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Reviewed January 22, 2013

We spent a few nights there just before Christmas. What a wonderful location and view over the valley. The room was clean, the bed superb and generally well tended. The staff was very friendly and helpful and we had amazing dinners outside. Our special thanks to Wietz du Plessis that went out of his way to make arrangements for our excursions and to ensure that we had a pleasant stay.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a pool.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Paul H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Spent a couple of nights at Stanley Safari Lodge and I feel that this is how one truly should experience Zambia! Beautiful rooms, amazing views and sunsets, good food and friendly staff - nothing was too much of an effort!

A very special thanks to Witz, the manager who made it feel like a home away from home!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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10  Thank JeremyC75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013 via mobile

We spent 3 nights, including New Years evening.
Stayed in open large suite rooms, which had a very authentic atmosphere.
This lodge could really be one of the best if they decided to invest in a decent cook because food was awfull and the housewine undrinkable.
Service was very good.
The location is not ideal and a bit far from the falls and the river but this is compensated by the intimacy of the resort.
All resorts close to the river are big and lack personality.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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1  Thank Peterderiemaeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I can't begin to state what a disappointment this place was. Everything about it was awful. For the amount of money they charge, you would expect edible food, clean sheets, freindly staff and an enjoyable experience, however, this place was the exact opposite. The food was canned or frozen and tasted terrible, the bed had dust mites that caused hundreds of bites on our legs, there were stains on the sheets and the employees clothes, and the manager Paschal was so rude to my wife I was shocked he worked in a service industry.

Being a travel agent and having worked in the industry and traveled to thousands of hotels over the last 20 years, I can honestly say this place is one of the worst places I've ever stayed at. We left after staying one night and that wasnt soon enough. For this place to say they are "5 star" is a complete joke. Do yourself a favor and check out the David Livingston Lodge which is where we ended up staying the rest of our trip. It was 1000 times nicer and more relaxing.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jm1078
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StanleySafaris, Manager at Stanley Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2013

The 2 reviews posted Dec 29 and November 25, seems to be from the same New York couple who stayed at the lodge beginning October.
We are extremely sorry to learn that they were dissatisfied by their brief stay at that the lodge was not what they were expecting.
The lodge has been built by a European architect for travelers seeking an extraordinary experience, away from the usual concrete towers of the worlds finest hotels. We try to give a truly African experience, not a replica of a Western chain hotel with some African sauce. This means true hospitality and true friendliness of the staff team, true interest in the guests experiences. The Zambian staff, with a natural smile on their faces, certainly do helps lot! There is no Main Building, but a Main House, often staff writes to guests as they became friends. All rooms are different, some open in an adventurous African style, others closed in a more formal colonial style with their private plunge pool. But the essence remains the same: a unique experience in a unique setting with an unforgettable experience. Guests ranging from New Zealand to Vancouver or from Argentina to Hong Kong or from European Royal Family to a truck driver, they all come for the unique experience, which is indeed different from a 5 star Western Hotel chain. That is exactly the reason of our existence.

However, most guests book the lodge and the rest of their trip through Zambia or Botswana through an agent that has a profound knowledge of this part of Africa.
Stating his mother works for Cruises N’More, a travel agency, they obtained a trade discount. These trade discounts are meant to finance the trade for their consulting role, which is essential. The booking was processed via a North-American tour operator, who booked their trip through a South African tour operator. The tour operator has insisted with the travel agent, to check whether their hotel choice would match the final clients (at first not knowing it was family). The running promotion at that moment on this lodge, made that they were reluctant to look for other options, which would have suited them much better.

Both reviews mention the lodge advertises itself as a 5star property. The lodge advertises itself not as a 5 star property, but rather as an exclusive lodge.
According to the Zambian hotel star grading system, 5 star properties should have a TV in their room and an air conditioning. Due to the style of the lodge, we have deliberately chosen not to install TVs in the rooms. Although some closed rooms have air conditioning, the open rooms can by nature not have an airconditioning. Hence the lodge does not have the ambition to obtain a 5 star status according to the local hotel grading system.

The special deal these guests had was accommodation including a helicopter flight. After picking up the guests from the airport, it struck our driver that the guests asked to go immediately to the heliport for the free heli flight. This is rather unusual, as most guests prefer to drop their luggage and settle in, before doing any activity. Upon arrival, the manager informed the guests that late afternoon is an unfavorable moment of the day to fly the helicopter in that season, due to the spray of the Victoria Falls. Far more impressive is an early morning flight during that season.

The manager –who just met the guests- started to have the feeling that the guest were trying to obtain quickly the free stuff, which is obviously their right.
Although the guests had not yet seen their room, the guests requested immediately a free upgrade to one of our suites with private plunge pool. Obviously this surprised again the manager, but as it was high season, no suites were available for that same evening. This infuriated the guests, to such an extent that the manager had to apologize repeatedly to other guests for their behavior.

According to the tour operator, these guests have complained about every hotel/lodge they stayed in during their trip, including the best hotel in Southern Africa.
After our refusal to upgrade the guests, they started to request an additional discount. When the manager refused this, they threatened to publish ‘negative stories all over the internet’, which apparently happened.

The experience of these guests shows how important it is to prepare a safari journey well, so that the hotels/lodges meet the expectations the traveler has. Every hotel or lodge has its specialty and targets different kinds of travelers. It is the art to find the right match between the experience that the traveler is looking for and the experience the lodge/hotel offers. An experienced specialized safari agent finds this perfect match.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2012

I cannot begin to describe my husbands and my nightmare trip at this bug infested, filthy "hotel." Everything about our trip was AWFUL. Please do yourselves a favor and book somewhere else. Calling themselves 5 stars is a joke. The place was dirty, the food was AWFUL, the managers were rude and unhelpful, the beds were bug ridden (not mosquito bites), the linens were stained and dirty as were the help's uniforms (although they were the best part - tried to be helpful)... do yourselves a favor and read the negative reviews on here - there are many things that are a trend! We left after the first night and booked at another hotel in the area. We should have left as soon as we pulled up. If I had the time I would be writing paragraphs about how awful this place is...please if you want to enjoy what I am sure is probably your "trip of a lifetime" do not book here!!!! It is a total buzz kill.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank tlm0581
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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