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“Good hotel in great location - closest to the falls on Zimbabwe side. Walk to bridge also worthwhile.”
Review of Ilala Lodge

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Ilala Lodge
Ranked #8 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney
Level 6 Contributor
609 reviews
137 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 421 helpful votes
“Good hotel in great location - closest to the falls on Zimbabwe side. Walk to bridge also worthwhile.”
Reviewed 10 October 2013

Stayed here for 2 nights. Hotel is located about 700 metres (by road) and about 500 metres (via the short cut through the bush - about a 10 minute walk) from the Victoria Falls Visitor Centre.

Hotel is reasonably spread out with quite large grounds. We had a standard room (no: 33) in a building on the far side of the swimming pool/bar area, which was furthest away from the reception area. Although our room was located on the third (top) floor, it was really only one floor up from the main entrance area - the building where our room was located being on a slope such that level one (the ground floor) was below the level of the reception area and you entered the building from reception which was effectively on level 2. I did not notice any elevator. Stairs up to the room were quite easy to navigate.

Room itself was quite large with 3/4 size twin beds (a majority of the rooms appeared to have twin beds), long desk along one wall, cupboard, chairs and a safe. The room was air-conditioned and the hotel did have a generator which kicked in when the power was off, which happened on a daily basis during our stay. Bathroom was large with a separate shower - pressure was good. The room was very clean. Perhaps the best feature though was the large covered private balcony which afforded us views of the grounds (and various animals that grazed there including baboons and warthogs), the bush and the constant spray from the Falls. You could also hear the noise coming from the Falls, particularly during the night. There was free WIFI via scratch cards (Chilli spot). Reception was reasonably good although you had to login every time you used your I-Pad or I-Phone.

Meals were served in the main dining area or outside on an extended grass and paved balcony area that afforded the same views as those from our room. Breakfast was very good with a wide selection of hot and cold food. The hot food was ordered at your table from a menu whilst the cold food was a self serve buffet and included cereals, cold meats, fruit, cheeses, juice etc. Only disappointing feature was that you were charged extra for barista coffee.

We also had two evening meals at the restaurant, both seated outside under the stars. Again the food was very tasty and there was a good selection. Wines were from South Africa for the most part. Service was good.

All the staff that we encountered from check-in/out to the restaurant were very efficient, pleasant and helpful. A special mention though for Blessed at reception who was excellent.

There was a tour office near reception that we found to be very good. Highly recommend the extended (25 minute) helicopter journey over the Falls. Expensive at US$275 each but an unforgettable experience. A guided walking tour of the Falls themselves though is not recommended. A map costs US$1 from the Falls Visitor Centre and there is effectively only one path to follow so a very easy self guided walk. Remember though to take your passport as the cost of entry into the National Park depends upon which country you are from. Cost for Australians was US$30 each.

Also highly recommended is a trip down to the Victoria Falls Bridge. It is just over 2 kilometres (via the road - about a 25 to 30 minute walk) from the Hotel to the Victoria Falls Bridge which spans, at a great height, the mighty Zambezi River at a point just below the Falls and joins Zimbabwe to Zambia. Allow an extra 5 minutes each way being spent at the Zimbabwe border post showing passports and getting a bridge pass (slip of paper) to exit Zimbabwe which you then handed to the immigration official on the gate which is located about 150-200 metres away from the bridge. Similar process on the way back, visited immigration, got another slip of paper which you then handed to an immigration official on the gate to re-enter Zimbabwe - no stamps in passport or visas required. Excellent view from the bridge of the narrow gorge that has been etched into the rock over the centuries by the ferocity of the water. Could also see a part of the falls but the mist and spray significantly clouded the view. You cross into Zambia whilst on the bridge, but there are no immigration formalities required for Zambia as the border post check for Zambia is located a couple of kilometres away. Watched a brave sole bungee jump from the bridge. Great sight.

The Ilala Lodge was about 700 metres away from the Victoria Falls Hotel where the Rovos Rail train from Pretoria terminated. Not knowing the terrain we organised a transfer with the Ilala Lodge for US$7 each from the Railway Station which was very worthwhile given bags etc. We did visit the Victoria Falls Hotel for a drink one afternoon. It appeared to be an excellent hotel, more Victorian era in design, with facilities (and cost) one step up from that of the Ilala Lodge. There is also a magnificent view to be obtained from one of the outside dining areas of the Victoria Falls Hotel looking straight down onto the Victoria Falls Bridge.

