We had enjoyed a sundowner with a herd of elephant in front of our luxury tent and fallen asleep to the sounds of grunting hippo…
We were only twenty minutes upstream from The Victoria Falls, awed by the beauty of The Zambezi River as seen from the luxurious Victoria Falls River Lodge. The first privately owned lodge to be situated in the Zambezi National Park, the lodge provides an ideal base to experience an African safari while also being able to explore The Victoria Falls.
I personally love swanning around the likes of the Royal Livingstone and Victoria Falls Hotel – something about that colonial atmosphere just does it for me.
The dilemma: What are Pulse Africa going to recommend to future travellers?
There are many accommodation choices in the Falls area on both sides of the river, making the choice for visitors tricky. Price is often a determining factor but as we discovered, the hotels are surprisingly comparative in terms of cost. For instance if you prefer to be in town close to the action, the Grand Old Dame, The Victoria Falls Hotel will cost you not much more than staying at Ilala Lodge. If however you prefer to be in a quieter location, both Victoria Falls River Lodge and Victoria Falls Safari Lodge offer bush experiences as well as providing easy access to the action of the town. How about a combination of the two? Certainly a possibility depending how often you wish to pack and unpack bags.
With travellers being increasingly more cost sensitive, I thought a cost comparison may be useful. Out came the calculator and after some time punching figures I was surprised at just how cost friendly the fully inclusive upstream lodge rates were. Keep in mind that the lodges include all meals, two daily activities (game drives, canoes, walking, boating to name a few), high tea and local beverages – not to mention a few extra thrills and trills. (gourmet meals, private plunge pools etc…) Now add those extra meals and activities to the rate a hotel in town offers and the difference is marginal. Good value indeed.
The River Club on the Zambian side of the Zambezi is the most adaptable in terms of their rates. Here guests can spend one night on a B&B basis and another on Fully Inclusive – all depending on which activities you have planned for the day. This owner run lodge is a real home-from-home experience and for anyone with an interest in history, it is a must.
Of course, for the ultimate in personal service it would be impossible to beat Tongabezi. A stay in the spectacular Honeymoon House, described as “worth getting married for “ is an unforgettable experience . Tongabezi staff go out of their way to ensure guests are treated like royalty; each room has its own butler and there is a wealth of activities to choose from. Guests will rarely dine in the same place twice, such is the imagination of the owners of this wonderful lodge, set right on the banks of The Zambezi.
Fortunately different people have different preferences and it is our job to ensure the correct match. My advice would be to consider all the options but if it is value for money you are after – give some serious thought to moving upstream.
Contact Nicci for more expert advice on your next holiday to Victoria Falls.