Authentic Africa in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls

Authentic Africa in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls

Experience a modern twist on storied traditions in this safari resort town By: Janice and George Mucalov
<p>Victoria Falls Safari Club features 20 guestrooms. // © 2018 Vicoria Falls Safari Club</p><p>Feature image (above): Victoria Falls has been named a...

Victoria Falls Safari Club features 20 guestrooms. // © 2018 Vicoria Falls Safari Club

Feature image (above): Victoria Falls has been named a Natural Wonder of the World. // © 2018 Getty Images

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To witness the crashing curtain of water that is Victoria Falls, tourists once preferred staying on the Zambia side of the falls.

But now, the colonial town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is booming, thanks in part to the opening of Victoria Falls Airport in 2016 and a 30-day UniVisa that allows clients to easily travel back and forth between Zimbabwe and Zambia to view the falls from both sides.

Despite the area’s march to modernization, Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls — a popular resort town on the safari circuit — still offers a taste of authentic Africa.

Who can resist a great feast? 

Revamped and rebranded in 2016, The Boma — Dinner & Drum Show is a celebration of Zimbabwe’s food and culture. It’s a huge hit with visitors, who must make a reservation for dinner in this enormous, thatched-roof restaurant. The Boma — which means “place of eating” — serves up a bountiful four-course meal, followed by African drumming and dancing.

Guests are welcomed with sarongs to tie around their shoulders and a tin cup of homemade local beer to get into the spirit of the evening. Appetizers include crocodile meat (which tastes like chicken), and soup is poured from a black cauldron hanging over a blazing campfire. Then, it’s time to hit the barbecue buffet, which features juicy and delicious warthog steak; kudu meatballs; fried mopane worms; and more. Then, everyone receives a drum to beat under the direction of the performing African drummers.

Staying at the boutique Victoria Falls Safari Club is a bit like going on safari — without actually heading into the bush. 

A recent addition to the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, the Safari Club offers a more upscale, intimate experience. Its 20 guestrooms and suites have a modern open-plan design, with tile floors, sisal rugs, huge bathrooms, complimentary minibars and in-room Nespresso machines. Many welcome amenities are included, from little jars of sunscreen and mosquito repellent to free laundry service. Guests also have exclusive access to a wonderful tree-house-style viewing deck and lounge, where they can receive complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea (with head-and-shoulder or foot massages), as well as sunset cocktails and canapes.

Aside from viewing “The Smoke That Thunders” (the local name for Victoria Falls), one of the most popular activities is a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Some of the boats function as “booze cruises,” but the 28-guest Royal Zambezi, operated by Wild Horizons, a major local tour operator, offers a premium two-hour outing. Visitors get to experience the river as explorer David Livingstone did in the 1850s on his journey to the falls — though Livingstone probably didn’t have the luxuries of a chilled facecloth and glass of bubbly when stepping onboard his boat. As the spacious, open-sided vessel meanders around the lush islands in the river, waiters serve cold cocktails and plates of appetizers. 

Sightings of hippos, crocodiles and elephants are common; we also spotted a tower of giraffes, beautiful white egrets and ibis birds.

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