Explore your writing self on an adventure

in the wilds of Africa 

Be mentored by two masters of the craft on a seven-day Writing Safari 

Over seven days, you’ll enjoy a safari that’ll take you from the grandeur of the Victoria Falls to the luxury of a lodge in the heart of the old Africa. And you’ll do so in the company, and under the personal mentorship, of the best-selling author, Tony Park, and All About Writing’s Dr Jo-Anne Richards, acclaimed novelist. 

For inspiration, you’ll have elephant, lion and buffalo – and the incomparable Milky Way to inspire a million dreams. Far from the clamour and demands of everyday life, you’ll be free to focus completely on yourself – and your creativity. 

9 to 16 June 2022

 

Nantwich Lodge is the perfect place for writers and aspiring authors to get away from it all and find peace and inspiration.  

I’m looking forward to sharing our secret safari location and working with All About Writing and all the participants on our writers’ retreat. 

For writers and their partners, who are welcome, Nantwich offers a fantastic safari experience for first-timers to Africa, while die-hard bush lovers won’t fail to appreciate the solitude, far away from other lodges and tourists. 

Tony Park

Cost from $ 3150

Please email us to find our more or to book your place.

A writing retreat at Victoria Falls and

Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park 

  • The best retreats offer some tricks of the trade, alongside personal attention on you and your work. The Writing Safari was devised to deliver on both these needs.  
  • You’ll have the attention of two highly experienced writers, who can offer knowledgeable advice on what works and what can make your writing better. 
  • You’ll have the best of both worlds – guidance, and time out of time to concentrate on yourself.  
Nantwich Lodge

How does our Writing Safari work? 

  • The retreat starts on Thursday 9 June with two nights at the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. 
  • From the start you’ll be treated to short workshops with Tony and Jo-Anne on a range of key writing tactics and strategies – insights they’ve developed over years of writing their novels. 
  • The Safari then moves on to Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park, where your every need will be taken care of – and a few you hadn’t thought of. 
  • Set on a commanding hill, Nantwich’s nine suites each have stunning, uninterrupted views of Hwange’s wilderness.  
  • Meals, with drinks included, are served on the long, shady verandah of the main building, a renovated retreat from a bygone era overlooking the water hole. It’s also a perfect place to write.  
  • A game drive each day is included, to stimulate your imagination.

 

Find inspiration for your writing in the heart of Africa

Your writing mentors and trainers

Your trainers have years of hard-won experience and are willing to share the knowledge they’ve gathered through their long writing careers. Here are your guides through this writing adventure:

Tony Park is the author of 19 novels set in Africa and six non fiction biographies. He’s written at least one novel a year since Far Horizon was released  in 2004. Since then he’s spent half his life in Africa – six months of every year living in the African bush where he researches and writes his books – and the remainder of the year in Sydney.

Tony has worked as a reporter, a press secretary, a PR consultant and a freelance writer. He also served 34 years in the Australian Army Reserve including six month in Afghanistan in 2002.

Tony was a regular visitor to Nantwich when it was still a national parks camp.  Nantwich closed due to Zimbabwe’s economic woes around 2005, became abandoned, and was partially destroyed by a fire. A few years ago Tony, his wife Nicola, and some other investors teamed up with Garth Jenman from Hideaways Africa to obtain a lease on the ruined camp and rebuild it as a luxury lodge. Still a shareholder, Tony is committed to conserving the wildlife in the area and preserving Nantwich’s rich heritage. He is a keen supporter of several charities concerned with wildlife and people in Africa. 

“Since Wilbur Smith in his heyday, no one has written as well about southern Africa as Tony Park.” Crime Review (UK)  

Jo-Anne Richards is an internationally published novelist with a PhD in Creative Writing from Wits University. Jo-Anne has published five novels: The Imagined Child, The Innocence of Roast ChickenMy Brother’s Book,  Touching the Lighthouse and Sad at the Edges.

Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken was recently rereleased as part of the prestigious Picador Africa Classics collection. When it first appeared, in 1996, it was nominated for the Impac International Dublin Literary Award and chosen as an “outstanding debut novel” by a British book chain.

Jo-Anne has published short stories in six collections and ran the Honours programme in Journalism & Media Studies at Wits University for fifteen years. She has supervised Creative Writing Masters students at Wits and UCT, and acted as examiner for both programmes.

jo-anne richards
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Who will the retreat benefit? 

