I am in the fortunate position whereby I have visited Victoria Falls several times in the last couple of years. It is one of my favourite destinations to visit for a couple of days, and it makes an excellent add-on for trips into South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Botswana! I often have conversations with people about visiting this fabulous destination, and one of the most popular questions is ‘where to stay’. So I have decided to pull together a quick ‘Top 5’ of my recommendations. This is purely my opinion, but it is based on genuine visits as I have now stayed in most of the Hotels within Vic Falls!
Kingdom at Victoria Falls – Good for Families
This hotel is certainly one of the biggest in Victoria Falls, with 294 rooms, and very much feels like a complex as opposed to just a hotel. On-site are all the facilities you could wish for including a Spa, Hair-Salon, 3 Swimming Pools, 4 Bars, a selection of Restaurants and a Tour Desk. The hotel has been styled around the famous Great Zimbabwe Ruins, and has a very traditional African feel. There are a selection of different room types including: King, Queen, Family and Twin/Bunk, so most types of traveller can be accommodated happily. The rooms are basic but have the facilities most people will need including air-conditioning, TV, hairdryer, satellite TV, tea/coffee and a safe. There is a balcony to enjoy outside space and you are likely to have a view of either the beautiful hotel lake or the bush outside the hotel, where you may even get a glimpse of the local wildlife! The rooms were clean and tidy, if not a little dated when I stayed, and the staff were incredibly friendly. For me the main selling point of this hotel is its location. You are a 10 minute walk from the falls, the Victoria Falls Hotel is next door, it is a 3 minute walk to Elephant Walk shopping complex, and only a 3-4 minute walk from all the main shops and restaurants in the small town. It is perfect for a short stay in Vic Falls. There is also an added bonus in that as the hotel has so many rooms it regularly runs offers, and the rooms are very reasonable priced.
Bayete Guest Lodge – The Quiet and Peaceful Option
This medium sized family run lodge offers 4* facilities and is one of the newer contenders to the accommodation options in the residential area of Victoria Falls. There are 25 rooms and they are all in thatched style cottages with either twin or double beds. The rooms have a great look and feel about them, and despite being thatched cottages there is good air-conditioning and a fan in the room, so the rooms can be cooled/heated according to individual preference. The lodge has an excellent pool, and offers a very tranquil experience as there are lush green gardens and a beautiful waterfall within the grounds. The breakfast was great quality and freshly cooked, and we had a very pleasant evening sat chatting with one of the staff and other guests over a cheeky Amarula….or 3! The only potential downside to this lodge is its location. It is about a 20-25 minute walk into Vic Falls Town and around a 30-35 minute walk/meander to the Falls. However, the lodge has an agreement with a local taxi firm and you get get a fixed price trip to and from the town/falls. The bonus to being out the centre of town is it is incredibly peaceful at this lodge and you get a much more personal service.
Shearwater Explorer Village – The Sociable Option
This well positioned budget lodge offers a great addition to accommodation in Victoria Falls. There are 3 types of accommodation on site: camping , serviced dome tents and chalets. It is the chalets that I recommend as they offer basic and clean accommodation, in an excellent location for incredibly reasonable rates. The Village is run by Shearwater, who are also one of the largest activity providers in Vic Falls, and they have many years experience of helping tourists to explore the area. Despite being budget accommodation the lodge offers a bar, restaurant and a nice pool. It is very much a sociable lodge, where you can enjoy food and drinks with other guests in a lively and vibrant location. This does mean it may not always be as quiet as other accommodations, but it is certainly fun! The lodge is located right behind Elephant Walk, where you can find a spa, restaurants and a variety of curio shops offering varying standards of African arts and crafts for purchase. It is only 10 minutes to walk to the Falls and about 5-6 minutes walk into the main area of Vic Falls Town. If you are looking for a simple but cost effective lodge then you really cannot go wrong with Shearwater Explorers Village.
