Camouflage clothing is strictly banned in Zimbabwe with imposing fines and potential imprisonment for people wearing such attire. Please be aware
Hopefully this lends to some useful information for yourself to have on hand or when planning a Zimbabwe trip. For any further assistance more information can be obtained on the Zimbabwe Embassy Site and information page
I hope this Zimbabwe travel advice is of use to you.
With its beautiful setting, landscape gardens, top food and being the closet stay to one of the wonders of the world. Ilala Lodge Victoria Falls has it all. A friendly and peaceful hotel / lodge in the heart of Victoria Falls town and a popular hotel in the heart of Zimbabwe main attraction.
Here’s a snippet from there webpage “Located on the Zimbabwean side of the mighty Zambezi River, Ilala Lodge Hotel is geographically the closet hotel to the magnificent Victoria Falls and is easily accessible to the town centre.
Explore the lush wilderness surrounding the town on a game drive, surf the rapids on a Zambezi River white-water rafting expedition, get your heart racing as you bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge, or view the Falls from the exhilarating angle of Devil’s Pools on the edge of the plunging water.
You can also enjoy a legendary Zimbabwean sunset from the comfort of the elegant Ra-Ikane river cruisers, part of the Ilala Lodge Hotel group.”
Arrival @ Ilala Lodge Victoria Falls
As soon as we arrived and throughout our stay the staff were all fantastic and very helpful. Any information or help you needed was no problem at all. The receptionist who planned the tours was great and really helped get what you want out of our stay.
The beautiful landscaped gardens, where we saw Warthogs and monkeys roaming around, gave a great sense of being in the wild, yet such a homely feel inside the surroundings of Ilala Lodge.
Located on site is 2 pools one on the decking with flowing views of the spray from the falls and one tucked in by the side of the pool. Great to relax and enjoy one of many of the delicious cocktails from the bar .
The Rooms @ Ilala lodge Victoria Falls
The rooms were spacious, tidy and as comfortable as can be.
There are 5 choices of rooms standard room, standard suite, deluxe rooms, executive suite and the Strathearn suite (we definitely didn’t get near this one) If you look Online they all look great and would be worth the stay.
The booking was for a standard, but because this was for our honeymoon and much to our surprise were upgraded to the deluxe room. And we were spoilt as we received a bottle of champagne in the room on arrival nicely chilled and ready to go. So as you can imagine didn’t last long.
And the view ohhh the view. You could see and listen from the balcony or even the bed the spray from the falls. To wake up and that be the first sounds and sights you see in the morning was unbelievable. Because of this we would get up early and make coffee and sit on the balcony and watch and listen to it all you would never get sick of it.
As standard the deluxe room comes air conditioned, free wifi, room fridge, overhead fans, satellite tv (not that you need this), toiletries, laundry service, tea and coffee facilities, hair dryers and a room safe.
Below is a few of our photos and from our room For more from Ilala Lodge check out there site. Ilala Lodge
Breakfast On The Terrace
The breakfast was great, two options, order a hot breakfast from a menu or a buffet style cakes, pastries, fruits, meats, granolas, muesli, fruit juices and tea & coffee.
Ill be totally honest I tried everything of both the menu and the buffet and was delicious. The one stand out was the beautiful homemade granolas, packed with dried fruits and nuts and lots of great toppings like chia seeds and sunflower seeds for instance. Great to see a hotel offering something very nutritious to start your day.
The Palm Restaurant
Palm restaurant is beautiful the setting at night with the big tables out on the decking, white table cloths and candlelit really sets a fantastic scene. It was here I tried Worthog for the first time, I can tell you it was delicious and so tender. The chefs obviously respect there ingredients here, I’m a chef myself so I really appreciate good food. Michelle chose the Falafels served with grilled vegetables, salsa and tzatziki, which was equally as good as a result I had to taste it to.
But hang on a minute I must backtrack. Sorry got way to excited and got ahead of myself. Firstly we started off with a Springbok samosa which was certainly something different and which was lovely the meat so tender and flavorsome. lastly to finish the final course a delicate chocolate tart again delicious and so light.
There were options such as Kudo, Springbok and Ostrich. I wish we were there longer i would of tried them all. But not to worry as I did at a later date in our Africa trip all but Kudo I got to taste.
So below is some pictures of what we had for dinner. Unfortunately no photos of the burgers which I will get to in a minute. I had it ate it by the time the camera was out.
The previous night we opted for a snack at the bar, we arrived back and wanted something to soak a few drinks from the cruise, we opted from there burger menu. Michelle had a beautiful falafel burger and I a beef burger they were both so tasty, just what the doctor ordered.
Summary Of Ilala Lodge
So to conclude I think you can guess we really enjoyed our stay here it honestly is one of the best places we have ever stayed I mean out of 10 it would always get an 11 in other words it was great.
