Reviews of Avani Victoria Falls
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Avant Victoria Falls
A tourist hotel in a tourist area. Not my style, but if you want to see Victoria Falls it is the closest hotel. The Falls were just a five minute walk.
OK - it's a 3-star tourist resort - but does it do what it says on the tin? Yes, very well except for the food which was consistently poor.
A word of warning - at the end of the dry season Victoria Falls is very diminished with only half of its length being actually a waterfall - and this part is only visible from the Zimbabwe side. The rest is just a dry rock cliff. Plan your visit according to season if you want to see the full falls in all its glory.
Seeing only half the falls wasn't a problem for us as Victoria Falls wasn't our prime destination - it was a fly-out point after our trip to the Caprivi Strip.
Royal Lvingstone - not up to standard
We arrived at the Avani to find we had been 'upgraded' to the next door Royal Livingstone (owned by the same group).
Almost nothing went right from the beginning of our stay until the end. The reason for our 'upgrade' seemed to be that the Avani was hosting a major conference, so they were short of rooms... but the whole transfer took almost an hour at the end of a long day of activities and travelling.
The first thing we were told when checking in (now about 6pm) was that we should book in for dinner. We asked for a 7:30 sitting... but this was not available... in fact, nothing was available other than 8:30 pm - or 6:30 pm. As we had arisen around 5am for a safari, 8:30 pm just seemed too far away - so we plumped for 6:30 pm - meaning we would need to rush to our room, get changed and get straight back.
Off we went - to find that the room was not ready. Full of mosquitoes, door wide open, letting in more mosquitoes, 'butler' (who we never saw again) fussing around. We asked him to leave for a few minutes so we could get changed etc. - then went to dinner... (which was quite good)...
Not to mention that, in the supposed rush (why they could not have laid another table I'll never know) - we were not advised of the wifi code.
Returned to the room - same thing, not yet ready - 'butler' there with the door wide open, floor gritty, bath showing signs of squashed mosquito. No water left either - had to ring and ask for that to be brought.
Next morning, after breakfast, we headed out around 10:00 - advising our 'butler' we were going on an activity and would be out until after lunch. Returned to the room just after 2pm - hadn't been touched! Of course, now we wanted to relax in the room, not leave again so that it could be cleaned...
We spoke to the duty manager and it was arranged that the room would be cleaned and replenished when we went out for sundowners and dinner - which happened, and a nice (complimentary) bottle of wine left for us.
Sundowners and dinner - plus both breakfasts we had - were good.
We met with the hotel manager on departure and also received a discount (free meal) in respect of the problems we had encountered...
The issue is this - if a hotel holds itself out to be of a particular standard (the Royal LIvingstone advertises itself as 5 star+), then I expect it to live up to that standard. This was not the case for our visit and - despite the location, which is brilliant, I would strongly advise visitors to consider other options.
A couple of nights at the falls with family
I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of this accommodation - I felt that the description in the brochure was slightly indifferent!
The rooms are not massive but plenty big enough, very pleasant and comfortable. Bathroom has a separate bath and shower, all very attractively decorated.
We had two rooms opposite each other (we were with our sons aged 14 and 12) and this worked well - cleaning staff actually changed our rooms for us as reception had not given us rooms opposite - this was appreciated and very helpful.
The only downside was the lack of ability to open a window at night - no mosquito nets or netting on the windows and on the ground floor not safe to keep the patio doors open. After nearly a week sleeping in open thatched chalets this made it a bit stuffy - I hate sleeping with AC on - too noisy and not very environmentally sustainable.
the food at the poolside bar was good, and occasionally excellent (beef fillet recommended) and reasonably priced. The buffet did not seem good value so we skipped that. We ate at the hotel because we didn't have the energy to go into Livingstone.
