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“Fun at VFSL, Zimbabwe”

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Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Ranked #8 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fun at VFSL, Zimbabwe”
Reviewed November 21, 2012

My wife and I stayed Nov. 4, 5 and 6. We enjoyed the open areas of the bar, breakfast eating area and restaurant which allowed us to watch the comings and goings at the water hole which proved to be very interesting. Our room also overlooked the water hole. It's great to have a hotel/lodge room with an interesting view. The room, the bed and the bathroom was clean. We liked the atmosphere in the room, the bed complete with mosquito curtains was comfortable, and the bathroom was nicely laid out and well supplied. All of the staff were friendly and helpful. My personal highlight in the hotel was my warthog dinner in the restaurant - very tasty and more tender than I anticipated. We also ordered room service one night when we returned late from a full and active day, the service was timely and the food was well prepared. I recommend this lodge to travellers to Victoria Falls.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jim M
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, November 27, 2012
Hello Jim

Thank you so much for your high commendation and positive review. Staying with us is as much about the general experience as the food and service and it’s great that you so appreciated your “room with a view” as well as a tasty warthog dinner.

You gave service and sleep quality a full house of 5 stars – isn’t it just great to sleep peacefully in the African bush with no noise of traffic etc. We wish you a festive Xmas and great New Year in Canada.

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2012

I stayed for three nights at the Safari Lodge, this was my second time in the compound as i stayed at Lokathula Lodges the time before. My room was great consisting of a large room with 2 single beds with a small balcony that had a fantastic view of the waterhole. The bathroom was also very large with a great shower as well. The staff were very friendly and extremely helpful. I spent most of my time at the Buffalo bar watching the water hole. I also partook in the feeding of the vultures which takes place just in front of the lodge below the balcony which was great and very informative. I also went on the bush walk with just a guide and his rifle. We went out past the waterhole and through the bush on the other side of the lodge. He showed me an elephant skeleton and taught me how to tell the age of an elephant and what others do when one dies. The food at the lodge was fantastic with a great selection to choose from.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Perks777
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, November 27, 2012
Greetings to you in Johannesburg. It’s really heart-warming when our guests take such delight in their experiences while staying with us. You so obviously relished your stay and accentuated the positives in your glowing review.

You loved the Buffalo Bar and that “fantastic view” of the waterhole...and who wouldn’t ? We consider it the superior vista and location of any hotel in or near our famous resort town and it really is an impressive stretch of pristine Africa with the wildlife as a bonus.

Our best wishes for the festive season and more happy travels and experiences in 2013.

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.
Bath
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 17, 2012

We spent 2 days at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, staying in an amazing 2 floored apartment with our own viewing balcony and direct views of the waterhole from the 4 poster bed! Whilst dining, you will see animals gathering at the waterhole only a short distance lower, into the hillside. Although only a short distance from Victoria Falls it was situated away from any other Lodges. The perfect location to stay so that you can jump onto the courtesy bus which runs every hour to see the Falls in all their splendour, or visit the market in town. Don't forget to join the Sundowner river cruise - not to be missed. Beautiful food, courteously served together with superb wine and beer. The vulture feeding at 1pm is an amazing sight.

Room Tip: Pay extra and get the 2 storey luxury room (No 8 is superbly located)
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank OAP_bath
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, November 27, 2012
Sahwira OAP Bath!

That’s our traditional “spirit of friendship” local greeting and I write to thank you for the time you have taken to post such a glowing review of your stay with us. I’m glad you truly appreciated the benefits of our incredible location – isolated, overlooking pristine wilderness and animals and yet just 10 minutes from the heart of the town. It’s a piece of authentic Africa that so many really love.

I have shared your review with many of our key staff, including the Chef and his team who take great delight when guests comment so favourably on their efforts.

