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“Fabulous experience”

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Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 July 2014

We highly recommend this lodge for its beautiful setting above the Zambezi River and the great attention to detail in the accommodation.The managers are very thoughtful and genuinely welcome every guest and are present at meals etc.Lots of little extras in your room and very good food make this a great choice.We combined our stay with a day trip on the Chobe River and would recommend this as an add on ,on your way to Imbabala.We found all the staff friendly and had great company from other bursts.Wouldn't hesitate to return.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Beachside P
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 reviewResponded 4 September 2014

Dear Beachside P,

Thank you so much for your lovely review on Imbabala. We are so happy to hear about your wonderful time with us and that you enjoyed our meals and company. Hope you will be back for another visit

Regards
Brad and Annie

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313 - 319 of 486 reviews

Reviewed 23 July 2014

Imbabala was our last stop in Zimbabwe and left us extremely disappointed. It had none of the warmth or charm of our other stops. It seemed much more like an impersonal hotel that offered safari activities then a true safari lodge.
The Lodge had spacious and comfortable rooms, better then average food, and an amazing view. Sadly Bradley and Annie were unable to capitalize on these attributes. The managers were very rarely seen during our three nights. This hands off approach trickled down to the staff as well. Not once was I greeted by name or offered assistance. The staff was helpful if approached but did not go out of their way to see if we needed anything. Very different approach then the other three lodges we visited. The game drives were lackluster and because the concession is very small we drove the same road paralleling the Botswana border on each drive. The Botswana side is developed with a water plant and a working gravel quarry which distracts from the idea of being in the wild. As they mention on the webpage, the lodge is situated near the conference of four countries. What they do not mention is that there is a commercial ferry crossing just below the lodge. The highway cuts through the concession so you get the rumble of 18 wheelers all day. It is worse at night however. The ferry closes at 8 so many trucks queue for the night. There is a nightclub on the Zambia side that entertains the drivers into the wee hours. In stead of the soothing sounds of the bush we were entertained with techno rap all night. One final comment, we booked an all day fishing trip in March for our stay in July for which we had to bank wire the full amount. We were supposed to get a private boat and professional captain. Upon arrival, I asked Bradley about the fishing and was told that he was not aware of it and no boat or guide had been booked. I paid $175.00 so we agreed that the lodge would take my son and I out for a half day (4 hours) on one of their boats and we would do a walking safari. This still did not total the amount I spent but it was close enough. when we actually went out, we only stayed for two hours because our captain took the barge that they use for night cruises and not the fishing boat which was tied up on the dock. I should also mention that out captain did not know how to fish. He handed me two rods and a tackle box. When I asked him about lures and rigs, he just shook his head. I rigged them up and we fished but it was not very successful. To add further insult, the walking safari was supposed to be for four. A family arrived and wanted to join so they added them as well bringing the total to eight of which two were young pre-teens. Needless to say, the guide who had come up from Vic Falls seemed very frustrated with the situation and we tooled round the lodge and never saw anything. I would not return to Imbabala if they offered me a free stay nor would I recommend it to anyone else.

Room Tip: If you go in winter make sure to get a room with an indoor shower
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank jbuettner
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 reviewResponded 28 July 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review and feedback. As you may have seen from previous reviews, we have a good track record with our guests so it is very disappointing that we did not meet your expectations. We whole heartedly apologize for this. We will most definitely take what you have said into consideration and thank you for making us aware of our problem areas. We definitely acknowledge the sounds coming across from Zambia during your stay and assume that there was wedding or similar happening over in Zambia, this is however not the norm but I do appreciate how this would have affected your stay.
We would like to respond however on your comments to clarify a few things for fellow reviewers that may read your review.
Two of the three nights you spent with us we (Brad and Annie) had dinners with you and one of us was always at afternoon tea. I recall numerous conversations we had around the bar whilst pouring drinks for you. So we are a little saddened to hear you felt we not around enough, as the times we did spend with you, we thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with you.
Regarding the fishing, you are absolutely correct there was an oversight in our reservations and we at the lodge did not get the correct information and I again apologise for this. On discovering the error I did arrange for a professional fishing guide to come out however you kindly informed us that you did not want a full day fishing anymore but would rather just spend a few hours on the river with one of our guides – who I would like to mention is not pro fisherman. We have since refunded the full amount for the fishing trip and in addition we arranged a walking safari.
Lastly, regarding the game viewing, again this is something out of our control. We have no fences around the park and no border between Botswana so the animals roam freely all over. We did note that you opted to stay in camp and rest a few times – this will certainly limit the sightings and amount of animals seen. We have traversing rights 150 000 acres which provides fantastic wildlife opportunities as can be noted from previous guests experiences.
Thank you again for your constructive feedback and once again apologise that the experience at Imbabala did not meet your expectations. Good luck in your future travels. All our best, Brad and Annie

