Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge is geographically the closet hotel to the magnificent Victoria Falls. While the hotel is easily accessible to the town centre, wild animals, such as warthog and impala, often graze on the hotel lawns and entertain guests during mealtime. The name is from the Ilala palms that grow in the area. ‘Ilala’ is also the Ndebele word for ‘lie down’.

In 1989, the site, which was originally the Sprayview Restaurant, was sold to open a boutique hotel that had 16 bedrooms; at that time, the number of rooms and the hotel rating dictated the price of beer in hotel bars and restaurants. In October 1989, the ground was officially broken and construction was underway. In April 1991, the first guests stayed at the hotel. It grew to 32 rooms in 1994, which then grew to a further 56 rooms by 2015. In 2018, a new round of renovations expanded the hotel to a total of 73 rooms and includes a selection of standard and deluxe rooms and suites.

Contact Details

Address: E
Tel: +263 (0) 83 2844737/8/9, +263 (0) 71 2401814 +263 (0) 83 2842650
Email: onlinereservations@ilalalodge.com, reservations@ilalalodge.co.zw, marketing@ilalalodge.co.zw
Website: https://www.ilalalodge.com/

Map showing Hotels in Victoria Falls.

Offers / Activities

  • 73 rooms (including deluxe rooms and suites).
  • Palm Restaurant.
  • The hotel can arrange transfers to and from the airport (25 km).


Background

The history of Ilala Lodge Hotel is an interesting one that ties a Zimbabwean family’s background and business to the property that houses the popular and beautiful hotel today.

In 1989, the site, which was originally the Sprayview Restaurant, was offered to the then owners of the crocodile farm, Strath Brown and his partner, Rob Gee. Along with Strath’s wife Beryl, they chose to open a boutique hotel that had 16 bedrooms; at that time, the number of rooms and the hotel rating dictated the price of beer in hotel bars and restaurants. Ironically, the original size of Ilala Lodge Hotel was based on this criterion!

In October 1989, the ground was officially broken and construction was underway. Their architect, Richard Beattie, and their interior designer, Thelma Newmarch, worked tirelessly with the builder, Biffen, to create an inviting atmosphere that was the foundation for the success that Ilala Lodge Hotel still enjoys. Strath and his son Keith were personally involved in the actual building of the hotel, thatching the roof themselves. Hand selected gum poles and thatching grass from the family farm in Darwendale were used in the original structure.

Beryl Brown was an avid and talented gardener, and established the appealing and attractive gardens and surrounds that have delighted guests for years. The unique Indian Laburnums, also known as the ‘Golden Tree’, are part of Beryl’s contribution, and literally light up the front of the hotel when they are in bloom. Thelma suggested the name ‘Ilala Lodge’ after the Ilala palms that grow in the area. ‘Ilala’ is also the Ndebele word for ‘lie down’

In 1991, the opening ceremony was a resounding success with the local Chief, a highly respected member of the community of Victoria Falls, presiding over the show. As tradition allows, the Chief blessed the hotel, signifying what was to be a great start for Ilala Lodge Hotel. In April 1991, the first guests to stay at the hotel were family friends from Darwendale.

Strath’s daughter, Laura Brown, as General Manager, oversaw the addition of 16 new rooms and doubled the capacity of the hotel to 32 rooms in 1994, which then grew to a further 56 rooms by 2015. In 2018, a new round of renovations expanded the hotel to a total of 73 rooms and includes a selection of standard and deluxe rooms and suites.

Today, Strath’s sons, Andrew and Jim, and their wives, Deidre and Gerry, are all involved in making Ilala Lodge Hotel the success it has evolved into.

Hotel

The award-winning Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge Hotel is famous for its delicious gourmet cuisine and attracts guests worldwide. Diners can see the spray and hear the sounds of Victoria Falls, locally known as the ‘Smoke That Thunders’, while they enjoy the al-fresco dining under the starry African skies that the Palm Restaurant offers. Wild animals, such as warthog and impala, often graze on the hotel lawns and entertain guests during mealtime.

Located on the Zimbabwean side of the mighty Zambezi River, Ilala Lodge Hotel is geographically the closest hotel to the magnificent Victoria Falls and is easily accessible to the town centre. Explore the lush wilderness surrounding the town on a game drive, surf the rapids on a Zambezi River white-water rafting expedition, get your heart racing as you bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge, or view the Falls from the exhilarating angle of Devil’s Pools on the edge of the plunging water. You can also enjoy a legendary Zimbabwean sunset from the comfort of the elegant Ra-Ikane river cruisers, part of the Ilala Lodge Hotel group.

Activities

Victoria Falls has a lot to offer the visitor and is known as Africa’s adventure capital. From high adrenaline activities like bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge and white-water rafting down the Zambezi River, to more sedate pastimes like Ra-Ikane river cruises, or fishing, there is something for everyone.

