A warthog family lives on the grounds. And wild elephants drink at the water hole in front of the lodge’s Buffalo Bar.
But we were focused on what was inside our room at the Victoria Falls Safari Club in Zimbabwe.
Like the in-room Nespresso machine, basket of complimentary sunscreen and mosquito lotion, and pillow menu. Free WiFi, air conditioning and blackout drapes. A minibar with complimentary wine and beer. And best of all – a hair dryer!
What, the hair dryer doesn’t excite you?
It would if you’re coming from a safari in the bush. No matter how fabulous and luxurious our Zambia safari was, the bush camps we stayed in were totally off-the-grid (solar-powered with only radio contact to the base camp) – and so we relished the luxury of checking in afterward at the Victoria Falls Safari Club.
“Beware of the crocodiles!” read the sign just beyond our balcony. But inside this lovely Victoria Falls 5 star hotel, all was civilized – and we soaked it all up for three welcome nights.
Lodges in Victoria Falls
Many visitors on safari in Zambia, Botswana and/or South Africa plan an overnight stop at the world-famous Victoria Falls – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World.”
The falls lie on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Hotels in Victoria Falls, Zambia:
Traditionally, visitors have stayed on the Zambia side in Livingstone; on a previous visit to the African continent, we bedded down at The Royal Livingstone – a delightful colonial-style resort where you can walk to the falls.
Lodges in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe:
But now that Zimbabwe is opening up to tourism again, safari-goers also have the option of staying in lodges in Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side.
New KAZA visa:
A new visa makes this easier too.
A single 30-day visa – the KAZA visa (or KAZA Univisa) – was introduced in December, 2016. It allows visitors to travel to both Zambia and Zimbabwe (and back and forth between the two countries) for $50 USD.
So this visit, with our passports stamped with this visa, we stayed on the Zimbabwe side of the falls at the Victoria Falls Safari Club.
Victoria Falls Safari Club, Zimbabwe
The 20-room Victoria Falls Safari Club, which opened in 2012, is found on the same grounds as the older and larger Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, voted the best resort hotel in Zimbabwe for the last 20 consecutive years by the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents.
You can use all the facilities of the Lodge, like its candlelit Makuwa Kuwa restaurant for dinner (perhaps kudu stew with date salsa or bacon-wrapped crocodile tail?).
But the Club is more exclusive and you get a more personalized stay.
For example, you can enjoy complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and sunset cocktails and canapés on the Club’s viewing deck, where elephants and giraffes can be spied drinking from a nearby water hole.
Victoria Falls Safari Club suites
And the rooms? Well, they’re not really rooms, they’re so much bigger – referred to as suites (which they are).
Spacious, bright and light, the suites have sisal rugs on tile floors. Multi-colored paintings of African ladies in traditional costume decorate the walls. Big sliding glass doors open onto large balconies (but we were warned not to leave the doors open as baboons could enter).
They’re extremely comfortable – among the best accommodation in Victoria Falls.
Service is excellent, because you have access to a concierge and reception desk just for guests in the Club’s 20 rooms.
Things to do in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
View the falls!
Of course, the main reason people go to Victoria Falls is to visit the amazing curtain of water almost a mile wide that crashes down from a height of over 300 feet.
Less dramatic perhaps, but equally interesting in its own way, is the “Vulture Culture” experience at the Lodge. The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge feeds hundreds and hundreds of wild vultures daily; you learn more about these creatures, then watch them fly in and rip into meat carcasses.
Why you might ask, do vultures need to be fed?
Supporting the community…
Both the Club and the Lodge are operated by Africa Albida Tourism, a Zimbabwean-based hospitality group with hotels, lodges and restaurants in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in southern Africa. We were interested to know that Africa Albida Tourism is lauded for its environmental efforts and supports the local community in a number of ways.
See here for the website for the Victoria Falls Safari Club, Zimbabwe.
All photos are © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except lead image and where noted)
Read more about what to do in Victoria Falls
See our story on “Authentic Africa in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls,” published in TravelAge West magazine.
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We’re Janice and George Mucalov, professional award-winning travel writers, sharing tales of luxury travel with a twist of adventure.