The Elephant Camp: Our full report
One of the newest camps on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls, The Elephant Camp is situated on its own private concession within the Victoria Falls National Park, 15 minutes’ drive from Victoria Falls town and the waterfall itself. The camp is managed by the charismatic Jonathan Ellway, who has a wealth of experience in the tourist industry, and it is already gaining quite a reputation.
Although no one from Expert Africa has yet stayed here, a couple of members of the team visited it in November 2011 – and this report is based on that visit.
The Elephant Camp is situated on a rise overlooking the national park and on to the Batoka Gorge. Game does pass through the area – a couple of old male buffalo had made a spot below the main lodge their home when we visited – but fundamentally The Elephant Camp is a place to relax in a bush setting at the beginning or end of a trip, and a base for visiting the Victoria Falls.
The view from each of the camp’s 12 luxury tents is breathtaking and a major feature throughout the camp. That said, The Elephant Camp doesn’t rely on scenery alone to impress guests. The whole camp is designed and decorated in a simple, almost minimalist style and to very high specifications.
Each tent is identical, split into three sections with a private deck and plunge pool in front. All three sections are separated by sliding doors which can be opened to make the whole tent very open and breezy. The same is true of the doors leading out onto the viewing deck, so that guests anywhere in the tent can enjoy the views. Mesh windows keep insects out but allow light and air in, or the whole tent can be closed up and cooled with air conditioning and fans.
Inside, the floor is polished concrete, scattered with a few rugs and mats to add colour and warmth. In the private lounge area, an old teak chest acts as a coffee table, with a comfortable settee and chair offering a spot to relax, perhaps with a good book – the camp has a small but very good selection of reference and fiction in the main area. There’s a tea and coffee station here, too, as well as a well-stocked minibar.
The adjacent bedroom features a double bed with draw-around mosquito net, and a ceiling fan above. There’s also a small writing table and a full-length mirror.
The clean lines and subtle decoration of the rest of the lodge are evident in the en-suite bathrooms, too. Here you’ll find a bath as well as indoor and outdoor showers, a flush toilet, and a deep porcelain washbasin with complimentary toiletries.
The main area at The Elephant Camp has a large wooden deck where meals or a sundowner can be enjoyed as you watch the spray rising from The Falls in the distance. A larger swimming pool is situated here too. Moving inside there’s a large lounge with a couple of seating areas, a dining area and a central bar.
Although nature walks around the property are on offer, activities at The Elephant Camp really focus on the Falls: every guest can take advantage of two complimentary transfers to and from Victoria Falls town per day. Since the camp is situated in its own private concession, guests don’t have to be back in camp before the national park gates close, so can choose to stay in town for dinner.
Our viewAll the signs are present to suggest that The Elephant Camp is going to become a top choice for guests visiting Victoria Falls. We’ve been very impressed with what we’ve seen, and would certainly recommend a couple of nights here, perhaps at the beginning of a trip to recover from a long-haul flight or at the end of a safari before heading home.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights
Directions: The transfer by road from Victoria Falls Airport takes around 15 minutes.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Wild Horizons
Staff: Manager: Jonathan Ellway
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Soft drinks and wines, spirits and beers are included in the price. High-end liqueurs, champagne, imported wines (except most South African wines) and spirits are not.
Further dining info: Private dining can be arranged
Attitude towards children: Children over 7 are welcome; children under 7 may be accepted on request.
Property’s age restrictions: Over 7 Only
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Over 12 years
Notes: Children aged 7–12 years will be charged 50% of the adult sharing rate.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: There is a back-up generator.
Communications: Cellphone reception is available at The Elephant Camp.
TV & radio: No
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Management staff are trained in first aid. The nearest doctor is in Victoria Falls.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: Guests are escorted to their rooms by security guards after dark.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are positioned throughout the camp.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Included
Accepted payment on location: Credit cards are not accepted at The Elephant Camp. Cash payments may be made in US dollars.