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Guidebook to Thorntree River Lodge, Victoria Falls


Lucy Brink, the General Manager of Safari365, recently visited Thorntree River Lodge and provides first-hand feedback.

Thorntree River Lodge was the perfect stop for my final two nights at the end of a longer safari in neighbouring Botswana. However, it would also serve well at the beginning of a trip due to its gentle ‘soft’ bush style (advantageous after leaving a busy city). One of African Bush Camp’s ‘Icon’ camps, which is nestled along the riverbank, its style is modern, warm and open, with plenty of communal areas to relax under the canopy of swaying trees. 

Location of Thorntree River Lodge

Situated on the Zambezi River inside Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, the property is located close to Livingstone, either transfer by road from Livingstone Airport which is approximately 20 minutes drive away, or guests can connect via road over the border from Victoria Falls International Airport, which takes around 90 minutes including around 30 minutes for the border crossing.

For guests coming from Botswana by road or from Kasane International Airport, the Kazungula border post provides the closest access into Zambia. It takes approximately 25 minutes by road from Kasane Airport to the the Kazungula border, then it’s an easy drive to Thorntree.

Thorntree River Lodge pool area overlooking the Zambezi River in Zambia
Pool area at Thorntree River Lodge overlooking the Zambezi River.

Accommodation at Thorntree River Lodge

This premium lodge includes 12 spacious luxury suites including 4 which can become 2 separate luxury family suites (these have an adjoining walkway with interleading access). All have roll top baths, an indoor/outdoor shower and plunge pool with views of the Zambezi River. Every luxurious air conditioned suite boasts views of the river and includes a plunge pool – you really get the wow factor on arrival and I could have stayed for a week!   

Tented accommodation overlooking the Zambezi River with a plunge pool and deck area
The spacious luxury suites with plunge pools overlook the Zambezi River.

Property Facilites

Pool, gym, spa, gift shop, library and outdoor boma for pre-dinner drinks. There are also several areas to relax including a large lounge and separate dining area with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Zambezi River.

Property Activities

Inclusive of each stay includes a tour of the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls (the Zimbabwean side can be viewed during dry season), river cruises, a cultural visit, fishing expedition (excluding December), canoeing, rhino tracking (Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park is the only place in Zambia where you can see White Rhinos), plus bush walks and game drives into Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. There are also optional activities (chargeable) such as guided rainforest walks, bungee jumping and helicopter flips.

A rhino and her calf resting on the ground in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.

Who is it Suitable For? 

Couples, families of all ages, multi generational groups. Although the property is very flat, there are steps down to the jetty for water based experiences.  The property welcomes guests of all ages, and a host of nature and cultural activities are included as part of your stay.

Families are catered for with African Bush Camps Ngwana Club for kids. On arrival kids receive a special bag including a compass, binoculars, sunglasses, colouring books and a wildlife checklist. They also have a dedicated family tour guide who designs activities based around each family group, ranging from nature walks around the lodge, to bush drives and even pizza making.

A rainbow over the Victoria Falls
A rainbow formed near Victoria Falls due to the intense spray taken by Shineez Abrams who was part of the group.


This property really has a special wow factor. As you walk in you are greeted by the tropical and tranquil setting overlooking the Zambezi River, which feels very private and exclusive. All the communal areas are designed to face the river and boast floor to ceiling glass windows to soak in that magnificent view, as you hear beautiful birdsong. As it’s located within the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, guests can expect to see wildlife wandering close to the lodge, including monkeys, baboons,  elephants and even hippos! (NB guests are escorted back to their rooms at night however there are no predators here). The luxury suites are extremely spacious, well equipped and luxurious. Expect stylish natural wood finishes, a roll top bath and private plunge pool overlooking the river. The bed was gloriously comfy! The staff were gracious and intuitive and the food and activities were excellent. I loved the sunset cruise with sundowners on a small private island – very special!

Finally, it was a privilege to visit 1 of the 13 African Bush Camps Foundation’s projects here: the Maunga Health Centre, which is around a 1 hour drive from the lodge. Here we met several nurses who showed us the health care facility and accommodation built with over US $50,000 worth of donations and support from the ABC Foundation. Fully equipped with an outpatient unit and maternity ward, useful features such as solar power and permanent access to water have ensured essential resources and medical supplies can be provided to the community, who previously had to travel over 20kms for any medical help.

Lucy enjoying a drink as the sunsets on the deck of Thorntree River Lodge.

Thank You

Thank you to Maneta and the entire ABC Thorntree River Lodge team who hosted us with such enthusiasm. I really enjoyed the ‘behind the scenes’ tour with the General Manager, Helen, who showed us many of the other little secret spots they surprise guests with – from stargazing on their helipad to their herb garden, where guests can pick their own veggies to eat that day. Every member of staff at Thorntree was on top form and we felt extremely looked after and welcomed. I can’t wait to go back!