  • Anybody who has longed for the time to exercise their creativity in a warm and supportive environment.
  • Experienced writers who need the space to write, with the benefit of another creative eye.
  • Beginner writers who want to try their hand at writing, with daily support and mentoring.
  • Anyone with a vague idea for a project, who needs to try it out, brainstorm or discuss it with experts.
  • And finally, those of us whose daily life has been leeched of creativity or romance – and possibly both.

Our Writing Safari includes:

* Two nights B&B accommodation at the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls

* Drinks and snacks at Treetops rooftop bar in Victoria Falls.

* A dinner cruise on the Zambezi including drinks.

* Five nights at Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park.

* All meals and drinks at Nantwich Lodge.

* Game drives: one every day for writers and two game drives per day for non-writers.

* Daily writing workshops for writers.

* Four one-on-one mentoring sessions for writers with either Tony Park or Jo-Anne Richards.

* Transfers to and from Victoria Falls Airport and between Victoria Falls and Nantwich Lodge.

Cost from $ 3150

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the malaria situation at the Victoria Falls and in Hwange?

Malaria is present in Victoria Falls and Hwange.  In June, during the winter dry season, the risk is low but participants are advised to consult their doctor on appropriate precautions and prophylaxis.

Do I need a visa for Zimbabwe?

South African citizens do not need to pay for a visa. Other foreign nationals must purchase a visa on arrival at Victoria Falls International Airport.  Payment should be in US dollars, cash.

Do I need to pay a deposit, and when will the balance of my payment be due?

A 20% payment will secure your place.

Payable in either two or three tranches. If paying in in two tranches, a 50% deposit is due immediately and the balance is due by 22 April.

Or if paying in three tranches a deposit of 20% is due immediately, a second payment of 30% is due by 22 February and the final payment is due by 22 April.

What's your cancellation policy?

We always try to accommodate participants’ requests, however, unless we can fill your place the following cancellation fees will apply:

* 0 – 44 days before travel: 100% cancellation fee

* 45 – 59 days before travel: 50% cancellation fee

* 60 -90 days before travel: 20% cancellation fee

For covid-related travel restrictions and border closures: we’ll reschedule the Writing Safari and we will issue a credit note for the full booking value. If a refund is required, we’ll refund all costs in full except for the Victoria Falls accommodation and the Nantwich package, which will be refunded as follows: If cancelling +14 days before travel, a full refund of total less 2% conservation contribution and within 14 days of travel, a 20% cancellation fee will be charged.

What about tipping?

Tipping is for your own account. Tipping is customary in Zimbabwe, but by no means mandatory.  At your bed and breakfast in Victoria Falls and on the dinner cruise there will be a tip box, and money is distributed among all staff. At Nantwich Lodge, if you wish to tip then please allocate something for your guide and another amount to be distributed between all other staff. Tips should be given in cash, please, and envelopes will be provided.

What can my non-writing partner do while I'm writing?

As well as game drives (two per day for non-writers), walks in the bush can be organised, accompanied by an armed national parks ranger.  In between drives there is always something to see at the dam and waterhole in front of the main lodge area, where snacks and drinks are always available.
Nantwich has a lovely pool, and pool bar, set on a hill overlooking a commanding view of the national park, where game can also be seen.
There’s wifi in the main lodge, and a small library.

What should I bring with me for a safari?

The following items are recommended:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Hat/sun cream
  • At least one change of neutral-coloured clothing (green/brown/khaki/blue) as we may go on a walk during a game drive.
  • Sandals, one pair of closed shoes in case of a walk.
  • Swimming costume (the days will be sunny and warm, though the pool may be cool!)
  • Cold weather clothing (fleece/jersey, beanie, gloves, scarf – it can get VERY cold on the open game drive vehicle in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. Blankets are provided).
  • Multi-national power points are provided in the rooms.If you wish to bring adaptors, Zimbabwe uses a mix of South African (round pin), and British (square pin) power plugs.
  • US dollars cash for tipping, souvenirs, visas, national park entry fees.Smaller denominations are preferred and change is often a problem!

How do I get to see the Victoria Falls?

While you’ll experience the mighty Zambezi River on the dinner cruise, which is part of the package, you can see the Falls themselves on your own during the day. Two-hour Wild Horizons tours can be booked at your accommodation, and leave from the hotels at 08.30 or 13.30, or you can walk (2 kilometres) or take a taxi to the Falls yourself.

