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“Great Place to End My Trip”
Review of Ilala Lodge

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Ilala Lodge
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Fruita, Colorado
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Great Place to End My Trip”
Reviewed February 2, 2010

After more than two weeks "in the bush," traveling overland and staying at tented camps in Botswana and Namibia, the comfort of the Ilala was the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate before the long flight home. As a history buff, the colonial style and decor, complete with antique rifles and photos of 19th century explorers, was a bonus.

The staff went out of their way to accommodate me and my needs - phoning outside companies to inquire about pick-ups for excursions, airport transfer, etc. The activities director checked on me every time she spotted me in the lounge or on the dining terrace. Granted, much of the extra attention was undoubtedly due to Zimbabwe's current tough situation and lack of tourists (most now lodge across the river in Zambia). There were less than half a dozen rooms occupied when I was there.

Still, the welcome air-conditioned room, fresh, soft sheets, TV (for the first time on my trip) and quiet atmosphere made for a refreshing stay. Room was clean and well-stocked with amenities, including safe, soaps, complimentary water, etc. Free 24-hour Internet access (at a desk in the lobby) was also a much appreciated perk, enabling me to catch up with the outside world.

Food was excellent. In fact, I had the exact same dinner two nights in a row, grilled bream (Zambezi River fish) with scalloped potatoes. One night I had leek and onion soup but deemed it too warm for such a hot dish, opting for the chocolate cake with ice cream the second time. Breakfast was a choice of buffet with usual cold cereal, yogurt, bread, etc. but I chose to have the full English breakfast, basking in the warm sun in sandals and shorts, looking out over the manicured garden with the mist of Victoria Falls in the near distance.

All in all, a first class experience. Highly recommended. Go to Vic Falls, a safe, viable alternative to Livingstone!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank northcascades
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, February 10, 2010
Thank you for taking the time to write such a fantastic long review on your stay with us at Ilala. It is wonderful to hear how much you enjoyed your stay with us and I will be sure to pass on your generous compliments about the food to our Chef who started with us in early January.
It was lovely to meet you and I do hope that you will return to Africa/Vic Falls one day and visit us again!
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Naples, Italy
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2010

I stayed at the Ilala Lodge for 2 nights. The Hotel itself is really well kept, cosy & homey atmosphere. Rooms are with all comforts. What was really impressive was the staff: attentive, polite, professional and friendly. The food in the restaurant was also excellent; fresh and properly cooked, classic menu not fancy, but top class. The hotel also has a desk for excursion and they own a boat for river cruises.
Oh I fogot a plus, from there you can walk to the "Falls" in 5/10 minutes. Early in the morning you can experience the beautiful African Sunrise...

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank TheItalianChemist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, February 1, 2010
Thank you so much for taking the time to do a write up on Ilala Lodge. It is wonderful to hear you truly enjoyed your stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back on your next trip to Africa!
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Newton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
276 reviews
151 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 228 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2010

First, unless you are part of a tour group, this is a VERY expensive hotel. Once you add up the cost of dining, expect to spend about $500 per night for double occupancy.

The hotel is quite nice, close to Victoria Falls. You can walk to the Falls but you will be bothered along the way to buy a variety of things. And if you won't pay, they'll ask for your shirt and shoes - yes, the ones you are wearing. You can sense the despair in Zimbabwe when you step out of the hotel, not that Zambia is Shangri-La, but there is a difference. That said, STAY in Zimbabwe, the Zambians are greedy pigs who are cashing in on this poor country's misery. You can also walk to Vic Falls town, you will be assailed by beggars and street vendors, the misery is quite apparent and is amplified on the few tourists there are. I am accustomed to elsewhere when you definitively refuse, they will find another sucker to latch on to. Here, there are no other suckers, you are it, so they will try everything to get you to buy.

The staff at Ilala is very friendly, but be wary of the hotel's website that shows these fancy rooms. There are only 4 such rooms, and they are not the ones you ultimately will get. The rooms have twin beds and are comfortable but spartan, not worth the price I paid. The french doors that give on a nice lawn where warthogs frolic are not very secure at all, but the hotel itself seems relatively secure, with a security guard regularly milling around outside the french doors. Other than the rooms, the rest of the hotel is quite nice.

