Trip report: Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park (Part 2)

Introduction

In November last year I was invited on a familiarisation trip to Zimbabwe with my good friends and partner company, Imvelo Safari Lodges. These are arranged for travel agents and tour operators from outside the country so that they can experience a destination for themselves and thus be able to recommend accommodation and activities based on personal experience.

The trip was a week long, and me being me, I wanted to extend my time in Zimbabwe – after all, Southern Africa is quite some distance from Norway and when first down there, 7 days is far from enough.

I contacted another company I work with, Seolo Africa, and arranged to stay at both of their properties in Zimbabwe, and then added a night at a favourite hotel of mine, the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel, centrally located in the town of the same name. I figured that I would also get time for a G&T at the Victoria Falls Hotel on my way back through to join my colleagues arriving for the Imvelo trip. I mean, it would be rude not to.

I should point out that I paid for my flights and all my accommodation, activities and fees – but the accommodation part was at a reduced rate for agents. Flights are not cheap, the trip was a significant investment for me and as always my opinions are my own.

So it was that I found myself arriving at Victoria Falls airport on the last day of November, ready for more adventures in my favourite country so far in Africa. I had booked a transfer with the first hotel on my itinerary, and was checking in within half an hour of landing.

Gorges Lodge

What we tell people:

I have stayed here three times in the last two years, and it is superb value for such a centrally-located place to stay in the town of Victoria Falls, making it an excellent base from which to explore.

Recent renovations have modernised the rooms and work is planned to spruce up the restaurant and lobby in the near future. The pool area is a lovely place to relax and the gardens are lush and extensive.

I put this video together after returning from my trip, so do take a look:

Vital stats:

The Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel
Number of rooms: 88

  • 54 Standard Twins
  • 30 Standard Doubles
  • 2 Family Suites
  • 2 Deluxe Suites

The hotel has 13 family rooms with bunk beds and 13 sets of family interleading rooms.

Opening dates: Open all year
Suggested length of stay: Two nights +
Getting there: The drive from Victoria Falls Airport usually takes about 30 minutes.

Location, location, location?

The Rainbow Hotel is just north of the main drag, just half a kilometre and a safe walk from the centre of town and only 2km from the Falls themselves. 

The room

I was accommodated in a Standard Double, which was a refurbished version of the room I had stayed in twice before. The majority of rooms feature a pleasant balcony too.

Much brighter and more modern, these rooms are very comfortable and have all the amenities you are likely to need. 

The room was spacious with adequate storage space for two people travelling together and plenty for one person.

Tea and coffee making facilities are provided and always welcome – especially for early risers like myself who enjoy a cuppa out on the verandah before breakfast, a great place to relax with a book or watch birds in the lodge grounds.

It was a treat to have a full-size bathtub as well as a shower, and the bathroom was large and well-designed.

A full range of bathroom ameneties are provided, including insect repellant which is a useful touch.

The water pressure in the shower was excellent and the large shower cabinet well designed.

Food and drink

Usual board basis: Bed and breakfast

On this occasion I only had breakfast, which was a buffet and tasty, if not outstanding. Last time I stayed I had dinner, which was also a buffet and very good value.

Dining arrangement: Individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and outdoor dining

Eating outdoors on the pool terrace is a nice experience, both for breakfast and dinner. There is also a “submerged” bar for drinks while sunbathing and swimming.

Activities

At the hotel itself, relaxing by the pool would be the main “activity”. But Victoria Falls is the adventure capital of Zimbabwe – if not Southern Africa – and the hotel can arrange all of these, or you can do so yourself. Check out these two articles about my first trip – a morning in Victoria Falls and what I got up to in the afternoon. There is a dedicated desk in the lobby to make bookings and prices appear to be the same anyway, so it makes sense to let the staff here do the hard work.

Service

Service was friendly, efficient and excellent. 

Conclusion:

We love the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel. The other hotels so close to town are a lot more expensive, and it’s questionable whether they are worth the extra. It is probably better to stay here and save your money for the host of activities available in town.

The next morning it was time to move on, and I met Michele who represents Masuwe Lodge for Seolo (who are based in South Africa). She drove me to the lodge, which is also within easy striking distance of Victoria Falls town and offers are more upmarket and exclusive base with a genuine safari feel.

Elephant Express

Camelthorn Lodge

What we tell people:

I have stayed here three times in the last two years, and it is superb value for such a centrally-located place to stay in the town of Victoria Falls, making it an excellent base from which to explore.