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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Chula Vista, California
Level Contributor
186 reviews
146 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

We stayed three nights at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge with a tour group. It's a somewhat rustic wilderness lodge with some things we liked and others we didn't. You really get the feeling of being out in the wilderness here. There's a watering hole in back and it's fun to see the variety of animals that frequent it throughout the day. You might also enjoy seeing the wild wart hogs running around the grounds as well. The ambiance was good. Our room had a balcony overlooking the watering hole, but the doors did not seal well, allowing bugs and insects into the room. Fortunately we had mosquito netting around the bed so we didn't have any problem with the insects. Just in case, though, there was a can of bug spray in the room. Our room was air conditioned but the public rooms were not. There are no TV's in the room, but there was a small lounge with a television where we tried to get election results from CNN. Wifi is available for a $5.00 charge, but it didn't work a lot of the time. The hotel is very isolated, but most local tour companies will pick you up at the hotel for activities. There is a shuttle into town, but it onluy runs once an hour. It goes to the downtown hotels where you can eat if you want. There didn't appear to be any other places in town where we would have wanted to eat. We ended up eating our meals at the hotel as we didn't want to bother with the shuttle. The food was very expensive and the service was extremely slow. One day at lunch it took 50 minutes to get a $12 dollar grilled ham and cheese sandwich and two of our other orders were not processed correctly. We tried room service one night, but the food arrived cold and there wasn't really enough space to eat comfortably in the room. The buffet breakfasts were good. You can also order from the breafkast menu at no extra charge, but our eggs were way overcooked and they forgot our hashbrowns so I'd recommend just eating at the buffet. This place was fun and had a feeling of really being in Africa. It suited our needs since all our tours and activities left from the hotel. I would have liked more reasonably priced food and better food service, but the staff was friendly and we enjoyed our stay. By the way, Zimbabwe no longer uses its own currency, having topped out at 10 trillion for a US dollar. US dollars and South African rand are readily accepted and the hotel will take credit cards.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank DCH47
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, November 15, 2012
Wow California...your review sure is a mixed bag! First, our thanks for your generous words about friendly staff, great waterhole and animals, ambiance, fun and really feeling like you are in Africa.

Now, to the issues you note for which we apologise at the outset for some of them but feel the need to clarify others. We’re sorry you didn’t eat elsewhere as we believe you would have discovered two things – our food, for its quality and setting, is very competitively priced for Victoria Falls and there are several really good places to eat. Ilala Lodge’s Palm restaurant is a winner....Victoria falls Hotel has the terrace, Jungle Junction and the elegant, colonial-style Livingstone room, all highly recommended.

I know you are used to lots of cheaper options, and great quality, in the USA but Zimbabwe is landlocked and most of our food and ingredients are imported, otherwise we could not offer such a tasty and varied international menu.

Yes, we know, and we’re sorry, that when the Makuwa-Kuwa is busy and we may be short-staffed our service can be a little too slow and we are embarking on a major restructuring exercise to solve this. Similarly this year we spent US$300,000 in revitalising all public areas and have budgeted to totally refurbish all 72-room in the first half of the new year, including those pesky doors!

I’m not sure if you were disappointed there were no TV’s in the rooms? This is done to preserve the natural tranquillity of the African bush that people come to experience and is, we believe and are often told, an immense benefit to our guests, who still have the option of the TV lounge.

You mention that there is no air-conditioning in the public areas. I would kindly ask that you review that criticism because our lodge is designed with large, wide-open spaces and a very high thatched roof. The bar, the dining room, the terrace all look over an unspoiled and majestic piece of Africa and are totally open, with blinds that roll down in the event of rain or too much sun. Air conditioning would be a totally impossible undertaking though thatch is as cool as it gets, though our mid-day heat can be quite severe when there is no breeze.

We would also like to respond to your criticism that our lodge is “very isolated.” To some that may conjure up visions of a long trek to the town centre, the action or to the falls themselves. The reality is that we are a very convenient 10-minute coach trip from the centre of the town and the falls and we believe our location is also a big benefit to our guests.

We are the only lodge or hotel facing west with such a magnificent vista over a large tract of wilderness and the wildlife – which is the tranquillity and setting we hope people come to Africa for. Our location actually gives us much acclaim and many kudos over others.

You mentioned our shuttle goes “only every hour” – again we believe that this is a superior, reliable and complimentary service we offer our guests and that on-the-hour every hour is exceptional.

