Thorntree River Lodge

Birding Daydrive Walk Boatride Fishing Swimming Elephant

Star Rating
Game Viewing
Price Guide $$$

Thorntree River Lodge: Our View

The original Thorntree River Lodge was relatively modest. But in 2017 African Bush Camps, who operate several high end safari camps in Zimbabwe and Botswana, took it over and totally rebuilt it. And what a difference there is now!! The new lodge is gorgeous and it is now one of the most luxurious accommodation options in the Victoria Falls area.

Set inside the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park in Zambia, it has a breathtaking location right on the banks of the Zambezi River. It is about 9kms from Livingstone town and about 20kms by road or 12kms by river from Victoria Falls. So it is ideally placed for clients looking for a lodge close to Victoria Falls in a tranquil bush setting rather than the more traditional town centre hotels or guesthouses. The lodge is unfenced and wild animals can roam through at any time so it does feel very natural and wild staying here!

The 12 semi tented rooms are stunning and situated right by the river – you can almost dip your toes in from your own private deck! They combine contemporary design with African décor and all have ensuite bathrooms and their own private plunge pools.

As well as visits to the spectacular Victoria Falls, river cruises, cultural activities and game activities into Mosi Oa Tunya Park are all included in the price. The opportunity to track rhinos in the park is one of the highlights here. Combined with luxurious communal lounge and dining areas and fantastic service and guiding, Thorntree River Lodge is without doubt one of our favourite high end lodge options in the Victoria Falls region.

Thorntree River Lodge offers a totally different experience to staying in a hotel in Livingstone or Victoria Falls town centre - it is so much more than just a place to stay whilst you go to see Victoria Falls. Compared to the town centre hotels though it is not cheap and may be beyond many clients budgets. However, compared to the other luxury lodges in this area on the Zambezi river it is very competitively priced. So for clients who are looking for high end luxury accommodation near Victoria Falls this would be one of our top choices as it offers great value for money at that end of the market. It is also incredibly romantic and would be perfect for honeymoons or special occasions.

The lodge is booked on an all inclusive basis including all meals, drinks, game activities and visits to Victoria Falls.

Thorntree River Lodge: Quick Facts

  • 12 luxury semi tented rooms (10 twin/double rooms, 2 family rooms) with ensuite bathrooms and private plunge pools so lodge is very intimate and small
  • Located in the bush in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park and on the banks of the Zambezi River
  • Perfect for honeymoons or special occasions
  • Activities include Victoria Falls visits, river cruises, Cultural visits, fishing, Canoeing, game drives and rhino tracking in Mosi oa Tunya Park
  • Children of all ages are welcome and there is a dedicated kids club. Please note though that the communal swimming pool and room plunge pools are unfenced, wild animals can be roaming through the lodge at any time and it is right by the river with no barriers or fences. Young children must be closely supervised at all times!!
  • Wi-fi in the library
  • Large communal swimming pool, spa(additional cost), gym and curio shop
  • Easily accessed by road transfer from Livingstone Airport/town or from the Botswana border
  • Various community projects supported by lodge including building and maintaining a health clinic for the local communities

Thorntree River Lodge: The Details

There are only 12 rooms at Thorntree River Lodge so it is very intimate and personal and they really do set new standards of luxury in the Victoria Falls area- they are stunning!

The rooms are semi tented with solid walls but a canvas roof. They are very elegant and contemporary in style but they do not feel sterile or bland. Earthy tones, carved wooden furniture, African art work on the walls and an impressive teak front door made from old railway sleepers give them real character and you certainly know that you are in Africa. The whole front of the room facing the river is glass with large sliding doors that lead out onto the private deck and allow for unrestricted views onto the Zambezi River. There is a sunken seating area on the decking as well as a private plunge pool.

Inside the rooms, as well as the twin or king size bed, there is a lounge area and ensuite bathroom. This has a large free standing bath, twin sinks and indoor shower - a glass door from the shower opens directly onto the decking, another outdoor shower and the plunge pool meaning you can create a wonderful open air feel. The toilet is in a separate cubicle with a frosted glass door to provide some privacy!! There is also a small bar area in the entrance hall that has a fridge with a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks which are included in the price and tea/coffee making facilities with a kettle and coffee plunger. It should be noted that the family rooms are especially well designed. They consist of 2 separate bedrooms allowing for extra privacy but with an enclosed walkway joining them. So families with young children will still feel secure staying in them.

The communal areas are equally impressive. At the heart of the lodge is a main lounge area with 4 separate seating areas- so even when the lodge is fully booked it never feels crowded. This has a central fire place with bar and large glass doors that lead to an extensive deck overlooking the river. The separate dining area allows for both communal group or private dining with a temperature controlled wine cellar. There are also plenty of options for dining outside on the decking area including areas for special private dinners for honeymoons/special occasions. There are also 2 boma areas - the main boma area has a real safari feel to it with sandy floor and brick benches with cushions all round. The focal point here is a beautiful sculpted metal fire pit. Then there is another boma area on a wooden deck leading out onto the river. As well as the private plunge pools in the rooms, there is a stunning infinity pool overlooking the river. This is large enough to allow for a proper swim with several sun loungers to relax on!

Behind the main lounge area is a separate library where you can get WiFi. There is also a separate spa and a small gym(spa treatments are at additional cost). These are in 2 stone structures designed to look like traditional Zambian lozi huts to create a traditional Zambian village feel.

As well as the bush setting, luxury accommodation and facilities though it is the range of activities that sets Thorntree River Lodge apart from many other options in the Victoria falls area. As well as the usual guided tours to Victoria Falls you can do guided cultural visits to local villages and a range of safari orientated activities. These include river cruises along less busy sections of the Zambezi river in their own small boats, fishing, game drives in Mosi Oa Tunya Park and the chance to view rhino on foot – and sightings are pretty much guaranteed as the park rangers protect them 24 hours a day so they know exactly where the rhinos are!! The lodge is operated by African Bush Camps, who are a premier safari operator, so it is no surprise that the guiding on these activities is absolutely superb- the guides are very professional and  have an extensive knowledge of the local wildlife and birds. It should be noted though that the game viewing in Mosi Oa Tunya is very limited – the park is very small and there are no big cats here. For this reason we would not market Thorntree River Lodge as a dedicated safari lodge – clients should view these activities as a lovely bonus to their stay here rather than the primary reason.

Overall Thorntree River Lodge is a fantastic option at the upper end of the market in the Victoria Falls region with truly luxurious and exclusive accommodation and facilities, highly professional service and guiding and superb food.