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“Loved the Watering Hole” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

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Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
116 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Loved the Watering Hole”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2012

Our tour group of 22 people stayed at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for 2 nights in August during a 15 day tour with Gate1. It is about 30-45 minutes from the Victoria Falls Airport and about 15-20 minutes from the Town Center and Victoria Falls. A shuttle is offered that can take you into town. The internet access is limited and offered at a reasonable price. I paid $5 and that lasted me the whole 3 days. The Lodge is beautiful in a rustic way. The watering hole is what truly makes it amazing. Just amazing sitting on your patio or even at the bar/lounge/pool/restaurant (ordered a bream fish for lunch, very tasty) and seeing the animals come and go. My favorites to watch were the elephants and water buffalos. Seeing the animals appear out of nowhere to get their thirst quenched is truly unforgettable. BOMA restaurant is within 5 minutes of the Lodge-that was a fun experience. The grounds and décor are okay too. Rooms and bathroom (shower and bathe separate) are clean; mosquito netting around the bed-a bit on the firm side but I slept okay. I liked that they provided insect repellant in the bathrooms-ever on guard against mosquito-don’t want anyone catching malaria. Nice pool/lounge area. Breakfast options vary and were good. The staff was helpful but not overly friendly, just barely polite. Quite different from the staff we encountered at the hotels in South Africa. Beware of the monkeys on the property; they will snatch your things. One gave us quite a scare on our first night and we had the pleasure of watching one having an apple on our porch. We were advised to be careful walking around at nights since we were actually in a National Park where many animals live. So I have pointed out all the positives, now for the negative which by the way I should point out would not prevent me from staying there again because I am too fascinated with the watering hole to stay elsewhere. On check-in instead of being given the chance to grab our bags we were herded to the restaurant for complimentary drinks and introductions, room keys handed out etc. As a result some folks including myself bags were sent to the wrong rooms or plain left standing at the entrance of the hotel. Folks please insist that you get your bags first before collecting room keys! A group member had a large sum of money and personal items stolen. Staff was very helpful in getting him in touch with local police to file a report so that he could get back his money from insurance. His bill was also settled by the hotel given his great loss. For additional details see my trip report in the forum. As always be careful with your belongings when traveling anywhere in the world. Overall I’d say this was a good hotel choice by Gate1.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kimberley S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (324)
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English first
Albuquerque, NM
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012

The lodge overlooks a waterhole where one can often view animals coming to drink. The area was extremely dry and brown in August (winter dry season), so it was usually easy to see the animals walking through the bush. From the main lodge, we saw Marabou storks. guinea fowl, warthogs, impala, elephant, and various waterfowl. Binoculars are very helpful.

The room was clean, comfortable, and nicely decorated. Although we were there in the dry season and bugs were not a problem, each evening while we were at dinner the housekeeping staff closed the balcony doors to our room, dropped the mosquito nets down from the ceiling around our bed, and activated insecticide. The doors had no weatherstripping and occasional gaps around the edges, so in bug season the nets and insecticide would probably have been welcome. We only found one available electrical outlet in the room (220v).

Some aspects of the hotel are a little over-the-top touristy: the attendant at the gate and the doorman both had tall headdresses and colorful capes, and the "Boma" dining area reminded me of the very touristy luaus in Hawaii. When we were there the Boma was quite crowded with long lines at times, especially for the meat.

Hotel and main lodge restaurant staff were always friendly and helpful. We would certainly go again.

Room Tip: Rooms with a view of the waterhole (most of them, though some at a steep angle) let you watch game f...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Diver_Denny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 11, 2012
Hello Denny USA
We thank you for your generous review, especially the eye-catching headline "Animals...Food...Fun" and your statement that "we would certainly go again." Yes, some find The Boma "touristy" though it is our intention to entertain and allow visitors to experience a few touches of traditional culture, though we can hardly be really authentic - rather we hope guests enjoy the festive spirit. The queues that occur on occasion are because The Boma has been the most popular restaurant in town for many years, though we do try to allocate as many resources as possible and are constantly looking at better ways.

Good news for you and other guests is that the lodge's 72 rooms are all being revitalised and refurbished early next year, so we hope you will visit again...when we will aim to earn a 5 Star recognition from you.

With warm regards from Victoria Falls

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
64 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012

We stayed at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for 3 nights this August and had a truly memorable and lovely time. There are only a handful of occasions when we feel a bit wistful about leaving a place, and this was one of them. This is not to say that there aren't glitches - particularly at the front desk - but the architecture of the common areas and the rooms coupled with the gorgeous sunset views over the waterhole can make up for any shortcomings.