Can we drive from South Africa?

Yes.  Currently, the only Zimbabwean border post open to private vehicles is Kazungula, on the border with Botswana.  A PCR test, conducted within 48 hours of arriving at the border, is mandatory, as is proof of vaccination.  PCR tests are conducted at the weighbridge in Kasane/Kazungula, near the border crossing and are processed overnight.

What about Covid tests?

Arrival: Proof of a negative PCR test, with the sample taken within 48 hours of arriving in Zimbabwe, must be shown on arrival at Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe requires eligible adults to show proof of full (double dose if necessary) vaccination on arrival.

Departure: If you are leaving Vic Falls on a flight on Thursday 16 June, we have an arrangement with a lab in Vic Falls who will send a nurse to Nantwich the day before departure at a cost of $100 pp. This way, everyone could leave at the same time on the last morning, after the game drive, and go straight to the airport.

If you are staying an extra night in Vic falls, then you can arrange you own PCR test if you prefer.

Accommodation

Your accommodation will allow you to experience the magic of Victoria Falls and Hwange without the least discomfort. You’ll be off the beaten track, but you won’t be required to rough it. At every stage of this adventure, your living arrangements will be luxurious and every comfort will be taken care of. 

Nantwich Lodge 

Nantwich Lodge is a secret hideaway situated in the northwest corner of the Hwange National Park, one of Zimbabwe’s top safari game parks. It is the closest lodge in the park to the Victoria Falls. The intimate eco-lodge overlooks a large dam with resident crocodile and hippo, and boasts one of the best views in the park.

Built from the foundations of an old Zimparks outpost, and using as many eco principles as possible, the refurbished lodge embodies the very essence of conservation and responsible tourism by re-purposing, preserving and celebrating the natural heritage of the site. 

Nantwich is perfect for safari lovers wanting to get off the beaten-track to discover the natural wilderness and prolific wildlife of Hwange. The area is known for having the highest density of lions in the park.  

In addition, the area around Nantwich is famed for its huge herds of 1,000 or more buffalo and a growing local population of cheetah.  Hwange National Park is also home to one of the largest populations of elephants in the world.

Nantwich’s talented in-house chefs use fresh, local produce and create everything from scratch, from home-baked bread to delicious home-made ice cream. There’s a continental and cooked breakfast, a two-course lunch and three-course dinner, with delicious snacks and sundowners on game drives.

528 | Victoria Falls 

528 | Victoria Falls is a unique boutique guest house located 2.5km from Victoria Falls town, just 3km from the iconic waterfall. 528 is based in a quiet, leafy suburb, close to all restaurants & activities in Victoria Falls town (a mere 5-minute taxi ride at $4/ride). All their unique rooms have air-conditioning, tea and coffee facilities, hair dryers, safes and luxurious bathrooms.

You’ll receive personalised service from owner-operators, Paul and Meredith and their close-knit team. A delicious cold spread and cooked to order breakfasts are included.

The crowning glory is the rooftop bar, Treetops, with spectacular views to the ribbon of the Zambezi and Zambia beyond. Sip a gin and tonic (or any other beverage) as you bear witness to one of our astounding sunsets and watch the lights of Livingstone and the stars emerge. Treetops is operated on an honesty policy and also offers tea and coffee.

Other facilities include a separate lounge and dining room, with views over the pool and leafy gardens. There are plenty of private nooks in the main building and gardens un which to relax and recharge.

Pioneers Lodge, Victoria Falla

Pioneers is a short 2.5 km from the magical Victoria Falls. Situated in a peaceful residential suburb, this lodge is in an ideal location. The nostalgic era of the pioneer explorers has been perfectly blended with modern amenities to meet all the requirements of today’s traveller. The property is exclusively reserved for residents, which ensures topmost privacy. 

Set in lush gardens with beautifully manicured lawns, Pioneers is a great option for those who value comfort and elegance. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated in a classic style, and each has a clear and open view of the garden.  As well as comfortable furniture, multi plugs and good lighting, they all feature air-conditioners, fans, room safes, mosquito nets and tea/coffee making facilities. Each room has its own bathroom en-suite with shower, toilet and a double vanity unit.

Find inspiration for your writing in the heart of Africa

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