Victoria Falls area hotel options??

Feb 5th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Victoria Falls area hotel options??

I have been reading this forum for a while in preparation for a trip next fall. With two friends, I am planning what will be a first trip to Southern Africa. We are working with a local (SA) agent but nothing is fixed yet. I am sure to have many questions as the plans progress but here is the first:

We are tentatively planning two nights in the Victoria Falls area and have decided to overnight in Zambia. Time is the first week in October. The options presented so far are either the Royal Livingstone or the Islands of Siankaba. The RL seems to evoke a wide variety of opinions. Siankaba looks fabulous in the photos but how will it be in October?

I would love to read the opinions of those here who are familiar with the area and the accommodations and location and overall experience of both places. The River Club has not been discussed.

Many thanks for all of the great advice here so far.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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The Royal Livingstone's advantage is that it is at the falls and you can enter and leave as many times as you wish from the hotel gate at the Zambezi Sun.

Personally, I would stay in Zimbabwe. October is dry season and the Zambian side of the falls is almost completely dry then. If you want to see the falls you will have to do a day trip to Zimbabwe.

The Victoria Falls Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe is far nicer than the Royal Livingstone.
RBCal is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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There also is the lower-cost and more casual (but nice) option of Ilala Lodge on the Zim side.
cooncat2 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I had initially thought of staying on the Zim side but decided against it, tentatively, due to various concerns....

How long is the drive from Zambian side to the Falls in Zimbabwe?

If we do decide to stick with Zambia, would anyone care to compare RL and Siankaba?

{When I initially about Ilala Lodge, after reading the good reports here, the agent discouraged me, saying recent clients thought the upkeep was poor.}

Thanks again...

ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 05:12 PM
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the Ilala was very well kept as recent as November 2006, it was a great hotel, good restaurant, even had real cloth towels in the loo in the lobby. the grounds were well tended and the hotel itself was clean, tidy and nice.

as to the question time to get Zam-Zim, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the line at immigration. there is a $20.00 pp fee to enter the falls on the Zim side. It will be hot in October and the Zim side of the falls was much better at this time of the year.
matnikstym is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 02:13 PM
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Thanks. About the drive from Zambia to the Zim side of the Falls..if staying in Zambia, would most hotels (such as the two mentioned in the original post) offer transport to travelers on their own and if not, what would be the means of transport? How much time might be allotted to the Falls themselves for a visitor spending two nights in the area?

I guess what I am not understanding well is that if it is so close from Zambia to the Zim side of the Falls, what real difference does it make which side one's hotel/lodge is on unless the acccommodations themselves have a great view of the Falls.../
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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You'll need visas for both Zam and Zim, if you stay on one side and travel to the other to view the Falls. I think the Zambian visa is now $100, good for three years.

I stayed at Ilala a year ago and had no problems. You can walk to the Falls from the hotel. You could also stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel, a colonial era landmark. The Ilala has a more relaxed atmosphere, though. Despite the political troubles in Zimbabwe, we didn't have any problems. The hawkers were anxious to sell their wares, but we didn't feel unsafe (4 women walking to the Falls.)
ShayTay is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Scrunchy - let me help explain...the falls flow from Zambia down into Zimbabwe, so on the Zimbabwe side, you see the falls front on, as opposed to "from the top." I could be more scientific, I guess, but hopefully this answers your question?

Good Luck!
cooncat3 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 04:38 PM
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I'm heading there in August and plan to stay on the Zim side at the Vic Falls Hotel. They have a special going "stay 3 nights for the price of 2". Seems like a pretty good deal to me.
tacos10 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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also the Zambians use the water for hydro-electric power, so the flow isn't as strong as the Zim side, which doesn't use the water.
matnikstym is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 05:07 AM
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You guys are great! Thanks for helping out a new arrival with such detailed answers. Once I get going further along I will post the proposed itinerary. Just under three weeks, more or less:
Blue Train (lifetime dream of one traveling partner)
Jbg overnight
Lion Sands
Vic Falls
Stanley's Camp

ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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since you plan to go in October, i would definitely stay in Zim, at the Vic Falls Hotel if that fits your budget. the reasons are two. one, at that time of year (i was just there at the same time), the falls on the zam side are very low and you will want to see if from the zim side. two, the crossing time can be a delay at the border. took us over an hour to cross from zam to zim because the zim folks had run out of receipts and had to go to town, not far, and open an office , they took forever to do this, not that I even cared about or needed the receipt. of course this happens in many other countries I have visited also, but you will be better off in zim. bring things to trade - hat, even simple hairbands and yes, they love shoes and will ask you for the shoes you have on your feet! We enjoyed walking around the town of Vic Falls , which of course is a border town and not like the real zim, like tiajuana or tangier, but we enjoyed it.
BonnieN is offline  

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