Reviews of The Elephant Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
The Elephant Camp review
The rooms were out of the world. Every comfort was provided from a plunge pool to an outdoor shower. We woke up in bed to the sunrise view. The room was huge and the details were all attended to from a small fridge to the elephant-shaped towels on the bed.
The staff was incredibly attentive and the guide who organized our activities was wonderful.
I was really not comfortable with the presence of elephant rides nor the feeding operation. I found that circus-like and was skeptical about the financial rationale provided. It felt like a real money-maker and detracted greatly from the exclusive feel of the lodge. Had I known about that aspect, I probably would not have stayed at this lovely lodge. It changed the atmosphere for me.
The chef was not at all creative about vegetarian options although the food was good overall.
Luxury camp style hotel near Vic Falls
The camp is extremely comfortable with super facilities - the only caveat being that if you opt to take additional activities the time to truly enjoy these is limited.
In terms of activities the camp can arrange a great deal more than are advertised on its website or the high adrenaline options for which the area is well known. We were disappointed that we were not aware of the full range on offer before we booked - if we had known we would have stayed an extra night and taken a multiple entry visa (as a number of these take place on the Zambian side of the falls) e.g. Horseback safaris, Devil Pools bathing above the falls.
The food is prepared to a high standard but is really quite Western. The breakfast buffet selection and cooked option was excellent. Lunch and dinner are on a set menu basis and we found the three course dinners rather like menus in the UK (asparagus with bacon and egg hollandaise, tomato soup, beef steak, sponge puddings etc). We enjoyed Kudu one night but would have preferred to experience more regional produce and dishes.
The Elephant Camp review
Camp too far out of town and transfers sometimes unreliable. We had to wait 55 minutes for a return to camp.
Food was poor generally, very disappointing dinners although lunches were good. We enjoyed the time to rest and swimming pool was the highlight for me. Very little game to see from the camp perhaps due to the time of year.
Scott and Bernie were friendly and helpful. Saw very little of manager Jonathan, staff not as good as in Botswana.
Expert Africa comments
Elephant Camp apologised for the issues these guests encountered during their stay. They informed us that three resident guides have now been employed at the Camp in order to offer guests activities in the surrounding area. They hope this will offer a more personalised service and will omit any delays in waiting for transfers made by third party operators, such as the delay experienced by these guests. The camp was disappointed to receive the feedback on their food standards, and they are working on ensuring this is improved for future guests.
The Elephant Camp review
Great location - 10 minutes from Vic Falls and transportation there at no charge. We did not partake of their activities, preferring to hire a car and "do our own thing" at Chobe - an unforgetable day. Jonathan arranged this for us with almost zero notice - he is quite character too !!Read more about the whole safari
Victoria Fall Elephant Camp.
An excellent modern lodge with views of Victoria Falls Spray.
Our lovely room and verandah gave us every opportunity to chill out following a very trip. Victoria Falls was looking magnificent as ever and the rain forest was just coming into bloom with flowers.
Relaxing stay at a top-notch camp
We specifically picked out the Elephant Camp based on tripadvisor's laudatory reviews and we were not disappointed at all. The facilities are splendid and each semi-permanent tent (a canvas tent on a concrete floor) is equipped with an outdoor shower, an outdoor plunge pool, an en-suite bathroom with shower and bathtub, a mini-bar replenishable at will and AC. Each tent enjoys a wonderful panoramic view. Ours (tent #6) overlooked the waterhole. Laundry was included in the rate, which turned out to be very practical given the early November heat and prior to a safari in Botswana for which we had to pack as little as possible in a squishable light-aircraft-friendly weekender. All of the meals were well-prepared and tasty , and drinks (sodas, booze or beer) could be ordered at will at the bar.
Jonathan, the manager of the camp, made us feel comfortable from the very beginning and we were systematically greeted by him or his colleagues Camilla and Hilda on our way to and back from the activities. The latter are numerous either at the camp or in the vicinity of the Victoria Falls. We did the zip-line (a cable suspended over the Batoka Gorge), the (inexplicably pricey) Elephant back safari and the morning stroll with Sylvester, the camp's habituated cheetah, and Ed, Sylvester's guardian. All activities were wonderful but our preference definitely goes to the morning meeting with Sylvester. It was simply awesome to be able to explore the concession until the Batoka Gorge accompanied by a playful and adorable Sylvester. Ed is passionate about her job and she is keen on sharing her extensive knowledge of cheetahs and the African wildlife with guests.
The Elephant Camp is owned and managed by Wild Horizons, one of the two companies with Shearwater to operate activities at Victoria Falls, e.g. rafting, canoeing, high wires, etc. To a certain extent, Victoria Falls could be compared to Queenstown in New Zealand as it has multiple wild activities on offer. Though the camp is not situated in the "city"/township of Victoria Falls, it only takes 10 minutes by car to reach the VF Park entrance. Transfers can be organized when guests see it fit.
The management is attentive to all of the guests' needs. For instance, Jonathan moved us to another tent without us asking for it because the AC system was acting up. All of our moves within the camp past dusk were only possible if accompanied by a guard. The concession has a local resident fauna (no predators if I am not mistaken though) that roams freely around the premises. We were once woken up by a small group of buffaloes that insisted on scratching their horns against the canvas of our tent in the middle of the night. Elephants crossed the camp each evening, esp. after sunset, as we were having dinner on the patio. This first unforgettable experience boded well for the remainder of our Southern African escapade.
Every room has a view of Vic Falls spray
Jonathan is the consummate host -- greeting us upon arrival, sitting us down to a late lunch, keeping track of our schedule for a helicopter flight over the Falls and our elephant ride.
How decadent to soak in the huge tub and then drink a cup of tea on the deck while observing the wandering elephants below and the spray from Victoria Falls in the distance. We could hear the roar of the rapids on the Zambezi River in the gorge to the other side. The beds are quite comfortable and romantic with the net surround -- too bad I was sharing with our 11-year-old daughter and my husband was next door with our 13-year old daughter. ;-)
The helicopter tours are controversial (noise & pollution), so, in spite of us being part of the problem, we thought this was the highlight of our trip. Of course we purchased the DVD of our footage. It was a great way to see the enormity of Victoria Falls before heading to the park and feeling the spray and hearing the thunder. By the way, the makeshift shops across from Vic Falls park seem to have the best souvenir prices if you're willing to put up with persistent sales pitches.
The elephant ride was fun for both adults and kids. We were able to commune with the ellies before being led to a platform to load. Our guide, Soloman, told my daughter and me all sorts of information, we saw buffalo and warthogs, had photos taken and even fed our elephant. And, yes, we bought the DVD of our footage. Great gift shop here.
A relaxing end to the holiday
We had a lovely relaxing time here doing as much or as little as we wanted. The food was delicious with recipes shared and now tried at home!
The staff were really friendly and helpful and made all the arrangments for our activites-(we wouldn't bother with the croc farm again).