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Makorokoto! (Congratulations in our local lingo)
“We’re open….on time and on budget….not without challenges and some chaos….what an amazing team we have! “That was the reaction of a delighted Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive of Africa Albida Tourism Group (AAT) when the US2.7m luxury 20-room Victoria Falls Safari Club opened on Wednesday (15 August).
First guests to step through the doors of the sumptuous Club were nine Americans, travelling together as two families. And the kudos for having the confidence, and trust in AAT, to book these four rooms on opening day goes to the world-renowned agency A&K.
Twenty-four hours before opening the scene looked like hopeless and hapless chaos…but it was all hands on deck throughout the night and – VOILA! The first guests arrived at 17h45 just as the sun was setting to be welcomed by Club Manager Claire Wright and her enthusiastic team; a vivid sunset…and buffaloes at the waterhole as they checked-in on the terrace.
“Other guests arrive today on day two,” said Ross Kennedy, “and new enquiries and bookings are coming in daily, so we’re really delighted that people know and trust the hard-earned reputation and pedigree of Africa Albida Tourism, built up over 18 years since the opening of our flagship, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (VFSL).
The 72-room VFSL also opened on time and on budget in December 1994 and achieved a remarkable 72% occupancy in its first year.
“In 1996 VFSL featured in Vogue magazine in their architectural section,” said Mr Kennedy. “We’d really like them to come back now to see the deluxe 20-room Club which has moved us on significantly into the world of luxury living and butler-style service.
“With such an exclusive new product and Zimbabwe tourism on the rise we aim to emulate VFSL and achieve a very high occupancy for the Club during its first year and to surprise and delight our guests at the same time.”