I chose Taita based on the fact that is sits above the river on the cliff. I thought that would provide us with a unique experience and it did. Annmarie drove us in and Fran drove us out along with another couple to the airport. We were at Taita about 16 hours so we didn't get to explore around and take hikes in the area, etc. We had already seen the Falls and done Chobe Park when we came up.
Getting there - It's a bumpy ride and takes a little while to get from the tar road to the Lodge. I don't remember how long but it's a bit adventurous. You can't experience being in the wild if you don't get off the tar roads.
Facilities - The facility itself is very nice. The individual chalets are VERY LARGE in African standards. They are spread out over a large area and that provides you with significant privacy when you are in your chalet. The chalets are made of reeds or bamboo for walls and thatch for the roof. Because of this construction design, they are very open as far as air flow is concerned. That means if it is 6C or 42F outside, it is 6C or 42F inside. That was a bit tough for my wife although for me, it allowed for excellent sleeping. They provide a hot water bottle in your bed on cold nights and that was a WONDERFUL addition and made the cold evening much more bearable.
The bar/relaxation/meting area is really, really nice. The bar and dining area which includes a patio overlooking the river is nice as well. The bar is well stocked. ALL drinks are extra and added to your bill at the end of the trip. Great thatched roof pavilion which also serves as the dining area with many different chairs and places to sit and relax. It's exceptionally decorated with local art and plenty of African stuff. You could host a large group here for a meeting or a large group for just enjoying time in a unique spot and this area would be a great asset.
The pool area and fire pit area looked quite nice. Way too cold for the pool while we were there. Having a fire in the fire pit would have been really nice since it was cold. Should have asked for one and I know Fran would have built it for us.
The Food - For dinner, we had a chicken curry dish with vegetables, rice, salad and a dessert and it was all very well prepared. The service is good and we were able to get everything we wanted. If you want something special, ask Annmaire or Fran. Fran and Annmarie will do everything they can to accommodate. Breakfast was traditional African fare with eggs, baked beans, bacon, toast, fruit, cereal, yogurt and lots of Rooibos tea which always makes me smile.
The View - I've been to Africa 13 times now and I don't think I've stayed anywhere with a view that is more spectacular than the view into the Zambezi gorge right off the dining patio. It is stunning and constantly draws you to stare into the gorge and think about when the water is high and when it is low. You can see the swirling whirlpools and rough areas that white water enthusiasts have to deal with. You can't get down to the river without spending a great amount of time climbing up and down as it is 200 meters almost straight down to the river. SPECTACULAR VIEW. Best asset of the property from a physical standpoint.
The Hostess and Host - Annmarie and Fran are very entertaining company. They have stories of their life in South Africa and Zambia to tell and it is very, very interesting to hear their side of the life they have experienced in their Africa. They are both native South Africans and have been in Zambia where they bought the property that Taita sits on several years ago.
If you're looking for something unique, Taita is for you. If you are looking for a touristy/luxury spot with thick adobe walls on the chalets with heaters and air con, waiters in white gloves, look elsewhere. This is a fantastic bush experience from the perspective that you are away from civilization without getting far away from civilization and breathing fresh African air right above the Zambezi River which you can hear running anytime of the day or night. THE VIEW CANNOT BE BEATEN IN MY BOOK. I know there are many beautiful views across Africa involving water and rivers. This is by far the most spectacular one I have seen.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Taita Falcon Lodge is only 11 km from the Victoria Falls and is stunningly perched 200m above the Zambezi on the edge of the Batoka Gorge and is a luxurious bush experience at the Victoria Falls. Owner managed, the lodge's focus is on providing personalized service to each individual client. With only 7 chalets, the lodge offers an intimate stay or an exclusive venue to smaller groups. Each spacious chalet is en-suite with its own private garden and outdoor shower. The chalets are constructed of reed and stone with 3/4 walls bringing the outside in. All creature comforts are catered for in their elegantly down to earth design. Chalets are individually prepared as double, twin, triple or family rooms. The indigenous gardens are blended with "bush zen" sand gardens at the lodge entrance and chalet exteriors, and a "green theme" around the swimming pool. There is a boma where evening winter meals are hosted around an open fire. The large viewing deck and adjacent lounge play host to meals and pre-dinner drinks in conjunction to providing expansive views downstream and miles beyond! Our meals are hearty "Afrikaans style" cooking with healthy options prepared in conjunction. We offer full board packages as well as fully inclusive tour packages incorporating visits to the Victoria Falls, cultural village tours, guided bush and bird walks, game drives and a sunset cruise. Any of the numerous activities in the region can easily be arranged by the Lodge. A paradise for birders, Taita also offers guided hiking trails in and around the Batoka Gorge.An ideal beginning or ending to your African Safari - spend a few days taking in the natural wonder of the Victoria Falls and the many adventure activities that the region has to offer!! ... more less
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