The close proximity of this outstanding lodge to the necessities of modern travel made the Stanley Safari Lodge a prefect place to end, or to begin, an exploration of the natural wonders of southern Africa.

Overall Impression Located high on a hill overlooking endless expanses of African bush, the Stanley Safari Lodge was a secluded enclave of timeless luxury worlds apart from the shrill urbanism of nearby Livingstone. Its convenient proximity to the town and Victoria Falls made it an ideal location to visit the area. It was a gentle place to re-enter the modern world at the end of my trip to the remote wilderness of Zambia’s national parks.

The inspired design of the main lodge took full advantage of the sumptuous vistas punctuated by the ever shifting spray of the Falls. The décor provided a wealth of cozy spots to comfortably unwind after an excursion to the Falls or a visit to the nearby indigenous village. The grounds offered numerous vantage points to enjoy a sundowner drink and await the instant the sublime African sunset would light the landscape ablaze.

Hospitality at the lodge was generous and unobtrusive, with the schedule set at the whim of guests, and a member of the staff always available to ensure my wishes were met. In spite of the variety of options available nearby, ranging from a number of extreme sports activities to every possible way to visit the Falls, I found little incentive to partake. I was content to start the day enjoying, from my bed, the sight of the mist rising over the Falls into the robin egg blue morning sky. This morning communion with nature continued while I enjoyed a full English breakfast served in the tranquil seclusion of my private terrace; a perfect prelude to a day of self-indulgent relaxation!

The Livingstone airport, with its frequent air connections to Johannesburg’s major European airlines service, was an easy 15 minute drive away. The close proximity of this outstanding lodge to the necessities of modern travel made the Stanley Safari Lodge a prefect place to end, or to begin, an exploration of the natural wonders of southern Africa.

Class Of Accommodation Luxury nature lodge

Communications The camp had cellular phone coverage compatible with a GSM 900/1800 international cell phone. An internet connection could be made available in case of emergency.

Handicapped Access No

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location The lodge was situated two miles (three and a half kilometers) upstream from Victoria Falls and a 20 minute drive from Livingstone. It was close to Livingstone airport in Zambia (15 minutes) and Victoria Falls airport in Zimbabwe (45 minutes).

Managers Marieke van Empel, Rick Versteegh , and Clara Ibarra

Owners Reinout de Gruijter and Vinciane Geelhand. The latter also designed the property.

Power The Stanley property ran on the electrical power grid on 220 Volts/50 Hz electricity . A NW-135C adapter was necessary to use electrical outlets (the kind used in the U.K.).

Size The lodge could accommodate a maximum of 25 guests in its ten cottages spread on five acres (20,000 square meters) in the heart of 100 acres (40 hectare) of private bushland property. It employed a permanent staff of 45 supplemented as needed by 12 temporary helpers. About 80 percent of the workforce came from the nearby village of Mukuni.

Transportation There were daily flights from Lusaka and Johannesburg to the Livingstone and Victoria Falls airports. From there, the staff arranged road transfers to the Stanley Safari Lodge.

Year Open-Renovated The Stanley Safari Lodge opened in late 2002 and had been the object of ongoing maintenance and enhancements ever since.

Common Areas The common areas were situated in a soaring stone and thatch structure that housed the dining room and bar, a main lounge with an imposing stone fireplace, and several intimate seating areas. A striking center entrance guided the eye across the infinity pool to a sweeping view of Victoria Falls in the distance and the immensity of the Zimbabwean bush beyond. The 6,500 square foot (600 square meter) building was open on three sides to pleasant gardens and shady trellises. A curved staircase led to a second floor library and lounge with another perspective of the river, the Falls and the endless African horizon. The atmosphere throughout was reminiscent of the classic safari era of the early twentieth century. The lodge boasted many original antiques and wall hangings of the period.

Bathroom Five steps down from the bedroom, the bathroom occupied the lower third of the cottage. It featured a stone vanity with double sinks and hanging double mirrors, a five foot (one-and-a-half meter) sunken concrete bathtub with a view and separate circular shower stall. The flush toilet occupied its own small room at the end of a short walkway around the outer wall of the shower.

Room My cottage, the Birdhouse, was a 600 square foot (56 square meter) stone and thatch retreat on two levels, open on two sides to the peerless view, with a secluded terrace to the side. The entrance level housed the bedroom. It occupied two thirds of the cottage. In addition to a king-size bed and bedside stone ledge draped in a walk-in mosquito net, the bedroom included a curtained stone wardrobe and a curved stone sitting bench with a dozen decorative pillows. A wrought iron and wood writing table and bench completed the setting.

Food The food, an interesting fusion of European and African flavors, was delicious. I could order a full English breakfast the previous evening to be served in the dining room, the garden pool area, or on the private deck of my cottage. Lunch and dinner were plated, at a hosted or private table, at the guests’ preference. Although I opted to enjoy my lunch at a private table under a garden trellis, I had dinner at the hosted table, in the company of other guests and the convivial management personnel.

Amenities Stanley Safari Lodge bathroom amenities included soap, shower gel, foam bath, shampoo and conditioner, thick oversized bath and face towels and an assortment of room and body insect repellant creams and sprays. Also included were all meals and drinks, daily laundry service, an in-room safe, and transfer to and from the airport.

Swimming Pool The infinity pool was 20 feet 40 feet (six by twelve meters) with depths ranging from four to seven feet (one to two meters). It was surrounded by lounge chairs with thick canvas pads, each with a fresh bath towel. They were shaded by large white canvas umbrellas. Canvas chairs were randomly arranged nearby, around the well tended lawns, for a quick stop with a cool drink or to contemplate the breathtaking sunset reflected in the pool.

Activities The Stanley Safari Lodge could arrange for an impressive array of fee-based excursions in the area on both sides of the falls, including a number of extreme sports such a bungee jumping and white-water rafting; and every possible way to view the falls from the ground or the air, including helicopter and ultra-light flights. River cruises as well as a number of safaris in nearby parks in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana were also available. One of my most memorable afternoons while at Stanley was a visit to the nearby traditional village of Mukuni, home to six thousand Toka-Leya tribes people. It gave me a rare opportunity to observe local village architecture and the everyday life of its population. The village included a large local market, as well as a native crafts market, and a dispensary.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Last Visit July 2007

Reviewers Article and photographs by Josette King

Service The service at Stanley was attentive and efficient with every member of the staff clearly committed to making a guest’s visit pleasant and memorable.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • PO Box 60439
    • Livingstone
    • Zambia
  • Phone:
    • +260 3 2620442
  • Fax:
    • +260 3 3500259
  • Website:
  • Email: