The Elephant Camp - upgrading to stay ahead of the herd

Wild Zambezi • 5 September 2018

Wild Horizons’ incredibly popular luxury tented camp, The Elephant Camp, receives consistent rave reviews on Trip Advisor, and has undoubtedly been the most successful, safari accommodation facility in the Victoria Falls area for nearly a decade.  It’s easy to see why. 

When the main Elephant Camp was built in 2010, it offered visitors to the area a stylish new 24-bed safari-lodge option within a 10 minute drive of the Falls, for people who wanted something different to a rather old fashioned colonial-style hotel or a large, glitzy resort.

Its bush setting within a huge private concession stocked with wildlife, on top of a ridge overlooking the spray of the Victoria Falls in the distance, gave The Elephant Camp a distinctive and attractive safari atmosphere. 

Its cleverly-designed tented suites (state-of-the-art at the time) provided a level of space, comfort and luxury that way surpassed anything offered by a traditional safari camp (many have echoed it since). 

Its wildlife encounter activities and conservation programmes proved to be a popular draw, offering something different from the usual action-packed, thrill-seeking activities associated with the adrenalin capital of Southern Africa.

Eight years on, the Elephant Camp is just as popular as it ever was.  The only problem is that the rest of the tourism industry has cottoned on to many of its unique and original design features and is starting to give it some stiff competition! 

Wooden decking, private suites with their own plunge pools, romantic outdoor showers, gourmet cuisine and high standards of professional guiding have quickly become standard features for top-quality tourism facilities in safari areas, and the Elephant Camp is having to think hard about how it maintains its edge on the rest!

Wild Zambezi’s first visited The Elephant Camp in 2013, and our recent stay as a guest in July 2018 offered us some perspective and an opportunity to reflect on the changes in tourism in Victoria Falls in just five years.  The reality is that Zimbabwe’s “Pariah” status since the early 2000s has really done little to dent progress and tourism expansion in the Victoria Falls area.  The upgrade of the airport to International Standards has been an extraordinary game-changer.  The Elephant Camp was built at the cusp of this expansion, and has led the herd ever since.

But there are some cocky tourism youngsters pulling at its tail!  

In travel, staying ahead of the herd is the name of the game.  

In 2016, The Elephant Camp expanded, with the addition of a beautiful, family-friendly, exclusive-use 8-bed extension known as The Elephant Camp West. 

Next year (2019), renovations and upgrades to the Main Elephant Camp are planned for the first three months of 2019, and a new luxury gym and spa facility is being constructed.  This will add even more value to a tourism product that has already proved its worth. 

Meanwhile, The Elephant Camp’s new sister facility, the 36-bed Old Drift Lodge, set on the banks of the river in the Zambezi National Park upstream from the Victoria Falls, is already setting the pace. 

But Wild Horizons are old hands at this game.  They have been in the Victoria Falls tourism business for longer than most.  We have no doubt that they and The Elephant Camp will rise to the challenge.

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