Impalila Island Lodge

Impalila Island Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
8 twin/double rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 5 reviews
Open
All year

Situated on the beautiful Impalila Island, Impalila Island Lodge is right on the Zambezi, overlooking the Mambova Rapids.

Approaching Impalila by boat and rounding the river bend, you will see that the thatched main lodge has been built around an ancient baobab, giving this place a magical atmosphere. It is very relaxed and low-key here: it's the perfect spot just to sit and relax and just absorb your surroundings, either before or after a safari in Botswana or Namibia.

The lodge has eight en-suite thatched wooden chalets, which are reached by sandy pathways leading from the main lodge, and are set in an area of lush riverine forest. Each has an outside deck with views over the Zambezi rapids.

The main area is a large mukwa wood-and-thatch structure, built around a pair of ancient baobabs. The bar and lounge area house comfortable sofas and armchairs, and a small library. There is an outside deck overlooking the Zambezi, where most meals are eaten. Behind the dining area you will also find a well-stocked curio shop and toilets.

To the rear of the lodge there are sun-loungers and quite a large pool, which is perhaps in need of a lick of paint, but good for a swim and cooling off in the afternoons all the same.

Note that although Impalila stands in Namibia, it is very close to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Activities here include guided motor-boat trips on the Zambezi and along the Chobe Riverfront where game abounds, and also walking on the island. The lodge also offers fly fishing and has specialist fishing guides. The birding here is excellent and over 380 species have been recorded – specialities include the trumpeter hornbill, African skimmer, Schalow's turaco and Pel's fishing owl.

Impalila can easily combined with most trips to Botswana – or even used for a short side-trip of a few days when staying in the Livingstone area.

If you want even more seclusion and luxury than Impalila, then look also to its sister-camp, the exclusive Ntwala Lodge.

Another lodge close by, on the other side of Impalila island, is the relaxed Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

Our view

Impalila Island Lodge is a wonderful place to spend a couple of days. Its rooms are smart and offer privacy that, along with the private guided activities, makes a stay here really special.

Geographics

Location: Caprivi Strip, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights is normal here, but Impalila is a relaxing spot if you want to stay longer.

Directions: From Kasane airport in Botswana you will be transferred by road to Botswana customs, right next to the river, which is about 10 minutes drive. Having passed through here, you will then be ferried across to the Namibian side, where you officially enter Namibia, and then back onto the boat for an onwards transfer to the lodge itself. This last bit of the journey takes about 30 minutes – in all the experience is rather a fun one!

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The food when we stayed here was excellent. On our most recent visit at lunch we were served delicious homemade beef-burgers with mozzarella and onion marmalade, and chips and salad. At dinner time we enjoyed lamb kebabs with avocado salad and vegetables, and a chocolate muffin pudding.

Breakfast is a buffet affair with a selection of fruits, yoghurt, toast and cereals laid out for you to help yourself to, and you can order a cooked breakfast if you like.

They are quite flexible on mealtimes here (breakfast is served from 7am to 10am) and they are happy to cater to provide for special dietary requirements if advance notice is given.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Soft drinks, local beers, house wines during meals and whilst on activities are included – all other drinks are extra.

Special interests

Birdwatching: On a lush island between the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, you may find some of the Okavango specials here on a birdwatching break in Namibia. Specialties include Trumpeter hornbill, African skimmer, Schalow’s turaco and Pel’s fishing owl.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia

Wildlife safaris: The motor-boat trips along the Chobe and Zambezi rivers are excellent for birdlife, hippos and crocodiles – and relaxed big game is also often seen from the waterfront of Chobe National Park. On our last visit here, when we took a boat trip along the Chobe Riverfront, we spotted lion, sable, buffalo, elephant, puku, giraffe, elephant and warthog!

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children: Children over 12 are accepted. Children from 6-12 years of age may be accepted on request.

Special activities & services: No special activities.

Equipment: None.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Communications: Impalila has mobile reception. There is internet which guests may use on request.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The lodge's managers are first-aid trained. The nearest doctor is in Kasane and can be reached in about 20-30 minutes.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: Whistles are provided in the rooms for summoning assistance in case of an emergency.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers on the balconies of all rooms and also in the common areas.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included.

Money: There are safe deposit boxes in the rooms.

Accepted payment on location: Mastercard and Visa credit cards are accepted. Diners Club and Amex are not accepted. Rand, US Dollars, Pounds, Euros and Botswana Pula are also accepted.