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“Nice, middle of the road option”

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Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Nice, middle of the road option”
Reviewed 30 October 2012

Less than an hour from Victoria Falls and right on the border with Botswana so a really good stopping place if you are heading to Chobe.
Excellent location for getting a taste of wildlife on land and on the river; it is right on the Zambezi with a 3km section of private river frontage. However the game drives are restricted to this small area and to a single long straight track through the National Park following the Zimbabwe / Botswana border.
The guides are knowledgeable and friendly, however they do not hold the professional guiding certificate so you cannot leave the vehicles at all.
As an alternative to game drives you can choose a river trip to see hippos, crocodiles and animals drinking on the water's edge. The lodge also offers fishing trips.
Food is excellent, with home grown vegetables, the lodges are very comfortable and the grounds are beautiful. There is a pool however it is under trees so tended to have too many leaves / frogs to make it a tempting option.
Overall a really nice place for a gentle introduction to game drives.

Room Tip: One of the rooms is designated the honeymoon suite and has an outside shower. There is also a family...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank GuidesforBridesUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Claremont, California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2012

After taking three groups from America to Imbabala we're already planning for the fourth. Location is superb, activities are varied and exciting (including the opportunity to catch tiger fish), food and accommodations are classic, and the staff is professional and attentive. A stopover at Imbabala will make one's African experience complete.

Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank LGR-California
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Uster, Switzerland
1 review
Reviewed 20 October 2012

Dear Annie and Brad

We are back home - physically - but we think very often of the wonderful time (only two days...!) we were able to spend at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge!!

After a busy weekend it was just the perfect place to come to and to rest, calm down and enjoy an amazing nature in a very peaceful and well cared-for lodge. Food was excellent, service as well! Even our "English patient" was well looked after (he didn't pick up the bug at your place...!). Our safari guides did a fantastic job: we enjoyed our cruises a lot and saw nearly 100 elefants, crossing the Zambezi river.... Unforgettable...

Thanks a lot for everything!! We well gladly recommend your lodge to friends who are planning to come to Zimbabwe!

Our room-key (no 3) made a little journey with us - sorry about this, it should soon be with you again!!

All the best and hope to see you again!
Franziska Bates-Steck (with the group of eight....)

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Franziska B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2012

This is the second visit to Imbabala in as many months, unfortunately only for one night this time.
Brad, Annie and the rest of the staff were superb as always and the dinner under the night skies amazing!
Our guides Stan and Richard took us on an evening boat cruise and 10 minutes downstream noticed a herd of elephant hanging back from the river, obviously wanting to drink but nervous to do so. Stan suggested that we move a little away to give them some space and to see what happened from there. Richard served drinks and snacks and not a minute later one of the elephants started to make her way down to the river. The rest of the herd soon followed and spent the next 15 minutes drinking and frolicking in the shallows - a sight to be remembered. But this was not all. As soon as the ellies had enough to drink, they ventured further into the Zambezi and started to swim across right in front of us. We held our breath as 65 elephant swam from one side to the island about 800 meters away. they looked like a huge pod of whales porpoising and swimming not 30 meters from us, Brilliant!
Unfortunately we had to leave for Botswana the next morning and so missed out on a morning drive, the full english breakfast - cooked to order, went some way of making up for it - but we would have much preferred another night at this fantastic little camp. Well done to all involved

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank munamaun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2012

Imbabala was slightly disappointing to be honest. The accommodation and the setting was charming (rustic, peaceful and relaxing) but the food was very average and the (food) service relatively unimpressive. Some of the waiting staff were a little 'awkward', seemingly not well trained on how best to do their job. Not a big issue but having been spolied at a luxurious lodge in Zambia beforehand I guess we were more sensitive to this.

AB our ranger did everything single-handedly on the game drive (there was no tracker) - he was friendly and enthusiastic. We didn't see as many animals as expected on the the game drives but as we had already seen everything in the Kruger we were not overly concerned. The river trips were however nice indeeed with an abundance of elephants and hippos.

