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“Interesting and pleasant”
Review of Ilala Lodge

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Ilala Lodge
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 4, 2013

The rooms look out onto a grass field through double glass doors. You see lots of wildlife, even from the room. The rooms are fairly plain and clean, comfortable beds. Breakfast is very good. A nice bar opening out of doors. Monkeys jump among the chairs. Friendly staff and a good tour reservation group. The advertisements make it sound as if the falls are right next door. Yes, you can see the fog of the falls in the distance. You can walk to the falls, but don't do it casually since you pay a fairly large admission charge for every entry. You can walk easily into the town, which is almost a frontier type of town, with a few souvenir shops and a grocery store. A couple of good restaurants in the town.

Room Tip: Get a ground floor room on the open space- maybe all the rooms have this feature.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ron W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2014

Your review of Ilala Lodge is appreciated and pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. We trust you enjoyed the rest of your holiday and hope to one day welcome you back to Victoria Falls.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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643 - 649 of 1,185 reviews

Reviewed October 30, 2013

We didnt stay here, but we came and had dinner at their restaurant on our last night in the Falls. The food was absolutley delicious! The best meal we had while in the falls, and we ate at Safari Lodge, The Boma and Mama Afrika. The service was great, and it has a lovely view if you sit outside. The Lamb Shank was to die for.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Josie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We spent 3 nights at Ilala Lodge in September and would highly recommend it to anyone. Clean, comfortable rooms, great location, amazing food and extremely friendly and helpful staff. We planned to eat at a few different restaurants at Victoria Falls, but after eating at Ilala on the first night, we couldn't see any reason to go elsewhere! Breakfast was equally enjoyable. Being so close to the entrance to the park was a bonus. We hoped to drop in there regularly, but as you pay each time you enter ($30 each for Aussies), we soon gave that idea a miss! Still, we did go in for a sunrise and an afternoon viewing. Afternoon was by far the best ... at that time of year, there are many rainbows across the falls in the arvo .. quite spectacular. Should we return to Victoria Falls, we would definitely choose to stay once again at Ilala Lodge.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank SusanMH5656
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2014

Thank you for your positive review of Ilala Lodge. We are pleased that you enjoyed your dining experience with us at Ilala Lodge. We do hope that you will return to the Victoria Falls area and look forward to welcoming you back to Ilala Lodge.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

My wife and I really liked this hotel, our initial impression was of an establishment full of African character with it's thatched roof, high open ceilings and walls hung with memorabilia. The staff were a delight, helpful and friendly which set the tone for an enjoyable stay. Our room was on the main level and from our terrace we could see the spray from the falls and hear the water (muted thank goodness). Local wildlife was abundant with wart hogs grazing on the turf in front of the lower bedrooms, baboons looking to raid rooms or tables (one got as far as our patio door, cue loud scream from my wife!) and at supper on our first evening a hippo grazing near the lower bedrooms. The terrace where we ate breakfast (which was excellent - better than the much vaunted spread at the Royal Livingstone across the river) and dined was very attractive as was the bar next to the pool. Apart from breakfast and bar snacks which we really enjoyed I was not wild about the food at dinner, good but not notable.
The lodge definitely is the nearest to the falls on the Zimbabwe side, a 10 minute stroll along the main road would bring you to the entrance. We were picked up in a minibus from the hotel and given a guided tour which saved time but you could easily walk around by yourselves. There is always water on the Zimbabwe side and the spray in August was refreshing rather than drenching which meant no problem taking photos. The lack of railings, particularly as you get to the end, means that you need to be careful.
The lodge is very central to the town of Victoria Falls. As you leave the main entrance there are a couple of banks and the post office behind which lie many soapstone carving and curio shops plus bigger and more sophisticated shops. Across the way from the hotel is the Victoria Falls Hotel, very grand, it reminded me of a large British Army Oficers' Mess plonked down in a magnificent setting in the middle of Africa. Afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel is a must, delicious, superb service and a bargain compared to London hotels. Along the main street are numerous shops and cafes, the people were warm and friendly and my wife and I felt very relaxed strolling around. Victoria Falls is a pleasant and welcoming town. I have recommended the Ilala Lodge to friends planning to visit the falls next year. I think it is an excellent hotel in a superb location, well run (the manager frequently did his rounds to keep things just right) and with staff who know their job and take pleasure in carrying out their duties.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank wiltshiremoonraker2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2014

Your review of Ilala Lodge and your feedback is appreciated. Given our boundry is with the National Parks, the hippo is often seen on our front lawns at night time as is with other wild animals during the day. We trust you enjoyed the rest of your holiday and hope to one day welcome you back to Ilala Lodge.

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Reviewed October 17, 2013

I can't speak highly enough of the Ilala Lodge, everything from the friendly staff, great location, clean and spacious rooms to the fantastic choice at breakfast just made us want to stay longer. We were here for two nights but would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone. The falls are so close you can see the spray above the trees - and we were there in the dry season. It wasn't just the hotel staff who were friendly, everyone we met on the street, the tour guides and in the shops and restaurants of Victoria Falls were lovely, friendly people. The only downside for us was the tipping system (which is the same everywhere not just the Ilala Lodge). We had paid a huge amount for our travel package and were left wondering who pockets all the money, as the wonderful staff rely on tips to supplement their wages and we couldn't really afford to tip them as generously as is expected and we would have liked.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank thelowes2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2014

Thank you for the positive review of Ilala Lodge and pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. We hope to one day welcome you back to the area and hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013

At the end of a remarkable safari in Botswana, we went on to see Victoria Falls. While Zimbabwe is not the most stable of places to go, tourism remains strong, the people are friendly and we felt very safe. This lodge is awesome! The room was well appointed, accommodations were comfortable and clean, staff was friendly and the restaurant was excellent for both the venue - great views with very nice outdoor eating and the great food. The lodge is also within walking distance to the falls. During the night we stayed there, a hippo grazed outside our window! We would definitely stay there again. Dave and Therese

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2014

Thank you for taking your time to review Ilala Lodge and appreciate your positive reviews. The hotel borders with the National Parks so animals are often seen on our front lawns - especially our nightly Hippo visitor!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2013

Stayed here for 2 nights. Hotel is located about 700 metres (by road) and about 500 metres (via the short cut through the bush - about a 10 minute walk) from the Victoria Falls Visitor Centre.

