Looking for the perfect Victoria Falls Accommodation? On the banks of the mighty Zambezi River is the secluded Victoria Falls River Lodge.
Set among the wildlife in the Zambezi National Park, but still deep enough in the bush to go undetected is the ideal lodge to experience Victoria Falls from.
Victoria Falls River Lodge
The Rooms At Victoria Falls River Lodge
When we first were shown our room at the lodge we were blown away by the size. The room was monstrous with a king-size bed, sectional couch, coffee bar, indoor and outdoor shower, and a two-person bathtub.
The room was bigger than our one-bedroom apartment in New York. I asked them what we had done to be given the best room, and they told me that all of the rooms were the exact same!
The next few days were spent enjoying a comfortable bed and taking baths while overlooking the lush bush and Zambezi River.
The Fantastic Staff
From the moment we entered the Vic Falls River Lodge the staff was there to help and provide plenty of smiles. Most of the staff members here are from Zimbabwe and love their country, which is apparent from their friendliness.
The level of service at the Victoria Falls River Lodge is certainly some of the best in the area. For each breakfast, lunch, and dinner guests are able to feel at home. Game drives and river cruises are guided by some of the best in Zimbabwe. We decided to take part on two 6 a.m game drives and three-afternoon river cruises. Along the way, we heard stories from the bush and tales of Zimbabwe, relishing in the excitement described by each guide.
The Game Drives
Every day at the lodge guests can choose to go on either a morning or afternoon game drive around the Zambezi National Park. We hit Zimbabwe at the beginning of the rainy season and all the green was refreshing to see after a month in Namibia.
We opted to wake up early, throw on some safari clothes, and catch the animals before the heat of the day. All the heavy rains and lush bush made the wildlife harder to spot, but we still managed to end our game drive with zebra, giraffe, elephant, impala, warthog, and vulture viewing.
I loved venturing around the Zambezi National Park compared to some of the more popular parks in Zimbabwe. We rarely saw other people and there was never a pile-up of cars gathering around an animal.
The River Safaris
If being on a bumpy game viewer in the bush doesn’t suit your fancy then maybe a river cruise on the almighty Zambezi River will! Guests of the lodge are also given the option of jumping on a morning or afternoon river cruise to see the wildlife from a different perspective. Drinks and snacks are provided on each cruise as well. What could be better than African wildlife, the Zambezi River, and gin and tonics?
The Delicious Food
It’s hard to pick just one thing to miss about the Vic Falls River Lodge, but the delectable food is high up there. From morning to evening everyone is stuffed full of fresh fruits, green salads, and hearty vegetables. Instead of a buffet, you are given a menu for each meal time. There is a selection of fish, meat, and vegetarian options on each menu to choose from all while overlooking the Zambezi.
My favorite part? The bloody mary bar at every breakfast.
Cameron and I have become quite the birders since we began our Africa trip. While we were visiting the Gondwana Game Reserve in South Africa we even counted 44 species in one day! Well. the birds around the Zambezi are nothing short of dazzling as well. On our game drives and boat cruises, we saw plenty of almighty vultures, comrades, kingfishers, and much more!
Our favorite spotting was a huge nest of bee-eaters near the lodge. We sat on the river and watched the gorgeous green birds flutter in and out of their self-made holes for at least 15 minutes!
Relaxation At Victoria Falls River Lodge
The best part about a stay at the Victoria Falls River Lodge is that you don’t have to do anything at all to have a good time! Sure, the game drives and river cruises are fantastic but the lodge is very well set up to do absolutely nothing at all.
Each room here has its own private plunge pool with a fridge nearby filled with complimentary Zambezi beers. For those that want to be a little more social, there is a larger pool with new sunbeds to soak in the sun.
The Sunsets and Sunrises
I’ve written before about the fantastic African sunsets and sunrises, but the sunrises and sunsets over the water are simply fantastic. We aren’t morning people; however, we had to see the sunrise every morning over the Zambezi. Sunset was always complete with a cold drink in hand.
Victoria Falls River Lodge Location
The Victoria Falls River Lodge is a 20-minute drive from the Zambia/Zimbabwe border. We arrived from Zambia after a few bad experiences with the African border crossings. We were hoping for a relatively pain-free crossing into Zimbabwe. Our dream became reality and thankfully, the two of us and our car were over the famous Victoria Falls Bridge in under an hour!
From there we drove straight to the Zambezi National Park and drove right to the lodge. The lodge is situated in an ideal location for self-drivers (like us) as well as people that fly in with it’s close proximity to the airport. Although we drove to the lodge most guests will make their entrance via a leisurely cruise to the main reception or by car transfer.
I’m saving the best for last here, but one of the main reasons to stay at the Victoria Falls River Lodge is because of Victoria Falls! The “Smoke That Thunders” has been described as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. At 1,708 meters wide and a height of 108 meters (354 ft), Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and is probably one of the main reasons you have come to Zimbabwe. We enjoyed a nice morning with the VFRL crew and other guests on the Zimbabwean side of Vic Falls. VFRL organizes a trip to the falls every morning for guests. The falls are certainly a sight to see and are one of the main attractions in all of Africa.
