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Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge
Gold Coast, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fun, safe and helpful.”
Reviewed 8 May 2013

When Zimbabwe was going well, this place had everything. When Zimbabwe started to struggle, so did Shoestrings. BUT; although it was hard to get certain things this didn't stop me loving the place because I was safe in the knowledge that the management where doing everything in their power to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The staff and management were always welcoming, friendly and helpful. The rooms and garden were always very clean, secure and fun. At the end of the day, you can ask for no more in a hotel. Great bar, great food and always had a comfortable sleep. I was back there last year and it’s still going strong. Thanks for all the good times and I hope you guys keep going strong in the future.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Emptysea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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141 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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English first
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
41 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2013

I stayed with a friend in a twin room at the end of April 2013. Its a very nice and easy going place. A bit expensive for what it is but there (Vic Falls) prices are in general high. Got a nice ambience by night with music until midnight. A friendly staff. Beds quite comfortable. I would definitely recommend it.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Fernando N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alcester, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed for 3 nights in a twin room at Shoestrings Lodge in February 2013 and had a really great time here. While not the best hostel we have ever stayed at (see my separate review for Mozambeat Motel in Mozambique!), it is by no means the worst hostel we have ever stayed at, and we have very fond memories. Joe B, a few reviewers below me, sums it up perfectly: "would recommend it to those going in with the right expectations".
If your expectations are to have everything spotlessly clean and tidy, crisp Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy white towels, to have a quiet evening peacefully reading your book, or to eat 5 star gourmet cuisine, then Shoestrings isnt for you - and it never pretended to be. Try the Vic Falls Hotel if thats your thing.
Shoestrings is a good backpacker's lodge, and one that bills itself as a "party place", so immediately this tells you what kind of place it is before you even set foot on the premises. It attracts young travellers in the 18-30 bracket (myself being at the very upper end of this bracket!), who prefer to forego luxuries for a budget place to sleep and a great place to meet other likelminded people. Yes, the kitchen gets a bit grubby (more the fault of other guests than the hostel itself - seriously guys, DO YOUR OWN WASHING UP!), yes the rooms are a little shabby, yes the pool sometimes has leaves floating in it. But, as a backpacker, it has everything you need, and more. Clean, relatively comfortable beds (certainly not the worst I've slept in!), clean bathrooms, lockers to put your valuables in (take your own padlock), a cool bar, cheap, tasty food, friendly staff (Sheila is a darling!), a travel information centre, bikes for hire, a pool, and a party atmosphere that isn't too over the top, but helps you meet people and have a good time.
Finally, I'd like to respond to 'misscherylb' below, who gave a very miserly 1-star review. She mentioned that the on site vendors hassle you to buy things while you are trying to relax or eat, and I think this is a very unfair comment. Yes, there are a number of vendors who have paid for a pitch at the backpackers to sell their wares. There's a jewellery stall, a massage parlour, and a Rasta dude called Dexter who makes recycled 'moving art' (it's actually pretty cool). Although we were approached by these people on a few occasions while sitting in the bar or eating breakfast, we were NEVER hassled by them. If you don't want to buy something, then just smile and say 'no thank you' and they WILL leave you alone - they're paying for the privilege of being there so they don't want to jeopardise this. Let's not forget that Zimbabwe is still a very damaged country, and many of the people are still desperately poor. I actually think that allowing a small number of trusted traders into the hostel grounds is a very responsible way of encouraging trade and enterprise - far better than the illegal hawkers who stand outside the hostel gates or in the town and DO hassle you mercilessly. Think about it.

Room Tip: If you want to get a good night's sleep, bring ear plugs! Dorms and rooms at the back of the hos...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank missylisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ucluelet, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2013

This is a great place to meet very interesting people. The Zambezi rafting trip video nights are unforgettable, the staff was great and the parties happened here. Thanks I had just a great time and enjoyed my week here.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank WildLouis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 March 2013

we are used to travelling low-budget and really don't mind "basic" accommodation, so thought shoestrings looked like a good option. we had booked for two weeks - but were forced to start searching for an alternative pretty soon after we got there - we moved after 4 nights (try the Rest Camp as an alternative!). Shoestrings looks like it could be a great place, but unfortunately badly maintained. things that we had been promised when booking were not available when we got there, our mattresses looked like original 1960s and felt just like cotton wool, you could feel the wood underneath, the room must have been broken into at some point and the door had been fixed by hammering a piece of wood on with a few nails, not safe, there are vendors on the premises (we were told they pay USD 20 per month for a stand), so you can never relax without being hassled to buy something, even trying to have supper or chill by the pool, and the kitchen was never accessible because there was always a bunch of staff in there cooking their meals, to name a few things... overall, not a great experience.

Room Tip: Try the "Rest Camp" just down the road...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank misscherylb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Victoria Falls hotels

Ridgewood, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
85 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2013

I spent 5 nights at Shoestrings and would recommend it to those going in with the right expectations. First, the good: Great price for Vic Falls at $11 for the dorm....good food....4 great dogs...cheap drinks....great location....nice grounds....fun party scene. The Bad: Entire place is pretty run down and not particularly clean....dorm beds uncomfortable...very loud into the night (the downside of that party scene!). Want the best of both worlds? Pay $11 to stay here and hang out at the Vic Falls Hotel. I went over there every day for a drink and the million dollar view. Enjoyed my book in the gorgeous reading rooms. Overall though, not a lot of good budget accommodation in Vic Falls, so Shoestrings (with its flaws) is a good no frills option. I'd stay there again.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Joe B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coventry, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 7 January 2013

We booked a private room here for Christmas eve and Christmas Day 2012 via hostelbookers.com
We had read some of the previous tripadvisor comments about this place and were looking forward to the fun vibe on Christmas day.
However when we arrived there was no sign of our reservation!! (not sure who is to blame. shoestrings or hostelbookers.com) The staff didn't particularly seem shocked by this mishap, there was a slight mumble of an apology and they offered us their last lodgings available which was a pretty shabby tent out the back with two beds in it. We decided to look else where.
This is a real shame as we visited Shoestrings on an evening out prior to xmas eve and there was a nice vibe with a mixed bunch there. We ate pizza from their outdoor grill kitchen which is nice. The pool does need a clean/leaf clearance too. Maybe we should have checked our booking on that night but we just assumed that as we had paid a deposit that it would all be ok.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sharnie2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge

Property: Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge
Address: 12 West Dr, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Region: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Victoria Falls
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 37 Speciality Lodging in Victoria Falls
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This brightly coloured backpackers is a short five miniute walk from town. There is 24 hour security, a lively bar, a small restaurant that makes the best pizzas in town, self-catering kitchen, a swimming pool, DSTV and two very friendly dogs. The staff are very helpful and can assist you with all activity bookings and information on onward travel. ... more   less 
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