Anyone making their way to Zimbabwe’s beautiful Victoria Falls will not only find one of the seven natural world wonders but also unique spots for food and drink. We have handpicked some of our favourite ‘must visit’ options while in Victoria Falls town.
You cannot go wrong at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge’s Buffalo Bar for a View, Sundowners & Snacks
Safari Lodge’s Buffalo Bar is perched atop a ridge looking out onto a watering hole where game like to meander through for a drink in the evening. This place offers the perfect start to an evening with a sundowner drink in hand, delicious snacks to pick on and a lovely open deck to sit and enjoy the beautiful landscape before venturing onto dinner.
An unparalleled view of Batoka Gorge at the Lookout-Cafe
For all lovers of amazing views with excellent food the Lookout-Cafe is an absolute must for either lunch or dinner. It is the restaurant with the most dramatic views built right on top of the Batoka Gorge downstream from Victoria Falls. Guests get fantastic views of the Victoria Falls Bridge with the smoke of the falls in the background as well as vertigo inducing views of the gorge itself – something to behold especially during their famous Full-moon dinners! The Lookout offers a fusion menu with everything from burgers and salads to a delectable crocodile kebab or seared ostrich and glass noodle salad; with the most fantastic cocktail and wine menu to accompany. During lunch you can also visit the activity center and experience a quick zipline or gorge swing between courses!
Fancy gourmet dining at Ilala Lodge’s Cassia Restaurant & Victoria Falls Hotel’s Livingstone Room
Both award winning restaurants are unique in their own rights with The Livingstone room’s Edwardian style providing an opulent dining feel with a smart dress code to match the elegant atmosphere, whilst Ilala’s Cassia restaurant has a more al fresco feel with tables dotted beneath two magnificent Cassia Fistula trees – dinner under the stars is hard to beat! Now onto their food, Livingstone room offers a choice of à la carte or a seven-course degustation menu all beautifully plated and served by smiling smartly dressed waiters, it all takes you back in time. Cassia restaurant on the other hand is a little less formal and focuses on a gourmet à la carte menu with a fantastic array of beautifully prepared dishes. This is where you will get that perfectly cooked venison steak or if meat is not your thing a great array of vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Delicious Pizza & old fashioned pub grub
If fine dining is not your thing and burgers, pizzas and good old fashioned pub food are more up your alley then The River Brewing Company and Three Monkeys are definitely the places for you. Both of these establishments never fail to impress with their massive portions of truly delicious food. Three Monkeys have refined the art of great thin crust pizzas that can rival everybody’s favourite local pizza hangouts at home. Their cocktails, milkshakes and dessert menus would leave you weak at the knees and their outside canvas covered seating area makes it a great place for either lunch or dinner or just a quick drink on the way down to the falls. Meanwhile the River Brewing Company offers something completely unique in the form of their own array of craft beers brewed on the property by their charismatic brewer Lionel. Live music can often be found on an evening here over the weekend; enjoyed in their outside area whilst munching on anything from tacos to lovingly slow cooked beef short ribs. If beer is not your thing they have a wonderful array of wines and cocktails too. Thankfully these two hangouts are only 100m from each other so you can do both if you can’t decide!
Bite your fingers while eating local cuisine at The Dusty Road Township Experience
Local Zimbabwean cuisine is something everybody must try whilst on safari here and it would be amiss of us not to mention The Dusty Road Township experience. Relatively new to the Victoria Falls dining scene this is a complete gem of a restaurant we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend even just to have a wander through the property so quirkily decorated by its owner Sarah. Dusty Road can only be described as a feast for your eyes and also your palate! Upcycled furniture and random items have been cleverly incorporated into the whole look of the place with old bicycle tyre rims for windows and colourful enamel cups for chandeliers – it is certainly a riot of colour. All of this is accompanied by the most accommodating group of women hosting you throughout the night and of course a well thought out menu that even the wariest of eaters will enjoy with locally foraged ingredients incorporated cleverly into delicious dishes. They even have their own recipe book to take home. But what we especially like about the experience are the group of young school children being supported by the restaurant who pop in for a little song and dance in the evening and of course their focus on community and female empowerment.
It would be impossible to mention every restaurant on offer in Victoria Falls, these are merely a few of our favourites. But rest assured that there is a whole host of other fantastic establishments offering delicious food in beautiful settings and more continue to be opened. So get out there and explore!
Everyone is exhausted after a long-haul overnight flight, often involving multiple connections and inevitably ending in long immigrations queues on arrival. Not to mention the build-up of going on holiday, delayed flights and lost luggage. On arrival, most of us are simply looking for a hot shower, followed by a G&T while we take in our surroundings, ending the day with a good meal and a comfortable nights sleep.
Victoria Falls is the ideal place to kick-off a safari. No onward flights or long road transfers required as most hotels are only a stone’s throw away from the airport. Comfortable accommodation with all the amenities allows guests to ease into their safari experience. As the properties in Victoria Falls are generally more affordable, there is less of a need to hit the ground running and more time to relax and find your feet. This is especially important when travelling with young children. Compared with the high-pressured start at the top dollar lodges in the Okavango Delta where every minute counts and where you feel compelled to jump on the first game drive on arrival, followed by an early morning wake up call on day one.