It costs $30 for foreigners to enter the park (unless you are from an SADC country, then it is $14). I would plan to spend at least half a day gazing at the large spectacle and remember to bring a rain jacket – it gets wet! The falls are best viewed from the Zimbabwe side, but the famous Devil’s Pool can only be experienced from Zambia.
General Info for Traveling in Zimbabwe
Visas to Zimbabwe
Visas for Americans traveling to Zimbabwe cost $30 USD payable in cash at the border. Visas are good for 30 days. Americans have the cheapest visas while the Canadians and Brits have it the worst at $75 and $55 respectively. More info on visas here. As we were traveling between Zambia and Zimbabwe we opted for the recently released KAZA visa that is a dual visa good for both countries, it costs $50.
Cash in Zimbabwe
Having enough USD before you enter is sure to make life easier. If coming from Livingstone there is a Barclays Bank in town that is able to change cash for you. If coming into Kariba, we found an ATM in Siavonga on Lake Kariba (Zambian side). The ATM’s in Zambia dispense Kwacha, so you will have to change that into USD before you enter. I would be hesitant to run out of USD anywhere in Zimbabwe besides Vic Falls, Harare, and Bulawayo.
Language in Zimbabwe
The three main languages in Zim are English, Shona, and Ndebele. You will be able to get by fine with English in Zimbabwe.
Food In Zimbabwe
The local meal in Zimbabwe is sadza and is a combination of maize, relish, and meat and it is delicious!
Want To Know More About Zimbabwe?
We drove around Zimbabwe and love the people and the country. Read more about travel in Zimbabwe!
Book A Safari in Zimbabwe
Traditionally if you wanted to book a safari you’d have to go to a travel agent and have them book your safari for you. They made suggestions for camps and lodges then presented you with a large bill. Most of the industry still operates in this fashion.
However, Timbuktu is a new platform that allows you to select the lodges you’d like and see the pricing per day that way you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. With experts on staff, they can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details much like a travel agent.
Check Out Some Lodges in Zimbabwe
Musango Safari Camp
Nights at Musango Safari Camp are spent listening to hippos grunt and munch on the grass below our tent. In the morning we could watch impala, bushbuck, and elephants walk by grazing on the grass between our tent and the lake.
However, Musango is still family-friendly with an electric fence around the camp, so we weren’t worried about an unexpected visitor in the middle of the night. Though, there are a few residents that we were always happy to welcome.
Ruckomechi consists of 10 large spacious safari tents. Each room is stylishly decorated and has a large bedroom area. The en-suite bathroom has an amazing shower that opens up to the Zambezi via a tent flap allowing you to choose indoors or outdoors, we choose outdoors.
A unique experience at Ruckomechi is a bath on the banks of the Zambezi River, where guests can soak in a bubble bath. We, of course, had to take full advantage of this enjoyed a romantic bubble bath together while listening to the sounds of the wild.
We stayed with Wilderness Safaris in Mana Pools National Park and absolutely fell in love with their camps. We were more than excited to experience their Little Makalolo camp while in Hwange.
Little Makalolo is special as it was one a few private camps located within Hwange National Park. Wilderness Safaris enjoys a large concession for their sole exclusive use within the national park. It serves well for those looking to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with the bush.
What to Pack For Zimbabwe?
There are a few things that one should pack for an African Safari. We help you create your safari packing list and share some of our favorite safari products.
Overland Tour in Africa
Traveling Africa on your own can be daunting to many travelers. However, there is no need to fear with overland tour companies who will show the ropes and a great time. You can check out some of them here to compare the different companies and possibly score a discount.
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in Africa so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere. The tap water in Tanzania is generally not safe to drink, but a water purifier, like the Grayl waterbottle, works well!
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot camera for quick trips are the Sony RX100V. It takes fantastic photos and video and is the size of your palm.
For more professional photographs we use our Fuji XT-3, and LOVE IT.
I used this a lot in the on my Ruaha safari. Early mornings in the park can be pretty chilly so it helps break the cold. Once the sun comes out temperatures climb and things get very dusty. So, I use the shemagh to cover my face and electronics.
If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to Africa then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Africa.
I cannot stress a good pair of shoes enough because if you land anywhere outside of South Africa a quality pair of hiking shoes will be hard to come by. If you plan to walk around a lot get thick rubber soled shoes as acacia thorns are prone to stab through thin shoes. Cameron learned the hard way one day when he pulled a thorn out of his foot that went straight through his thin rubber sandals.
Lightweight pants that are made from synthetic material are tremendous to have in your pack. It’s what we wear most days when traveling around Africa as they’re comfortable, antibacterial, and protect our legs from mosquitos (malaria).
We recommend neutral-colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors. What’s great is they’re useful beyond Africa as they are a travel staple and we pack a pair everywhere we travel.
I like two pairs, one pair is made by prAna and rolls into capris and the other are convertible pants. For men, prAna makes the Stretch Zion Pant, a tremendous pair of hiking pants for a reasonable price.
I love my buff. I usually wear it for keeping my hair back, but it’s also served its purpose as a scarf and wet rag too. Buffs last for years and aren’t only helpful in Africa. I actually wear mine every day when I’m snowboarding in the mountains. It’s been one of my top travel accessory investments ever!
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Africa. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.
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