Jonathan Hudson
General manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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London
Level Contributor
116 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

I enjoyed every minute in this lodge. The rooms are spacious with view to die for. It is what African dreams are made of. You can drink at the bar while watching animals at their watering hole. It has a service where you can request to be called when certain animals are by the water which I thought was fantastic. The swimming pools were refreshing. The breakfast was great. The staff are extremely friendly.

The hotel has a shuttle that transports you to the Victoria Falls. They have many activities. We went for the sunset cruise and were lucky to see elephants, zebras and crocodiles. I would recommend the African Night where you can sample some authentic African food and dance.

There is no need tip individual staff as the hotel states "we believe everyone contributes to your experience" so guests are encouraged to tip at reception when checking out. No amount of money I tipped would have been enough as the service was exceptional.

Room Tip: Try to get a room with a view of the watering hole!!!!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank RandomJLondon
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, November 15, 2012
Dear Random, London
Your review makes us proud and highlights our wonderful location, staff and all that we truly strive for. You focus entirely on the many positives and if you had any nagging issues you don’t allow these to transcend your excitement. Thank you!

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
33 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Left with mixed feelings about this lodge after staying two nights. Location being at the end of a road and out of the town gives it a safari out in the bush feel, and the entrance doesn't disappoint, with an imposing high wooden beamed structure inviting you in.

The room we had was rather tired and dated though. The balcony doors, that have to remain closed to avoid animal intruders, were in need of repair and awkward to operate. We never felt really comfortable and relaxed in the room.

The bar had a great outlook over the subtly lit watering hole that attracted elephants, kudu and impala, and we enjoyed our evening drinks there as the sun set over Zambezi National Park. Service was spotty as they seemed overwhelmed at times.

Our one dinner in the Makuwa-Kuwa restaurant was good, and the breakfasts were adequate.

This lodge caters to many large groups, so it has an air of being touristy, complete with the continual bustle that accompanies these types of hotels, as guests are herded in and out on their way to and from pre-booked activities.

The Boma fell into that category also, and whilst the dancers and drummers put on an energetic show, it all felt a bit contrived. Most of the meats were tough, and the food average. It is what it is, a show put on for the tourists.

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank Vancana
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, November 7, 2012
Hello Vancouver
We appreciate the time you have taken to post a review of our lodge and can see that at times you were aggravated by perhaps seeking tranquillity when it seems there was a group in-house.

After more than a decade in the doldrums we are truly thrilled to see the rejuvenation of Zimbabwe tourism and sporadic groups have become a vital asset for us; however, we are sorry that your visit clashed in this way. Victoria Falls has become popular again and so all hotels of 50 rooms or more (most of them) will have this same issue. A pity you did not take refuge in the top floor quiet and exclusive library; but your observation has inspired the future policy of advising couples and small families that they can get away to a beautiful quiet spot with an amazing vista when groups are in-house.

Your note that the rooms are tired is correct. Because of the past 10 years of “survival” planned refurbishments were put on hold. However, confidence has come roaring back and recently we invested US$300,000 in upgrading all public areas and all 72 rooms will be refurbished and refashioned in the first half of next year. In addition our new luxury 20-room wing, Safari Club, opened in August this year at a cost of US$2,7m. So, a few more steps...catch our breath...then the rooms will be restored to a new and modern beauty.

I’m glad you appreciated the view from the Buffalo Bar – we are very fortunate to be just a little out of town and open to the real wilderness.

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
jonathan@saflodge.co.zw
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Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Beautiful property and the views of the watering hole are amazing. Food was also very good but be warned it is expensive (similar to Canadian pricing i.e. $8 for a drink).

My husband accidently forgot some $ in his pocket when we sent a few items away for laundry service and the housekeeping staff called us to return it! Was very impressed by this could could have easily taken it without our knowing.

The monkeys are a major problem here. Major pests and have been known to hiss at women guests. Also I question how ecologically healthy the "vulture feeding" is.... (worry about creating reliance on people for their food...)

Definitely not a place to go for safari but the falls are amazing and do book the Boma it's a lot of fun. Tip - when you go to the falls be prepared for a lot of water!! Bring a poncho and waterproof camera.

Room Tip: ask for a view of the watering hole
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Shanta09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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:
Victoria Falls Safari Hotel Victoria Falls

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