We just cant wait to go back again.
And I think next time a safari, river rafting and just a bit more time to see the town would be great.
Lastly and most importantly the link to Ilala Lodge website is below please check out there site and see for yourself Ilala Lodge
What else did we get up to in Victoria Falls? Check out the Zambezi River Cruise for starters. And of our course a stop to Victoria Falls is for the falls itself we recommend seeing it both ways by helicopter and also the Victoria Falls walking track were you get up close and personal.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the post.
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On our first night in Victoria falls Zimbabwe after arriving after lunch we wondered what we would do for the evening. We had a chat with our host on what there is to do and they told us about the Zambezi river cruise at sunset, with drinks and nibbles. Cruise, sunset and drinks, now we were sold straight away with the added aspect of the sound of Victoria Falls in the background.
So we booked with the Ra-Ikane River Cruises, because it was recommend to us by our hotel. We were picked up promptly and taking down to the dock, where we boarded this beautiful little boat. We got comfy, we served some drinks we had nibbles given to us and we were ready to head off down the Zambezi.
A Brief History Of The Zambezi River
Zambezi river meaning ‘Great River” is the fourth largest river in Africa. It flows through an amazing six countries, and is an amazing 2700 km long. Only the Nile, Congo and Niger rivers are bigger.
Back To The Cruise
Now where were we? We set off down the Zambezi cruise sipping on my local Zambezi beer and Michelle a craft gin and if I remember rightly we had like a homemade lemonade to refresh the pallet in between.
The views down the Zambezi were incredible, such a vast open space and everything looking so green and beautiful.
A little while in we came across a group of hippos swimming around. This was the first point of our whole Africa trip we saw animals in tbe wild. We were so excited. Below you can see them swimming around ducking in and out of the water. Trying to get a photo was difficult, it was as if they were having a game with us up and and up and up down.
After we saw the hippos we headed back down the Zambezi and pretty much straight away came across a giant crocodile. He was just chilling out on the bank soaking up some sun. This was an amazing spotting, you see them in a zoo but to see in the wild in the own habitat it just fascinating.
Time to watch the sunset
We carried on the rest of the journey and relaxed with a couple more drinks and then came the sunset. I have experienced some sunsets but this one was just beautiful. We felt so relaxed and after the excitement of our spotting to such a tranquil setting it was just perfect end.
The Ra Ikane River Cruise Company
These guys were amazing from start to finish. The guide was amazing and the so knowledgeable. They were accommodating and made time to have a chat and find out a bit about us, which added such a personal touch. A certain must for a Victoria Falls cruise.
Our choice was the sunset cruise but there is also an option of a breakfast cruise, a lunch cruise and birdwatch cruise.
They came to us by recommendation of our hotel Ilala Lodge and was a great recommendation indeed. The Ra Ikane certainly know what they are doing and make the cruise extremely enjoyable.
All up we paid $84 USD per person for a 2 hour cruise sunset cruise. For all other prices please check this website above.
More from Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is a beautiful destination and home of this fine Zambezi river. Staying here for a few days is a great choice and you should look no further than the Ilala Lodge. This hotel being the closet to the falls offers great relaxation and top quality hosting.
We had just finished our walking tour of the falls and got back to the hotel we sat back at the bar with a coffee still full of excitement from seeing this wonder of the world. We started chatting away about the best bits. All of a sudden we were chatting with the barman. We were telling him everything we saw, until he told us you haven’t seen the falls until you do the helicopter ride and told us about the local helicopter company Chikopokopo Helicopters. .
Will we do it
It was our last day all of a sudden now we felt we had missed out. We looked at each other and thought let’s see if we can get on one this afternoon we didnt even really consider it.
We went to reception and voila “can you be ready to in 30 minutes” 2 second pause ” of course we can” I dont think we even asked the price we just handed the card over and it was booked.
We flew with Chikopokopo Helicopters. A great and efficient company organized by our hotel Illala Lodge They picked us up from our hotel in a SUV air conditioned car. About 20 minutes drive out from our hotel, the journey once we got a bit close was a bit bumpy but was fine and the helipad was surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Short flight? long Flight?
You can do a short or a long flight, the short being 12 – 15 minutes and the long 25 – 30. We opted for the shorter one as we just wanted to see it, embrace it and snap it.
If I’m honest the short flight is enough it doesn’t seem long 12 – 15 minutes but its no distance to get there and you see it all and circle a few times.
Time to fly
We were given a pre video and safety instructions, and again once we were on board all safety instructions were clearly explained and safety checks were taken. No corners were cut here, our minds were totally at ease.
The Flight itself was unreal, I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. If the falls were a painting they would be a masterpiece. I cant explain how good it is, we flew over and circled round and came back over. Every angle was unreal, even the flight back to base was amazing the pilot pointed out some watering holes were we could see Elephants and Giraffes. I even think we got a few extra minutes so we could see the animals in the wild.
