This post lists what I consider to be 16 of the best places to stay in and around Victoria Falls. Each establishment differs uniquely, catering to the varied preferences of the discerning traveler. The Victoria Falls are on the Zambezi River which forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe allowing access from both sides.
- Best Places to Stay in Zimbabwe
- Best Places to Stay in Zambia
Best Places to Stay in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls River Lodge
Victoria Falls River Lodge is a 5-star luxury safari lodge on the banks of the Zambezi, situated within the Zambezi National Park and only 10 minutes from Victoria Falls village.
The award-winning lodge offers 12 luxury tented suites with decks and plunge pools and the privacy to enjoy the spectacular views all to yourself. Any closer to the water and your toes would get wet. Enjoy unpretentious luxury while you marvel at the sight of wild animals on the banks of the tranquil Zambezi waters.
Perhaps you would like to be a little more adventurous and stay in the private haven of Kandahar Island which lies in the middle of the river. Let the sounds of the bush and river lull you to sleep in one of 6 island treehouse suites. Two of the suites have unique star beds suspended over the treetops for sleepouts under the stars. No wonder travelers voted this resort Best of the Best on TripAdvisor for 2023.
The construction of canvas, glass, and timber lodgings contributed to this lodge’s Sustainable Level 3 status. Further to that, the Zambezi Crescent Collection who own the lodge, are committed to working with non-profit organizations to positively impact and bring about change in local communities. If you are planning a visit, check out the website and wish list to see how you can add your contribution and make your travel matter.
At Victoria Falls Lodge, guests are a priority. The staff are readily available to assist with planning your holiday while tending to each individual’s needs in 5-star comfort.
Follow the link to find out more about this beautiful destination https://victoriafallsriverlodge.com/
Old Drift Lodge
Located 7 km from Vic Falls, within the Zambezi National Park, this exclusive lodge has been voted the 7th best small hotel in Africa.
Each luxury tent was designed to blend with the natural environment and boasts a private plunge pool as well as a vintage outdoor bath with a view. The stylish and elegant lodge offers expansive views across the National Park where wildlife roam free.
Dine on cuisine that has a distinctly African flavor enhanced with fresh seasonal ingredients and homegrown herbs. Old Drift Lodge is environmentally conscious and uses grey water and solar panels to minimize their footprint on the delicate habitat. As part of the Wild Horizons organization, which is well established in environmental projects, the lodge continues its legacy with eco-initiatives in the area.
Follow the link to read more about Old Drift Lodge
Victoria Falls Hotel
The Victoria Falls Hotel is a personal favorite of mine due to its views, proximity to the Falls, and Edwardian style. The hotel was built in 1904 to accommodate the workers building the Cape to Cairo railway line. Recently refurbished, the hotel still emulates the style, glamour, and sophistication it is renowned for. This Grand Old Dame of Vic Falls commands a stately presence overlooking the rail bridge and the spray that rises from the gorge.
A multiple award-winning hotel and Leading Hotels of the World member, it has one of the best locations in Vic Falls. The view from the verandah stretches across manicured lawns to Batoka Gorge and the iconic ZimZam bridge. Watch the sunrise through the mist in the early morning as you sip on a cup of the finest brewed coffee.
During the day you can order a light meal or partake of the famous High Tea while relaxing on the Stanley Terrace. If you plan on fine dining in The Livingston Restaurant, it is best to book ahead of time due to its popularity, particularly in the busier months. You don’t want to miss this as the restaurant has been named one of the best in the world.
The falls and town can be easily reached from the hotel via a short walkway. (Mind the Warthogs) Or you could stay at the hotel to enjoy the surroundings. Visit the Larry Norton Gallery to see the acclaimed artist’s wildlife paintings or browse the famous stone sculptures at the Stone Dynamics Gallery.
Besides being a historical landmark, the Vic Falls Hotel has adapted to embrace green initiatives with eco-composting through worm farming and sustainable upliftment of communities through food initiatives.
