The Villa under the Baobab

Sally Wynn, Wild Zambezi • 25 April 2019

If you’re visiting Victoria Falls with family or close friends, and, like me, you prefer the flexibility of private accommodation to a hotel environment, then here’s a place that you won’t be able to resist. 

The Vic Falls Villa is well… possibly more of a large house than a villa – but here’s the thing…    It is set in the most wonderful tropical garden and has its very own beautiful, majestic Baobab tree estimated to be some 350 years old (a mere stripling in Baobab terms – some of the oldest ones reach 2000 years!)  

Wild Zambezi was lucky enough to visit in March 2019 and see for ourselves.

The Gardini family have owned this place for years - it must once have been a wild spot under a Baobab.  Now, the suburbs of Victoria Falls town have encroached and surrounded it– but the Baobab still dominates  - a magnificent natural, wild feature – its branches stretched out over the house and the pool, its wide grey trunk already developing the characteristic gnarls and folds of advancing age.  It features in the Villa's logo, and tells its story to visitors with a carefully-placed label attached to the trunk (other natural trees found in the garden are similarly interpreted for interested tree-huggers like me).  That’s nice.  I like the detailed touch. 

There’s also a vast walk-in aviary in the back garden.  I like aviaries less than natural trees, but this one is at least big enough to allow its beautiful occupants plenty of space.  Children will love it, and the Villa provides a useful little pictorial guidebook to the species found within it.  

You can tell that the owners of The Vic Falls Villa have paid a great deal of attention to renovation and  design that provides a degree of comfort quite extraordinary for a self-catering (or partly-catered) accommodation option.   They have thought of everything! 

The house sleeps 10 people in total in two individual wings separated by a huge central living space/bar/indoor entertainment area with an open, raised roof and a fully-functioning, sunken Jacuzzi as its feature.  

The “main house” wing has a spacious double Suite with en-suite dressing room and bathroom (completely modernised). 

Two smaller rooms (a double and a twin) share an equally modern bathroom across the passageway. 

The other wing contains its own huge double Suite with en-suite bathroom.  

Adjacent is a bunk room for two kids.  The bathroom off this has a separate door allowing access from the central entertainment area.   

The arrangement is brilliant for providing the individual space and separation that large families sometimes need!   

The beds, bedding and linen are of the highest quality.  There are fans in every room and DSTV and air-conditioning in all but the kids bunk room.  The décor has been carefully thought out to celebrate the majesty of the Victoria Falls area and its wildlife with a series of stunning prints on the walls by internationally-famous artist, Larry Norton.

The villa has an extraordinary variety of entertainment spaces (again, cleverly designed to keep a family of all ages happy).   If the weather is cool (it can be in winter), a traditional lounge with a large flatscreen TV and free wi-fi will keep bored kids happy for hours, and a cosy sunken bar adjacent is ideal for older, sport-mad individuals!  

In warm weather, there is a sparkling outdoor swimming pool with shaded loungers and tables next to The Baobab and a circular outdoor bar and barbeque area with stools, shaded by a thatched rondavel roof with cooling fans in the ceiling!  

In the evenings, the Jacuzzi and its massive entertainment  in the centre of the house (with access to the garden)  is a perfect focal point, with a separate bar, a barbeque area, large round dining table and chairs, TV screens, fans for summer,  a fireplace for winter, wi-fi  and easy access straight into the enormous, beautifully-equipped, modern kitchen.

Here, kids of all ages can run around in swimming gear or just relax and chill. With the kitchen right there meals are easy to prepare and serve in this “indoor-outdoor space” where everyone is chilling. 

If you don’t want to self-cater, there is a chef who can be hired in by prior arrangement (and a large dining room for more formal entertaining).  But I think The Vic Falls Villa is best for casual living.  There’s a fantastic, well-tended vege garden and fruit orchard at the back of the property the products of which are available for the use of guests should they so wish. 

A note on children, by the way – the swimming pool and Jacuzzi are unfenced (the latter has a soft cover when not in use), so parents will either have to keep their small children under strict supervision all the time, or else make sure they are old enough to swim.

The villa is hired per night as a whole unit – so you have the whole place, in private, to yourselves.

It comes with its own compliment of wonderfully efficient staff who are utterly welcoming and friendly, and who discreetly set about keeping the place spick and span inside and out, without you ever really being aware of their presence!  The hostess/housekeeper, Perfect, and her husband Austen (who is the driver) are real gems. 

Guests who choose to self-drive can be assured that their vehicles are safe on the property (it is walled, gated and electric-fenced for security). 

But if you are flying in, The Vic Falls Villa has a very comfortable 8-seater minibus, and Austen (who is an extremely carefully driver) will transfer you to and from the airport and is also on hand to ferry guests to see the sights of Victoria Falls at any time.

So…. I know it’s stretching things a bit to include the lovely, suburban, Vic Falls Villa in our “Wild Zambezi” travel network  – but it offers such a wonderful, alternative, Victoria Falls accommodation option for families and friend groups.   It’s central, it’s spacious, it’s beautifully kept, and….. well… it has its own 350-year-old Baobab!  Can’t get wilder than one of those!

(Images by Lesanne Photography)

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