Pioneers: Our full report
Pioneers lies in a quiet suburb 2km from the centre of Victoria Falls Town and 2.5km from the eponymous waterfall. Officially called Pioneers Victoria Falls, and sometimes referred to as Pioneers Lodge, the hotel may not be quite as conveniently located as some other options in the area, but its pleasant gardens, pools and location away from the buzz of town make this a relaxing option for your stay in Victoria Falls.
None of the Expert Africa team has stayed at Pioneers but we popped in for a visit in December 2022, and its sister property, Batonka Guest Lodge, has quickly become one of our favourite options in the area.
The classic Zimbabwean style accommodation at the hotel is made up of 50 air-conditioned rooms including four family rooms, split across two levels. Each room has a veranda overlooking landscaped gardens with a swimming pool on each level acting as the centrepiece.
The modern, spacious rooms can be made up with twin or king-size beds. A built-in wardrobe and luggage rack provides storage while a small electric safe offers a secure place to keep valuables. Each room features a papered feature wall whose themes include elephants, the jungle and more. Soft furnishings, such as cushions and throws, in complementary tones help to tie the rooms together. All rooms have an en-suite shower room including his and hers basins, large walk-in shower and a flush toilet.
Each of the family rooms has an additional twin-room “annexe” accessed from the main bedroom. With a shared bathroom, they are best suited to families travelling with children.
Pioneers’ main area includes a small curio shop, activities desk, spacious dining room, cosy lounge and extensive covered terrace overlooking the gardens. Both indoor and outdoor dining are offered, and WiFi is available throughout the property.
Squirrelled away in a corner of the garden is a small treatment room offing spa treatments for one person at a time, from manicures to massages and waxing. Adjoining this is a snug with satellite TV, perfect for catching a “can’t miss” fixture.
We are told it is safe to walk from Pioneers into Victoria Falls town and perhaps on to the waterfall when it is light. Typically this takes around 30 minutes at a leisurely pace, with the way into town being slightly downhill. Alternatively, the lodge offers a friendly, fixed-rate taxi service for the five-minute drive into or out of town, costing US$7 each way at the time of our last visit.
We have not had the chance to stay at Pioneers Camp yet, but both our team and our travellers have enjoyed staying at its sister property, Batonka Guest Lodge. Based on what we saw on our visit we expect Pioneers to be another excellent, economical option in the Falls in a quieter area of town.
Country manager: Zimbabwe
- Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Ideal length of stay
- If your only plan is to see the waterfall, then a two-night stay gives you a full day to do this. If you are keen to do more activities in the area, we'd suggest you consider staying longer.
- Most visitors to Pioneers will arrive on a transfer from Victoria Falls Airport (taking approx 20 mins) or Kasane (approx 2 hours).
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- We have not yet had the chance to eat at Pioneers but based on the food at its sister property, Batonka Guest Lodge, we would expect it to be excellent. We understand that, with advanced notice, the hotel can cater for a range of dietary requirements.
We understand that breakfast usually includes a buffet of cereals, fruit, pastries, cold meats and cheeses. Hot items including eggs, bacon, sausages and mushrooms are then cooked to order.
Lunch is ordered from an à la carte menu of light meals such as burgers, wraps, salads and sandwiches.
Dinner is also à la carte with starters such as mixed vegetable soups or a breaded camembert. Mains might be something like beef fillet served with potato fondant, bacon and onion jam and a red wind jus, or chicken korma with steamed rice, poppadoms and sambal. Desserts options can range from fresh fruit to apple crumble or chocolate fondant.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Private dining options are often available on request.
- Drinks included
- Drinks from the well-stocked bar are not included. However, an insulated jug of drinking water is provided in the rooms.
- Attitude towards children
- Pioneers welcomes children of all ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- Pioneers is a moderately sized, welcoming hotel with plenty of space for families. There are also two pools and a TV room to help keep children entertained, so we think this is a good option for families travelling to Victoria Falls.
- Neither of the pools at Pioneers is fenced or guarded so younger children will need supervision by a responsible adult at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Pioneers
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Pioneers 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.
- Power supply notes
- There is both a back-up generator and connection to the main grid in case the solar power fails. There are international plugs in the rooms for charging phones and camera equipment.
- Pioneers has both cellphone reception and WiFi.
- TV & radio
- There is a satellite TV with DSTV in the snug.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All rooms are en suite with plentiful hot and cold running water and flush toilets.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest hospital is in Victoria Falls town, close to the hotel. In the event of serious injury or illness, guests would if necessary be transferred by air to Harare or Johannesburg.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- There is security on site 24/7.
- Fire safety
- There are fire hoses and fire extinguishers throughout the property.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included in your stay.
- There is a small electronic safe for valuables in each room.
- Accepted payment on location
- Card payments can be made using Visa and Mastercard. Cash payments are accepted in US dollars. Other currencies may be used on an ad hoc basis, but this is not guaranteed.
Other lodges in Victoria Falls
Alternative places to stay in this same area.