Staying At Tsowa Safari Island Camp, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

Visiting Victoria Falls was our ultimate destination on a recent trip to Zimbabwe. But instead of popping in and out of the country to get a glimpse of the Falls, we decided to extend our stay and enjoy a few nights on the mighty Zambezi River in Zambezi National Park. 

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Our home during the visit was Tsowa Safari Island, a beautiful new Isibindi Africa lodge located on Tsowa Island in Zambezi National Park. 

Located about an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls town, the pioneer-inspired camp is fringed by a beautiful forest and tucked away from the busy world. It was designed to accommodate just 12 guests at a time, offering a truly cozy and intimate stay. 

Tsowa Safari Island, Zimbabwe
Tsowa Safari Island, Zimbabwe
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About The Lodge

Tsowa Safari Island Lodge is located on a private island, giving the stay a feeling of the river expedition. The décor blends in with the natural surroundings and features natural fabrics in earthy colours and wooden accents throughout. 

The common areas around the camp consist of a stylish lounge and dining area, a bar tent, a vast outside river-front deck and a pool overlooking the river. Surrounding the whole camp are gigantic forest vines and massive jackalberry trees.

Pool overlooking Zambezi River at the Tsowa Safari Island
Pool overlooking Zambezi River at the Tsowa Safari Island

The Rooms

The rooms of the Zambezi lodge are actually a series of safari tents with 2 Twin beds that can be converted into a comfortable King bed. Each tent offers a desk, a tea/coffee set up, lots of closet space, and a private en-suite with an indoor/outdoor shower. The tents are set away from the others to offer ultimate privacy for every guest. 

We found the tents to be spacious and luxurious, with mosquito nets around the beds. We particularly loved the verandah, offering a spectacular view of Zambezi National Park on the mainland, just across the river.

River View Safari Tent

These safari tents are perched on the Zambezi River bank, shaded by the canopy of the forest. Each River View Safari Tent has a private, covered veranda right at the river’s edge, where you can watch wildlife and look over the Zambezi National Park.

River Deck Safari Tent

If you prefer a larger outdoor living space, the River Deck Safari Tent is perfect. These tents feature large wooden decks, complete with lounge chairs and a side table, where you can enjoy the early morning calm along the river.

Tsowa Safari Island, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Our tent at Tsowa Safari Island

Food & Drink

The main tent of the Zambezi Lodge serves as the main communal and dining area for the guests. There’s an open-air dining area, which is connected to a sunken fire pit that overlooks the river. You couldn’t ask for a better view.

The Tsowa Safari Island Lodge offers breakfast, brunch/lunch, and dinner, as well as drinks and a picnic lunch during the day trips. If you’re in the mood to relax after you eat, there’s a bar tent adjacent to the main tent.

Tsowa Safari Island, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Fabulous lunch at Tsowa Safari Island

Activities

There are a number of activities you can do while staying at this Zambezi River lodge. Experiences offered include guided island walks, birdwatching excursions, sundowner river cruises, and wildlife safaris.

Game Walks And Game Drives

Game drives and guided game walks on the mainland let you see wildlife in its natural habitat at Zambezi National Park. 

Wildlife that you can expect to see includes numerous antelope species, elephants, lions, giraffes, and more plains wildlife. The safaris are about 4 hours long, with the option for an early morning start or afternoon start to your game drive. Safaris include a stop at a coffee shop in the mornings or a sundowner stop for late afternoon cocktails.

There are also guided walks to the centre of the island, where a soft sand path leads to a grove of century-old baobabs.  You’ll see huge Mangosteen trees, jackalberry trees, and maybe even some Pel’s fishing owls. There are also fishing opportunities available every day from this Zambezi lodge. 

Canoeing

Guided canoeing is available from mid-morning to early afternoon in inflatable 2-person canoes. The endpoint is about an hour and a half down the river, and once you reach it, you’ll be driven back to the lodge in one of the game-viewing vehicles. This was our favourite activity at Tsowa Safari Island, as it offered an opportunity to explore life along the river banks and appreciate the scenery around us. 

Sunset River Cruise

We also loved our sunset guided river cruise that took us around the river in search of hippos, crocs, birds and other wildlife on the banks of the river. At the end of the cruise, we hopped ashore and enjoyed drinks and snacks while watching the sunset. 

Tsowa Safari Island, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Watching a sunset on our sunset boat trip from Tsowa Safari Island

Day Trips

Day trips to Chobe National Park in Botswana, one of the most game-rich wildlife parks in the country, are also available from the lodge. If you’ve been looking forward to spotting any of the Big Five, then this day trip will be a good idea for you.

You can also go on a day trip to the famous Victoria Falls and Victoria Falls Rainforest. Truthfully, this magnificent waterfall is a must-see while you’re in Zimbabwe.

READ NEXT: Guide To Visiting Chobe National Park In Botswana

Birdwatching

There are over 450 recorded bird species in the area, including the Schalow’s Turaco, African Fish Eagle, Rock Pratincoles, and many more remarkable species. Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher on a mission to track down a certain species or you just want to relax on your private deck and listen to the bird calls, this place is a birder’s paradise.

And, of course, guests can also arrange a trip to the beautiful Victoria Falls, starting at the lodge’s private entrance to Zambezi National Park. It includes a stop for teatime, an opportunity to visit local shops, and even a chance to go bungee jumping or river rafting.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

READ NEXT: Best Things To Do In Victoria Falls

Sustainability

The Isibindi Foundation and its lodges care deeply about their impact on the environment and local communities, and the Tsowa Safari Island Lodge is no exception. Single-use plastics aren’t used, and plastic water bottles for the guests have been replaced with reusable water bottles. The tents and decks are made of natural materials, blending into the natural environment. Tsowa Safari Lodge invested in renewable energy sources, and food served at their on-site restaurant is locally sourced and ethically harvested.

The lodge also helps support anti-poaching efforts at Zambezi National Park while also helping to improve the availability of the park’s resources.

The Bottom Line

The Tsowa Safari Island Lodge is set in a beautiful and relaxed environment, offering an ultimate getaway in Zambezi National Park. It offers you the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world, and it gives you the opportunity to help the world and appreciate the wildlife and the habitat up close.

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

READ NEXT: Best Safari Destinations In The World

Disclaimer: Our stay at Tsowa Safari Island was provided courtesy of Isibindi Africa Lodges, but all opinions expressed in this article are our own. 

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