Gorges and Little Gorges Lodge – The Remote One
Set a 30 minute drive outside the town of Victoria Falls, this lodge isn’t for those who want to be at the heart of the action. However, the major benefit to staying here is the outstanding location overlooking the Batoka Gorge. This lodge is ideal for those who like to be surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of nature. Gorges is famous for its spectacular views, whether you are enjoying a cup of coffee at sunrise on your private veranda or a cool refreshment by the pool at sunset, you will be constantly drawn to the stunning vistas provided by the Batoka Gorge and the rushing waters of the Zambezi River below. You have one included return trip into Victoria Falls town each day, so you do not need to worry about arranging transport. The best value way to stay at this lodge is with their all inclusive option because you get to do activities per night of the stay. The activities include a guided tour of Victoria Falls, souvenir shopping at the craft village, a visit to the local village, a school tour, traditional dancing display, a gorge walk with snacks, black eagle viewing with sundowners and snacks and a sundowner cruise on the Zambezi.
Victoria Falls Hotel – The Luxury One
This hotel is the absolute epitome of days gone by in Zimbabwe and a true symbol of Victoria Falls. Built by the British in 1904 this hotel was originally the accommodation for those working on the Cape-to-Cairo railway. Today it is one of the world’s most famous hotels, and a proud member of the ‘invitation-only’, Leading Hotels of the World. This luxury hotel has spectacular views of the gorges of Victoria Falls, and there is a private walkway down to the falls themselves that takes approximately 10 minutes. The service at this hotel is absolutely second to none and they can not do enough to help….and always with a smile. The hotel is reasonable in size with 161 rooms and suites available, and for those looking for a more personalised service the Stables Signature Wing offers a private lounge and private check-in alongside afternoon teas and a complimentary massage for every guest! You really will be treated exceptionally well at this beautiful hotel. In terms of location it is centrally located for all the main attractions and amenities in Victoria Falls and you are never more than 10 minutes away from everything you need. This is obviously one of the more expensive options in Victoria Falls, but considering the standard of this hotel I believe it does offer great value for money, as in low season you can get a room from £165 per person per night. If you have the budget and enjoy refined luxury then this is definitely the hotel for you. If you would like to experience this iconic place but can’t justify the room costs then I absolutely recommend lunch/afternoon tea on Stanley Terrace. Open to everyone, the sophisticated environment with high quality food is the perfect way to pass an afternoon, simply relaxing and enjoying the spectacular views.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge/Club – My Constant Favourite!
The first place I ever visited when I came to Vic Falls was this lodge, and every time I have been back since I have ensured that I spend at least one night here. There are actually 4 properties on the site: The Safari Lodge, The Safari Club, The Safari Suites and Lokuthula, but it is the Lodge and the Club that I love. The simple reason is the amazing waterhole. I honestly believe there is nothing more relaxing than sitting with a glass of chilled white wine, watching sunset over the waterhole whilst enjoying a variety of wildlife coming down for early evening refreshment! The Safari Lodge has 72 rooms, each with a balcony looking out into the wild. The rooms are equipped with everything you would need for a short stay including air-conditioning, tea/coffee, a safe, a hairdryer, an amazing shower and customised toiletries. The hotel has a great small swimming pool, and the bar and restaurants are strategically positioned to overlook the waterhole. The only slight downside to the lodge is that there are often large tour groups staying here, so it can get quite busy and noisy. It is for this reason that I try to stay at the Safari Club. This beautiful property has only 16 rooms, and in addition to everything offered at the lodge the rooms have included laundry services – perfect if this lodge is the last stop on your tour! There is a fabulous terrace with complimentary afternoon tea and sundowners and it is very exclusive and peaceful. The Safari Club underwent a renovation in 2018 and there is now an exclusive use pool, and a much larger deck that is closer to the waterhole, where you can now enjoy all meals. The properties are located about a 10 minute drive outside of VF town, and the falls. However, there is a reliable complimentary shuttle every hour that drops at several key points in town. The final point of this hotel worth mentioning is the BOMA dinner and drum show that happens every night. It is an excellent cultural experience with good buffet food (well not the mopani worms!) and great entertainment. Even if you don’t stay at the lodge then a visit to the BOMA should be on your Vic Falls itinerary!
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