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Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge
Old Drift Lodge

Old Drift Lodge: Our full report

On the banks of the Zambezi River, the stylish Old Drift Lodge lies 7km upstream of the Victoria Falls.

It was opened in mid-May 2018, and is one of a handful of camps within Zimbabwe's Zambezi National Park, with regular visits from elephants to the lodge, especially later into the dry season.

Overlooking the mighty Zambezi River, the site of Old Drift Lodge was once the original crossing point of the river, dating back to 1898. Known as “Clarke's Drift”, and just 7km upstream from the waterfall, it is the narrowest part of the river in the region, making it the best crossing point.

Old Drift Lodge has 14 tented chalets, all slightly raised on wooden decks and spaced out along the riverfront. These chalets are quite contemporary in design, their canvas walls the only real nod to a “tent”. Light-coloured canvas, glass sliding doors and windows and high ceilings all create a well-lit space.

Inside, the sizeable open-plan bedroom has a four-poster mosquito net enveloping a king-size or twin beds, plus bedside tables, and a small dressing room behind the bed with large built-in cupboards that house the air conditioning. A seating area affords space for relaxation, with two comfortable armchairs and a small coffee table, a locally made wooden desk and dresser, plus a minibar, tea and coffee station and ice-making machine.

Four of the chalets have a second en-suite bedroom (with a shower and toilet) leading off the dressing room. These chalets are ideal for families travelling with children.

From the main bedroom, a sliding canvas door opens into the equally spacious en suite bathroom, with twin copper basins, a large glass-screened shower cubicle, and a toilet behind another sliding door. Step outside and you'll find an outside shower, as well as a free-standing ball-and-claw bath on the deck, with canvas curtains should you prefer a little more privacy.

A lot of thought has gone into the little touches in each tented chalet, whose amenities include toiletries, dressing gowns and slippers in the bathrooms, along with mosquito repellent and bug spray, a hairdryer and even hair straighteners! There's also a charging station by each desk, and international and USB plug sockets next to the beds.

The sliding doors from each chalet open onto a wooden deck, with loungers placed next to a small plunge pool, looking out to the river. Your days will no doubt be filled with activities, but for those spending the afternoon siesta at the lodge, this is a great spot for birdwatching, with plenty of pied kingfishers, bee-eaters and swifts flying past. On our most recent stay, in June 2023, we spotted a substantial warthog and a shy bushbuck too.

Linking the chalets to the expansive tented main area are wood-effect walkways, with regular breaks allowing river access along the elephant and hippo highways that are used by all manner of wildlife. Large wooden doors open into the main area itself, with cream canvas walls, whitewashed wood floors and folding glass doors opening the full length of one side. Wrought-iron lights hang over comfortable chairs and sofas, piled with cushions and soft blankets for the colder evenings, and surrounding a central fireplace – which creates a focal point in front of a bar and small library. Friendly staff – ever present but unobtrusive throughout our stay – are on hand to bring drinks and nibbles, attend to guests' queries and offer assistance.

In the dining area to the other side of the main tent, tables are placed under ceiling fans, as well as on the deck looking over the river. Outdoor lounge areas, with a mix of wooden and wicker furniture, are shaded by large cream umbrellas on a series of split-level decks leading down to a firepit and jetty.

Activities included at Old Drift Lodge are varied: game drives into the Zambezi National Park, river cruises, guided walking safaris, lunch at the Lookout Café and a guided tour of the Falls (excluding entry fees to the Falls which need to be paid direct).

It is worth noting that while Zambezi National Park is home to four of the “big five”, wildlife densities are a little lower here than in other parks in the region, such as Chobe or Hwange. As such, good sightings on game drives and walking safaris may be less frequent.

Extra activities, which incur an additional cost, include fishing and canoeing, as well as microlight and helicopter flights and a variety of adrenalin activities – all can be arranged through the lodge's reception. Note, though, that some of these activities can get booked up a while in advance, so do chat to us about the options before your trip.

If you're heading into Victoria Falls town for activities you'll either be driven in, or you could be transferred by the lodge's motorboat, which cruises between here and the Old Drift's own jetty, opposite Kalunda Island, just a short drive from town. For any activities that will keep you in town for the full day, lunch is included at their sister establishment, the Lookout Café, a large open-sided restaurant and bar in a stunning location atop the Batoka Gorge.

