A’Zambezi River Lodge-Victoria Falls-Zimbabwe

Shannon settles down for a much needed post-flight nap, but I’m too excited. I am in Africa, and I want to see it all, RIGHT NOW.

I spot a cluster of chairs placed at the edge of the river. I take a seat.

Soon a troop of monkeys come romping in my direction. They take advantage of a yet-to-be-cleared table.

A mama monkey gently cradles her baby.

After some additional shenanigans, the monkeys scamper away.

As though caught in an African wildlife play, the warthogs enter stage left.

I am ecstatic. One of the reasons I chose A’Zambezi River Lodge was because of the advertisement that warthogs freely roam the property. The warthogs munch and munch, and I take more pictures of warthogs than any single person should.

While the warthogs munch, a group of singers and dancers arrive. Being on the river, A’zambezi is also the launching point for multiple sunset cruises. The performers sing and dance, welcoming the sunset cruise passengers.

Once the performance commences, the boat show begins. There are A LOT of sunset cruise boats. Some are big, some are small, some are reverent and quiet, others have a thumping music, booze cruise vibe.

I sit chatting with a lovely Australian couple. They are enjoying a final cocktail at the river’s edge, before flying home tomorrow. They are excited to hear that we just arrived a few hours ago, and I am excited that I already experienced so much during my first few hours in Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls Decisions 

After figuring out your price point, the next decision you need to consider when choosing accommodations at Victoria Falls is location, or specifically, in town vs. outside of town.

The benefits of staying in town, is that you are in walking distance of the falls and plenty of shops and restaurants.

The downside, is that Victoria Falls town is fairly touristy, hectic, and you can’t walk even a few feet without being accosted by touts trying to sell you things.

The benefits to staying outside of town is a quiet, peaceful environment, away from the chaos of town.

The downside to staying outside of town, is not having access to a variety of shops and restaurants. A’Zambezi River Lodge had a shuttle that provides transportation into town and to the falls, so transportation to the falls wasn’t an issue, but the shuttle stopped around 5pm, so you would have to take a taxi back if you wanted to stay in town for dinner. After really long, hot days, we defaulted to eating at the lodge’s restaurant more than we had planned.

The Room

Our room was wonderful. Clean, comfortable, with more than enough space for two people. In the evenings, a staff would come around to turn down the sheets, set up the mosquito net, and spray the room for mosquitoes. Thanks to the turn down, we never had an issue with mosquitoes in our room.

I love sleeping under mosquito nets, in the words of my husband,

“It’s like sleeping in a fort.”

We were on the second floor, and had a balcony that overlooked the pool and river.

The shower was one of the best of our travels so far. It was much needed as each day ended with me being a sweaty, dusty, mess.

The Grounds 

Everything from the lodge design to the grounds, showcased Africa.

 

 

The pool area was nice. There were plenty of seating options, and a staff member who made rounds just in case you wanted something to eat or drink.

On our first full day, we wanted to take it easy. We had a late breakfast, wandered the grounds, and lounged by the pool.

Victoria Falls is all about the activities. People are constantly coming and going, leaving for tours, coming back from helicopter rides, visiting the falls. Multiple staff asked us what our activities were for the day. When we stated we planned to just hang around the lodge and relax by the pool, they seemed perplexed.

“Your’re visiting the falls though?” they would ask.

“No,” we’d reply, “we’re just relaxing today.”

They were only slightly assuaged by our sunset cruise plans in the evening.

The grounds were dotted by fish filled ponds, waterfalls (of course), flowers, green, and my favorite, wildlife.

 

(you can read the story behind the t-shirt here)

The Staff

This is Kimpton. Kimpton is the man. He is one of our favorite people we’ve encountered on our travels.

We’re pretty sure he is the hardest working man in Zimbabwe.

When you arrived to the front of the lodge in the morning, Kimpton was there. When you came back to the lodge in the evening, Kimpton was there.

The front of the lodge was a hive activity, with multiple tour and activity vans, as well as the lodge’s own shuttle, coming and going. Kimpton asked you what you were doing, who was picking you up, and at what time. He would then keep an eye out for your specific transportation. One day, our pick up was late, and Kimpton said,

“Where are they? Give me your paperwork, I’m going to call them, they shouldn’t be late.”

When you returned to the lodge in the evening, Kimpton would ask you your plans for the next day. Just in case your ride came extra early, or maybe you overslept, Kimpton would assure that no guest was left behind.

I miss Kimpton. I think I need a Kimpton in my everyday life.

Our housekeeper was named Never.

We had a chance to talk with him one day. He stated that his mother had five girls, and then finally child number six was a boy, and she said,

“That’s it, never again!” Thus he was named Never (we also had a driver named Doubt, a bartender named Goodwill, and a waitress named NoMatter).

Never has dreams of becoming a hotel manger, but he needs to go to hospitality school. In Zimbabwe, education for children is not free like it is in the United States. You have to pay to send your children to school, and Never has two children. He considers his children’s education of utmost importance, and fears he will never be able to afford the tuition for hospitality school. So, if there is a hospitality school out there who is willing to give a scholarship to a hardworking, ambitious young man, I think Never is more than worth the investment.

We loved our stay at A’Zambezi River Lodge.

I highly recommend staying there, especially if you are looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of town, and immerse yourself in the beauty and wildlife Zimbabwe has to offer.

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Ruth

    November 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I am glad those monkeys made you feel like you actually arrived to Africa. They are so intelligent. Hope they didn’t snatched something from you. The warthogs moving around freely is something I have never seen before. What a nice experience. And the setting of the lodge s beautiful!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      November 13, 2017 at 1:35 am

      From previous travels to Central America, I was on alert as soon as I saw the monkeys. I didn’t have any food or drink on me, so they found me completely uninteresting LOL. The warthogs, and the people of course, were my favorite part of staying at the Lodge. I don’t think I’ll ever be anywhere again where warthogs roam.

  2. Jillian

    November 10, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    What a great experience! Love your “snuggle the wildlife” photo! 😀 Thanks for sharing a bit about the people you met, I think getting to know people is so important in travel.

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      November 13, 2017 at 1:37 am

      I love meeting people, especially locals. Never our housekeeper had the day off on the day we left and had offered to take us to visit his family and share a meal, but unfortunately we had to catch our plane. What a cool experience that would have been.

  3. Abby

    November 11, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Warthogs roaming freely. That’s perfect! I opened the warthog video half expecting to find that song from Pumba in the Lion King. “When I was a young warthog” 😉 Love your t-shirt too!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      November 13, 2017 at 1:38 am

      I’m not gonna lie, every morning when I got up and looked out of the window, I may have belted out a little Circle of Life…

  4. Crystal Ward

    November 12, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Looks like an awesome place! I need a Kimpton in my life, too!!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      November 13, 2017 at 1:38 am

      There are so many days, especially when I’m running late for work where I wish Kimpton was in my house to keep me together.

  5. Lisa

    November 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I can’t wait to go to Zimbabwe one day! Looks like you had such a great time, definitely saving your post. #WeekendWanderlust

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      November 13, 2017 at 1:39 am

      Thanks! Zimbabwe is such a great country. It’s nice too because Zambia is only a short walk over the border and Botswana is a short drive so you can visit several countries all in the same trip.

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