Imagine waking up in a lofty treehouse on Kandahar Island to the sounds of the might Zambezi lapping gently below your bed? Fish eagles calling, hippos wallowing and elephants drinking quietly on the opposite bank …
The undeniable romance of sleeping in a four-poster bed under the magical African night skies on the roof of a double-storey Starbed Treehouse is what first drew us to The Island at Victoria Falls River Lodge, just 10kms upstream from the thunderous Falls. Accessible only by boat, it has only four secluded Island Treehouse suites and two Starbeds (the second one has just launched and has the most beautiful view), making this an intimate lodge that’s small enough to book exclusively as your own island hideaway – or a blissful weekend escape for two. Perched on stilts above the traditional pathways that hippo and elephant have used for hundreds of years, it can be quite an adventure getting to your elevated suite… especially if there’s an elephant standing close to your wooden walkway!
The vibe is relaxed, the food delicious and location unbeatable. Book a late afternoon spa treatment, or enjoy a sunset cruise… the choice is all yours. Later, spend time stargazing through the telescope before dinner on the deck upstairs or play a game of scrabble together as the night cools down. Or simply slip away early and drift off to sleep to the sounds of hippo settling down.
Victoria Falls River Lodge was the first private game lodge to be built inside the Zambezi National Park and it’s only a short boat ride back to the River Lodge jetty for game drives and only a ten-minute drive to the Rain Forest at the Falls. Together with the Victoria Falls National Park, this protected area covers 56 000 hectares and game viewing is excellent. Ideal for families with mature teens who want to experience adrenaline sports Vic Falls offers, from white water rafting to a swim on the edge of the Falls at Devil’s Pool.
What we love!
- the secluded privacy of the island and it’s touch-the-earth-lightly design. Everything from the Filobula light fittings to the eco amenities and coffee station – attention to detail appreciated!
- that the bathroom wasn’t air conditioned (although we loved our the coolth of our bedroom – especially after spending five days crossing Botswana on a mobile safari in the heat of December!)
- the private pool on the deck: our favourite place to dip at dawn and then listen to the birds wake up. You’re surrounded by beautiful palms and trees here and they’re alive with birdlife.
What you need to know…
- Only children over the age of 16 may stay at the Island Treehouses
- There’s a personal butler service and you’ll receive a complimentary spa voucher if you book the Starbed Treehouses
- Two activities are included daily: either a morning or afternoon game drive, or a sunrise/sunset river cruise. The sunset cruise is on by far the sleekest power boat on these waters. Daily transfers from the island are at 10am and 3pm and include a transfer by road to the town and Rain Forest (entrance is $30 – or $20 for SADC passport holders)
Reviewed by Michelle Snaddon
Sleeps 12: there are only 4 Island Tree houses and 2 Starbed Tree houses