Victoria Falls, the awe-inspiring nature spectacle in the heart of Africa had been on my travel list for many years, and I was excited to finally make the journey in March of 2016.
A few weeks before, I had received an invitation as a travel writer from the legendary Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe – one of the oldest hotels in Africa with a colorful history and past residents ranging from royalty to world star celebrity – and I was thrilled!
Aside from opulent 5-star luxury, the hotel is famous for its spectacular views of the Victoria Falls gorges and the private walkway leading to the falls right from the hotel gardens.
Built in 1904 by the British as a railway hotel, this Grand Dame of Old World luxury has survived many external changes and upheavals, never relinquishing her charme and unique beauty and becoming a legendary destination for luxury travellers from all around the world.
Here is my video of this voluptuous adventure:
4 Countries meet near Victoria Falls
Not too far from the Falls lies the meeting point of 4 African countries:
- Zambia – which houses the Northern part of the Falls around the town of Livingstone
- Zimbabwe – with the Southern portion of the Falls around the town of Victoria Falls
- Botswana – with the nearby town of Kasane, starting point for expeditions into Chobe National Park and cruises on the Chobe River
- Namibia‘s Caprivi Strip in the far north east of the country.
I arrived in Victoria Falls from Kasane, Botswana, after visiting the amazing Chobe National Park and taking a cruise on the Chobe River (read more HERE)….
Upon entering the beautiful lobby, I was greeted by General Manager Giulio Togni.
Victoria Falls Hotel: New Stables Signature Wing
I was to stay for 2 nights in the new Stables Signature Wing, a separate building with more personalized service for each guest and its own check-in desk and private courtyard.
This was my room (starting at $703/night):
Beautiful, and tastefully decorated though maybe a bit smaller than most contemporary 5-star rooms. To be fair, the Victoria Falls Hotel is an icon among historic hotels and goes to great lengths to stay authentic and keep the ambience of colonial times. Therefore, settling for less space is a small price to pay for such a rare experience.
The bathroom was also much simpler than I had experienced in other 5-star hotels, but once again, this beautiful hotel should be cherished as a living museum, rather than expecting modern sizes and styles.
The room price included complimentary breakfast as well as a wonderful massage, free cocktail and full use of the minibar.
Magnificent Vistas of Victoria Falls Gorge & Bridge
After settling into my room, I ventured outside to explore the stunning views from the terrace. The bridge connects the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia who share the stupendous Victoria Falls, and day trips into Zambia are a popular activity for visitors to the region.
The backsite of the hotel is also its most impressive feature:
Afternoon High Tea
One of the famous attractions at Victoria Falls Hotel is the Afternoon High Tea served on Stanley’s Terrace. – Could the ambiance be more magnificent?
The Edwardian Pool
A walk around the grounds revealed the beautiful Edwardian Pool – one of its kind – and a great place to cool off and enjoy some drinks or barbeque, served here daily.
Happy Hour at Stanley’s Bar
For Happy Hour I stopped at Stanley’s Bar and tried one of the Signature drinks…
…and then headed back to my room, passing through several gorgeous lounges, all in glorious Victorian splendour and charme:
The Bulawayo Room:
A lovely courtyard:
For the first night, I had booked a dinner cruise on the Zambezi River – you can see a video HERE.
Breakfast at the Jungle Junction
The next morning started with a scrumptious breakfast buffet at the “Jungle Junction“, the 3rd restaurant at Victoria Falls Hotel, offering amazing views – definitely a highlight of my stay:
A Private Walkway to the Falls
Pleasantly filled, I found the hotel’s private walkway to the Falls – a lovely 10 minute walk – with more breathtaking views of the Gorge:
and a couple of baboons playing along the way.
World Heritage Site: The Victoria Falls
Seeing the stupendous Falls for the first time, was overwhelming!
Rivalled in size only by the Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest waterfall in the world, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft)and height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water (roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls!).
It was so misty that rain coats or umbrellas were required to avoid getting completely drenched (it wasn’t raining!).
I spent several hours by the Falls, in awe of nature’s spectular power and beauty and then returned to prepare for my afternoon adventure.
A Walk with Lions
And what an adventure it was – a walk with lions in the African bush! Read more HERE
The Livingstone Room
The famous Livingstone Room was closed on Sundays (the one place at Victoria Falls Hotel still observing a strict dress code)….
…so I had dinner once again on Stanley’s Terrace, enjoying the beautiful view and sunset.
The next morning, it was time to say good-bye to this wonderful, dream-like journey, a by-gone era with opulent luxury and scrumptious pleasures.
Victoria Falls Hotel is a superb place to stay if you visit the famous Falls. You will experience them in a whole new way, far away from the busy tourist spots, secluded and pampered, surrounded by exquisite beauty and sharing a part of history!
For more info and to book a stay at Victoria Falls Hotel, please visit the official website.
The Rovos Train – Africa’s most famous luxury train (Pretoria to Zanzibar) – also passes through Victoria Falls and passengers traditionally overnight at Victoria Falls Hotel.
TIP: A great day trip option from Victoria Falls is a visit to Chobe National Park in neighboring Botswana and a River Cruise on the Chobe River. The drive across the nearby border takes only 1 1/2 hours, and Chobe is next to Kruger the biggest – and I found nicest – National Park in Southern Africa.
SassyZenGirl Score: 9.7
Wifi Speed: 9/10
Zen Factor: 10/10
TOTAL SCORE: 9.7/10
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