Hotel is reasonably spread out with quite large grounds. We had a standard room (no: 33) in a building on the far side of the swimming pool/bar area, which was furthest away from the reception area. Although our room was located on the third (top) floor, it was really only one floor up from the main entrance area - the building where our room was located being on a slope such that level one (the ground floor) was below the level of the reception area and you entered the building from reception which was effectively on level 2. I did not notice any elevator. Stairs up to the room were quite easy to navigate.

Room itself was quite large with 3/4 size twin beds (a majority of the rooms appeared to have twin beds), long desk along one wall, cupboard, chairs and a safe. The room was air-conditioned and the hotel did have a generator which kicked in when the power was off, which happened on a daily basis during our stay. Bathroom was large with a separate shower - pressure was good. The room was very clean. Perhaps the best feature though was the large covered private balcony which afforded us views of the grounds (and various animals that grazed there including baboons and warthogs), the bush and the constant spray from the Falls. You could also hear the noise coming from the Falls, particularly during the night. There was free WIFI via scratch cards (Chilli spot). Reception was reasonably good although you had to login every time you used your I-Pad or I-Phone.

Meals were served in the main dining area or outside on an extended grass and paved balcony area that afforded the same views as those from our room. Breakfast was very good with a wide selection of hot and cold food. The hot food was ordered at your table from a menu whilst the cold food was a self serve buffet and included cereals, cold meats, fruit, cheeses, juice etc. Only disappointing feature was that you were charged extra for barista coffee.

We also had two evening meals at the restaurant, both seated outside under the stars. Again the food was very tasty and there was a good selection. Wines were from South Africa for the most part. Service was good.

All the staff that we encountered from check-in/out to the restaurant were very efficient, pleasant and helpful. A special mention though for Blessed at reception who was excellent.

There was a tour office near reception that we found to be very good. Highly recommend the extended (25 minute) helicopter journey over the Falls. Expensive at US$275 each but an unforgettable experience. A guided walking tour of the Falls themselves though is not recommended. A map costs US$1 from the Falls Visitor Centre and there is effectively only one path to follow so a very easy self guided walk. Remember though to take your passport as the cost of entry into the National Park depends upon which country you are from. Cost for Australians was US$30 each.

Also highly recommended is a trip down to the Victoria Falls Bridge. It is just over 2 kilometres (via the road - about a 25 to 30 minute walk) from the Hotel to the Victoria Falls Bridge which spans, at a great height, the mighty Zambezi River at a point just below the Falls and joins Zimbabwe to Zambia. Allow an extra 5 minutes each way being spent at the Zimbabwe border post showing passports and getting a bridge pass (slip of paper) to exit Zimbabwe which you then handed to the immigration official on the gate which is located about 150-200 metres away from the bridge. Similar process on the way back, visited immigration, got another slip of paper which you then handed to an immigration official on the gate to re-enter Zimbabwe - no stamps in passport or visas required. Excellent view from the bridge of the narrow gorge that has been etched into the rock over the centuries by the ferocity of the water. Could also see a part of the falls but the mist and spray significantly clouded the view. You cross into Zambia whilst on the bridge, but there are no immigration formalities required for Zambia as the border post check for Zambia is located a couple of kilometres away. Watched a brave sole bungee jump from the bridge. Great sight.

The Ilala Lodge was about 700 metres away from the Victoria Falls Hotel where the Rovos Rail train from Pretoria terminated. Not knowing the terrain we organised a transfer with the Ilala Lodge for US$7 each from the Railway Station which was very worthwhile given bags etc. We did visit the Victoria Falls Hotel for a drink one afternoon. It appeared to be an excellent hotel, more Victorian era in design, with facilities (and cost) one step up from that of the Ilala Lodge. There is also a magnificent view to be obtained from one of the outside dining areas of the Victoria Falls Hotel looking straight down onto the Victoria Falls Bridge.

Staying with the geography, there was a bank next door to the Ilala Lodge and a local craft market, with about 12 shops in it, about 5 minutes walk away. Another, more commercial shopping area was an additional 5 minutes walk from the local market. There were a number of Tourist Police on hand to show you around and keep the significant number of persistent hawkers at bay.

Ilala Lodge was comfortable, easy walking distance to the Falls, Falls Bridge, local craft market and commercial shops, and good value for money..

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank westy54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ilala Lodge

Address: 411 Livingstone Way, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Victoria Falls
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Victoria Falls
#7 Romantic Hotel in Victoria Falls
#8 Family Hotel in Victoria Falls
#9 Business Hotel in Victoria Falls
Price Range: $279 - $477 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ilala Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 56
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ilala Lodge is ideally located only minutes away from the spectacular Victoria Falls. A family run hotel, Ilala Lodge has 56 stylish, well-equipped rooms, providing the ultimate in comfort. The top-rated Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge offers delicious al-fresco dining under the starry African skies, whilst listening to the roar of the falls. The staff are attentive and friendly, and ensure your bucket list trip is perfect for you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ilala Hotel Victoria Falls

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