Perched above the Zambezi Gorge in full view of the falls, this 5-star colonial landmark hotel offers the same splendid panorama and genteel Edwardian ambience that made it a legend when it opened in 1904. Since then it has played host to royalty, international and local statesmen and global celebrities, among its many guests. The hotel is situated on a sprawling expanse of manicured lawn surrounded by tropical gardens and lies within Victoria Falls National Park. Its incomparable setting and refined elegance have earned it worldwide acclaim for over a century, epitomizing the grace and romance of a classic era of African travel.
While the hotel is replete with its original storied atmosphere, recent refurbishments offer guests all the modern comforts one would expect from a luxury hotel. The property's 161 air-conditioned rooms and suites feature full en suite bathrooms and elegant period furniture including poster beds, dark woods and ceiling fans, as well as digital satellite television, telephone, wireless Internet access and safe deposit box. Traditional high tea is offered each afternoon on the Stanley Terrace overlooking the spray of Victoria Falls and the famous bridge spanning the Zambezi Gorge. Recreation opportunities include tennis courts, croquet and a secluded swimming pool with shaded lounge areas. The hotel also has its own private pathway directly to the falls, which are less than a 10-minute walk away.
Linkwasha Private Concession, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
One of few camps inside the boundaries of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s premier wildlife destination, Davison’s Camp offers a classic bush safari camp experience. The camp is located on the private Linkwasha Concession, one of the most prolific wildlife areas within the national park that surrounds it. With more than 100 mammal species, Hwange has some of the highest mammal diversity of any national park. Davison's is the perfect setting for safari-goers seeking vintage ambience coupled with all the necessary comforts for modern-day travelers. The camp has eight canvas double tents and one family tent, with interiors defined by natural materials that blend artfully with the bush environs—sisal, wicker and wood, and furnishings in a palette of neutral earth tones. The main lounge, bar, dining area and open campfire boma all overlook a busy waterhole where game frequently comes to drink, including large herds of elephant and buffalo, and rare sable antelope. Cushioned sofas and deep leather chairs provide comfortable seating in the lounge. Meals are served on the open-air deck or around the large outdoor campfire area. Reclining lounge chairs invite relaxing on the deck or around the pool, with a constant parade of wildlife on display for entertainment.
A stay at Davison's Camp also contributes to conservation projects and the well-being of local people, with a share of all guest proceeds supporting an elephant movement study, anti-poaching efforts and snare removal, a school nutrition project, teacher training and classroom supplies, and eco-education for local children, who stay at the camp when it is closed to guests in order to learn about and experience the wildlife and ecosystem they live in proximity to.
Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
The elegant new Zimbabwean Dream, sister ship to the famous African Dream, is under construction now for 2020, when it will offer just 16 guests the optimal way to explore vast Lake Kariba and its wild surroundings. The 108-foot ship has two decks plus a topside sundeck, with panoramic windows throughout so travelers never miss a minute of the passing view. Modernist decor is streamlined and understated, in tranquil tones of gray and cream with warm orange accents.
On the main deck, eight air-conditioned cabins have two twin beds that can be joined to form a single larger bed, en suite bathrooms with shower, TV, safe and 220V electrical plugs equipped with adapters for most countries. Two cabins have private balconies on either side of the bow. The upper deck, where the public spaces are located, is virtually surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The casual yet stylish restaurant located aft features creative international cuisine served in a bright, airy setting, while the forward lounge bar, designed with contemporary flair, invites relaxing on sectional sofas positioned for maximum viewing. But the best views are undoubtedly from the outside decks. The sundeck on top offers a 360-degree panorama of the lake, and the birds and wildlife that inhabit its lush shorelines, while the upper deck features a shaded aft deck area and a Jacuzzi plunge pool with a forward-facing 270-degree view over the bow.
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
On the edge of Mana Pools National Park, Ruckomechi Camp enjoys a magnificent view of the Zambezi River, floodplains and Great Rift Valley mountains. The camp is perfectly positioned for phenomenal wildlife viewing at the nexus of a wide variety of habitats—open floodplains, mopane woodland and riverine forest, home to a diverse collection of game. Ten luxurious tents are shaded by a large grove of acacia and mahogany trees and each enjoys a private vista from both the bed and shower—hippos, elephants and other wildlife are often in view. Tents are furnished in opulent safari style with leather chairs, writing desks, heavy linens and en suite bathrooms with copper wash basins and both indoor and outdoor showers. Stone is featured prominently in the decor, and cobblestone walls divide the interior spaces. One of the highlights of the camp is its outdoor claw-footed “tub with a view” in a secluded, scenic spot for languid soaking. Common areas include a central dining tent, bar, library and lounge with comfortable sofas and oriental rugs. All face the escarpment and offer prime wildlife viewing. A deck with an infinity pool beckons during siesta time, while a cushion-strewn stargazing deck offers a delightful evening gathering area beneath the night sky.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
This luxurious boutique hotel enjoys an exclusive setting on the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi Gorge and Victoria Falls. Geographically, it is the closest accommodation to the falls, which are accessible via an easy walk—as is the town of Victoria Falls—yet guests enjoy peaceful seclusion. Guest rooms on the upper tier open out onto a private balcony, while lower-tier rooms open onto manicured gardens frequented by wildlife that roams the vicinity. Enjoy impromptu entertainment from warthogs, impala and sometimes even hippos that graze on the hotel lawns. Large guest rooms have views either of the spray from the falls in the distance, or of the lush gardens. Each spacious room is a study in style and comfort, and teak furnishings made from railway sleeper cars enhance the distinctive African ambience. Amenities include high-quality linens and towels, air conditioning, ceiling fans, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, refrigerator, tea- and coffee-making facilities and an in-room safe.
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