We booked our duplex suite with views of the waterhole through LuxuryLink but when we checked in we were brought to a much smaller room with a skewed and distant view of the waterhole. Fortunately our bellhop was on top of the situation and went back to the front desk to make sure we were re-assigned and placed in the correct category room. The situation was handled efficiently but it was something that you don't really want to deal with when you first arrive at a property. Later on in the afternoon, we went to the front desk for help contacting a tour operator with which we booked several excursions. The staff that were there at the time seemed rather indifferent and we weren't even sure if they were in the process of helping us or if they were just doing something else on their computers. After much waiting around, another employee walked by and told us that the tour operator had actually called earlier in the day and then proceeded to hand the message to us after we had been standing there waiting for 15 minutes. This all sounds like a bad start but everything smoothed out eventually.

Firstly, the duplex suites are beautiful with soaring ceilings and incredible views. These rooms are not decorated in a sleek and polished style, nor do I think they were meant to be. There is so much charm with the thatched roofs and the incorporation of local accents and wooden and tile elements into the decor. The master bathroom was decorated in a similar style and was comfortably large with a whirlpool tub and shower, and it was convenient to have a half bathroom on the lower level. Our booking included a bottle of chilled champagne delivered to the room, which we happily sipped on our patio as we watched the golden sun set as elephants frolicked at the waterhole. Life was pretty good at that moment except we had that moment 3 times since the sunsets were spectacular each day we were there.

Dinner at the lodge's "The Boma" was a fun and satisfying diversion and definitely worth trying once during your stay. The food was plentiful and you get to try different kinds of game with many sauces. Who knew warthog tasted so good?! Entertainment was typical of a resort dinner show with a combination of performance and activities to spur audience participation. MaKuwa-Kuwa was the default restaurant for breakfast and it was a very pleasant place for your first meal of the day with a sizable buffet of cold items sweet and savory, pancakes made to order, and a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar. You are also able to order one hot item from the menu in addition to the buffet. We had dinner there one night and felt that it is definitely a better deal for breakfast as the dinner prices are slightly elevated and the food is not the most imaginative or delicious and the dining room was much noisier during dinner service giving it a slight canteen feel.

Unfortunately, we were there during winter so the water in the pool was too cold for swimming. Otherwise, the views from the pool were equally stunning. As for the location, some people may be concerned about being outside or farther away from the town of Victoria Falls. We really did not feel that it was a problem and actually appreciated that the lodge was slightly outside of town because it was more tranquil. Additionally, the hotel runs a convenient shuttle that takes you to the town center and onward to the entrance to the park as well as picks up guests from the other big hotels in the town center during evening hours.

Overall, we had a fabulous time. There were some off notes here and there but they were easily outweighed by the hotel itself and the setting.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank sashapie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 6, 2012
Hello New York
Thank you for your very comprehensive review. Despite the glitches you experienced (for which I humbly apologize) the fact that you still felt compelled to award us maximum 5 stars tells me that you hugely enjoyed our pristine natural environment and experiences.

On the negatives we have had a few comments about front-desk service and I have been personally addressing these with daily meetings, strategy decisions (how can we miss a guest's pre check-in requests?, re-training and generally whipping up the spirit that we are renowned for. We have happy and committed staff on the front desk as this is our first "Moment of Truth" with the customer, so I apologize that you found them to be in a bit of a tizz at the time.

We value your endorsement of "truly fabulous' and that you were wistful about leaving and assure you we are working on our shortcomings. Indeed should you wish to share any further detail with me to enable us to do better my email address is below.

My warmest regards from a very hot Victoria Falls
Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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Norman, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012

There is a watering hole view-able from the balcony at the rear of the lodge. Around sundown you can have a drink and watch the animals come in to do the same. There are lights on the watering hole so that you can see the animals after dark as well. If you aren't going on a safari while in Africa this is probably your best chance to see elephants, cape buffalo, and water buck. You may not see many warthogs behind the lodge, as most of them will be in front of the lodge eating the lawn.

Speaking of the accommodations themselves, we experienced no problems of any kind during our 3 day stop here. Our check-in was smooth. Everything was immaculately clean. The beds were comfortable. The food served in the restaurant was excellent.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Saint_Doyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 6, 2012
Hello Oklahoma
It's been really fabulous for us all at Victoria Falls generally to welcome so many visitors from the USA during this year - you are all very enthusiastic. Your 5 star review does us proud and we thank you sincerely. I am particularly delighted that you positively mentioned our check-in front desk team as they often hit peak periods and it can be a bewildering role sometimes. I will duly applaud them on your behalf at our regular meetings.

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2012

Our family of four just returned from a long trip to several places in S. Africa and Zim. The Vic Falls Safari Lodge was beyond fabulous. Such a beautiful setting, gorgeous architecture at the Lodge, delicious food. We stayed in the Elephant and Pangolin Suites and couldn't believe how beautiful the rooms were and the views out of our windows and balcony. Herds of elephant, Cape Buffalo, kudu, wart hogs, impala, Guinea Fowl right in front of us while our kids swam in the perfect little swimming pools. We didn't want to leave! Everything was very clean, staff were extremely nice. Dining room service IS a little slow, but the setting was so beautiful, we didn't really care. One tip, Traveler's Checks are really hard to use there. Had a bit of a struggle keeping enough cash on hand for border crossings, etc. Took shuttle into town to hit the cash machine, so it all worked out.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tara L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 4, 2012
Hello Tara
We greatly appreciate - and puff out with pride - your comment that our lodge was "beyond fabulous." It's really wonderful when visitors exude such excitement about their various experiences and we're delighted we rated so very highly after you visited several destinations in SA and Zim. Yes, I agree we sometimes need to spruce up our service in the dining room and we are constantly training and re-training our staff, who are all drawn from the local community and are so happy and pleased to be in their roles. At least the view of the waterhole and the various animals was a very pleasant distraction when the service was a little slow...and maybe had a lot to do with your comment that "we didn't want to leave."

