Camp Amalinda is approximately 40km outside of Bulawayo along the Kezi (also known as the Matopos) Road. A short dirt track off the single strip tar meanders towards the camp. If you are lucky, you might even see zebra before you reach the camp, giving a clear indication that you are now in the bush and city life has been left behind!
We were welcomed by the Camp staff and were told that lunch would be served by the pool; if only we had bought our swimming costumes, although to be honest it was probably now just a bit too cold to swim! The pool is built on the downward slope of a large granite rock, which forms the natural bottom of the pool. The pool in turn overlooks a vista of trees, rocks and hills. What a view in which to enjoy our meal!
The restaurant offers a set meal of lunch and dessert, which can be booked and paid for in advance at the Bulawayo Club. Special dietary requirements can be taken into account at the time of booking, but otherwise there are no actual choices offered. If guests are staying at the lodge, then the meal is timed to coordinate with their activities. Time is not an issue however as the spectacular view, outside bar and pool can occupy your attention for more time than you realise.
The meal duly arrived, but with the kitchen being about 100m away, it arrived cooler than I would have enjoyed.
The meal itself was satisfying albeit less than spectacular, and certainly not up to the standards of the view that we were currently experiencing.
To my dismay, noodles from a packet formed part of the meal. The wine list looked impressive, but might just have been the best wine list in the world, as none of the selection was available, with their own imported house wine being the only option.
Dessert was an improvement on the main course, but our proximity to the kitchen again played havoc with the desired temperature. I should point out, however, that there is a covered dining area within the lodge complex much closer to the kitchen; it was just that today we were being served by the pool.
The process of extracting coffee from the waiter seemed to draw on longer than necessary. It was almost as if the waiter was doing us a favour, and possibly, he was! I could not establish if tea and coffee were included in the set price or not, and our coffee did not appear on the drinks bill. Once received, I did consider if the effort had been worth it!
You could not imagine a more spectacular setting in which to satisfy your hunger. Even the dining area within the lodge complex is elevated with the same panoramic view. Given that the setting is magnificent, it does not need to be a substitute for the expectations of the meal. There is an opportunity here to combine the wonderful scenery with a memorable meal; unfortunately one side let the combination down! You can go to Camp Amalinda for a spectacular view with some food on the side, but you might be disappointed if you go for a spectacular lunch with the view included.
Expect to spend US$20 to US$35