Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is situated on the edge of the mighty Zambezi River where Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia converge. Located 80 kilometers west of Victoria Falls, access is by transfer from Victoria Falls, Livingstone or Kasane.
Imbabala offers the chance to unwind and enjoy game viewing and bird watching in the region, in the seclusion of a private National Parks concession. The 5,000 acre concession has 14 kilometers of private Zambezi river frontage and borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive Elephant population.
Experienced guides are on hand for all activities. These centre around tracking game on morning, afternoon and night game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles. Exploring the Zambezi River by boat affords guests an exclusive river experience. Bird-watching is exceptional, as birdlife is proliﬁc and varied, ranging from water birds to shy forest dwellers.
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge offers exclusive accommodation for only 18 guests in 8 individual thatch lodges, including a family lodge, all with en-suite facilities. Each lodge is uniquely decorated and beautifully positioned with spacious verandas opening onto sweeping views of the Zambezi River.
The main Lodge is a charming thatched structure, consisting of a lounge, dining room and bar area. This offers fantastic views of both the river and a nearby waterhole, which attracts game throughout the year.
A swimming pool and al fresco eating area nestle under classic riverine trees. Mouth-watering meals are served either outside under the stars or in the open-fronted dining room.
There are no fences to prevent animal movement, so expect to see game and wonderful birdlife along the river bank as well as in and around the Lodge.
Imbabala Lodge was set up on the edge of the Zambezi River, just inside Zimbabwe where it borders Botswana, Zambia and Namibia; the only place in the world where 4 countries meet. The lodge is often used as a stopover on the way to Chobe, just 10km across the border.
The Lodge is owned by Wild Horizons, a large Victoria Falls based company who also run kayak trips, rafting, elephant riding safaris, bungy jumping and pretty well every other local activity, and also owns Elephant Camp. It consists of a large central lodge with a lounge and bar, with thatched lodges on each side, all in beautifully landscaped gardens with a small shaded pool. Such well maintained and watered gardens attract numerous animals; impala, bushbuck and monkeys can usually be found around the lodges. With the river so close by there were inevitably more bugs than at other lodges, but fairly well controlled with sprays and nets.
Food is excellent and plentiful, with guests sitting at large tables with either the guides or managers, Bradley and Annie. A lot of the vegetables and herbs are grown in the lodge’s own gardens.
The riverside setting enables guests to vary the usual game drives with a river cruise on the Lodge’s pontoon to see hippo, crocodiles, water birds and the occasional elephant, impala, warthog or kudu visiting the waters edge. Game drives are focused around a 3km strip of riverbank and a long track through the National Park on the Botswana / Zimbabwe border. Game is sparse, and in the National Park tends to be fairly distant, but you can be confident in seeing some warthog, impala, waterbuck, kudu, giraffe and the occasional elephant.
The guides here are very knowledgeable and couldn’t do more to accommodate us with drinks, snacks and bush craft lessons in catching and cooking termites, however as they do not hold the Zimbabwe professional guiding certificate you cannot leave the safety of the vehicle on game drives.
We felt that the lodge offered a good gentle introduction to safaris but that most couples would want to follow it with a more intense wildlife experience within one of the larger parks.
Imbabala Lodge is owned by the Victoria Falls based adventure company, Wild Horizons. Wild Horizons are Shearwater’s main competitors in the area, and both companies offer white water rafting, helicopter rides, elephant riding and safari trips, amongst other activities.