Through the eyes of our GM Stian Commaille

A New Beginning

As the sun rises over the vast Zambezi River, casting a golden glow on the lodge nestled on its banks, I often stand on the edge, early morning to take in the amazing view. A resident fish eagle regularly greets whilst the hippos relax in the river and the Elephants and bush buck graze nearby.

I’ve been appointed as the General Manager of Matetsi Private Game Reserve in June 2023, and was about to experience my first summer season in this wild and untamed private concession.

The first rain of the season fell on the dry bush and the air was flooded with the scent of petrichor, a clear indicator that mother nature has opened the heavens the dusty earth beneath is soaking up the life giving drops.

The bush came alive and very soon after the first rain it exploded into various shades of green and the smallest creatures appeared ready for the new life cycle.

As I move through the lodge, I can’t help but notice the playful warthogs darting around the property. Their comical antics bring a smile to my face. These warthogs certainly know how to keep things interesting and fun and “Hakuna Matata” comes to mind every time I see them. They love the mud and dig everywhere. The babies are loads of fun, at West Camp I’ve witnessed them irritating a baby Elephant, triggering it into a frenzy of mock charges. Its always amusing to see!

The Majestic Kudu

One morning, travelling into work on the 12km gravel road from the main gate I spotted a majestic kudu grazing by the side of the road, its large, spiraled horns and graceful movements captivated me. I decided to take a closer look and grabbed my phone to zoom in and marveled at its beauty, what a magnificent creature. The kudu glanced at me briefly before continuing to graze, seemingly unbothered by my presence. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and respect for the wildlife that called this place home.

The Fun Wild dogs

My daily commute is always full of surprises and this particular morning was very special. I caught a glimpse of a shadow on the edge of the road about 100m ahead of me and slowly drove to the area. Some of the leafs are starting to turn green but still very dry making it hard to spot animals with good “camouflage” Finally, I caught sight of the small pack of three wild dogs, playfully chasing each other through the tall grass. I couldn’t help but be amazed by their energy and camaraderie. I could have sat there near them the whole day but duty called and I had to proceed to work.

Embracing the Adventure

As the summer season progressed, I found myself fully immersed in the adventure that Victoria Falls and in particular Matetsi had to offer. I’m grateful and humbled that a huge part of my life is linked to exploring this vast wilderness, encountering elephants, zebras, giraffe, hippo, lion, hyena, crocodiles, birds of prey, water monitors, Bat-eared Foxes, Jackal, honey badgers (my favourite!) and a myriad of other fascinating creatures.

Our guests at the lodge are equally captivated by the wildlife here and I enjoy sharing in their excitement. With our organized game drives, boat cruises, and guided walks, we ensure that each guest had a unique and unforgettable experience.

Throughout my short journey, I engaged in countless conversations with the lodge staff, guests, and locals. These dialogues allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the land, its people, and the challenges they face, the stories of resilience, conservation efforts, and the importance of preserving the natural beauty that surrounded us.

A Summer to Remember

As the summer season is slowly drawing to a close, and I reflect on my time at Matetsi, the playful warthogs, majestic kudu, and fun wild dogs and so many other encounters had become a part of my story.

My journey with my wife and son in Zimbabwe had only just begun, and I am both exited and determined to continue assisting the Gardiner Family in preserving this remarkable place and sharing its wonders with the world.

At Matetsi I found my calling, and my story would forever be intertwined with the wild wonders of the Zambezi River.


Exceptional experiences in a remarkable destination.

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