Recent renovations have modernised the rooms and work is planned to spruce up the restaurant and lobby in the near future. The pool area is a lovely place to relax and the gardens are lush and extensive.

I put this video together after returning from my trip, so do take a look:

Vital stats:

The Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel
Number of rooms: 88

  • 54 Standard Twins
  • 30 Standard Doubles
  • 2 Family Suites
  • 2 Deluxe Suites

The hotel has 13 family rooms with bunk beds and 13 sets of family interleading rooms.

Opening dates: Open all year
Suggested length of stay: Two nights +
Getting there: The drive from Victoria Falls Airport usually takes about 30 minutes.

Location, location, location?

The Rainbow Hotel is just north of the main drag, just half a kilometre and a safe walk from the centre of town and only 2km from the Falls themselves. 

The room

I was accommodated in a Standard Double, which was a refurbished version of the room I had stayed in twice before. The majority of rooms feature a pleasant balcony too.

Much brighter and more modern, these rooms are very comfortable and have all the amenities you are likely to need. 

The room was spacious with adequate storage space for two people travelling together and plenty for one person.

Tea and coffee making facilities are provided and always welcome – especially for early risers like myself who enjoy a cuppa out on the verandah before breakfast, a great place to relax with a book or watch birds in the lodge grounds.

It was a treat to have a full-size bathtub as well as a shower, and the bathroom was large and well-designed.

A full range of bathroom ameneties are provided, including insect repellant which is a useful touch.

The water pressure in the shower was excellent and the large shower cabinet well designed.

Food and drink

Usual board basis: Bed and breakfast

On this occasion I only had breakfast, which was a buffet and tasty, if not outstanding. Last time I stayed I had dinner, which was also a buffet and very good value.

Dining arrangement: Individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and outdoor dining

Eating outdoors on the pool terrace is a nice experience, both for breakfast and dinner. There is also a “submerged” bar for drinks while sunbathing and swimming.

Activities

At the hotel itself, relaxing by the pool would be the main “activity”. But Victoria Falls is the adventure capital of Zimbabwe – if not Southern Africa – and the hotel can arrange all of these, or you can do so yourself. Check out these two articles about my first trip – a morning in Victoria Falls and what I got up to in the afternoon. There is a dedicated desk in the lobby to make bookings and prices appear to be the same anyway, so it makes sense to let the staff here do the hard work.

Service

Service was friendly, efficient and excellent. 

Conclusion:

We love the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel. The other hotels so close to town are a lot more expensive, and it’s questionable whether they are worth the extra. It is probably better to stay here and save your money for the host of activities available in town.

The next morning it was time to move on, and I met Michele who represents Masuwe Lodge for Seolo (who are based in South Africa). She drove me to the lodge, which is also within easy striking distance of Victoria Falls town and offers are more upmarket and exclusive base with a genuine safari feel.

Bomani Tented Lodge

What we tell people:

I have stayed here three times in the last two years, and it is superb value for such a centrally-located place to stay in the town of Victoria Falls, making it an excellent base from which to explore.

Recent renovations have modernised the rooms and work is planned to spruce up the restaurant and lobby in the near future. The pool area is a lovely place to relax and the gardens are lush and extensive.

I put this video together after returning from my trip, so do take a look:

Vital stats:

The Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel
Number of rooms: 88

  • 54 Standard Twins
  • 30 Standard Doubles
  • 2 Family Suites
  • 2 Deluxe Suites

The hotel has 13 family rooms with bunk beds and 13 sets of family interleading rooms.

Opening dates: Open all year
Suggested length of stay: Two nights +
Getting there: The drive from Victoria Falls Airport usually takes about 30 minutes.

Location, location, location?

The Rainbow Hotel is just north of the main drag, just half a kilometre and a safe walk from the centre of town and only 2km from the Falls themselves. 

The room

I was accommodated in a Standard Double, which was a refurbished version of the room I had stayed in twice before. The majority of rooms feature a pleasant balcony too.

Much brighter and more modern, these rooms are very comfortable and have all the amenities you are likely to need. 

The room was spacious with adequate storage space for two people travelling together and plenty for one person.

Tea and coffee making facilities are provided and always welcome – especially for early risers like myself who enjoy a cuppa out on the verandah before breakfast, a great place to relax with a book or watch birds in the lodge grounds.

It was a treat to have a full-size bathtub as well as a shower, and the bathroom was large and well-designed.

A full range of bathroom ameneties are provided, including insect repellant which is a useful touch.