Location is fantastic, great to be so close to the Falls and to be able to pop in and out of the park without paying fees. We got up early each morning for a walk by the Falls before breakfast. We also walked over to the Zimbabwe side - I would say this is essential to get the best views of the Falls. You have to be a bit thick skinned to refuse the sellers on the bridge but apart from that it is completely feasible to walk yourself. It is an expensive excursion though - $30 extra for the double entry visa to Zambia; $55 for a visa into Zim for UK passport holders; and $30 for over 12s into the park on the Zim side. We didn't make it into Victoria Falls town, opting to lunch at the café inside the Falls park. The only downside to the location is that its harder to get to other places for dining (we looked at the Royal Livingstone menu but although reasonably priced it was not extensive and didn't appeal to the children)
In hindsight, I think we could have spent longer here. We had two nights but could have done with three and even four - I would have liked to have properly visited Vic Falls town; to have gone to the museum in Livingstone and to have dined on the train. I wasn't interested in the rafting or bungee jumping! As it was, we had time to visit the Zim side of the falls and thoroughly explore the Zambian side, including the walk down to the boiling point and upstream walks. I think I reduced the time because it is my fourth or possibly 5th time to see the Falls - but of course only the first for my children. Two nights not really enough to do it justice.
The hotel was clean and comfortable, the rooms were well set out each with private balcony. We did leave the balcony doors open for a while o the first day and a monkey came in and stole our coffee, tea and sugar. Although it caused much amusement at the time they are in fact wild animals and we were very careful to close the doors in the future.
There was other wildlife roaming about the hotel grounds but we felt completely safe at all times with plenty of staff patrolling the area.
The hotel was 5 minutes walk away from the Victoria falls and we spent one evening there and returned for an hour the next morning which was fantastic.
The food was lovely and the all you can breakfast was wonderful
All the reception staff were very friendly and helpful, we had questions about The African Queen trip and they were attentive and knowledgeable.
Great place to finish our trip
We really enjoyed the Avani. From animals in the grounds, including a croc! to eating at the Royal Livingstone we had a great couple of days. It was a shame we were visiting Victoria Falls in low season as the main Zambezi river flow goes over on the Zimbabwe side. However we took a helicopter ride over the Falls and this was a great way to see them without involving border check points, passports, park entry fees etc.
Food was good and served buffet style with plenty of choice, and our room was equally good. We would stay here again if coming back to Victoria Falls.
Close to Victoria Falls.
This hotel exceeded our expectations in every way.
The rooms were large, newly decorated and set in well attended and spacious grounds. The public rooms were also well furnished and inviting, the pool large and well maintained.
Food was excellent and the variety at the buffet breakfast was second to none, look out for the waffle station!
The walk to the falls is easy and zebras, antelope and monkeys wander freely in the spacious grounds which are maintained to a high standard.
The free shuttle service to the Royal Livingstone hotel is worth taking and the approach to the falls are seen from a different aspect.
Staff are attentive and go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.
Avani Victoria Falls review
Very well located, the former Zambezi Sun is a good choice if you want to be right next to the Falls. A little touristy, and Disney like, with animals roaming the grounds and lots of family travelers.
The rooms are nothing special, but they're all you need, and are kind of fun the way they are decorated. Good food as well. But it's really about the location for this hotel.
Avani Victoria Falls review
This was a great way to finish off the trip, easing us out of the bush and, as promised, the entrance to the Falls was a stones throw from the exit from the hotel grounds.
The Falls themselves were great - we made two 2h visits and still didn't cover it all.
The hotel was just what we wanted with good food and no need to go anywhere else (we'd had enough driving) plus the odd antelope on the lawns.
Great location and service for a family
We enjoyed the location and the whole experience was wonderful.
The only thing that would have made it more comfortable is if they had outdoor heaters at the pool restaurant. It got quite chilly in the evenings and we would have enjoyed our dinners more if we were warmer.
Avani Victoria Falls review
The best thing about Avani Victoria Falls is the location enabling you to visit the falls as often as you wish.Read more about the whole trip