(8 double chalets) PO Box 70378, Bryanston 2021, South Africa; tel: (27) 11 706 7207; fax: (27) 11 463 8251; email: email@example.com; web: www.islandsinafrica.com
Situated on the northwest side of Impalila Island, overlooking the Zambezi's Mowomba rapids, Impalila Lodge has in many ways brought the island to people's attention.
Accommodation is in one of eight wooden chalets, each with twin beds or a king-size double. Opened in 1994, it is fairly luxurious. Much is made of polished local mukwa wood, with its natural variegated yellow and brown colours. The raised-up chalets have a square design, enclosing a bathroom in one corner, giving blissfully warm showers from instant water heaters. Below the high thatch ceilings are fans for warmer days, and mosquito nets for most nights. Large adjacent double doors open from one corner of the room on to a wide wooden veranda, overlooking the rapids. These doors have an optional mosquito-net screen for when it's hot, though are more usually glass. Being next to the river can be quite cold on winter mornings.
Activities at Impalila include guided motor-boat trips on the Zambezi and Chobe: the Zambezi mainly for birdwatching and fishing, while the more distant Chobe also offers remarkable game viewing on the edge of Botswana's Chobe National Park. Mokoro trips explore the shallower channels, and even run the gentle rapids, whilst guided and independent walks are possible on the island. Superb fishing (especially for tiger-fish, best caught on a fly-rod) is all year round, and the guides are relaxed enough to take beginners or experts out to try their luck.
The main part of the lodge is a large thatched lounge/dining area built around two huge baobabs, including a pool table and comfortable couches. This is open to the breeze, though can be sheltered when cold. The wooden pool deck has reclining loungers, umbrellas, and a great view of the river. Impalila's food is excellent and candle-lit three- or four-course meals around the baobab make a memorable scene. It is a stylish, well-run lodge ideal for fishing, birding, or just relaxing, with the added bonus of game viewing from the river in Chobe.