Return to base
Once you return you can choose to purchase a video of the falls, have some refreshments and soak up what you have just witnessed which was truly amazing.
After a few minutes our driver arrived and was happy to get out and join us and find out how our experience was. There was no rushing he seemed just as excited to hear our experience as we were.
Do we recommend?
Yes Yes Yes we do, don’t think about it just dive in head first and do it you wont regret it.
We decided to do the walk along the Victoria Falls. Our hotel ilala lodge was only situate down the road, and we were going to walk but we decided to book a tour and guide just because we love to soak up as much info as possible, and locals to the community always know best.
Our guide was linked to the hotel and was so knowledgeable we were delighted we took this option.
Mapping out the falls and track
That map below shows all the vantage points along the walk through Victoria Falls you can stop and see the falls.
Our favourite points were 1 and 2, this was where the falls are running at its hardest and its the closet you get. To see it is incredible because the speed at which the water is going is both amazing but at the same time scary because its shows incredible force.
Don’t miss these points
My other top points were 4,5 and 15 with the later giving great views back across the falls. and 4 and 5 giving a different perspective to the first two. These points also give great vantage points for photos.
Our top tip
TOP TIP: The splash back from the falls gives off so much water its like it is constantly raining. We put our phones in ziplock backs to keep them dry but still had the ability to use them. Other than a bit of cash and passport (if you are going to go on the bridge) I wouldn’t bring anything else.
Rain jackets are provided by your tour guide, but obviously if you make your own way there bring a rain jacket.
Victoria Falls Bridge The Border
The Victoria Falls bridge acts as a border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The views of the bridge are unreal. As I said this is a border and although the bridge itself is considered ‘no-man’s land’, you still need your passport to access it (and no, you don’t get a stamp when you do this unfortunately). But its well worth the view.
Devils Pool, Would You Dare?
Another attraction of the Falls, which unfortunately we didn’t get to try. The Devil’s Pool , a zone of low current and rock barriers, from September to December, is possible to swim in. I wouldn’t say its a safe activity, because there is still some danger due to its location on the edge of the falls and only a few feet away from one of the cascades over the falls. But however this is certainly one thing those adrenaline junkies will be dying to try.
Unfortunately we went in March and the water levels were far to high. I have attached a photo not of us but to show what it is like.
Tours And Prices
Admission to walk Victoria Falls is $30 USD for adults and $15 USD for kids we. The tour itself was $23 USD or $11.50 USD for kids, and that included pick up and drop off to and from the falls and a guide for the whole group which if I remember rightly was around 20 people. So all up was $55 USD for adults and $26.50 USD for kids. We used Victoria Falls guided tour and they were amazing
Another must Chikopokopo Helicopters
These is a great experience and a must on a Victoria falls trip but a recommendation of our would be a helicopter flight over the falls with Chikopokopo Helicopters it’s one you would never forget.
Lastly a brief history on the falls
Victoria Falls, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world. Located on the Zimbabwe and Zambia border and is part of the Zambezi river. Its considered to be one of the worlds largest waterfalls being 1708 meters wide. It is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls.
There are two national parks around the falls, the Mosi-oa-Tubya National Park being on the Zambian side and the Victoria Falls National Park, being on the Zimbabwe side. Both national parks are registered UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Our Victoria Falls Adventure to this amazing country was nothing short of breathtaking. And wait until you here about Ilala Lodge hotel
Why Victoria Falls
Our main reason for including Zimbabwe in our itinerary was to see Victoria Falls but it turned out that this Natural Wonder of the World was not the only beauty in store for us.
Although the falls does seem to be the main drawcard to this area, there are many other experiences you can explore within a short distance from the falls.
We only had two nights and two days in the area of Victoria Falls but with a clear wish-list and the correct planning, it was the perfect length of time to see everything we wanted to see.
After arriving into Zimbabwe late one morning so that gave us an entire afternoon to use to our advantage.
Preparation For Victoria Falls
Beforehand we had all our private connections prearranged between airports and accommodation which minimised time loss searching for the best transport (and not getting ripped off!) or waiting on other passengers. It also meant we were taken directly to our hotels without other stops along the way, so we could capitalise on our time in each destination.
Some Victoria Falls Tips
NOTE: In terms of currency, Zimbabwe predominantly deals in American dollars.
SOUTH AFRICAN RAND IS NOT ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE SO DON’T RELY ON THIS
Travel visas are generally issued on arrival so it is best if you can have American dollars in cash for the necessary amount.
Our accommodation in Victoria Falls was certainly of honeymoon standard and definitely in keeping with the ‘trip of a lifetime’ theme!