Take a look at The Victoria Falls Hotel website for more information.
Matetsi Victoria Falls
Noticeable for its exquisite, distinctly African decor including custom works by local artisans, Matetsi Victoria Falls Lodge is situated within the Matetsi Private Game Reserve.
From the exclusivity and privacy of the River House Villa to the individual suites, all units have riverfront views to gaze upon as you sip cocktails and reminisce about the day’s stories. Meal times in the dining area are a treat with delectable cuisine crafted from locally sourced sustainable food choices.
Matetsi is dedicated to conservation which goes far beyond the immediate camps and into the rich wilderness and community surrounding them. This link takes you directly to the Matetsi conservation page so you can read about all the incredible work these amazing people do for our environment.
See Matetsi for more about this idyllic lodge.
The Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel
One of the most stylish and sophisticated hotels in Vic Falls is the 5-star Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel. Set in tranquil, natural surroundings it is a quick 15 minutes from the falls. The 16-suite hotel has recently been refurbished, adding a modern twist to its colonial elegance. You may be tempted to stay in your room which is not a problem if you want to enjoy in-suite spa therapies to complement the comfort-centred service.
The hotel is located within the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve and offers guests gourmet meals at the renowned 1871 restaurant. The restaurant uses local ingredients to serve up culinary excellence within a sustainable, seasonal, farm-to-table ethos. Look out for game grazing in the reserve as you enjoy the unique dining experience.
The focus on community and environment is managed by the MORE Community Foundation which you can read about at https://www.morecommunityfoundation.org/ There are some other MORE Group Projects you may want to partake in while visiting Vic Falls:
The Woodlands Village tour includes a visit to Masuwe Primary School through the Get Your Hands Dirty Community Experience.
Rhino Intensive Protection Zone
The Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel truly is an exceptional destination and they have the accolades to prove it:
Conde Nast’s top 10 hotels in Southern Africa in 2022
2021 World culinary awards Zimbabwe’s best hotel restaurant 1871
2021 Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards no.22 of 30 top hotels in Africa
Can’t wait to go there? Follow the link to book your idyllic stay at the MORE Group’s Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel
See www.more.co.za for information on the MORE organization, their luxury destinations, and the memorable experiences they offer in Southern Africa.
The Elephant Camp
The Elephant Camp (Main and West Lodges) has won the Tripadvisor Traveler Choice Award for 7 years in a row. The luxury safari lodge is located within the Victoria Falls Game Reserve, 20 minutes from the village, making it a close and convenient stay for your visit.
Enjoy exquisite views from one of the 12 Luxury suites in the main camp. Or opt for one of the 4 suites at the West Camp for a more intimate experience.
Enhance your experience with cultural tours and a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary and Orphanage for an ethical elephant encounter. Soak in the beautiful scenery from your private deck, wander up to the main area to sample genuine African cuisine, or enjoy one of the many other activities on offer.
The all-inclusive rates make booking your dream vacation at The Elephant Camp a breeze.
For further details on their amazing conservation projects visit https://www.theelephantcamp.com/about-us/community-conservation/
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge Estate
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has been voted Best Safari Lodge/Resort in Zimbabwe for 24 years by the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents. The thatch and timber lodge is home to the famous Buffalo Bar and MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant with its spectacular sunsets and unbeatable views over the waterhole.
The Boma is one of the unmissable experiences in Vic Falls. Due to its popularity, I strongly suggest that you book for the Dinner and Drum Show in advance. Your evening will consist of a 4 course/buffet meal of delicious local cuisine, followed by an energetic dance show and drumming to assault your senses. This has been one of my all-time favorite experiences.
The newly added Victoria Falls Spa is a must-do experience during your stay. Built in harmony with the indigenous woodland and decorated with ethnic fabrics and artifacts, you may relax and enjoy your pampering in peace.
