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Reviewed February 11, 2013

We were a group of two couples travelling in Southern Africa and started our trip at the Stanley Safari Lodge to see the Vic Falls. Is was quite an experience! Not knowing exactly what to expect we were surprised by the open air lodges, which some of us liked and others did not feel so comfortable with. Personally I loved the feeling of sleeping in the open air, listening to the lions roar in the sanctuary close to the lodges. However, for those who are not so comfortable with the bugs and darkness this place can be too much. The service was warm, welcoming and good, and we especially liked the good food. The fact that we had a personal staff member taking care of us from morning until evening was wonderful! Also note that laundry is included and works well.

Doing a day trip to the Falls was no problem, even if it was difficult to explain to the staff that we only wanted to use a regular taxi for the day trip to the Falls as well as to the neighbouring Mukuni village. The Lodge provides tour services which are quite expensive, most probably due to the isolation of the Lodge, but ask for a normal taxi if you are going into Livingstone/the Falls or Mukuni and you want to go without a guide! It's much cheaper and you can decide your own timetable.

All in all however a pleasant stay and we had an unforgettable Christmas eve dinner with lots of traditional African singing and dancing! Thanks to the staff at Stanley Lodge!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Nina S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

We spent two nights at SSL in late January and loved every minute. The service was impeccable from the moment Curtis picked us up at the airport and drove us past our first views of the falls until the last minute when we had to say goodbye to our new friend Desai and the rest of the team. Our arrival at the main lodge was like something out of a movie set: the open architecture, the safari furnishings, the lovely arbor where another couple was eating lunch, the view straight out over the garden and the inifiniti pool right to the top of the Falls. Then, as we were marveling at the lovely main lodge, its loft, fireplace, etc., we get two great pieces of news: first, we were upgraded to a suite and that you eat your meals anywhere and any time you want. You can have any meal in the garden, pool, loft, your room, anywhere. they bring the whole white tablecloth setup to wherever you want to eat. So if the moon is lovely you can eat out under the stars or if it's too hot at lunchtime, you can eat in the pool!
We had selected SSL due to its small nature, only 10 accommodations total, so we were especially thrilled to have been upgraded due to the fact that they were not very busy that weekend. So, we next went to see our suite (the family suite) and were further astounded. The suite was enormous with a sitting area, desk, fridge, deck, bedroom, plunge pool (!), bathroom, etc., and it was all open to the air. The thatched roof and high ceilings just looked like a lodge out of architectural digest or something. Since it was a hot day, we were thrilled to put our feet into the plunge pool right away without having to leave our room and while still looking at the top of the falls. The bathtub also looked fabulous, like a movie set, but we never used it as the shower was so refreshing and also allowed us to watch the falls while showering.
After getting settled, we had our first lunch at SSL (we opted to eat in the main lodge map room area) which was delicious lasagna and then got ready to go out on our first evening event (river cruise). When we got back, Desai--our assigned guy for all things--was ready to bring us dinner whenever we were ready. Dinner was a 3-course affair with an app, entree, and dessert. As a fully inclusive lodge, all drinks incl alcohol were included (laundry too if you need it!). It was lovely to eat in the gathering dark as the noise of the falls and night birds became more clear. Once we finished and returned to our suite, the staff had prepped our room with the mossie nets down, coils lit, and soft lights lit. We had absolutely no trouble with bugs overnight and the best part of the whole trip emerged in the morning. Having no walls means that as soon as you open your eyes you're looking out, over the tree tops and the birds, straight to the Zambezi and the top of the falls. In the morning, you can hear them roaring clearly and with the cool air, the mist of the falls was condensing directly into clouds and was fascinating and relaxing to watch. We watched that scene like a TV show for an hour before moving. I will say it was probably good that we had been on safari prior to staying here, so we were accustomed to the bush type environment, noises, etc. Coming straight from a city life to a room open to nature might have been intimidating, despite the game fence around the lodge.
Day 2, we chose to have breakfast on the main lodge's outdoor deck to have another view of the falls and river. We chose just the continental meal as we had eaten so much the day before. Another happy day started by seeing Desai, who is about the most jovial and happiest person I have ever met. Next we had our included tour of the falls, and it was private for the 2 of us since we were the only new arrivals. Curtis took us over to the park and organized all the entry formalities and then walked us around the park. Fortunately he brought ponchos because the water was high. Even with those, we got drenched. Curtis was a good and patient guide, taking our picture along the way, and then waiting while we shopped at the market by the entrance.
Lunch was another lovely pasta dish outside on the terrace, all organized by Desai, and then we had a lazy swim in the inifiniti pool. It was hard to ever pull myself away from the view of the falls, so luckily the layout of the whole resort means you never have to stop. Later we had another afternoon activity, for which SSL drove us to the pick up point. This was great b/c unlike other places where the tour operator spends an hour gathering guests from various hotels, having SSL take us to the tour meant we wasted none of that time.
We selected our dates for SSL to coincide with the full moon, and we told Clara of our keen desire to see the lunar rainbow/moonbow. Our first night it was cloudy so we didn't try to go see the falls. On the second night it had cleared up during our outing, so Clara arranged a way to see the moonbow and save time. When our driver came to pick us up at the end of the afternoon tour, he just took us straight back to the VF park instead of driving back to SSL, making a plan, etc. Clara had arranged for us to have local currency in case the park only took that for the special moonbow entry fees. The driver, Efaso, went in and organized everything for us and we even got special souvenir tickets that advertise the moonbow, since the park opens specially for the full moon. We did have to wait by the falls for about an hour for the moon to come up high enough in the sky, but we did see the moonbow. Mostly gray and with pink and other colors emerging as the moon got lighter. Well worth the timing, both for the full moon and rainy season.
Efaso was very patient and waited for us to be ready and then we went back to SSL, where Desai was smiling and waiting as happy as ever. Another fabulous dinner later and we were exhausted. (PS while we had no dietary restrictions, the other family there were diabetic and said there meals were also lovely and met all their needs.) Again, the room was perfect with the nets and coils and soft lights and we listened to the sound of the falls against the dark sky.
Our last morning was tough, we certainly didn't want to leave the heat and the beauty and the happy people we met everywhere at SSL. We lingered as long as we could over our full English breakfast, then in the pool, before we had to let Desai take the bags. When Clara came to check us out, even that process was easy and well handled. When she gave us our final bill envelope, we found she had also put in a lovely postcard of the moonbow and one of our suite. That was really nice and unexpected, but will help us remember that lovely room. One last trip in the van past more elephants and a final view of the falls, and we were back at the airport. But, whenever I close my eyes, I can still see that image of the trees, river, and falls as it looked from the luxury of our bed and open suite. And I know Desai is still there smiling and laughing.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Laurie_B_VA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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