We stayed in the Ilala Lodge and can say without reservation that this is in our top three of any hotels we have stayed in around the world.
Rooms At Ilala Lodge
The rooms themselves were incredible; fully air-conditioned, mesh netting draped the four-poster bed, an elaborately stocked bar fridge, a Nespresso coffee machine, freshly baked treats replenished nightly and a bottle of champagne chilling on arrival.
The rooms also had large, private balconies where we could take full advantage of bordering the National Park and being in such close proximity to Victoria Falls. In the afternoons, it was often possible to watch the local wildlife, such as warthog, running about on the lawns.
Ilala Lodge Room Views
A breathtaking sight at dusk and dawn was also that of the spray from the Falls themselves, bellowing up into the atmosphere.
Sitting on our balcony sipping coffee watching the plumes of spray and listening to the water fall is a memory that will stick with me forever.
The Palm Restaurant within the Ilala Lodge was so amazing that we didn’t even consider leaving the resort for any of our meals while in Zimbabwe.
The authentic, African vibe of the restaurant you feel during the day is transformed at night to a magical ambience as you can sit under the stars to enjoy the true magnitude of this environment.
Breakfast was included in our room price and it was without a doubt, one to write home about.
There was a very generous buffet style arrangement of house made muesli, cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurt, freshly made juices, a huge selection of teas and endless coffees of your choice as well as a very tempting selection of pastries made fresh each morning.
Nothing was too difficult for the staff as they were very happy to cater to my fussy needs and happily mixed and matched options from the menu each morning.
We ate from the lunch/bar menu twice while at the hotel.
On our first night, we decided we didn’t need a huge dinner after the snacks we had on the river cruise, so we sat at the pool side bar and ordered from the bar menu.
Trying The Burgers
We both opted for burgers, me the veggie option and my husband the beef. We were both amazed by the flavour – so much so that I even went for the same Falafel patty the following night when we sat in the restaurant.
The beef burger was succulent and extremely flavoursome, and both were served on homemade toasted buns which is a huge ‘thumbs up’ in the burger world!
If you are after an authentic food experience, then you can’t go past the Palm restaurant. Options such as springbok, warthog, kudu, ostrich and crocodile even tempted a non-red meat eater like myself.
First Two Courses
To start, we had the Springbok samosa and the crumbed brie cheese. For mains, I had the Falafel served with grilled vegetables, salsa and tzatziki and Richie had Pork Meats Warthog.
Room For Dessert
We even went for dessert too which is something we rarely do. We shared the chocolate tart and a delicious crumble. They both looked like works of art…but that didn’t stop us digging in and practically licking the plates clean!
We did this activity the day we arrived at the destination and it was the perfect way to familiarise ourselves with the astounding surroundings as well as make the most of our limited time in Zimbabwe.
This was a very relaxing cruise along the Zambezi River and was our first encounter with some animals in their natural habitats. It was also a sunset cruise and we can honestly say its one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen.
We saw a pod of hippos ducking and diving in the water as we cruised past sipping our drink of choice and nibbling on tasty tapas. We also saw some rather large crocodiles perched up on the embankment soaking up a bit of sun.
There are two main ways to experience the falls and we recommend you do both.
We started by doing the walking tour. Our top tip here is that you take only what you need for the walk (it doesn’t take too long so no need for drinks/snacks etc).
We took our phones for photos and had them in a zip lock bag as there is no avoiding the spray of the falls when the water level is high.
You also have the option of walking across Victoria Falls Bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Although the bridge itself is considered ‘no-man’s land’, you still need your passport to access it.
Although we hadn’t booked the helicopter ride in advance of our trip, we knew we had to do it after our walking tour.
Experiencing the falls on foot and hearing the roar of the water was so breath-taking, that we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to view this Natural Wonder of the World from every possible angle.
We booked the helicopter ride as soon as we returned to our hotel and were up in the air that very afternoon.
We opted for the 12/15-minute flight and it was enough time to get snap happy and take in the incredible views.
Tip: We booked through Chikopokopo Helicopters – we were very happy with their service and they gave us an extended flight time (more than 5 extra minutes) as we spotted some giraffes, elephants and zebras while we were up in the air and the pilot wanted to give us a better view of these!
Located just behind our hotel, an open market filled with incredible handmade wares. Most of the stall holders displayed wooden articles, anything from table settings and salad bowls to large hand carved animals. Some were even busy creating new pieces which was amazing to watch and gave an insight into this amazing craftsmanship.
Tip:It is important to be aware of any regulations that may be in place in your country of origin if you wish to bring the wooden items home, as customs in some countries can be very strict with such products.
Tip:If you are considering sending any purchases home via courier, it would be wise to price postage prior to purchase as this may be quite expense.
We hope you find this information helpful if planning a trip to Africa.
Thank you for taking the time to read our post Victoria Falls adventure.