A November Trip to Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe鈥檚 prime vacation destination. Attracting thousands of visitors every year; it is promising to see this resort town growing every day. We visited Victoria Falls a few weeks ago to check out a number of new establishments that have opened up in the area in recent months. The visit seemed well-timed, as November is just before the peak season rush, with a tightly packed schedule we set out for the week-long business trip. 
 


We booked a morning flight with FastJet, the only reliable carrier plying the Harare to Vic Falls route at the moment. It was a quiet morning and as usual, the domestic terminals were not crowded. FastJet now serves a complimentary snack on board which is a good improvement on their part. The trip went smoothly and arrived on schedule. Our first stop was the Victoria Safari Lodge; this reputable lodge is part of the African Albida group of properties.  



The Safari Lodge is a brick and thatch property which overlooks the Zambezi National Park. It offers guests the opportunity to experience luxury accommodation in a wilderness setting. It is an award-winning facility which offers Bed and breakfast and is conveniently located just 4 kilometres out of town. There was a steady drizzle when we arrived which was a pity as we could not take a walk to enjoy the beautiful gardens, however, we managed to attend the Vulture Culture a remarkable conservation effort which is being done by the lodge. They feed vultures from the wild once every day so to educate visitors about the importance of these scavengers in the ecosystem and in the African Savannah.  

Later that evening we managed to visit the popular Boma restaurant for dinner. The Boma is located on the estate, Dinner at the Boma is a spectacular African feast coupled with traditional entertainment. An exciting evening which brings people together and gives foreigners, in particular, a chance to sample some local delicacies and enjoy some Zimbabwean entertainment.  The entertainment for the evening included an interactive drum show, some traditional dancing and African themed face painting.   Guests could also see some woodwork artistes busy at their craft. Some of the dishes served on the buffet included crocodile kebabs, potjiekos, peanut butter rice and so on.  



On day two we checked out and made our way to Phezulu Guest Lodge. Phezulu is one of the latest guest Lodges in town; an elegant B n B with a modern feel to it. We settled in and found everything in perfect order. The rooms were well decorated and the hint of colour and African d茅cor made it such a cheerful place. After checking in we returned to town, where we spent a busy day visiting clients and doing several errands.  

 

After a long but fruitful day, we returned to a warm welcome, and it was good to relax and freshen up. Temperatures can be as high as 30 degrees Celsius in Victoria Falls which can be quite draining. Grateful for the chance to access wifi from our rooms we took some time to catch up on some emails. Guests can request to have dinner at the lodge, and we chose to stay in. it was a cool evening and dinner was served on the patio, the delectable meal was a three-course meal which we thoroughly enjoyed.  



The next morning was beautiful and sunny and we enjoyed the outdoor breakfast as we looked out onto the sparkling pool. Phezulu is adorned with such eye-catching artwork, beautiful Monochrome pieces which are created by renowned local artiste Tami Walker. They add so much character to the place and they are quite unique. The lodge was so peaceful and we were sad to say goodbye. 


After breakfast, our transfer vehicle came through and we made our way to our next, stop, Old Drift Lodge. Old Drift is also another new lodge, a tented safari camp by the banks of the Zambezi River. It is owned by reputable Wild Horizons group and I was rather excited about this property as I expected nothing but excellence. The lodge is located within the Zambezi National Park, just 7 kilometres out of Victoria Falls.  


The history of Old Drift is rather interesting, this camp was, in fact, a small colonial-era settlement which was later abandoned when the present day town was established. Over the years wildlife reclaimed the area and its natural beauty was restored. Fast forward hundred plus years this little spot has been revived to this beautiful camp. It is a tented lodge nestled within a section of the national park where animals roam freely. 

Everything about Old Drift was exquisite, the accommodation, the service, and the food. The environment was so serene it was absolutely therapeutic. We were placed in a family suite, a spacious two bedroom unit which very homey.  It truly is a luxury facility, judging from the bedding, substantial closet space plus immaculate ensuite bathrooms (shower & toilet). There was an additional outdoor bath with shower and tub. A plunge pool and some sun loungers completed the leisure area; a stunning concept indeed, we were both impressed.  

 

The activities proved to be fun indeed, we managed to go on a sunset cruise and it was so relaxing being on the water. We managed to see so much birdlife on the surrounding islands and plenty of hippos. On Day 4 we set out bright and early for a game drive. There was a variety of wildlife to see, some bushbucks, giraffe, warthogs and so on. After Breakfast, we said our goodbyes as we left for Vic Falls Villa. 

The Vic Falls Villa is an elegant Self-catering lodge located in the residential area, it is just five minutes from town. The villa is a 5 bedroomed house which has a fully equipped kitchen, lounge, dining, swimming pool and jacuzzi. Guests have exclusive use of the house when they make a booking so it was a quiet evening as we had the house to ourselves. My colleague and I greatly appreciated the peace and quiet. 



In the afternoon we took some time to get into town for some souvenir shopping and we also had great fun touring the Falls. No Vic Falls trip is complete without a high wire adventure, so we went for the bridge slide. The experience was just incredible,  an exhilarating trip across the Batoka Gorge with a clear view of the Victoria Falls bridge and the Zambezi river flowing beneath. 



By day end we were exhausted but the experience was worth it. Too tired to make dinner we were so grateful for our takeaway dinner. We watched some television as we relaxed. All the rooms are airconditioned and it was such a relief as it was a very hot night. Our stay was brief but very enjoyable, The Vic Falls Villa has such impeccable standards and we found it quite homey and comfortable. The bedrooms are well appointed the perfect solution if you are travelling as a small group and you find hotels too stuffy.



 
Our last stop on the trip was the Victoria Falls Hotel, one of the most popular high-end hotels in the town. The Victoria Falls Hotel is over a hundred years old and it has some old-fashioned elegance to it which makes it unique. We stayed in the Stables wing in one of the elegant suites with exquisite room furnishings. We both loved every bit of the room and the lovely view of the gardens was a bonus. it was a first-floor room which also had a view of the courtyard with a mini garden. 



We were truly impressed by the meals and the service at the Victoria Falls Hotel, the Jungle junction was the setting for both Dinner and Breakfast buffet. The hotel is special and truly one of Zimbabwe's best, the rooms, amenities, the gardens and the entertainment areas were just exquisite. The view of the smoke rising from the Falls in the distance makes the hotel setting unique and it was rather unfortunate we just had one night to enjoy the 5-star hospitality. So ended our trip on a high note as we bid farewell to Victoria Falls and we made our way to the airport for the return leg of our journey.