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Reviewed 15 July 2014

Imbabala lodge is located 1 hours drive west of Victoria Falls, snug against the Botswana border, overlooking the Zambezi river. Set in a private concession in the Zambezi national park the lodge perfectly complements a stay at Vic Falls (see The Elephant Camp) by offering a true safari lodge experience, with both vehicle game drives and river cruises included. We were thrilled to see elephant and buffalo herds, hippo, crocs, giraffe, and lion, as well as plentiful bird life. Charming lodge accommodation with generous food and beverage included. Wi fi available in the main lodge. The family room includes a queen and two single beds, comfortably sleeping 4. Great value.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank Harry_Melbourne_Aus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

Background: This was the 2nd stop for us on our African safari (& our 3rd safari in 14 years)

Great setting. Excellent food without exception. Clean pool.

Nice, comfortable room with very nice bathroom area. Excellent shower - plenty of hot water. Very good bed.

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic guide. The drives were good; trucks were comfortable. The trucks have a canopy which is handy when it's really sunny. The river cruises were really nice. You'll see lots of elephants & likely lots of Cape buffalo & giraffes & hippos.


The staff, overall, fell short of the other 2 places on our trip. There was a mouse in our room which was a little disconcerting to my wife. The room was clean but the floor could of been kept cleaner in my opinion. Be careful what you put in the laundry here.

Overall, a very nice place, but not perfect.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank hawk85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014

I booked the lodge through a tour company that put together a package for me, so I hadn't really checked out much about the lodge before departure. Upon arrival, I was astonished at the quality and impressed with staff.

-The service couldn't be more personalized or professional if they tried.
-I eat a plant-based vegan diet and I couldn't have asked for better food. They completely went out of their way to accommodate me and the other guests' food preferences.
-The game drives and cruises were run by very knowledgeable guides. I was thrilled that on my last night, they actually came to my room to get me for a special outing because there were lion sightings in the area. We piled into the jeep and were lucky enough to spot the lions.
-The property was immaculate and the chalets were very comfortable.
-I appreciated being on an open reserve where the animals could come through the property. A herd of impala went through one evening, while a hippo was having a late-night snack outside my chalet another. The staff are particularly cautious about guests walking around at night alone, or off of the property, and thus escort guests to ensure their safety.

The lodge is affliated with Wild Horizons, so all transfers and outings are well-coordinated. Even the though location seems remote, and especially as a single traveler, I felt very safe and secure in my transfer from/to Livingstone Airport in Zambia and viewing the Zambia side of the falls, viewing the Zimbabwe side of the falls, and on the day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana.

For anyone interested in obtaining a SIM card in Zimbabwe, they are easy to come by in Victoria Falls and inexpensive. Incoming calls through the service I used- Econet- are free and reception was good at the lodge.

Room Tip: Chalets 8 and 9 have outdoor showers. If you are keen on this, request one of these. If you're t...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled solo
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1  Thank kveg10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2014

We recently spent three nights at Imbabala and could not rate the experience higher. The staff is as attentive as any Four Seasons, the food was excellent, the setting extraordinary, the guide amazingly knowledgeable and articulate. We were fortunate to see four of the big five near our camp as well. The management and staff at Imbabala really have the gift of hospitality. It was such a joy sitting around the fire at night and sharing thoughts and observations with people from around the world. The setting was absolutely stunning and the combination of relaxation and activity was optimal! Thank you Sue, Richard and the rest of the staff at Imbala from you friends (the Johnsons) back here in the states!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Mwjinnaperville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2014

We could not have asked for more during our 2 night stay. We were collected on time, warmly welcomed and enjoyed a fabulous stay at this great place in the most beautiful location.
We went on game drives with a most knowledgeable guide, Richard - we learnt more about wildlife in 2 days than we have in the last 40! They went the extra mile for us during their 'cold spell' even giving us hot water bottles for our early morning drives.
Service was impeccable and all staff really friendly and helpful. Our breakfast on the Zambezi will be a memory that stays with us forever - as will the Elephant in camp watching us eat dinner!!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Gareth S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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 Family Hotel in Victoria Falls
#3 Luxury Hotel in Victoria Falls
#5 Romantic Hotel in Victoria Falls
Price Range: £300 - £506 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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