paradise” situated on 136,000 acres of preservation along the Zambezi River and only a short drive down the road from one of the Seven Natural Wonders of The World.
[15:00] Guests can expect to share their surroundings with seasonal birds, roaming warthogs and bush bucks, elephants looming over the trees and hippos popping up in the river.
[17:20] The reclaimed and repurposed roots of the luxury safari lodge are paired with artisanal pottery, fabrics and furniture from the craft of the local community.
[19:30] How Sara is taking a personal stance with her family’s passion project, to change the narrative on Zimbabwe.
[21:40] “People come to Africa for the wildlife, and they come back for the people.”
[22:50] From sunrise safaris to sunset boat cruises, meditative canoe rides to walking safaris immersed in the landscape, night drives to see nocturnal species to bush dinners celebrating local dishes.
[29:40] With a positive human presence, the team at Matetsi Falls learned that if you give Mother Nature time and space to heal, she will come back to life.
[36:15] What to look forward to out of Matetsi Victoria Falls from continued conservation efforts, new employment opportunities for local Zimbabweans, and the development of a new lodge with a fresh perspective.
- Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Greenline Africa Trust
- The Jafuta Foundation
- Mummy’s Angels
- The Honde Valley, Zimbabwe