Reviews of Ilala Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ilala Lodge review
This is a very nice lodge within a 10 minute walk of the falls. The room was very comfortable, and the front desk was helpful. Bathroom had plenty of hot water and good water pressure. They did screw up my transfer from the airport, but they gave me a credit and an apology, so they did resolve the issue. Breakfast was included in my rate and was very good. Dinner at the restaurant was good.
The location is excellent – shopping and the Victoria Falls Hotel are all within a few minutes walk. They also have a computer in the lobby for free internet access. Wireless access is available for a fee.
My room was on the ground floor and had french doors that led out into the backyard of the hotel. Of interest, there was a small sounder of warthogs munching on the grass out there every day.
close to the falls
Good place to stay for it's central position, no other noteworthy characteristicsRead more about the whole trip
Ilala Lodge review
A gorgeous boutique style hotel where we were greeted by friendly knowledgable front tine staff. Our room was spacious (for 3 people), we had a stunning view of the mist from the falls and the rooms were well equipped with fridge, kettle, TV etc. The rooms were presented well every day - absolutely no complaints.
The location was great - close enough so that we could walk everywhere - great recommendation !
The breakfast (Included in our package) was plentiful with a great variety of choice. We did not have lunch but found the dinner was pricey and 'OK". We worked out it would've been better value (especially with a 6 year old) to order from the bar as the toasted sandwiches etc were better value.
We booked our safari drive and sunset cruise through the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed both activities - the staff were once again friendly and informative.
The only thing that we felt let the hotel down from being excellent to good was the lack of interaction between the higher Management and the guests. We watched each morning as the Manager walked through the dining room and said hello and stopped to talk to the same 2-3 people whilst ignoring all others. This is a petty comment - but it would've made a difference.
Ilala Lodge review
Lovely place to finish our holiday .
The Victoria Fallls were magnificent.
Although there were ' Tourist Police ' to escort you to the Falls and back and around town we found they were not available on our walk back and were badly harrassed by one young man all the way back to the hotel.
Ilala Lodge review
For where it is and what it is, the lodge was overall quite pleasant. Because we were unfamiliar with the area, we dined exclusively at the Lodge. The food was okay, about what we expected, despite the restaurant being probably one of the finer establishments in town! The rooms were clean, the staff was nice, but internet access was fairly difficult. Our friends had a family suite upstairs which was very nice, and we had two adjoining rooms, which we actually didn't need (the kids wanted to sleep with us anyway).
We enjoyed shopping at their local products shop on site and used their booking office for activities. Because their booking office is not the actual operator, we didn't book in time for a microlight tour (turns out the operator was already full), so instead we booked a family helicopter ride. Despite the expensive price tag, the helicopter ride over Victoria Falls was worthwhile (as the view from the ground was too misty in many places).
Note to ExpertAfrica: We found out after we got there that the microlight flights only operate on the Zambia side, which means that we would have had to exit Zimbabwe and then re-enter, thus incurring more visa costs. Should your clients require visas into Zimbabwe, it would be helpful to suggest the double entry Zimbabwe visa if clients are interested in activities such as microlight or tours into Chobe.
Ilala Lodge - relaxing
By the time I reached Victoria Falls I was ready to relax and this hotel was the perfect place to do it.
Nice room, excellent restaurant (sit on the tearrce and listen to the falls in the distance), and relaxing grounds in which to sit. Good location for walking to the falls (10 minutes max) and for wondering into town, and an on-site agent for booking activities - I walked with lions which was amazing, if a teeny bit scary, and flew over the falls in a helicopter which gave impressive views (and great photos) of the falls and river, which I needed as the spray was so dense I had limited views from the ground when I walked by the falls (although the experience of being close to all that water was still impressive).
The lodge also had wifi ($5) which was useful to catch up and even to skype home.
Ilala Lodge review
Although not inter-connecting, our adjacent rooms (32 and 33) on the first floor of the new "conference wing" were amongst the best positioned in this small hotel, with nice balconies overlooking the gardens (full of cavorting baboons and warthogs in the mornings) and with a glimpse of the "smoke that thunders" rising above the trees.
Our spacious room had a 4-poster king-sized bed and a separate single bed round the corner, so we could probably have all slept in the one room with an extra z-bed; the two together could easily accomodate a family of 5-6. The kids made full use of the swimming pool which was close to the colonial-style bar and dining room beyond. The included breakfast buffet was comprehensive with a full cooked option if you want it.
In the evening, the a la carte menu had some quite exotic dishes (I had smoked crocodile tail followed by warthog steak) as well as most hotel standards (ie, chicken, steak, fish etc) and there was a children's menu of the sausage and mash/fish fingers variety if needed. But for our second evening we took the short taxi ride to the even grander Victoria Falls Hotel where the "Jungle Junction" buffet and "cabaret" of local african dancing was a good fun alternative at a similar price.
The on-site travel rep is a convenient way of arranging the standard tours such as a guided visit to the Vic Falls Park (not strictly needed, as the 1 hour walk is well sign-posted once you are past the amateur guides "touting" just outside the gates) or a sunset river cruise on the Zambesi. But the best value "excursion" is the $5 taxi ride to the "bridge" - or you can walk it in 20 mnutes - for free entry into "no-man's land" between the Zim-Zam borders (don't forget to take your passport) where you can ride a zip wire across the gorge, do an upright harness jump or a headfirst "bungee" jump (or just watch).
All in all a great place to start or finish your Botswanan safari.
Cheerful hotel next to the falls
We spent out last night here so we did not have much time to explore. We did go to see the falls from the "Zim side" and we liked it very much.
Having met people from Zambia and Zimbabwe who asked us to tell them at the end which side is best...we are now stuck! The truth is we liked each side. From the Zim side you have a better view (and you get less soaked) and the path is longer. So we agree with somebody who said you should the falls from both sides if you can.
The lodge is relatively small, even if it felt like a grand hotel to us after two weeks in the bush. Our room was nice and comfortable, the swimming pool is great and the bar and restaurant areas are very well designed and pleasant to look at. Sitting there you can see the smoke and hear the thunder....while enjoying a good dinner with a good glass of wine!
A special note for the breakfast as the buffet we found in the morning was one of the most impressive we have ever seen!
We enjoyed a really comfortable and relaxing five nights at Ilala and were consistently impressed by many of the staff there, especially when it came to organising activities for us, including ones which were not included in the hotel's normal offering, notably linking us to Charles Brightman who had been justifiably recommended to us as a first class private guide.
From the "normal offering" menu we very much enjoyed and would recommend the full day canoeing trip where we were guided by the excellent Ndoga Unganai.
Expert Africa comments
In a later email, these travellers commented:
"We ate dinner at Ilala every evening bar one (reflecting how good the food is there) when we headed out to the Makuwa Kuwa restaurant at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. We can't comment on accommodation there but the restaurant is certainly very good: food on a par with Ilala but with a more extensive menu and wine list (probably reflecting a larger number of beds) and, probably by booking early, we were able to get a "window" table even though we were not residents. Well worth the taxi ride even if the waterhole was quiet."
Ilala Lodge review
This was an excellent luxury lodge, which felt somewhat out of place in its surroundings.
The food was very good indeed, and we especially enjoyed the breakfast, with every possible option under the sun in a lovely setting.
The room was clean and comfortable. Its proximity to the Falls (you can walk in 10 minutes) makes it well-placed too. Service was excellent.
The bridge tour through the travel agent was fantastic, and we can't recommend it enough.