Staying with the geography, there was a bank next door to the Ilala Lodge and a local craft market, with about 12 shops in it, about 5 minutes walk away. Another, more commercial shopping area was an additional 5 minutes walk from the local market. There were a number of Tourist Police on hand to show you around and keep the significant number of persistent hawkers at bay.

Ilala Lodge was comfortable, easy walking distance to the Falls, Falls Bridge, local craft market and commercial shops, and good value for money..

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank westy54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Berne
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2013

Ilala Lodge is a bit pricey but all accommodation seems to be quite expensive in VicFalls. They have got friendly staff, a very good restaurant, good breakfast and pleasant rooms. The location is great as the Falls are only 10 minutes walk away.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Penguinita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edinburgh
Level 6 Contributor
174 reviews
86 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2013

We spent 2 nights here at the end of a month long trip. The room was very comfortable and it was wonderful to have a proper shower after 2 weeks on safari. The bar area is nice and fairly sociable. The restaurant area is lovely but the food is really disappointing, I think the chef is trying to be too clear and it just doesn't work. Breakfast is good with a fairly extensive choice. We did visit The Victoria Falls Hotel for drinks and ended up wishing we had stayed there. There just seemed to be a better atmosphere, menu, drinks list and of course a really wonderful view.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Fairmont123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 October 2013

We recently returned from a 7 week tour of Africa ending at Victoria Falls for three nights. The Ilala Lodge is a wonderful place to stay, I would venture to say the best in Victoria Falls. Key points include room ambience, restaurant location, food, staff, proximity to the town and the falls, local tours. A great place to stay, but don't forget to wander over to the Victoria Falls Hotel for a drink with the view.

Room Tip: Lower floor rooms opening out onto the lawn. These are very cool even on a hot day.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank William H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harare
2 reviews
Reviewed 24 September 2013

I stayed at Ilala Lodge last month and found the food absolutely delicious.

The rooms are comfortable, and the staff were all pleasant and helpful.

Its a small hotel that's central and within easy walking distance to the Falls, shops and banks.

Even if you don't stay here, try at least to have a meal at the restaurant in the evening .


The best hotel in the Falls.

Simon Fox

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Foxontoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, NC
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 September 2013

Stayed at Ilala Lodge during our recent visit to Victoria Falls. Great place. Enjoyed the accommodations, services and restaurant immensely. Would highly recommend. Also located close to town and park.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Cheryl B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, 19 September 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review Ilala Lodge. I am very pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and hope to see you here again. The Ilala Lodge Team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 6 Contributor
238 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2013

This was my second stay at Ilala Lodge and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. I only stayed overnight. The staff was kind and considerate. My room was very comfortable, and I see no real need for renovation. The barman remembered me from 5 years ago and we had an enjoyable conversation. I needed a new pair of binoculars and was able to find a good pair just up the street. The Falls are a short walk away. My own complaint is that the water in swimming pool is cold. It was nice to see that Victoria Falls had far more tourists than five years ago, and it felt far more "normal."

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank africanman_840
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinVaughan, General Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this review, 19 September 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review Ilala Lodge and it was a pleasure to welcome you back to Ilala Lodge! I am very pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and am please to tell you that the weather has warmed up so the swimming pool is more welcoming! We look forward to welcoming you back again.
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Additional Information about Ilala Lodge

Property: Ilala Lodge
Address: 411 Livingstone Way, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Region: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Victoria Falls
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Victoria Falls
#8 Family Hotel in Victoria Falls
#8 Luxury Hotel in Victoria Falls
#9 Business Hotel in Victoria Falls
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Ilala Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 56
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ilala Lodge is ideally located only minutes away from the spectacular Victoria Falls. A family run hotel, Ilala Lodge has 56 stylish, well-equipped rooms, providing the ultimate in comfort. The top-rated Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge offers delicious al-fresco dining under the starry African skies, whilst listening to the roar of the falls. The staff are attentive and friendly, and ensure your bucket list trip is perfect for you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ilala Hotel Victoria Falls

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