Safari outfitter African Bush Camps is making its first foray into the Zambian bush with the summer opening of Thorntree River Lodge. The 12-suite camp, set along the banks of the Zambezi River in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, is a chic evolution for the decade-old company—best known for its expedition-style camps and rustic lodges in Zimbabwe and Botswana—with such luxuries as private plunge pools, a wine cellar, a cocktail bar, and a spa.
Thorntree sprawls beneath mature trees between a bird-rich wetland and a slow-flowing stretch of the fabled Zambezi. Such a tranquil setting is a stark contrast to the powerful rush of Victoria Falls, located just a few miles downstream. It is this distinct ambience and proximity to both the river and the falls that inspired the lodge’s ship-shape design, complete with mid-century Scandinavian furnishings, walls paneled in recycled wood and copper sheets, and a cool palette of blue tones, from indigo dip-dyed curtains to cerulean fish-print cushions. A cluster of beehive-shaped huts that house a library, boutique, and spa were also constructed as nods to the native structures of the local Lozi river tribe.
Though guests may be tempted to spend their afternoons at Thorntree lounging next to the tranquil pool, adventure beckons with trips to the magnificent Victoria Falls, as well as such adventures as white-rhino tracking and white-water rafting. Sundowners are best enjoyed on a sunset cruise, and, come nightfall, three-course dinners are served under a twinkling night sky.