After a recent visit to Victoria Falls with my own family, I realized that 2 nights just isn’t enough for first time visitors and especially families to fully appreciate what this corner of paradise has to offer. I found myself rushing from one activity to the next, pressurized by pick-up times, with little time to relax and yet there was so much more than we could have done.
During our 2 night stay in Victoria Falls, we explored the Falls on foot, by helicopter and by Zip Line and that was about all that we had time for bar a mad dash around the market. There is a big choice of activities on offer beyond the falls themselves, one that I feel is grossly underestimated is the canoeing on the Zambezi River. For families, the falls has lots going on to cater to all ages and interests breaking up the typical safari routine.
Beyond the activities, the town has a holiday vibe, showcasing the country’s culture, local crafts (curio shopping) and a great variety of restaurants, which really add to the experience. Not accounting for the day of arrival and departure which are often lost due to flight times and transfers, one full day simply isn’t enough to take it all in. I would comfortably recommend a 3-night stay in Victoria Falls town itself. There is a selection of properties to match all budgets, offering potentially good value for your money, helping to stretch the budget when combined with the top dollar lodges in more remote game areas.
Day 1: Relax and enjoy a slow start to your safari
Dinner at the hotel
Day 2: Tour of the falls followed by the flight of angels (12 – 15 minute helicopter scenic)
Lunch at the Lookout Café (which will reopen in Dec 2019 after it burnt down half a year ago)
Canopy Tour / Elephant Interaction / Sunset Cruise
Day 3: Option 1: Full day upper Zambezi Canoe or Rafting experience
Option 2: A combination of the following with lunch on the terrace at The Victoria Falls Hotel
Horse Riding, Bicycle Tour, Village Tour, Pay It Forward (Family), Bird Watching, Shopping, Bunji Jumping, Croc Farm (Family), High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel, and more
Independent Dinning Options:
Traditional (Family): The Boma, Jungle Junction
Formal: The Livingstone Room, The Palm Restaurant
Casual: Zambezi House, Three Monkeys, The Lookout Cafe (will reopen Dec 2019)
The same could be said when coming off a safari in the delta. Days of early rising, long bumpy game drives and a day in transit, including the border crossing, is taxing of the best of us. Ending with 3 nights in Victoria Falls to slowly get re-acquainted with civilization before diving back into your daily routine at home is always a good idea.
Guests that have a little bit more time are recommended to spoil themselves with 4 nights in Victoria Falls, the 4 nights could be split between 2 nights in town and 2 nights in the quieter Zambezi National Park. The options are endless, we have put together some stunning itineraries which can be found on our “Best in Travel Zimbabwe 2019”, the packages for 2020 will soon be released.
I tested the idea of combining 2 nights in Vic Falls with 2 nights in the nearby Zambezi National Park. We stayed at Zambezi Sands which is only an hour outside the fast-paced Victoria Falls town, but it felt like another world. A remote safari experience where you can fully immerse yourself in the wilderness and unwind in the peace and tranquillity of the Zambezi National Park. We had the river to ourselves to enjoy at leisure on our evening cruise compared with the typical sunset commotion experienced from town. Practically speaking, many visitors combine Victoria Falls & Chobe on a 4-night stay which involves two border crossings and double entry visas. Both can be avoided if you replace Chobe with a safari experience in the more exclusive but less wildlife dense Zambezi National Park.
After doubting this combination for years, I feel like I have found the sweet spot, which has been underestimated by us all. Our 4-night stay was the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, and provided for a well-rounded experience as outlined below, suited to both families and individual travellers.
Day 1: Arrival at Zambezi Sands from Botswana in time for lunch and an afternoon siesta Sunset cruise where we had the river to ourselves (no traffic compared with VF & Chobe)
Overnight Zambezi Sands, Zambezi National Park
Day 2: Game drive including an incredible bush breakfast on the banks of the Zambezi River
Overnight Zambezi Sands, Zambezi National Park
Day 3: Morning game walk (another highlight) before our departure to Victoria Falls
Lunch at the Lookout Café overlooking the Batonka Gorge
Afternoon canopy tour, which was a thrill for both the kids and grown-ups alike
Dinner at the highly recommended Palm Restaurant and overnight at Ilala Lodge
Day 4: Morning tour of the Victoria Falls followed by a flight of angels (it was a treat to fly over the path that we had just walked and see the falls from a different perspective)
Lunch on the terrace at the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel (you have to try the signature frozen lemonade)
Afternoon exploring the local market and curious shops (great arts and crafts to be found here not to mention the experience itself)
Dinner at The Boma Restaurant offering visitors a traditional dining experience with entertainment (the kids loved it and I got my mopane worm certificate)
My guiding experience at Zambezi Sands was exceptional and the walking and canoeing activities stood out as the highlights of my trip. With all the new developments in this area, Safari Destinations are excited to present two new packages for 2019 showcasing this ideal combination:
Rounding off this 4-night package, I would recommend a 3 night stay in the game rich Hwange National Park. The trio showcases the best of Zimbabwe combining the beauty of the Victoria Falls, the peace & tranquillity of the powerful Zambezi River and the spectacular wildlife found in Hwange. For those wanting to combine a visit to Botswana, 3 nights at a game rich, land based camp in the Delta with a possible extension to the contrasting Makgadikgadi would be a match made in heaven.