Little Gorges Tented Lodge

Little Gorges Tented Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
5 tented rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 3 reviews
Children
Best for 14+
Open
All year

Perched on the rim of the Batoka Gorge, Little Gorges Tented Lodge has spectacular views over the confluence of the Dibu Dibu and Zambezi rivers far below. The lodge is well located, about half-an-hour's drive from Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls town, the waterfall itself and the airport, and is renowned for the resident population of black (Verreaux) eagles.

Little Gorges is owned and run by Imvelo Safari Lodges and is a sister property to Gorges Lodge. In fact, the two properties are built side by side, just 350m apart, and share some facilities. Little Gorges, however, is smaller and more intimate than its bigger sister and its tented rooms will suit those looking for a more safari-style experience.

Little Gorges' five tented rooms are built on the edge of the nearly 270m-deep Batoka Gorge; this isn't a place for those who suffer from vertigo. This said, we reckon that the spectacular location affords some of the most impressive views in Zimbabwe and arguably southern Africa.

Each safari-style tented room is equipped with a ceiling fan, mini fridge, tea and coffee station, hairdryer and electronic safe. At the back of the room is a more solid structure housing the en-suite bathroom, complete with his and hers basins, shower and a separate toilet. Every room has its own private viewing deck, with chairs and a table looking out over the gorge. On our last stay, in November 2017, the sunrise views really took our breath away: well worth getting up early to see!

Set back from the edge of the gorge, the main area at Little Gorges is an open-fronted thatched building incorporating a bar, dining room and lounge area. Weather permitting, meals can also be taken on the large patio, with chairs and tables extending to the edge of the gorge. This is a superb spot for a sundowner while watching out for resident Verreaux (black) eagles. Indeed, the lodge is a fantastic spot for birding. The canyon provides an abundance of nesting sites and the thermals/updrafts make it the perfect environment for raptors. As well as the black eagles that perform stunning acrobatic, courtship and hunting displays, often at eye level, there are plenty of other species to spot – from falcons to hornbills.

It is only a short walk between the two lodges here, and guests at Little Gorges are welcome to use the swimming pool and curio shop at Gorges Lodge. During our stay we were the only guests at Little Gorges so – as is common when things are quiet – we joined guests at the main lodge for a pre-dinner traditional dance display followed by an evening meal.

The two lodges also offer the same activities: guided tours of Victoria Falls, village visits, evening displays of traditional dancing, a gorge edge walk, eagle-viewing sundowner and sundowner cruise. The cost of these is included in your stay, but the lodge can also arrange additional activities such as helicopter rides, at an extra cost.

The eagle-viewing sundowner turned out to be a real highlight of our Zimbabwe trip: watching the black eagles soar majestically in the evening light was spectacular. As they cruise the updrafts generated by the gorge, you may be rewarded by eye-level views, offering excellent photographic opportunities of these often-elusive raptors. We were even lucky enough to see them again during breakfast the following morning.

For trips into town your driver will be at your disposal for the day and can act as your guide if you choose. You can also enjoy a complimentary lunch at the Three Monkeys restaurant and free entry into the Falls. If you’d prefer a little more independence, though, the lodge will provide you with a cellphone.

Our view

Little Gorges Lodge's out-of-town location avoids the hustle and bustle of Victoria Falls while still allowing easy access to the area's attractions. The superb views and quiet setting make this an ideal place to recover from an international flight or relax after a safari, and there is plenty of birdlife to keep wildlife enthusiasts happy.

Geographics

Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Ideal length of stay: Little Gorges makes a superbly relaxing stop for one night at the beginning or end of your safari. However, to get into Victoria Falls and take full advantage of the lodge's spectacular location you will need to stay for at least two nights.

Directions: Guests usually fly into Victoria Falls airport, where they are met by a member of the Imvelo team and transferred to the lodge. The transfer takes about 30 minutes.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Imvelo Safari Lodges

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: During our stay in November 2017, we found the food to be hearty and tasty, veering more towards home cooking than fine dining.

