Reviews of Ilala Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ilala Lodge review
Met at the airport by 2 very friendly drivers (from Wild Horizons) who drove us around for the next few days, nice to have the same guys who you got to know a little and appreciate, they also drove us to and from our safari camp. Ilala lodge is very nice, great location very clean and well kept. The reception area was very colonial the whole place has this feel and it works perfectly, its very smart and has a lovely atmosphere.
The rooms are slightly dated but this works as the fittings are still of a high quality and reflect the old style colonial feel the place has. Again this works really well. The only thing is the patio doors resemble bars on a door and could be changed to full glass to enhance the views and let more light in. They open onto a deck/grass patio which is open/shared but has nice views and you can see the Vic Falls mist too. We hoped to see some animals here but sadly none were present on our short stay.
Its just a 10-15 min walk to the Vic falls which is great but we did get pestered a little by some street vendors who left us alone after a polite No was repeated. I did see some police type officials who were meant to deter these vendors but they didnt seem to be around when needed. All ok but be aware you are in another country and they don't have much at all but you do.
Vic falls - Truly stunning so glad we went !
After we had a sundowner or two in the lovely open bar at Ilala by the small but smart pool and large open terrace area we watched the sun go down behind the mists of the falls !! Superb...
We had dinner on the terrace of the restaurant and it was excellent, great waiters and no complaints at all.
Ilala Lodge review
We stayed here two nights, primarily to see the Falls.
The location is OK, on the edge of town with a view down to the Falls. Everything is within easy (safe) walking distance. The town is relatively busy, and so the hotel's open spaces, balconies and spacious restuarant create a pleasant enough refuge.
The rooms are in good condition and were well serviced (including quick and cheap laundry service). We used the restuarant both evenings having failed to find a local restuarant that could promise a nut free meal to the member of our family with an allergy. The hotel staff by contrast were helpful and worked to make sure our stay was accident free.
The Falls were well worth the visit. Including walking to the view point, crossing the bridge to watch bunjee jumping and talking to the local vendors we spent a full day in and around the park.
Relaxing Stay at Ilala
Ilala was a lovely way to end our holiday in Africa. Upon arrival we were greeted with a welcome drink and informed that our room had been upgraded which was a lovely surprise! The rooms were stunning and the service was excellent. We loved sipping coffee from the balcony of our room while watching the mist rise over the falls.
We enjoyed all of the meals we had at the in house restaurant, but we did notice that the prices were a little bit steep, as were the prices of many things in Zimbabwe. Saying that, the prices were consistent with prices you'd see at a tourist town in North America.
It was only a short walk to the falls from Ilala so the location was perfect. Overall it was a beautiful and tranquil way to spend the last days of our vacation.
Thundersmoke view excellent
One must take into account the constraints on the country atmosphere in the review. It was a culture shock to arrive after a flight two transfers, one almost screwed up and immigration, to then arrive in a city. Oh how we missed the Bush. The Facitity was very colonial and we had an excellent view.
The service the first day for meals was without doubt the worst experienced. The second night, another trainee assisted us and she was great. The streets were not worth walking. The assistance from Wilderness, Barbara, was most appreciated as they arranged our Helicopter flight and transport. Everyone before and after said, why did you not stay at Victoria Falls Guest House?
The Falls were dramatic, both during the walk and H ride and that is why we went. Been there now, O K.
We spent the last two days of our holiday at the Ilala Lodge. The hotel is beautiful and at a very short walk to the Victoria falls. From our room window we could see the spray of the falls and the sun rising behind it in the morning. The food was amazing and moderately priced. Breakfast was so good and abundant that at lunch we did not need to eat much at all.
The room was spacious and clean with all the modern comforts including flat screen TV and air con. The service was good although when we arrived to check in we felt that the receptionist was not that welcoming.... maybe we had just been spoilt in Botswana... Also the night we had our meal at the hotel the waiter made it quite clear that we were supposed to leave a tip. We did not mind leaving one because we enjoyed the meal and the service was good but we would have left a bigger one had he not say anything.
We went to see the falls on the same afternoon we arrived in town and we managed to complete the visit in 2 and a half hours. It was great! My husband had seen the falls many years ago during the dry season and he loved seeing them again at full flow! They are so powerful! We went prepared wearing sandals and good rainproof coats. We also had plastic bags for our cameras although we wish we had a transparent one to be able to take more photos or videos when we went through the thick splashes.... it was just like walking in heavy rain and being surrounded by rainbows.
On the second day we decided to walk around and explore the town. We went to the Victoria Falls hotel as we were told that from there it was possible to see the bridge that links Zimbabwe to Zambia. We took lovely photos and we took a path via their back gate and we reached a view point. It is one of these places where they do flying fox and other adrenaline rising activities etc. but we just went to look at the amazing views of the gorge. We then walked to the "big tee" which is about 2 km from the centre of the town, along an asphalted road which follows the Zambezi river . On the way back a driver told us to be careful as there were some crazy elephants around. Although I was a bit scared I must admit that I also found it very exciting. We indeed spotted one of the elephants while he was drinking water from the river but to be on the safe side we only stopped a couple of minutes to see him from a safe distance and then we walked back to town where we crossed the bridge, walked through the "no man land" to then step on the Zambian ground. It was a lovely afternoon and we could see the falls and feel the water spray which had been travelling in the air.
To complete the afternoon we went back to the Victoria falls hotel for a high tea experience. We had a gorgeous tea while enjoying the views. The last morning we went to the craft market which is just around the corner from the Ilala Lodge. The people who were managing the stands were pleasant and even if everybody tried to sell everything to us as soon as we walked into the market, we quite enjoyed the experience and the bargaining. We managed to come away with a few nice local artefacts without spending a fortune although we would have done if we gave them the asking price. We actually noticed that they too enjoyed our bargaining skills :-)
Finally a driver came to pick us at the Ilala Lodge in a mini bus according to schedule to take us to the airport. Overall we rate our experience at the Ilala Lodge and Victoria Fall as excellent.
Very comfortable lodge in great position.
Nice rooms and surrounds in the middle of town and within walking distance of the falls.
Good and cheap food and wines.
Only criticism was inability to accept Mastercard payments
Water water everywhere
My only complaint relates to my being (in sure inadvertently) overcharged US$848, details of which I have sent to Maruska.
The room, meals, outdoor areas and level of service were excellent.
Expert Africa comments
Upon receiving the details of the credit card overcharge, Ilala Lodge quickly looked into the matter. They discovered that a glitch in the credit card system made it appear that the first payment deducted from the card did not go through, and so they processed the payment again in reality both payments were deducted from the card. In order to settle this matter, Ilala Lodge quickly refunded this travellers card, and apologised for any inconvenience caused.
Good accommodation at Ilala Lodge
Staff were able to provide good advice on things to do.Read more about the whole trip
Wonderful safari & excellent team
Shower temperature mix was inconsistent
Food was very good
Would have scored higher if more African style food available and spicier food options available
Perfect spot to visit the falls
This was the last stay of our trip and it was perfect to relax and unwind.
The short walk to the Falls and the city center made it very convenient for us to explore on foot in our own time.