It’s called Islands of Siankaba because there are two islands. On one, the main house and restaurant and boat dock. On the other, a string of six raised chalets connected by rope bridges. (Rope bridges also connect the two islands.) The islands hug the shore—you’re not out in the middle of the Zambezi —but the rooms all face the broad part of the sliding waters of the river, with the Zimbabwean bush on the other side.
The split-level suites are on the old-school side: canvas walls, teak floors, colonial-looking sink fixtures, and clawfoot tubs. There’s a hint of a smell of aged wood varnish, one that made me think instantly of my family’s old camp in Maine. One of my favorite touches was the huge collection of National Geographic magazines in the lounge. There’s less game-viewing to do here than at many of Zambia’s other lodges, but plenty of adventure-sport activities around Victoria Falls. Exclusive to lodge guests: a guided walk through nearby villages, which the lodge supports.
While we were there we shot a video about the carpenter who makes makoros for the hotel:
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Magic Float: Makoro Ride on the Zambezi
A lot of Zambia’s lodges make use of the river, but not all of them offer rides the tippy African dugout canoe known as a makoro. And while this is a popular ride in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, you don’t really see them made out of wood there. This is an intimate, lively way to see—I daresay feel—the Zambezi, especially during sunset or early morning. Hippos, crocs, and light rapids add extra excitement. I did this while staying at Islands of Siankaba, about an hour’s drive outside Livingstone. Link to that Highlight is below.