There is plenty to do on the estate, but if you do wish to venture into town, there is a courtesy shuttle bus to transport you there and back.
The lodge offers 3 types of accommodation:
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
72 Comfortable rooms looking out across the wilderness. If possible try and book a waterfront facing room.
The Safari Club offers its discerning guests 20 luxurious rooms, a fine dining restaurant, a tiered swimming pool, and a wellness center among other facilities.
Six units were built for small groups and families who want to stay together but remain close enough to enjoy the facilities at the main lodge.
Follow the link to their website where you can read more about Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Mpala Jena Camp
A boutique safari camp nestled among the bush on the banks of the Zambezi River. Barefoot luxury awaits you in one of only 5 units. Enjoy the sounds of the bush as you sip sundowners on your private deck. If you haven’t experienced an outdoor shower in the bush now is your chance. Enjoy your shower in privacy unless, of course, an inquisitive monkey comes along.
Sustainable level 3 status
The Palm River Hotel
This 4* Luxury Hotel Recently opened offering 71 rooms decorated in natural tones to flow with the surrounding bush. All materials were locally sourced and punctuated with artwork that reflects the Vic Falls area. The design was inspired by the district and is in the Queenslander style of building which is based on climate consideration principles.
This no doubt helped them earn a Travel Sustainable level 3 and are currently highly rated on Booking.com
Be inspired for your next holiday when you read more at The Palm River Hotel
Tsowa Safari Island Camp
Then there is Tsowa Safari Island Camp, a classic safari experience in Zambezi National Park. Although it is a little further away from Vic Falls, this luxury tented accommodation on an island in the middle of the Zambezi is sublime.
Each of the 16 luxury tents is separated to give visitors privacy and space to lavish in the tranquility and soothing sounds of the bush. Hidden behind the leafy branches of the Jackalberry and Waterberry trees, the units have a deck that looks out over the calming waters of the Zambezi.
A sustainable level 3 rating is partly due to the lodge’s eco-sensitive structures, which ensure minimal environmental impact complemented by decor that blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
Tsowa is one of several lodges in this family-run business that have provided accommodation and experiences to satisfied travelers for 27 years.
The Isibindi Foundation has partnered, invested, and uplifted local communities in the areas where their wildlife lodges are situated. They have initiated or been a part of several initiatives from Rhino poaching to paper bin packets. Nothing is overlooked in their determination to provide sustainable travel solutions.
Conservation and communities are an integral part of the Brett and Paige Gehren journey to provide eco-conscious travel. Both members of this husband and wife team have backgrounds in conservation. Sustainable wildlife lodges. Embody their core values and include staff as part of the journey.
The unique luxury wilderness lodges attract guests who want to be philanthropic travelers and journey with purpose. All lodges operated are owned by Isibindi Travel Lodges enabling them to guarantee a personal commitment to the company’s ethos and values. The Isibindi Foundation was created to support their conservation initiatives.
Best Places to Stay in Zambia
Mukwa River Lodge
An exclusive family-owned luxury getaway in the Zambian bush. The 6 free-standing suites are positioned on the banks of the Zambezi with the luxury of a private plunge pool on the deck. The accommodation caters to every whim from Nespresso Machines with compostable capsules to King size extra-length beds, ensuring your comfort.
Despite the remoteness of this idyllic destination, you have the convenience of a Spa, Gym, and award-winning restaurant. The ingredients are sourced from the onsite organic vegetable garden. A refined style flows throughout the lodge, where natural textures are used in the beautiful locally inspired decor.
This lodge is a convenient 18 km from Livingstone Airport which makes getting there a breeze and puts them close to all the activities offered in the area.
Explore this stunning lodge at Mukwa River Lodge
The Royal Livingstone Hotel
Watch from the deck of the hotel as mist rises from the falls beyond. The iconic Royal Livingstone Hotel is found within the Zambezi National Park and the local wildlife isn’t shy to wander past in search of food.