Breakfast is a fairly standard buffet of cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cold meats, bread and cheeses, with a hot breakfast cooked to order.

We didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy lunch/brunch, but we understand that guests may opt to eat either at the lodge or at the Three Monkeys restaurant in Victoria Falls, as a part of a day trip into town.

Back at the lodge, enjoying a sundowner as the black eagles take to the thermals is a must. Typically you will be served snacks such as meatballs, mini sausage rolls and chicken wings to accompany your drink.

In the evening, we joined guests at Gorges Lodge for dinner by the pool, as is normal when the two lodges are quiet. We enjoyed a seemingly ubiquitous butternut soup to start, followed by an extensive buffet of pork medallions in a cream and mushroom sauce, cauliflower cheese, green beans, a selection of salads and potatoes. The meal was rounded off with a malva pudding with cream. We would expect rhe food at Little Gorges to be very similar.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits, and a selection of South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra and may need to be requested in advance.

Further dining info: Private dinners can be arranged on request

Special interests

Birdwatching: Little Gorges Tented Lodge is a superb location for birdwatching in Zimbabwe. The lodge is known for its Verreaux (black) eagles, but lanner falcons, peregrine falcons, augur buzzards and bat hawks are also regularly spotted here, along with many non-predatory species.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zimbabwe

Children

Attitude towards children: Little Gorges accepts children aged 12 and above.

Property’s age restrictions: No children under 12

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Although there are handrails and safety barriers around the lodge, children would need close supervision as the lodge is very close to the edge of the gorge.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a back-up generator in case of a power failure.

Communications: There is cellphone reception and free WiFi is available in the main area.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The bathrooms here are plumbed with flush toilets and hot and cold water courtesy of solar geysers.

Sustainability

Social investment for a peaceful co-habitation

Social investment for a peaceful co-habitationLocated just 19 km road transfer from Victoria Falls Airport and 10km downstream from Victoria Falls in the Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe, Little Gorges Tented Lodge concentrates its efforts towards social investment. The five tents have a private veranda with fantastic views over the gorge, built on leased land with concessions paid to local communities, thus helping to improve schools and clinics around the area. Also, many of the staff that work at Little Gorges are employed from the neighbouring villages around Chisuma.

Since 2011, the lodge contributes to the running of a 'Mobile Dental Safari' by qualified overseas volunteers who treat patients free-of-charge and have attended to 8379 patients. An eye clinic was inaugurated in 2017, dispensing hundreds of spectacles to people in need. In addition, Little Gorges conducts a health-awareness program with school children and has recently constructed a new classroom block in the local school.

Other contributions to local clinics and schools are also note-worthy. Donations helped with the rebuilt of the main building at Sidinda Clinic, nurse’s accommodation, installation of water supply tank and pump, generators and piping. In Chisuma, assistance with the installation of water pumps and electrification has been provided for the local clinic, while at Chisuma Primary school 2 classroom blocks were rebuilt, 80 sets of school furniture provided as well as upgrading the ablution blocks, building 3 brand-new teachers cottages and refurbishing 2 others. For more comfortable studying conditions, a water tank has been installed and to secure students’ safety a new fence around the school was erected.

Guests are also welcome to partake in students’ daily activities. A popular activity for guests is participating in classroom-painting and cultural exchange events in local schools.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The guides and management at Little Gorges Lodge are first-aid trained and there are doctors in Victoria Falls (approx 30 mins away). Medical air rescue services are available in case of emergency.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: There are nightwatchmen at the lodge.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside each of the rooms and around the lodges main areas.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is offered with the exception of underwear, for which washing powder is provided in the bathrooms.

Money: There are electronic safes for valuables in all the rooms.

Accepted payment on location: Cash payments may be made in South African rand, US dollars, pounds sterling, euros and Botswana pula, but there are no card facilities.

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