After laughing outside of The Elephant Camp tent by the sheer size and realizing that my first night in Botswana was an actual tent you buy in the store – I tried to be a bit more calm with the guided tour of my room at this boutique luxury camp in Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls. I’m sure most of the folks who can actually afford this type of lodging think nothing about it, while I was aware that this was definitely a luxury hotel treat for me.
Inside the Elephant Camp Luxury Tent
I was shown inside and greeted by a wardrobe and steamer trunk to store my gear. Arriving with my bright orange duffel bag and backpack instead of the luxury, designer luggage on wheels the other guests arrived with made me eschew the fancy storage area and live out of the bag as I had the past week. The floors were concrete (of course my shoes brought in the sand and dirt) and some of the walls could be rolled up, while other parts were sliding glass doors to open up and bring the outside that much closer to expose you to the elements.
On the left side of the room was the plush seating area with minibar area and local drink.
The bed was flanked on either side by the romantic vision of mosquito netting. It was in the center of the room where you could lay in bed and look out the sliding glass doors to watch animals in the distance (I would see buffalo when I awoke the next day). There was a table area with the electrical outlets in the floor and walkie talkie to contact the staff if you needed anything. On the table was a handwritten welcome letter from the house manager, Jonathan, which I found a very nice touch.
I was shown the air conditioning unit on the wall and provided instructions on how to use it – given that it was September, it was still hot outside and I would need to run the a/c and or fan inside (there would be a few electrical outages for which the backup generator would kick in). Yes, air conditioning was available in the middle of Zimbabwe -this was definitely a western convenience afforded luxury travelers.
The Elephant Camp Tent Bathroom
I was led to the bathroom and tried to contain my glee at the site of the travel magazine worthy decorated bathroom with a separate soaking tub, shower, sink area and of course the chandelier, because every tent needs one of them (sadly you can’t see it in the photo)! If I didn’t quite understand the “glamping” term, I did now.
The Elephant Camp Viewing Deck
I was then led to the deck and shown the outside shower area, my private plunge pool (yes, my own pool!!!) and the deck area with seating to enjoy the outdoors. I didn’t have enough time to properly enjoy this amenity – I should have had a bottle of wine to watch the sunset and enjoy the animal sightings but I had places to go.
The Elephant Camp Luxuries
My nearest neighbor was quite far away (there are 12 tents for 24 guests at the main camp) so my tent was a private oasis. Times like this when you wish someone else was with you to experience this and at the same time, it gives you pause if you overthink it. I had an indoor and outdoor shower as well as a soaking tub. Whatever you put in the hamper, the staff would wash and return the next day which was a great perk for me living out of my duffel bag and rotating clothes for the past week in Botswana. The room had a walkie talkie to contact staff if you needed to leave at night (you had to be escorted by staff to/from your room at night due to the fact that the animals can walk by and did mostly at night). There were so many other small details that made this luxury small boutique camp stand out.
I’m a hotel girl and this luxury room/tent/oasis definitely made me happy and it was all mine to enjoy for the next two days.
Victoria Falls Activities
While you might be tempted to stay in your tent and enjoy the pool and relax, I was keen to check off my “to do” list. Now normally, I’m not the checklist person but really this was a once in a lifetime visit as Zimbabwe was never on my radar before and I wasn’t sure it would be again.
The staff at The Elephant Camp drove me to Victoria Falls and gave me about two hours to explore (it was enough time given that it was low water season September and not crowded) before they would pick me up to bring me back to the property for my amazing dinner (the food was fantastic). The next day, I would ride a helicopter over Victoria Falls before enjoying afternoon tea at the historic 1904 built Victoria Falls Hotel on the way to many sundowners (happy hour drinks) on the Zambezi River sunset cruise.
On my final day, it was time to walk the hotel cat, Sylvester. She isn’t your normal cat, she is a cheetah (their ambassador) and she doesn’t quite walk at your pace, she runs and its beautiful to see. We walked the property and it reminded me of my walking safari in the Okavanago Delta as I could see animal tracks.
Luxury Glamping at The Elephant Camp Victoria Falls
I stay in luxury hotels usually because of hotel points, but in Zimbabwe, I chose to pay for the luxury tent at The Elephant Camp and it was a nice contrast to the other parts of my safari journey. I met Helen who inspired me and had a memorable time with Sylvester and the staff at the property. Hopefully, one day I can return to The Elephant Camp, because I’d like to enjoy a sundowner in my pool watching the animals go by in the distance as well as the other activities they offer that I didn’t have time to do.