While busier and less remote than some of the more private lodges, Royal Livingstone has plenty to offer guests. Besides the refined luxury and idyllic views, with the Zambezi lapping the edge of the garden, Royal Livingstone has an array of unique, dining experiences that will blow you away. Experience an authentic African feast at Mukuni Boma, enjoy a meal at the refreshing Old Drift Restaurant, sigh at the views from Kubu, and finally, indulge in a Royal High Tea looking out over the lawns.
The Hotel is a quick 5 minute walk to Vic Falls with unlimited free entry as a guest. Speak to one of the amazing staff to ask for advice on any of the activities offered around Livingstone and beyond.
There is honestly so much to say about this gracious hotel, best you peruse The Royal Livingstone Hotel and plan your holiday as soon as possible.
Tongabezi Eco Lodge
Tongabezi gets my vote for the most eco-friendly destination in or around Vic Falls. I’m not the only one, as this incredible lodge has won numerous awards including a Top 20 Hotels of the World by Conde Nast.
Where to begin? Tongabezi is owned and run by Green Safaris, an eco-conscious company that operates across Malawi and Zambia. Their commitment to sustainability, the environment, ecosystems, and local communities is impressive.
What’s more, this happens without compromising their guest’s comfort and enjoyment. Instead, it enhances their travel by offering unique adventures, culinary safaris, and the opportunity to get involved and make a difference. This amazing resort needs a dedicated post but for now, you can head to the website at Tongabezi Eco Lodge and read up on all that they offer. Really. I’m going to insist because I know you will be moved as much as I was.
Thorntree River Lodge
Thorntree River Lodge is one of those places that manages to balance understated luxury with a modern facade that blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings. Head to this ultra luxurious 5* lodge in Mosi-oa-Tunya to see what I mean.
The elegant interiors of the 12 tented suites stretch out onto private verandahs to include views of the majestic Zambezi River and the tranquility of sunset in the African bush. The design of the lodge was inspired by local culture and customs
Use Thorntree River Lodge as your base from which you can explore Vic Falls 20 minutes away, game reserves in the area, or any of the other numerous activities. Thorntree River Lodge is said to have the most passionate safari guides with expert knowledge of the bush and its inhabitants. Speak to them about tailor-making a safari that meets your needs.
When not venturing out to explore, enjoy a relaxing massage at the Spa, or sip on cocktails alongside the river or on the pool deck.
For more information take a look at Thorntree River Lodge
Another award-winning lodge on the banks of the Zambezi is Royal Chundu. When you see a Relais and Chateaux property you must know you are in for a treat and Royal Chundu delivers in all areas with its authentic Zambezi experience.
The River Lodge and Island Lodge provide modern luxury 40 minutes away from Victoria Falls. Choose to stay on the remote island where you will stay in one of 4 spacious villas. Splashes of blue in the decor reflect the cool waters flowing past your private deck.
If you aren’t keen to reach your accommodation by boat, settle into one of the 10 suites of River Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi.
Take a look at this gorgeous lodge at Royal Chundu
Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma
Named after David Livingstone’s two faithful companions, Sussi and Chuma Retreat nestles among Jackalberry trees and Phoenix Palms on the banks of the Zambezi River. Accommodation is in 12 unique luxury treehouses connected by wooden walkways. This secluded paradise is in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park less than 20 km from Vic Falls.
There are several activities on hand or nearby with ample opportunity to unwind and relax in the picturesque surroundings.
Sanctuary Retreats, the organization that owns and manages Sussi and Chuma, is extensively involved in Philanthropy projects across Southern Africa. Read about the fascinating Bead Shop initiative that employs local women in Zambia
For more about the resort itself take a look at Sussi and Chuma
That brings us to the end of what I would consider the best resorts in and around Vic Falls. I’m sure there are others, but the best way to discover for yourself is to visit Vic Falls. Decide on your travel goals, select a suitable time, and head off as soon as possible. It truly is a phenomenal place to explore and make memories.