Next year all 72 rooms at the lodge will be totally revitalised and refurbished and I hope you will get to experience them and stay with us again in the future.

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sammamish, Washington
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2012

Although we had a confirmed reservation, we were told we were on the waitlist. Needless to say, our check-in procedures were very slow & inefficient. We didn't get the family or 2 inter-leading rooms which we were confirmed for, but instead got two twin rooms far away from each other. Very disappointing indeed since we were a family with 2 young kids. The rooms were old with dated furniture and the lighting in the rooms were very poor. The room decor certainly needs some updating! The mosquito net over our bed was definitely helpful. Breakfast was above-average with choice of made-to-order eggs & continental buffet offerings. The lunch was satisfying with variety of salads. Dinner service in the restaurant was slow - they seemed short-staffed. The view over the waterhole was a plus with visits from elephants, buffalo and other animals. The afternoon feeding of the vultures was an interesting sight. There is a comfortable TV room. Although internet service is available, it is not free.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank StPatrickGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 4, 2012
Hello Seattle
Thank you for your frank comments - they take the wind out of our sails a bit as they are sandwiched between four reviews awarding us full-houses of five stars. We have had a couple of problems with check-in requests recently and, as I posted previously, I have personally re-visited the entire process and policies. On occasion we have found that agents do not send us precise requests, but of course we also are blameworthy on other occasions.

May I invite you to email me personally with more precise details of the issues you mention. Re the internet, unlike the USA bandwidth in Zimbabwe is still slow and very expensive, though I believe we will have a faster fibre optic system in the near future.

With sincere apologies for your aggravations

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromsgrove
Level Contributor
99 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2012

Spent 3 nights here following on from Chobe Safari Lodge. This lodge has a spectacular location a little distance from Victoria Falls town but the shuttle runs every hour.

The food in the restaurant was very good and we had no problems booking a table in the morning. We also had a meal in the Boma restaurant which is a buffet which was a bit disappointing - if you are going go early in the evening as it gets crowded and choice of food isn't as good later.

A drink in the bar overlooking the waterhole at sunset is a must.

If you want to get really close to the animals book a Hide sit. ( The Hide is right next to the waterhole). Also be around at 1pm to feed the vultures.

We did an elephant back safari and guided tour of the Falls both of which were excellent. The view of the Falls is definitely better from the Zimbabwe side.

We would recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: 1st floor rooms overlooking the waterhole are a must.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CazBromsgrove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 3, 2012
Dear CazBromsgrove
They always say it's "location, location, location" and we're indeed proud of our "Fantastic" location as you headline it. We're delighted you appreciated that the vistas of a pristine environment are spectacular and afforded you some magical experiences - sunset drinks watching the animals at the waterhole, etc.

Did you know that we are the only main hotel/lodge in town that faces west and therefore the sunset! And our elevated position affords those endless views and glorious sunsets.

The Bromsgrove we know is near Worcester...is that where you are? We have a famous Zimbabwean living there, Graeme Hick. If you spot him say hello from his homeland! Thank you for visiting and for the 5 out of 5 rating.

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Property: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Address: 471 Squire Cummings Road, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Victoria Falls
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Victoria Falls
#4 Romantic Hotel in Victoria Falls
#4 Spa Hotel in Victoria Falls
#5 Family Hotel in Victoria Falls
#7 Luxury Hotel in Victoria Falls
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Victoria Falls Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voted the best Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe for 20 years running, the world-famous Victoria Falls Safari Lodge offers easy access to the iconic Victoria Falls, coupled with a wildlife experience that is truly unrivalled. Now in its 22nd year of welcoming guests, the Lodge is built on a plateau overlooking the Zambezi National Park with endless unspoilt views to the horizon, just four kilometers from the Falls. This is the only sunset facing hotel in Victoria Falls, and the newly-renovated rooms and balconies are built up above a central waterhole which attracts herds of buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, as well as night-time predators, such as lion and leopard. Our warm and personable staff are our greatest pride. Past guests frequently comment on our team's sublime hospitality and seamless delivery. The main areas of the lodge, such as the MaKuwa-Kuwa restaurant and the homely Buffalo Bar, are rich in ambience and also overlook the central waterhole, where drinks and dinners are often shared with wildlife meandering down to the water each day to quench their thirst. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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