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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Zimbabwe

The Palm River Hotel: A slice of serenity near Victoria Falls

After two weeks of safari you can just sit by the pool, martini in hand, watching the warthog down by the Zambezi River…

By Martijn van Leent
General Manager at Palm River Hotel

You might have heard about our sister hotel Ilala Lodge, but Palm River’s location is a little more relaxed because it’s out of town. All you see is the fronting Zambezi River, enveloping trees and a lush island in between Zimbabwe and Zambia with no signs of other buildings. Our lawns are frequented by resident families of warthogs, bushbuck, and mongoose. Sometimes you can tick off game such as buffalo and elephant while you’re just sitting there having a gin and tonic.

I think Palm River’s for people looking for a bit of repose. There is an optional shuttle to the Falls that takes no more than ten minutes but after two weeks of safari, people tend to want to sit by the pool with a martini (a firm favourite of mine). The building is very much Queenslander style – so high ceilings, colonial-style touches and a soft breeze that trawls through the hotel. There’s also a real focus on local artisans.

All the rooms are river facing. Recently we had top seeded tennis player, Coco Gauff, staying in the Honeymoon Suite that features a large outdoor deck and a beautiful four poster bed. We’re also ideal for multi-generational families who can enjoy rooms with their own pool, lounge and barbecue. Dine in the restaurant – there’s a very nice pappardelle pasta with slow stewed ragu on the menu. We can also set up private candle-lit dinners by the pool or close to the river under the starry sky.

What’s the coolest thing I’ve seen at the Falls? If you’re lucky and you’re visiting during a full moon when the water is high, you sometimes get to see moonbows (lunar rainbows). There’s only a couple of places on earth where these occur consistently and Victoria Falls is one of them. Then there’s the Devil’s Pool, a natural rock swimming pool right on the edge of the waterfall edge. I try not look down…


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Alfred & Martijn van Leent

Born in The Netherlands, Martijn moved to South Africa at the age of 15. His passion for hospitality led him to work all over the world at high-end hotels, at a renowned wine farm in Australia and at sea for a luxury cruise liner. After he met his lovely wife, Avalon, Africa was calling, and they made the move back to Zimbabwe, where Avalon is from. At Palm River Hotel, Victoria Falls, Martijn loves being so close to the national parks and often goes for game drives.
Martijn va Leent, General Manager of Palm River Hotel

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Adele, who's travelled extensively in Zimbabwe. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember – the ranger who can show you the best game viewing and fishing spots on the Zambezi, the guide who’ll introduce you to ‘moonbows’ at Victoria Falls and the locals who’ll share their dinner with you.

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