Ra-Ikane River Cruise

Relive the historical journey taken by David Livingstone by exploring the mighty Zambezi River aboard the Ra-Ikane. Named after his guide, the boats are full of old world charm, setting a romantic and intimate scene whilst you sit back, relax and take in the surrounding views. With a maximum of 16 seats available, the Ra-Ikane offers a unique vantage point for viewing birdlife and wildlife up-close on the islands along the river.

Tour of Victoria Falls

A tour of the mighty ‘Smoke That Thunders’, is an unforgettable experience, worthy of any Bucket List. Embark upon a leisurely 10 minute stroll from Ilala Lodge Hotel to enjoy the Falls at your own pace, or simply visit the Ilala Lodge Hotel Activity Centre to arrange a guided tour. The team will be sure to put you in touch with only the best and most experienced tour guides.

Scenic Flights

Viewing the spectacular Victoria Falls from the air is one of the most breath-taking and exhilarating activities in Africa. By far the most popular option is the “Flight of Angels” helicopter trip over the Falls. However, guests can also enjoy 22-minute and 30-minute helicopter flights. Another option is a slightly more thrilling microlight flight over Victoria Falls.

River Activities

Tour operators and activity providers in Victoria Falls offer a wide range of activities along the mighty Zambezi River. The most popular of these is adrenalin-filled White Water Rafting in the rapids below Victoria Falls. Half & Full day trip options are available, including lunch and refreshments. A calmer, but no less memorable, option is the upper Zambezi canoe trips.

Adrenalin Activities

The town of Victoria Falls is the undisputed adventure capital of Africa. To get your heart racing in the best possible way, try out the 111m Bungee Jump off the world-famous Victoria Falls Bridge – one of the most popular activities in Zimbabwe. Otherwise, opt for the gut-renching Gorge Swing, the adrenaline-pumping Zip Line across the Batoka Gorge or the legendary Flying Fox.

Sightseeing

Enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the Victoria Falls to learn about the history from an experienced local guide, or opt to walk to the town and explore what it has to offer on your own. The nature sanctuary has many species of interest, including lion, and there is a full leather workshop that sells its goods on-site, as well as in our curio shop located at the lodge itself.

Day Trips

Victoria Falls in located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is mere hour’s drive from the border with Botswana, and is only 1 hour’s drive from the Hwange National Park. This convenient location renders it the perfect destination for a two incredible day-trips: the Chobe Day Trip and the Hwange Day Trip. On these excursions, enjoy game viewing, cultural tours and more.

Game Viewing Activities

The Victoria Falls National Park and the Zambezi National Park boast a vast array of wildlife, including elephant, impala, kudu, leopard, lion and buffalo. Visit the Activity Centre to arrange either a 3-hour game drives in the morning or afternoon, a 4-hour game drive including a 3-course dinner, or a full day trip including a game-viewing cruise, lunch and a game drive.

Devil's Pool

The Devil’s Pool in Victoria Falls is known as the world’s ultimate infinity pool. Located on the edge of the Victoria Falls, the natural rock walls have created a barrier, preventing swimmers from being carried over the edge of the thundering falls. If you are a thrill-seeker looking to experience an adrenaline activity, swimming in the Devil’s Pool is a must.

Accommodation

At this luxury Victoria Falls accommodation establishment, the 73 rooms are designed to create a feeling of privacy. The rooms on the upper tier open out onto a private balcony, while the lower floor rooms open onto the lush manicured gardens where you can watch the warthogs graze from the hotel lawn. You may even be lucky enough to have a visit from an elephant.

Guests can choose rooms in the Deluxe Wing, the Garden Wing or the Pool Wing. The Deluxe Wing and the Pool Wing boast splendid views of the mesmerizing spray from Victoria Falls as well as the spectacular gardens that Ilala Lodge Hotel is famous for. The Garden Wing gives guests access to the lush and flourishing lawns where the animals visit.

The teak furnishings in all the rooms are made from local Zimbabwean railway sleepers, enhancing the African ambiance and laid-back atmosphere of the hotel. All the rooms in the hotel have high-quality cotton linens and luxurious pillows for your ultimate comfort. Take your pick of a room here and indulge in the world-class service at Ilala Lodge Hotel.

Contact

  • Email: onlinereservations@ilalalodge.com
  • Business Hours: 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday (CAT):
  • Tel: +263 (0) 83 2844737/8/9
  • Email: reservations@ilalalodge.co.zw
  • Telephone: +263 (0) 83 2844737/8/9
  • Email: marketing@ilalalodge.co.zw
  • Telephone: +263 (0) 83 2844737/8/9




References