The stunning Victoria Falls River Lodge has introduced its new addition to it’s smorgasbord of accommodation styles – Malachite Tented Suites. It is a space where Art Deco meets Afrocentric design and creates a truly immersive experience for our esteemed guests. Malachite sits 2.5km upstream from the mainland Victoria Falls River Lodge and even though it is an extension to the main lodge, it runs as its own standalone camp – with all amenities on site.
The camp is accessed by vehicle , it is only a few minutes from the Zambezi National park gate and is comprised of an expansive main lodge, pool area and 6 x luxury tented suites ( California King beds or twins available). The spaces built for the guests are extremely generous but because of the limited number of tents it remains truly exclusive.
The specifically designed rooms offer comfort and style, featuring thermally insulated spaces and air-conditioning in every suite. Custom-designed furniture pieces embody the vibrant Art Deco colour pallet as well as the rich spirit of Africa, while thoughtful layering of safari-styled elements with a contemporary touch sets the backdrop for an unforgettable adventure. The design incorporates playful, modern elements but still provides the quintessential African-lodge experience for our guests. The Gem finder recently sat down with the two leads on this project, the extremely talented architect Neil Smith and the exceptional interior designer Jena Gradwell to discuss these awe-inspiring new suites and asked them to share with us their inspiration behind the concept and what our future guests can expect to experience in this magical space. Read on to find out how every detail has been carefully crafted to ensure your guest’s utmost comfort and an unforgettable stay.
Q – Malachite is the latest modern offering to the smorgasbord of accommodation styles that VFRL has in its stunning portfolio. We would love to know more about the inspiration behind the smaller, luxury addition?
The Malachite Tented Suites forms the much-anticipated extension to the Victoria Falls River Lodge room type offering. From the very first design session we knew that we wanted to create a lodge that was exclusive, luxurious and had a very strong identity – all of these elements emerged effortlessly from our design concept of creating an Art-Deco meets Afrocentric experience.
With only 6 luxury tented suites on the property but a main lodge designed to accommodate at least double that number we allowed for breathing space, privacy and connection with nature – it is both the quality and quantity of space that makes the building luxurious. Our goal was to provide our guests with a premium and unparalleled experience and to offer something new and different to the current room type offerings. The Malachite suites have a thrilling contemporary identity, blending the elegance of Art Deco with Afrocentric design. Attention to detail and texture enhances the sophistication of these spaces, while vibrant colours, shapes, and African art elements enrich the depth and uniqueness of the entire experience.
Q – What requests/trends were coming through from the trade or guests that made VFRL decide, Malachite was the right offering to add to the portfolio?
One of the magical things about VFRL is that our room type offerings are so diverse in nature – there is truly something for everyone so these new suites were born out of the desire to add yet another type of safari experience for our guests to enjoy. We know there are many different travelers out there, all seeking different types of experiences so we wanted to tap into those looking for a more modern Afro-chic accommodation style.
We played with new spatial arranges and design elements and embraced the concept of ‘pod’ experiences. Our interiors are carefully curated to provide sanctuary and comfort. The spaces are playful and interactive while still sophisticated and opulent. Whether in the main areas or the rooms, these enchanting spaces create an ambiance that will leave you in wonderment.
However, we also focused on keeping the aspects that our guests and agents have come to know and love us by – insulated thatch and tent construction, proximity to the Zambezi River, generous and open plan bathrooms, highly curated details, private decks and plunge pools, indoor and outdoor showers and generally allowing for a priceless connection with the African bush. The addition of outdoor bathtubs, built in sunbeds and epic glazed façades showing off the river views are some of the features that differentiate this offering from our other room types.
Q – Tell us about some of its USPs – what makes it a hidden gem?
Malachite has a unique identity that can’t be experienced anywhere else in the Zambezi National Park!
Proximity to water: Both the rooms and the main lodge are literally on the river’s edge – the views and proximity to the enigmatic force that is the Zambezi River are unparalleled.
Exclusivity: It is an intimate camp where you can feel comfortable, pampered by our staff and feel relaxed in your new home away from home.
It is a brand-new and yet-to-be discovered offering but also because of the combination of high end, refined design and a soulful African spirit means that it is contemporary, playful and remarkably authentic by nature.
Lastly of course, it is in one of the most wonderful hidden gems, the Zambezi National Park – an incredible park that needs to be explored and enjoyed while visiting the Victoria Falls.
Q – What are the main differences between the other VFRL offerings and the Malachite suites?
The look and feel of the room types on offer are all so different – the luxury tented suites are for your traveller wanting that true experience of staying in a tent within the bush, the two villa offerings provide a unique room configuration and exclusivity, the island suites and star beds are for those that want a more minimalist experience amongst the treetops and Malachite is playful, energetic and dynamic – the Malachite spaces are truly interactive and immersive – and of course the best way to explore all the different offerings is to come and visit us and allow the VFRL team to share our piece of paradise with you.
Q – What type of experience/feeling do you hope future guests come away with after choosing Malachite as part of their holiday or safari?
After a stay at Malachite we hope our guests will come away with having experienced a full range of positive emotions – from the warm welcome and embrace of our staff, the magical and fun experiences built into the lodge, the wonder of nature to a rested and a rejuvenated mind and soul, the thrill of being so closely connected with nature, the adrenalin of the activities and awe of visiting the falls but more than anything we want Malachite to be an experience that guests feel they want to come back to.
Thank you Neil and Jena for taking us behind the scenes and for sharing your vision and the delights of this brand new lodge with us! We so look forward to guests experiencing many happy and unforgettable moments at Malachite. For Malachite’s location, please see below map and for all amenities please view Malachite Tented Suites.
Credit : Jena Gradwell and Neil Smith.