Usually when I go on trips, I’m quite spontaneous and flexible when it comes to accommodation. I’ll find a cheap flat on AirBnB or even a local host on couch surfing, and as long as there is a soft surface which is roughly my length, a pillow and a blanket, I’m content. When I planned my trip to Zambia with my dad however, I wanted to make sure that every place we were going to, was a unique experience. This time it was all about indulging in a completely new culture and showing my dad a good time. So, when I was looking for accommodation at the Victoria Falls, and stumbled upon the exceptional lodge that is Taita Falcon Lodge, I was in awe – this had to be ours (at least for some nights…).

Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net

Taita Falcon Lodge is owned and run by a couple from South Africa, Faan and Anmarie. Faan came to Zambia in 1994 to purchase farm land. He told me about meeting the chief of the local village, who was very interested in some development to create jobs in the area, so he allowed Faan to choose any piece of land he wanted. He followed the gorge and came across a view point which opened to a dramatic vista over a 200m drop. Below, the Zambezi formed a Z, with mighty rapids curling up the water. He tied a handkerchief onto a tree and decided to stay right there. As the ground was too rocky to farm, he decided to build a lodge instead: Taita Falcon Lodge was born – one of the first lodges in the area. Anmarie said, she only followed a little later, once Faan had built a shower and toilet, but I didn’t buy into her skepticism. She must have fallen in love with the view as quickly as I did – who could resist?

taita falcon lodge victoria falls zambia kathi kamleitner travelettes-1

Between the lodge and the Falls lie about 11km – not much if you think about it in normal terms; bloody long if you want to make your way to one of the activities in town. The dirt road leading to the lodge and through the local village is more than rough, and the transfer to Livingstone takes about 40 minutes. For eleven kilometers, remember? However, this means of course, that once you reach the lodge, you feel like you are the only person in the world. No village, no phone towers, no powerlines, no waterfront hotels or sunset cruises to disturb the silence. Just the gurgling of the rapids deep below and the birds in the bush.

Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net

The lodge offers space for around 14 guests in seven open chalets spread out on either side of the main building which holds a bar, dining area and sun deck from where the view is best. ‘Open’ in this case means, that the chalets don’t have solid walls, but thatched walls which go about halfway up and more reed curtains which you can open and close which ever way you like it. This means, you can always look outside, see how the daylight slowly breaks in the morning, and feel the breeze of fresh air.

Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net

Each chalet has a little sitting corner, a big princess bed with a mosquito net and an en-suite bathroom. The warm water comes from a boiler, so a hot shower before heading to bed is no biggie. You also have a little private garden with a cold shower for hotter days in summer. Electricity comes from a generator, but you don’t have any plugs in your chalet. If you need to charge any electronics, you can only do so at the bar during dinner, but let’s be honest – disconnecting for a few days was the best thing that could happen to me.

No heating or power doesn’t necessarily sound like a five-star luxury resort, but to be honest, I think luxury is defined by other, little things anyways. The hot water bottle which kept us warm during the night, when the temperature dropped to about 6º Celsius; the snacks we were served after we came back from a long day of activities without having to ask for it; the free laundry service; the coffee and scone I could order to my chalet in the morning as a wake-up call.

Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net

Every morning I took a little walk along the gorge, sat at each bench for a few minutes and watched the sun slowly dipping the cliffs on the Zimbabwean cliffs in a golden hue. By the time we had finished our breakfast with freshly baked corn bread or muffins and eggs of all kinds, the sun was fully up and we were ready to start the day. Anmarie has put together a list of activities available in the area and is happy to book anything for you, just be aware that you will have to pay for transfers to/from the lodge and schedule in enough time. We went for a full day of different adventures at the Falls, which you can read all about here.

Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net-10 Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net

My kingdom of a chalet and the breath-taking view over the gorge aside, what I enjoyed the most were the human encounters we made at the lodge. Beginning with John, the restaurant’s waiter and barman, who was born in the area, and always up for a laugh, to Victor, our driver and guide at the Victoria Falls, and Faan and Anmarie, who we joined for dinner and storytelling after sunset – everybody made us feel welcome and instantly at home. When we left after two nights, it felt almost as if leaving home.

Hotels we love - Taita Falcon Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, by Kathi Kamleitner | travelettes.net

It might be a little out of the way, but if you want to top off your trip to the Victoria Falls with a couple of days at a lodge where familiar intimacy and luxurious splurging don’t cancel each other out, Taita Falcon Lodge is for you. The view is absolutely unique – seriously, there is no other lodge with a view down that gorge – and it even comes at an affordable prize (in relation to comparable lodges by the river). I’m glad, I chose our lodge wisely.

Disclaimer: We were invited to stay at Taita Falcon Lodge free of charge, but of course all opinions expressed are my own.