Our view

We've been really impressed with Old Drift Lodge on all our visits. With a beautiful location, stylish tents and a fantastic front-of-house team, it's a great lodge, either as a base for your visit to the Falls, or as a stand-alone lodge for a few days of relaxed safari activities.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris

Country manager: Zimbabwe


Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Ideal length of stay
We'd suggest a stay of three or more nights at Old Drift, which will give you time to relax at the lodge as well as enjoying some of the many activities in Victoria Falls.
The Old Drift jetty is a 35-minute drive from Victoria Falls airport. You'll then be transferred to the lodge via speedboat, which usually takes 10–15 minutes, depending on the wildlife you see along the way.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
The food we've had at Old Drift has always been very good. With advanced notice the team here are able to cater to a variety of different dietary requirements.

Tea, coffee and rusks are on offer first thing in the morning if you're heading out on a game drive; otherwise a full breakfast is served from 7.00am, with a continental buffet and hot dishes available to order.

Lunch is typically served between 12 noon and 3pm. Depending on the timings of your activity and the number of guests at the lodge, it can be either buffet or à la carte. During our stay in June 2023 the à la carte menu offered lamb burgers, fillet of hake or vegetarian wraps, all served with a fresh salad and fries.

For guests in Victoria Falls for an activity, lunch or breakfast is included at the Lookout Café. With a spectacular view down to the river below we have enjoyed several meals here over the years. Most recently we tucked into a chorizo caprese salad followed by a substantial and delicious pulled oxtail and brisket burger with salad and fries.

Dinner is again buffet or à la carte depending on the number of guests. We had a choice of smoked tomato bisque or kudu carpaccio for starters, followed by a either pan-fried kabeljou (described as wild Namibian cod), grilled beef fillet or creamy basil pasta. For dessert the options were a selection of cheeses or baked malva pudding (a sweet South African sponge pudding). We went to bed full and contented after a great meal.
Dining style
Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Riverside dinners, bush meals and private dining options are available on request.
Drinks included
Filtered drinking water is provided in the rooms and at the bar. Tea and coffee, as well as soft and most alcoholic drinks, are included.


Attitude towards children
Old Drift welcomes children over the age of seven in camp.
Property’s age restrictions
The lodge allows children from the age of seven and upwards, though children under 16 must share a room with an adult. The age limit for walking in the national park is 16 years old.
Special activities & services
Children under the age of 16 years may be taken on a drive while the adults go for a walk.
A sleeper couch can be added in the family rooms for larger families. These are only suitable for smaller children.
Generally recommended for children
Old Drift has a relatively mature and stylish feel, and there are no specific children's activities on offer, so we'd recommend it as more suitable for older children.
The plunge pools are unfenced, and wild animals often walk through camp. Children should be supervised by their parent or guardian at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Old Drift Lodge

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Old Drift Lodge have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.


100% success


100% success


60% success


50% success


40% success

Sable antelope

40% success


40% success

Wild dog

25% success


20% success


0% success

Brown Hyena

0% success


0% success


0% success


0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success


Power supply notes
Old Drift Lodge has a back-up generator in case of a mains power failure. Solar power is used to run the geysers for each chalet, and there are plans to broaden this until the whole lodge runs on solar power.
All rooms have international charging points, along with USB sockets.

WiFi is available in the central areas and tented chalets.
TV & radio
There are no TVs at the lodge.
Water supply
Water supply notes
Water is pumped from the river, filtered and treated. The bathrooms have plumbed, hot showers and flush toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
Staff members are first-aid trained, and there is a main first-aid kit in the reception. Smaller first-aid kits are carried by all guides whilst on activities. The closest medical clinic is in Victoria Falls.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Security personnel are on site round the clock, with armed guards at night. There is an intercom in each tented chalet to call through to reception, and staff escort guests to and from their chalets in the morning and after dark.
Fire safety
Fire extinguishers are located in each tented chalet, and throughout the main lodge.


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching


  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Canoeing


  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Elephant encounter

    Elephant encounter

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Helicopter


  • Kayaking


  • Microlight


  • White-water rafting

    White-water rafting


Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A daily laundry service is included. Laundry may be washed by hand or machine, and can be tumble dried on request.
Each chalet has a digital safe. The lodge is often able to change small amounts of currency on request.
Accepted payment on location
Payment may be made via Mastercard and Visa, as well as cash in South African rand, Botswana pula, euro, UK pounds and US dollars.

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