September 1-2, 2016
Getting to Vic Falls from Chobe Nat’l Park
From the Chobe Elephant Camp we had a 9AM transfer in the lodge minivan to the airport where we met our overland transfer to the Zimbabwe border. The driver gave us the needed forms for entry to Zimbabwe.
Getting out of Botswana was quick and easy. Buying the visa for Zimbabwe was a slow line, about an hour, involving a long, handwritten process that takes 3 clerks to complete. If you are planning to go to Zambia, the other side of Victoria Falls, be sure to get a double entry visa.
Once we got our visas we were transferred with our luggage to a larger bus for the boring drive through a leafless forest to Victoria Falls.
We arrived at the lodge around 12:15 and had lunch at the bar while we wait for our room to be ready.
Sleeping and Dining
Ilala Lodge, a smaller establishment than the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel, is just a 5 minute walk to the historic hotel and a 10 minute walk to the falls themselves. The grounds include a pretty outdoor terrace and open air covered bar.
Rooms are spacious and comfortable with covered balconies. Amenities include – coffee and tea service, safe, hair dryer and bug repellent lotion. Wifi is OK but on the slow side.
Overall the food is excellent. The dining room, The Palm Restaurant, was the number 1 restaurant on Tripadvisor at the time of our visit.
While sandwiches and burgers in the bar are a bit pricy at $12 for a sandwich, dinner mains are quite reasonable at $20-24.
Breakfast includes a cold buffet – fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt and excellent bread and pastry choices, including flakey croissants and pan au chocolat. Good pastry is a rarity in most hotels here. Hot choices included a number of egg dishes and eggs made to order.
We tried the Palm Veg Breakfast – sweet corn fritter hash browns grilled tomato, mushrooms and eggs to order. All the items were made to order and piping hot but almost all were fried.
The dinner menu includes a wide selection of proteins. We dined here both nights on their outdoor terrace and tried:
Roasted quail – pork and mushroom stuffed quail with sautéed greens almonds and blueberry sauce.
Open Ravioli – chargrilled vegetable ravioli with plum tomato compote.
Crocodile Frikadelle – served with a lemon and vodka mayo.
Blesbok shank – served with mashed roasted veg and honey glazed vegetables.
Pan roasted ostrich fillet – with truffle infused salt and a chocolate chili sauce, accompanied by orange honey and cumin glaze vegetables.
Pork meets warthog – slow roasted pork belly alongside a sous vide warthog fillet on a lemon Brussel sprout risotto.
Olive and feta chicken supreme – with pancetta, baby potatoes and greens with beetroot puree.
Rhubarb and Berry Crumble with crème anglaise.
All were well done but out favorites were the blesbok shank and the ostrich fillet.