Experience It: Fothergill Island – Africa Renewed
Are you a weary traveller looking to widen your horizons with a fresh perspective? Well, we have the perfect destination for you! A brand new port of call awaits eager crusaders. An Africa that is better than ever before.
Re-opened in 2021, Fothergill Island is a privately-owned attraction that embodies the concept of new and improved African tourism. Located in the Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe, the stunning getaway has undergone an extensive refurbishment programme, while still maintaining the island’s rich traditions and history.
Our beautiful continent is trumpeting a new call for thrill-seekers and luxury lovers alike. It’s time to answer that call. Come with us as we take a trip to Fothergill, the ultimate private island vacation.
The History Of Zimbabwe’s Luxury Island
Following the Kariba Dam’s opening, rising water levels put thousands of animals’ lives at risk. Rupert Fothergill acted swiftly, putting together a team to embark on the courageous rescue mission, appropriately named Operation Noah.
Animals that benefitted from Operation Noah included stranded:
- Black rhinos
- Among many others!
Most animals were transported to Matusadona National Park and the island. In honour of the fearless quest, the history-steeped holiday destination was named Fothergill Island.
Matusadona National Park: Fothergill Island’s Scenic Setting
Despite its name, Fothergill is not an island in the traditional sense of the word. One of the things that make Fothergill Island so special is its inland connection to Matusadona National Park. The island’s runway strip also connects the vacation spot to other great African destinations, making it easily accessible to all visitors.
Named after the rolling Matuzviadonha Hills, Matusadona is situated in northern Zimbabwe on the southern shore of Lake Kariba. The park covers approximately 567 sq mi (1 470 km2) and is graced with marvellous flat plains and tall, jagged mountains.
Matusadona offers an exquisite mix of well-preserved nature and rugged wilderness. In addition to the nearby lake, two perennial rivers, the Ume and the Sanyati sit on either side of this remote paradise, contributing to its spectacular bush oasis setting.
Time For A Private Island Vacation
In Africa, we don’t do ordinary. True to this; there is no mediocracy when it comes to Fothergill Island.
Take your pick between two unique and intimate camps. These camps make up a total of 10 luxurious tented suites. These blend in seamlessly with the surrounding expanse of the national park, offering guests a luxurious canvas dream under the magical African sky.
Five large lake and bush double (or twin) suites and a pair of 2-bedroom family suites have been placed on about 1 200 square feet (115 sqm) of decking. Some of which include an outside shower or a large bathtub with unforgettable views of the majesty of the island.
The 3 island suites promise the utmost privacy and comfort. These are made up of an airy central lounge, dining space, bar, and outside area, which overlooks a sparkling private pool.
Need some time to think? Each suite hosts a writing desk, a private lounge, a generous mini-bar, and a coffee station. It’s the perfect spot for some peaceful alone time.
All meals are freshly prepared by Executive Chef, Shane Flaxman and his team, in the middle of the African Bush, and served in several locations within the camp environs – normally under the gazebo out on the main deck, overlooking the flood plains and Lake Kariba. Requests are also fulfilled for those who want to dine out on the shore itself, or within the outlying bounds of the camp.
How To Enjoy Your Time On Fothergill Island
Surrounded by the picturesque Lake Kariba, the options for activities on Fothergill Island are endless. You can choose to explore the area by land, water, vehicle, foot, or boat!
Unique Luxury Safari
Are you looking for a life-changing safari experience? The grasslands of the connecting Matusadona park has created the perfect environment for large populations of mammals to thrive.
Visit and get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these creatures intimately, within their natural habitats. Fothergill offers private island safaris to suit every taste. Exploring nature has never been this exciting.
Fothergill Island takes the classic game drive to the next level. Fully-equipped modern-day 4×4 vehicles provide eager guests with customisable seats, padded roll bars, and charging points for cameras.
Bask under the cool canvas-covered roof while you watch hungry lions stalk unsuspecting herds of antelope, zebra, and buffalo. Wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to see animals enjoying the cooler temperatures characteristic of the early morning. Or, head out later in the afternoon to witness the activities of nocturnal creatures, such as peculiar-looking bush babies, porcupines, and grazing hippos.
Guided Walking Safaris
Thrill-seekers will revel in an opportunity to experience a guided walking safari. Become one with nature as you tread through all that the Island has to offer.
A multitude of natural wonders awaits as you walk the same path as the Matusadona wildlife. Any questions you might have about the flora or fauna will happily be answered by an experienced safari guide – your escort for your walking adventure.
For some yearning explorers, it might not be enough to travel by land. Fothergill’s one-of-a-kind boating safaris offer an unconventional view into the marvel of Matusadona National Park. Sailing across Lake Kariba you’ll have the opportunity to take in the park’s unique landscape from afar.
You get a front-row seat to animals congregating for a drink by the banks. Enjoy the unforgettable sight of crocodiles and hippos floating right next to your boat. And, let’s not forget the impala and other sprightly antelope that spring about in the shallows.
Take an afternoon cruise on the famous Lake Kariba or enjoy a sparkling sunset sail through the quieter Sanyati Gorge. The island and park’s water features and experiences never disappoint.
The Perfect Fishing Experience
Lake Kariba is brimming with diverse fish species, which creates quite the unique aquatic display! It’s easy to see why many choose to explore by boat. Go at the right time and you might even get a chance to witness the famed Kariba Tiger Fishing Competition.
Fishing is such a wonderful bonding experience. It’s one of the many ways Africa was meant to be enjoyed.
Fothergill Island is a place equipped for the whole family. Do a little target practice with archery, take in the refreshing wilderness air with a little stargazing, or maybe go for a late-night swim. No matter the age, Fothergill provides fascinating, fun safari and holiday activities for everyone.
Fothergill Island: Matusadona Conservation Trust
On the 1st of November 2019, African Parks teamed up with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Together they formed the Matusadona Conservation Trust.
The trust aims to revive the park through good governance and the restoration of indigenous flora and fauna. In full support of this initiative, Fothergill Island has made conscious improvements in the way it is run.
These improvements aim to support the Matusadona Conservation Trust by actively protecting the surrounding areas through sustainability practices. These include measures such as catch-and-release fishing and the backing of local anti-poaching efforts.
Fothergill has been instrumental in providing work for the locals living in nearby communities. Apprentices are accepted yearly, who then go on to gain practical and valuable experience in the hospitality industry.
As they are exposed to more areas of expertise, many employees demonstrate a willingness to learn about a particular hospitality field. They are encouraged to embark on internships and courses to help them grow along their desired career paths. Many become specialised as game rangers, chefs, and other tourism-related roles.
On top of Fothergill’s efforts in the community, 95% of the island’s energy is fueled by solar power. We see this as just another way we can live like Rupert Fothergill and ensure the island and its wildlife are here for generations to come.
Escape To The Island Of Dreams
Rub shoulders with nature from the lap of luxury, with an incomparable level of comfort and exclusivity. Rupert Fothergill helped preserve this beautiful private island for future generations. It’s time to reap those rewards.
Find the best of Zimbabwe at this exclusive safari destination. Come and unwrap the gift that is Fothergill Island.