The only excursion we did was the Lion Walk which we booked through Oscar, the booking agent at the hotel. We enjoyed the experience but would not recommend it or do it again as first the price listed is not the price charged. Second, what is presented as "walking with cubs" was more like walking with teenage lions. These may have been cubs in months, but they were not in size. Consider a 17 year old who commits murder and is charged as an adult. I would charge these two lions as adults. Further, we were the only two on the excursion and we were put through the tour group mill, but it is a lot for only two to handle, it seems everyone wanted a tip and we were passed through a local craft market that is on-site. I am sure tips and making sales are important for these people, however too many little things had put me off to want to commit to any of them. This Lion Walk is also part of some program called ALERT which appears legitimate but of course this program NEVER references on its website the Lion Walk because frankly it is a plain and simple a tourist attraction and profit center and not really a legitimate rehabilitation program for lions. They have to make money, so I don't blame them, but put it on your website.

We met other folks who stayed at the Victoria Falls Lodge and who said it was very nice. I would suggest taking a look at that place, especially in light of the fact that Ilala is ultimately expensive and the rooms are not all that for what you pay. I would recommend this hotel, but would advise negotiating down the rate quoted and having meals included.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Manny S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northbrook, Illinois
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2009

I loved the Hotel's location right only a lovely 10 minute walk from the Falls. The rooms were nice and impeccably clean. The staff was exceptionally polite,friendly and despite the horrible political and economic situation of the country good humored and still able to laugh and joke, I don't think one can find a better place to stay Ilala as it's small size gives it a wonderful feeling of intimacy between it's guests and staff.My only complaint was the overpriced laundry,however,I don't know if this is still the case currently.It was wonderful to hear the falls in the distance.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Africanman_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, January 26, 2010
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on Ilala. It is great to hear that you felt the staff were all in good spirits despite the economic hardships in the country at the time... I appreciate the feedback concerning the laundry prices and we will review this right away. I hope that you will come back and visit us again on your next trip to the Falls.
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Los Angeles
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2009

2 nights in Ilala, booked by our travel agent, not disappointed. Nice lobby, friendly service, nice rooms. Warthogs playing around outside our sliding glass door, which was a treat since it gives feeling that you are right there in the middle of the bush. Dinner at the restaurant which was very good. Probably the closest hotel to the Falls, so great location. Travel desk was very helpful and friendly, they booked us a helicopter ride o view the falls (VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and well worth the price), and also arranged accommodations for a great Boma (African BBQ) at a nearby restaurant/hotel. Overall very pleased with our stay here, good proximity to the Falls, friendly service, nice rooms, and affordable pricing.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank johnabed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, December 21, 2009
Thank you for taking the time to review our hotel. I agree it is lovely seeing the warthogs on the front lawn and in the winter months we get the occasional elephant and buffalo visitor as well which is a treat!! We look forward to welcoming you back to when you return to the Falls one day, remembering the hotel's close proximity to the Falls and our personalized service.
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Cherry Hill, Nj
Level Contributor
34 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed November 17, 2009

We stayed for three nights and were very pleased with Ilala Lodge as our choice for Victoria Falls. The hotel is beautiful with and at once elegant and comfortable. The room was large with sliding glass doors looking out to the garden. The bathroom was large and clean. The restaurant was outstanding and far exceeded expectations for dinner. Loved the medallions of Wart Hog was surprisingly good and beautifully presented. Breakfast was a treat with omlettes to order and an plentiful cold buffet. Service at all levels was outstanding and nothing seemed too much to ask. The free internet access was a nice perk. Very close to the falls and as one reviewer said you can hear the roar of the falls as you linger over dinner on the veranda. This is the place to stay in Victoria Falls. Went by The Kingdom hotel and it looked very "Las Vegas" and that made us even more grateful for the quiet elegance of Ilala Lodge.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Reedeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, December 21, 2009
Thank you so much for your wonderful write up on Ilala Lodge Hotel. We look forward to welcoming you back to stay with us sometime in the near future.
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South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2009

We had a lovely 2 night stay at ilala lodge and loved it! The hotel itself is well maintained and perfectly positioned for visiting the falls and exploring the town.

Our deluxe room had a spacious private balcony with views of the spray rising from the falls, and the sound of the falls rocked us to sleep at night.

The staff were fantastic and so friendly and the food was delicious - their burgers are the best!

I particularly loved their open veranda where they serve their meals - it has a fantastic view of the moon rise - unforgettable.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank emmaafrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, November 16, 2009
Thank you so much for your wonderful write up of the hotel. It was great meeting you both and we hope to see more of you on Zim turf in the future.
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Additional Information about Ilala Lodge

Property: 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
Hotel Style:
#7 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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