The Kingdom is a beautiful complex housing the one of the most expensive hotel in Victoria Falls, a casino, restaurants, chic boutiques, an internet facility, tour desks and much more.
The grounds of the Kingdom were somewhat of a "safe haven" from the street vendors that would follow us for blocks trying to sell us something. As we approached the perimeter, vendors would disappear.
We requested, and received, a tour of the hotel facilities. The rooms were plush with a distinctive African flare. Many had balconies overlooking the perfectly manicured gardens, pools and waterfall areas. The room rates range from $228 to $342 USD per night for the "International" visitor but I was told the rates were negotiable, depending on the occupancy of the hotel at the time. These rates are for two people; breakfast is included.
The boutiques are what you would expect in any first class hotel anywhere else-exclusive designs, unique gifts and high prices.
In order to appreciate the casino, one must have a firm understanding of the money situation in Zimbabwe. An unsuspecting foreign visitor might be tempted to exchange currency for Zim Dollars at the airport OR use a credit card for purchases. Both of these will cost dearly. The reason is that the "official Government" exchange rate is between 55 to 60 Zim Dollars to 1 USD. However, at the Casino, we received 200 to 1 USD. A great exchange rate, you might say to yourself; but it gets better and even more complicated. If you go to one of the many (unofficial) "currency exchanges" you can negotiate anywhere from 225 to 350 Zim dollars to 1 USD. DO NOT EXCHANGE MONEY FROM ANYONE ON THE STREET.
Back to the casino, there are 170 slots; $1, $2, and $5 (Zim Dollars). It was like playing with monopoly money- it was great fun, but we knew IF we won- it wouldn’t amount to much. Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and other table games were available after 8:00 p.m. There is also a children’s play area.
The restaurants include Panarotti’s Pizza & Pasta and the Spur Steak House. The first night we were there, we ate at the Spur. After analyzing the menu price list, we determined that IF we paid in USD our bill for burgers and cokes would be $61.00 (for 5 people), but if we used Zim Dollars, it would only be equivalent to $20.00 USD, including tip. Needless to say, we purchased more Zim Dollars to pay for our meal.
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