Gwen Wawn runs Safaris 4 Africa one of Zimbabwe's most experienced Destination Management companies. She and her team have been arranging holidays for international, regional and local visitors in and around Zimbabwe and the region for more years than she would like to remember! In this Blog, she updates us about Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and its associated properties and activities.
"Africa Albida very kindly invited Victoria and myself up to Victoria Falls to inspect the new refurbishments at the hotel and to experience one or two exciting new activities that are now available in the Falls. This proved to be very useful!
Fast Jet offered free flights to Victoria Falls. The rates are very competitive compared to Air Zimbabwe and I was very impressed with the service throughout. The standards are well above the normal African low cost airlines. Currently the airline offers flights three times a week Harare to Victoria Falls, (Tues/Thurs and Sun), but the intention is to introduce one of the smaller Embraer aircraft into Zimbabwe and once this happens then the flight schedules will increase.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
The main selling point of this lodge is the view over the national park and waterhole and the peace and serenity of this complex. The helicopters are only heard if one of the 25 minute flights has been booked and the helicopter is flying over the national park.
Points to note on the accommodations:
• Waterhole facing rooms offer views to the waterhole and surrounding habitat
• Standard rooms have views to the natural habitat only
• All waterhole and standard rooms have just been furnished with new beds, mattresses and bed linen. These beds can be converted to two ¾ beds or one king-size bed.
• The VFSL suites can be adapted to a triple room, with the child being accommodated in the Indian day bed downstairs. Child under 12 years will be 50% of adult rate sharing with parents.
• In the main lodge the new policy is not to allow triples in the waterhole or standard rooms, since space is tight and the guests will not have a comfortable experience.
• The Club has two interleading deluxe rooms and two interleading suite rooms, which combine with a deluxe room. These can be used for children but the minimum age restriction is 10 years.
• The suites at the main lodge complex offer value add in the way of complimentary mini bar, laundry and a private David Livingstone talk.
• The Club now offers a complimentary David Livingstone talk as well as complimentary laundry, wifi, afternoon tea and sundowner cocktails and canapés.
• The central Club area has been refurbished with new “classy” comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, bringing it more into line with the ethos of the Club.
• There have been no significant changes to the Safari Suites. Please remember that these suites are perfect for families, as they offer more privacy and freedom, but I would not recommend this option for couples travelling together, as the upstairs master suite is superior in size and views. Transport to and from the main lodge is by way of golf carts.
• The Lokuthula Lodges I think are perfect for Zimbabwean families who are looking for self catering options. The units do not have air conditioning and are quite rustic for the international traveller.
• The Boma has been rebranded to The Boma Dinner and Drum Show, to emphasise the fact that the drumming is part of the evening entertainment experience. There is now a dedicated Boma bus to transfer guests from VFSL foyer to the Boma.
• The daily complimentary Vulture Culture experience commences at 1300 hours and is definitely worth recommending to any guest. The sad facts are that 8 out of the 11 African vultures have declined by 62% over the past 30 years. These feeding programs assist in the preservation of the species. Most days there are at least 2 species of vulture, with the daily numbers varying from between 20 to over 200 birds. It is quite a spectacle and a great way to get close up photographs of vultures in flight and in a feeding frenzy.
(See also Wild Zambezi's Blog Vultures: Cute and cuddly they are not, but they need protection)
• I am not a history boff but this new David Livingstone talk is truly enlightening. The 45 minute talk takes place on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 0930 hrs at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Various guides such as Chris Worden and Libby White give the talk and it is filled with humour, amazing facts and poignancy. Guests will get a totally new perspective on David Livingstone’s amazing journey through Africa and his arrival in Victoria Falls. The cost is $ 12 per person and can be pre-booked with the accommodation.
• Wild Horizons have developed a new activity - Art with the Elephants. It is a truly a fun experience and one for the whole family. Minimum age is 5 years. The activity is based on a minimum of 2 guests and a maximum of 30 guests. You do not have to be an artist but will be amazed with the advice and assistance of two artists what can be created!. Pick up is 1130 hrs: Drop off is 1430 hrs. Transfer is to the Elephant Wallow, about 5 minutes from town. A debrief and indemnities are signed before an introduction to the elephants and an elephant interaction session. From there you head over to the art area which is set up under some shady trees. The elephants then quietly move around while, with direction and advice from the artists you have the opportunity to compose a picture. The art session lasts about an hour before you head back to the wallow for a wash down and some lunch. After lunch a transfer is arranged back to town."