The owners and/or friends of the owners arrived on our second day and occupied most of the camp. They were pleasant enough but as Imbabala is so small there is a possibility you might feel a little left out if you are not also in a group. [Apparently the owners visit on a regular basis].

The managers, Brad and Annie, were on honeymoon during our stay and returned on the day of our departure. They seemed very nice and sociable and perhaps had they been there during our stay our social experience would have been better.

I guess the key to Imbabala’s success is the fact there are no fences, therefore animals wonder freely into camp. An elephant wandered into camp the first night and there was a constant supply of Impala etc. On the river were saw several hippos and lots of elephants.

If you are looking for a close-to-nature experience and you're not particularly concerned about being spolied rotten the positive reviews are certainly justified. If however you are the type of person that likes rose petals in your bathtub you'll have to stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank drbhongkong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildHorizons, Public Relations Manager at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 15 September 2012
Thank you very much for your constructive feedback on your recent stay at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge. Imbabala was originally built in 1987 by Craig White and family. The White family have always played an integral role at the lodge and at present the lodge is being managed by Brad and Annie (Craig’s son and daughter in law). Imbabala has always been renowned for being an owner run lodge with a homely atmosphere. It is unfortunate that the food did not meet your expectations. Our guides at the lodge have a vast amount of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. It is their choice not to have a tracker assist. Whilst Imbabala does not proclaim to be a five star lodge, it offers a traditional safari lodge, value for money experience on the banks of the Zambezi.
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South Africa
Level Contributor
14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 September 2012

This lodge has a spectacular river location in Zim where four countries meet (Zim, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia). In addition to land rover game drives it offers evening river safaris on small tender boats which are very beautiful and unusual. This is the place to see elephant, hippo and crocs close up, without the crowds at nearby Chobe.
The place has an authentic colonial charm. The bungalows have great river views. They are fairly basic but have necessary amenities. One warning, the windows do not have glass . They have mosquito screens. That makes them cool in summer but cold on a winter's night which is when we stayed.
Staff are great and very hospitable. The guide Stan is one of the best I've ever had in Africa.
Food is very good for the bush.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Levenberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildHorizons, Manager at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 15 September 2012
Thank you for your great feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. If you would like to keep track of happenings at Imbabala and surrounds, please follow us on Facebook. We hope to welcome you back again soon. Best regards, Brad and Annie
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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 September 2012

Imbabala is a lovely and intimate lodge located right on the banks of the Zambezi River. The lodge feels like a bed and breakfast with the level of personal service that Annie and Brad provides. The cottages are well appointed and comfortable -- no "roughing" it. There was complimentary laundry service. The food was wonderful -- a mix of African and American/British items on the menu. Our guides Stanley and Abe were friendly and knowledgeable, and the mix of game drives and the sunset river game cruises was perfect. There is a siesta between the morning and afternoon activities, so there was plenty of time for relaxing/napping and reading/using free wifi at the main lodge. Because the location (on the edge of a national park), the game viewing was solid -- elephants, buffalos, bucks, birds, hippos, giraffes -- but we did see more game at a different lodge where the game drives took us into a national park. We spent 2 nights at Imbabala, and that was the perfect amount.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Trevin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildHorizons, Manager at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 15 September 2012
Thanks so much for your positive feedback! Its much appreciated. We hope to welcome you back again soon! Kindest regards, Brad and Annie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Property: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Address: Matetsi Safari Area | Upper Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Region: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Victoria Falls
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Victoria Falls
#3 Family Hotel in Victoria Falls
#5 Romantic Hotel in Victoria Falls
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is situated on a riverine fringe of the mighty Zambezi River where Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia converge. Located 80 kilometers west of Victoria Falls, access is by transfer from Victoria Falls, Livingstone or Kasane. Imbabala offers the chance to unwind but also some of the most amazing game viewing and bird watching in the region, in the seclusion of a private National Parks concession. The 5,000 acre concession has 14 kilometers of private Zambezi river frontage and borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive Elephant population. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Hotel Victoria Falls

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