Zambia, Zimbabwe and across the mighty Zambezi, four memorable days at Victoria Falls.

“Our Managing Director - Mandi unearths three hidden gems on her recent trip to Victoria Falls.”

“Our Managing Director - Mandi unearths three hidden gems on her recent trip to Victoria Falls.”

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It’s been over 4 years since I last visited Victoria Falls, one of my favourite places in Africa. When a UK corporate client asked us to put together a potential incentive trip, it was a great opportunity for me to escort them on a site inspection of potential places to stay.

Home to one of the natural wonders of the world, this bucket-list destination never fails to take my breath away. The majestic Falls of course always takes center stage, but on both the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides of the mighty Zambezi River, luxurious accommodation choices, incredible wildlife safaris and a world-class adventure-tourism scene can be found.

Cape Town now has regular – direct flights to Victoria Falls making the accessibility of this wonderful paradise easier than ever before for locals and international travelers.

As we started to descend after a comfortable flight, I had knowingly booked myself a window seat to ensure I would get a glimpse of the Falls in the distance. Soon enough the Falls were coming into view and from miles away you could see the clouds of vapour rising hundreds of feet above the river. No wonder the locals call it (Mosi-oa-Tunya – the ‘smoke that thunders’). First on our list of site inspections was Vic Falls River & Island Lodge.

Vic Falls River & Island Lodge

Described as a stone throw away from the falls themselves, it very much is. A short boat transfer upstream from town, we were surrounded by nature and tranquility in a luxury safari lodge right on the banks of the fast-flowing Zambezi.

A combination of exclusive thatched tented accommodation right on the river bank and 5 tree-house suites set high on a small island in the middle of the river itself, it really is a spectacular setting.

We each had our own access to secluded private decks and plunge pools, making me feel instantly relaxed. I was in heaven. Personally, I loved the Island Lodge with its tree-house suites and the feeling of being on your own tropical island in the middle of the African bush. A highlight here was the evening sunset cruise on the river, sipping gin and tonic with my client and watching hippos, crocodiles and elephants on the river banks.

Our next stop was a short transfer through the bustling Victoria Falls town, crossing the bridge over the Zambezi – the natural border between Zimbabwe and into neighbouring Zambia.

Vic Falls River & Island LodgeVic Falls River & Island LodgeVic Falls River & Island Lodge

Royal Livingstone Hotel

Our destination was the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Since my last visit here this landmark of colonial past had been acquired by the Anantara Hotel Group and I was eager to see the new face-lift. The old graceful safari style hotel had been retained but tastefully upgraded with contemporary, subtle design touches. The smiling staff welcomed us in and set the tone – some things never change! The recent addition of a personal butler takes service levels to even new heights, feeling pampered at every turn.

The majestic Falls just a leisurely five-minute walk away, we strolled across the immaculate lawns down to the river pathway and towards visible spray. The pounding sound and the site of the Falls never fails to sweep me off my feet and we spent several hours with our guide taking in the magnitude of the surroundings, including a short boat trip to Livingstone island in the middle of the river. A sumptuous high tea on the hotel veranda followed, whilst we watched Zebra grazing on the lawns in front of us. The next morning our client took a quick helicopter tour, to get a birds eye view of the Falls and then it was time to move on again.

Royal Livingstone HotelRoyal Livingstone Hotel Royal Livingstone Hotel

Royal Chundu

Our third and final lodge, also on the Zambian side of the river – Royal Chundu an award winning Relais & Châteaux property some 30kms upstream from the Falls.

Describing itself as a private sanctuary on the Zambezi, Royal Chundu certainly felt like it from the moment we arrived. Surrounded by the bush and wildlife, holding a stunning position on the river, with views across the wide expanse of the Zambezi and across into Zimbabwe.

Royal Chundu consists of 2 lodges with the larger River Lodge consisting of 10 private suites scattered along the riverfront. 4 separate Island lodges are nestled in the middle of the river on the private Katombora island. All are very spacious and the stylish décor combines colour and natural tones in beautiful way.

After an early morning white-water rafting session, a special breakfast was served in the secluded bush amongst the wildlife. Royal Chundu perfectly enhanced the beauty of the setting with exceptional high standards of hospitality and style. The food deserves a special mention and gourmet lovers are in for a treat.

My short but spectacular trip turned out to be much more than just the Falls themselves, I was treated to world class hospitality, ultimate luxury, divine cuisine and out of this world game viewing.

Royal Chundu Royal Chundu Royal Chundu Royal Chundu

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