The water pressure in the shower was excellent and the large shower cabinet well designed.

Food and drink

Usual board basis: Bed and breakfast

On this occasion I only had breakfast, which was a buffet and tasty, if not outstanding. Last time I stayed I had dinner, which was also a buffet and very good value.

Dining arrangement: Individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and outdoor dining

Eating outdoors on the pool terrace is a nice experience, both for breakfast and dinner. There is also a “submerged” bar for drinks while sunbathing and swimming.

Activities

At the hotel itself, relaxing by the pool would be the main “activity”. But Victoria Falls is the adventure capital of Zimbabwe – if not Southern Africa – and the hotel can arrange all of these, or you can do so yourself. Check out these two articles about my first trip – a morning in Victoria Falls and what I got up to in the afternoon. There is a dedicated desk in the lobby to make bookings and prices appear to be the same anyway, so it makes sense to let the staff here do the hard work.

Service

Service was friendly, efficient and excellent. 

Conclusion:

We love the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel. The other hotels so close to town are a lot more expensive, and it’s questionable whether they are worth the extra. It is probably better to stay here and save your money for the host of activities available in town.

The next morning it was time to move on, and I met Michele who represents Masuwe Lodge for Seolo (who are based in South Africa). She drove me to the lodge, which is also within easy striking distance of Victoria Falls town and offers are more upmarket and exclusive base with a genuine safari feel.

Zambezi Sands

What we tell people:

I have stayed here three times in the last two years, and it is superb value for such a centrally-located place to stay in the town of Victoria Falls, making it an excellent base from which to explore.

Recent renovations have modernised the rooms and work is planned to spruce up the restaurant and lobby in the near future. The pool area is a lovely place to relax and the gardens are lush and extensive.

I put this video together after returning from my trip, so do take a look:

Vital stats:

The Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel
Number of rooms: 88

  • 54 Standard Twins
  • 30 Standard Doubles
  • 2 Family Suites
  • 2 Deluxe Suites

The hotel has 13 family rooms with bunk beds and 13 sets of family interleading rooms.

Opening dates: Open all year
Suggested length of stay: Two nights +
Getting there: The drive from Victoria Falls Airport usually takes about 30 minutes.

Location, location, location?

The Rainbow Hotel is just north of the main drag, just half a kilometre and a safe walk from the centre of town and only 2km from the Falls themselves. 

The room

I was accommodated in a Standard Double, which was a refurbished version of the room I had stayed in twice before. The majority of rooms feature a pleasant balcony too.

Much brighter and more modern, these rooms are very comfortable and have all the amenities you are likely to need. 

The room was spacious with adequate storage space for two people travelling together and plenty for one person.

Tea and coffee making facilities are provided and always welcome – especially for early risers like myself who enjoy a cuppa out on the verandah before breakfast, a great place to relax with a book or watch birds in the lodge grounds.

It was a treat to have a full-size bathtub as well as a shower, and the bathroom was large and well-designed.

A full range of bathroom ameneties are provided, including insect repellant which is a useful touch.

The water pressure in the shower was excellent and the large shower cabinet well designed.

Food and drink

Usual board basis: Bed and breakfast

On this occasion I only had breakfast, which was a buffet and tasty, if not outstanding. Last time I stayed I had dinner, which was also a buffet and very good value.

Dining arrangement: Individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and outdoor dining

Eating outdoors on the pool terrace is a nice experience, both for breakfast and dinner. There is also a “submerged” bar for drinks while sunbathing and swimming.

Activities

At the hotel itself, relaxing by the pool would be the main “activity”. But Victoria Falls is the adventure capital of Zimbabwe – if not Southern Africa – and the hotel can arrange all of these, or you can do so yourself. Check out these two articles about my first trip – a morning in Victoria Falls and what I got up to in the afternoon. There is a dedicated desk in the lobby to make bookings and prices appear to be the same anyway, so it makes sense to let the staff here do the hard work.

Service

Service was friendly, efficient and excellent. 

Conclusion:

We love the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel. The other hotels so close to town are a lot more expensive, and it’s questionable whether they are worth the extra. It is probably better to stay here and save your money for the host of activities available in town.

The next morning it was time to move on, and I met Michele who represents Masuwe Lodge for Seolo (who are based in South Africa). She drove me to the lodge, which is also within easy striking distance of Victoria Falls town and offers are more upmarket and exclusive base with a genuine safari feel.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

Articles: 1259

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