By Joe Kennedy
Victoria Falls is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in Africa, and for good reason. The falls bring in tourists from around the world throughout the year, and there are plenty of nature and adventure opportunities in the area to satisfy them. But after a long day hiking around the falls or rafting the Zambezi, you are going to have a big appetite. Fortunately, there are plenty of great restaurants in the area to satisfy any demanding diner. Here are picks for the best restaurants in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
For fantastic dining in a historical setting, the Livingstone Room inside the Victoria Falls Hotel is probably the best option in the city. The restaurant specialises in a fantastic seven-course degustation menu which includes game items like ostrich and warthog, along with an extensive wine list. Diners can also order a la carte items or enjoy a daily high tea service. The view from the dining room is also excellent and allows guests to see the Victoria Falls bridge and wildlife while enjoying their meals.
One caveat about dining in such a restaurant is that it is rather formal — so be sure not to show up in jeans or your safari gear or you will not be seated.
The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show
A night at the Boma, which is located on the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge grounds about a mile from town, is quite the experience. And while the entry price of US$44 per person initially seems steep, this is more than just an all-you-can-eat buffet. The majority of the fare on offer features a line-up of traditional Zimbabwean fare plus cooked-to-order game meat. The restaurant also features an interactive cultural experience that includes lessons in dance and drumming, roving traditional fortune-tellers and serenading singers. All said and done, it is quite a sight to see so be sure to bring your camera. The Boma hosts three nightly seatings, but guests are never rushed out. If you come for the first seating and stay through the last, no one will object.
The Rainforest Café
Not to be confused with the popular chain restaurant, this restaurant, located right off the path leading to the falls, has a refreshing ambiance and lots of lush foliage to look at. The menu is pretty varied, and includes a line-up of regional favourites like Zambezi bream and steaks, but also includes a few pasta dishes and baguette sandwich options. The salads here are a favourite. They come in a number of different styles and are absolutely massive — very easily big enough to share. If you do not feel like eating, there is an equally appealing drink menu that includes everything from milkshakes to shandies (a mix of beer and soda) to vanilla lattes and of course the regular alcoholic beverage players. The only caveat about this restaurant is that it is located inside the Victoria Falls National Park gates, so you cannot eat here without paying the entrance fees to the falls.
Located on the second floor of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, dinner at the upscale MaKuwa-Kuwa (MKK) Restaurant is a romantic affair, especially if you call ahead and reserve a table that fronts the water hole, which is lit at night and attracts a varied lot of thirsty animals. Regardless of where you are seated, the white linen clad tables, candles and knowledgeable and attentive servers make dining here an alluring experience that is heightened further by the excellent food. Serving an international menu with Zimbabwean influences — think game meat and local fish — the food bursts with flavour and freshness. What kicks an MKK experience up a level, however, especially if you are not staying the safari lodge, is to arrive before dinner for sundowner drinks in the hotel’s first-floor bar. Set outside and directly in front of the water hole, the sun literally sinks in front of you.
The Africa Café
Located in the Elephant Walk Shopping and Artist’s Village, this delightful little café churns out fresh, simple and positively tasty dishes for breakfast and lunch and also makes some of the best coffee you will taste in Victoria Falls — it is actually grown in Zimbabwe. Look for the restaurant at the very back of the atrium, beyond the vendors selling Shona sculpture. The ambiance is super — casual — you order from the counter, and then the food is served at metal patio-style tables in the courtyard surrounded by shops, which makes for some great people watching.
The menu is quite varied, and changes with the seasons but always focusses on using organic, local ingredients when possible — most of the vegetable ingredients, for instance, are plucked daily from the garden behind the restaurant. Best of all, everything tastes delicious. Besides a range of breakfast entrees and pastries, the Africa Café does a mix of salads and sandwiches at lunch with many dishes inspired by traditional Zimbabwean fare but given an international twist.
Lola’s Tapas & Bar & Carnivore restaurant
Set right off the main street in downtown Victoria Falls, but set back in a covered courtyard, Lola’s Tapas & Bar & Carnivore Restaurant is a good spot for lunch or dinner, especially if you are traveling with a group. But do not expect strictly traditional Spanish or Latin American tapas, although Lola’s does make a strong attempt and even gets Spanish clientele.
This is still Zimbabwe after all, and the tastiest dishes tend to be the ones focussing on regional ingredients. Besides small plates, Lola’s has some traditional sized mains of the meat and fish variety, and daily specials are written in chalk on a large board. At night there is often live music and people will get up and dance in the courtyard, making a meal here a lively way to end the day. — afktravel.