Written by Lindsay Krause
Taking its place alongside Mount Everest and the Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – is truly a sight to behold. Shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Falls flow from the powerful Zambezi River and create a haven for adrenaline junkies, wildlife lovers, honeymooners and families looking to tick something epic off their bucket list. Known by the locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’, Vic Falls is the largest curtain of water in the world, covering a width of 1708m with a sheer drop of 107m into the Zambezi Gorge. After adrenaline-fuelled days of white water rafting down the powerful rapids of the Zambezi, 4×4 safaris through the surrounding parks, gliding above the crashing waters in a microlight and catching a glimpse of the 100m drop from the edge of Devil’s Pool, you might need some downtime with a drink and a good meal. Read below to find out more about the team at Ker & Downey® Africa’s two favourite spots to unwind after an exhilarating day on either side of the Falls.
Zimbabwe’s hip new hangout – Zambezi House is located on the shores of the iconic Zambezi River. The passion project of Zimbabwean Mark Valentine, co-owner of Amatuli in Johannesburg and Beks Ndlovu, founder of African Bush Camps, this dreamy eatery and bar is somewhat of a revelation in the area. Built from reclaimed containers, the wooden deck of the eatery bends around the towering ebony trees, blending perfectly with its natural surroundings. The interiors are an ode to explorers and adventures of the past and boast an eclectic mix of retro furnishings, African antiques and lush greenery.
The menu at Zambezi House encourages communal eating – a true African tradition and serves up a variety of household favourites from woodfired pizzas, to generous cheese and charcuterie platters. While dining on the deck you might catch a glimpse of Zambezi House’s regulars – a sounder of warthogs that graze on the front lawn with the mighty Zambezi River behind them. Whether you’re visiting for the day, popping in for a quick cup of coffee, or unwinding at the bar after an exhilarating day, Zambezi House is the perfect spot to visit during your trip to the Zimbabwean side of Vic Falls.
Crossing over to the Zambian shores of the Zambezi you will find the exclusive, 24-seater Elephant Café. Awarded Zambia’s Best New Restaurant in 2016, the cafe’s wooden deck extends out into the water with the calm Zambezi flowing below. Your Elephant Café experience starts in Livingstone, with a 25-minute jet boat adventure through the islands of the Zambezi to the cafe’s charming riverside location. Here, you’ll be greeted by the local herd of 10 rescue elephants who graze around the nearby area before a unique African dining experience on the banks of the Zambezi.
The Elephant Café provides front row seats to the unique family of elephants who call the area home. The older rescue elephants were victims of drought or culls in Zimbabwe from decades passed and have added a few additions of their own to the herd, including one lone orphan from the wild.
Offering a fine dining experience, Elephant Café serves up African fusion dishes from Lamb Tagine with Nsumo Fruit & Preserved Citrus to Mongongo Nut, Basil & Nasturtium Leaf Ravioli. Designed by Chef Annabel Hughes Aston, the menu changes according to the season and the cafe prides itself on offering unprocessed, preservative-free food that is produced in Zambia.
Note – Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and a high tea experience, the cafe books out fast, so make sure to contact your Adventurist who can help to confirm a reservation for you before your trip to Vic Falls.
Whether you’re admiring Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe or Zambia, Zambezi House and Elephant Café are ideal spots to unwind after exhilarating days on the mighty Zambezi. Get in touch with one of our expert Adventurists to find out more about our to trips to Victoria Falls and what adventures you can add to your Zimbabwe or Zambia itinerary.