WATCH: Travelling to Victoria Falls during lockdown
I'm five minutes late. The sun warms up my face as I take my seat, eager to explore Victoria Falls for the first time.
Unlike many of my trips before, I've decided not to bring an overnight bag or my passport. It takes a few minutes until "take off", but once I arrive at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, I'm glad I didn't miss anything.
General Manager Arnald Musonza greets me, his smile hidden behind his mask.
"Thank you all for joining us for this tour, " he says to me and the other journalists on the tour.
"We want to showcase our offerings to you today and hope you will join us when travel is safe again," he says, my internet connection slow as a snail.
As Musonza explains what we can expect during the morning virtual tour, I can't help but get FOMO from seeing the view of the waterhole behind him.
He says that the animals make regular appearances. A buffalo had given a few guests a show this morning during breakfast, Musonza enthusiastically says.
Zimbabwe has allowed intercity travel for locals, but international travellers are still restricted from entering the country.
"It's incredible to see so many locals exploring and taking the necessary safety precautions," he says before he takes us to Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls, located on the Zambezi River, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, is the largest waterfall in the world, measuring 1 708 metres wide and 108 metres high.
Despite the badly behaved internet connection, I get to revel in the magical view before me.
Judging by the virtual tour, the world-famous attraction is thriving despite news reports claiming it was running dry.
As SA's personality Maps Maponyane said during his visit in December 2019, "Vic Falls is definitely not dry."
Musonza leads us back to the lodge, another prominent attraction in the area.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was named among the Top 5 Africa Resort Hotels in the Travel + Leisure 2020 World's Best Awards.
Musonza tells the group that majority of rooms overlook a central waterhole that offers remarkable views of the animals.
Among its amenities includes the award-winning MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant, Buffalo Bar, it's a two-tiered swimming pool and a fitness centre.
It seems as the lodge has adapted well to the new normal of travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Musonza reveals that the lodge has adopted strict policies to keep staff and their guests safe from the virus. That includes regular temperature screening and Covid-19 testing. He says hand sanitisers are scattered throughout the lodge, providing guests with easy access at all times.
Buffets have been stripped away, and tables have been separated a meter apart. In-room dining is strongly encouraged. The use of masks is a necessity in all public areas.
After exploring Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, taking in its chic decor and spacious rooms, we head to The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show. If you are staying at the hotel, there will be designated pickups and drop-offs.
Travellers can expect traditional singers, dancers and drummers, face painting, and a four-course dinner featuring local cuisine. The pièce de résistance is the interactive drumming show where guests can join in song and dance. Before we know it, our hour-long tour has come to an end.
By the time I disconnect the Zoom call, I am already planning my trip to Victoria Falls. However, the date is TBC.