The Elephant Café combines an extraordinary and heart-warming wildlife experience with an excellent breakfast, lunch, high tea or dinner in their own restaurant. Opened in 2016, it is set on the banks of the Zambezi River, in a location that has been home to a number of hand-reared elephants for many years.
Most visitors reach the café from their accommodation in Livingstone by boat – a 40-minute ride that is great fun. You’ll pass through some sections at high speed, whereas in others the boat slows to allow you to enjoy the scenery or watch the wildlife. Road transfers are available too. Once at the Elephant Café, you’ll learn about the herd and the history of the individual elephants. Then, having been fully briefed, you’ll get the chance to interact with the animals, including feeding them by hand. We loved being in such close proximity to these iconic, charismatic animals, which have long been accustomed to humans.
With your mind buzzing with memories, you’ll move into the elegant restaurant, which is set on a wooden deck over the Zambezi River. With a maximum of 24 guests, the restaurant has an intimate and personal atmosphere. The menu is based on African dishes inspired by European, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and all ingredients are locally sourced.
Pick up from Victoria Falls based Hotels and Lodges
.Return Transfer, Meals, Beverages, Elephant Interaction, $10 National Park Fees
.Any private purchases
The Elephant Cafè is built on a wooden deck on the Zambezi River, a 30-minute boat ride upriver from Victoria Falls. It sits in a place that is not only breathtaking, it?s imbued with an energy of interconnectedness and calm. It’s a place that invites in other wild animals like giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and antelope from the surrounding Mosi-a-Tunya National Park. It’s a place that’s alive with bush-speak, from the throats of the river birds, from luxuriating hippos, from squabbling monkeys and baboons in the canopy overhead. It’s a place that carries the spirit of the elephant.
Three magical experiences in one:
A boat ride up the Zambezi River
Breakfast / Lunch / High Tea / Dinner
Enjoy a speedboat transfer (approx.30 mins) from Livingstone up the Zambezi River to the exclusive tented restaurant built on a wooden deck, upstream from Victoria Falls. the centre point of a riverside location that has been home to a herd of hand-reared elephants for many years. A road transfer option is also available.
You will then have the opportunity to meet the herd, learn their stories and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime close encounter with these gentle giants before you are welcomed into The Elephant Café for a unique dining experience (Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea or Dinner) with Chef de Cuisine Annabel Hughes and her team who specialise in creating a foodie?s delight of fresh locally-sourced food and wild edibles.
Notification of any Special Dietary Requirements is essential!
MORE ABOUT THE ELEPHANT CAFE
Built on a deck over the Zambezi River with interior design done by Belinda Aston, the beautiful restaurant sits twenty-four guests and pre-booking is essential. Various meal options are available from early morning breakfast to three-course lunches, decadent high teas and a three-course dinner. The kitchen and restaurant are run by the amazingly talented Annabel Hughes. Her food is prepared using fresh local ingredients, with a strong focus on wild edibles, and thus the menu will change with the seasons.
Guests have the privilege of interacting with hand-reared elephants, of varying ages, before sitting down to eat their meal. The older elephants, like the bulls Bop, Danny and Madinda, were rescued from severe drought and culls decades ago, while others have assimilated from the wild, or were born into the herd. They are elephants that have grown up with safe human support using the positive reinforcement method.? Being around them in close vicinity, discerning the rumble of their songs from deep within, sensing their wildness and enormity touches something primal and very old within you. It’s an experience one will never forget.
Annabel is a partner in, and the Chef de Cuisine of, The Elephant Cafe. She writes the award-winning food and lifestyle blog, SavannaBel. Annabel, who was born in Kenya but grew up in Zimbabwe, moved to Livingstone three-and-a-half years ago. Although her primary career was journalism – which led her to work in places all over the world – food has always been a passion. After finishing high school, Annabel attended a French-inspired cookery school in England, and in the subsequent years developed a heartfelt enthusiasm for gardening and foraging wild food. Annabel will take genuine pleasure in feeding our guests fresh, distinctive food that is as local as possible.
The Elephant Cafe offers African fusion food with a fine dining menu which changes according to the seasonal local and wild ingredients that are available at any given time. The Elephant Cafe offers unprocessed preservative-free food that is produced in Zambia. Many of the wild nuts, fruits and leaves that Annabel uses in her recipes are also much loved by the elephants.