31 October 2016
The Hippo View Lodge is both really nice and sometimes rather challenging. The grounds are amazing and huge -- Beautiful green grass, all kinds of trees, scattered tables under pavilions. And it's right along the Shire river, which does have hippos! We could see them from the hotel and hear them snorting! We also took a 1 hour river trip on a small (12 passenger) boat up the Shire river in the early evening to watch the sunset from the river -- also saw a number of elephants, lots of hippos, and many scary crocodiles. The restaurant food is good, as the beer. The room was okay... comfy bed with full mosquito net, tv with a few channels (BBC, no CNN, several African and Indian stations), good AC, kind of okay / interesting bathroom with good flow of shower hot water. But, lights are just the harsh florescent overheads, the power goes off frequently (which means no AC and no water -- in addition to no light -- not fun whilst in the windowless bathroom), and the only windows open on to a walkway and parking lot. I recommend getting a room facing the gardens and river. Hippo View staff are numerous, friendly, and quite helpful. Take the time to learn a greeting and how to say thank you in Chichewa and the staff will be delighted. Service for food or beer is typically African slow, but always comes through. Internet is available for a small price and works pretty much okay most of the time there is power. This hotel has issues that one finds across Africa -- but this just makes it all the more authentic and real.