Corridors Through Time

A History of The Victoria Falls Hotel

The following extract comes from the British South Africa Annual 1916-17.


While the railways have not been extended, an addition has been made to the attractions provided by them for visitors in the completion of the new Victoria Falls Hotel, a fine structure designed for the railways by Mr Frank Scott, MSA, the well-known Bulawayo architect. The building is a long single-storey structure, with two flanking bedroom wings set out at swinging angles on each side. The present bedroom accommodation provides especially large apartments, small in number of rooms. The rest of the building is planned on spacious lines suitable for the much larger bedroom accommodation which will follow when the future second story is added. The two main features in the way of staterooms are the lounge and dining room, both handsome, spacious rooms treated in a suitable architectural manner. The building is of fireproof construction, its framework and roof being of re-inforced concrete; the outer walls being filled in with brickwork from floor level to roof level. The roof is perfectly flat in concrete, with a protective covering of bitumastic sheeting. It is reached by two imposing staircases and forms a roof garden from which charming views of the gorge, bridge and surrounding country can be obtained.

Corridors Through Time - A History of The Victoria Falls Hotel

Advert for the new Victoria Falls Hotel, 1916/7

The building is approached on the west front from the railway station through a vaulted vestibule leading direct into the lounge, from which corridors branch off on either side to the extremities of the building. Passing across the lounge, the main loggia (a pillared stoep) is reached, and on either side of this are smaller loggias of lower height and lesser width. The eastern front is the main fa├žade of the building and is approached from the loggia by a tier of steps running the full length of this feature. The building is cool, spacious and airy everywhere and, architecturally, is treated in quiet Southern European Renaissance manner. The exterior walls are coloured a light, cool cream, and this colour scheme has been generally carried out in the interior of the building.

The sanitary arrangements, which are of the most up-to-date description, provide for the water carriage of all sewage, which is led to a septic tank placed some distance from the new building, and serve both the new and various building of the old hotel. The kitchen accommodation is especially compete, fitted up with every convenience of a modern hotel, and designed to cope with the large number of guests who flock to the Falls during excursion times. The old hotel, re-erected to the south of the new building, is designed to accommodate the overflow from the new building during the busy season.

The Rhodesia Railways are to be congratulated on their enterprise, and I have no doubt that the extension of the building provided for in construction will be accomplished at no very distant date.

Corridors Through Time - A History of The Victoria Falls Hotel

The Victoria Falls Hotel, c1917

- Go back to the Hotel feature section index.

A History of the Victoria Falls Hotel

Discover Victoria Falls with Zambezi EcoTours