By Mornette Scott-Riddell

It was during a short camping holiday with our daughter in Victoria Falls in August 2016 that we discovered a lifestyle that demanded closer inspection.  Besides the obvious main attraction of the magnificent Falls itself and the vast expanse of African bush which surrounded it, we noticed a permanent holiday atmosphere which was both refreshing and uplifting.  This quaint, quirky town with its plethora of tourists in sun hats and sandals was slow paced and free of traffic jams – warthogs and baboons roamed freely around the town and were respectfully given right of way on all the roads. Victoria Falls was paradise and we found ourselves wondering why we didn’t live there. All we needed was an international airport for my husband Phil to continue his aviation career as a corporate pilot, and that box was ticked in November 2016 when the new Victoria Falls International Airport was unveiled.

Just three months later our whimsical dreaming and wondering became a tangible reality. We found a property to buy on a quiet road in the residential area of the tourist town, and we eagerly swapped our tame suburban life in Harare for an exciting new adventure chasing sunsets and rainbows in Victoria Falls. So began a new chapter for the Scott-Riddell family, filled with possibilities, opportunities and more than its fair share of unexpected twists and turns.

The small 2000sqm property that we bought had originally been run as a hunting lodge in the 1990’s. It was dark, dingy and run down and desperately needed a complete makeover if we were going to turn it into a successful business as a boutique lodge. We spent the next 4 ½ years planning, designing, destroying, renovating and building. During that phase we endured lockdown, personal loss, ill health, two family deaths and the end of Phil’s aviation career, amidst multiple other challenges; no different from most people in the world.

By the time covid hit in March 2020 we had reached the point of no return with the lodge renovations. The future was uncertain, especially in the tourism and hospitality industry. One can make all the numbers fit on a spreadsheet, but uncontrollable world dynamics can make the most carefully laid out plans topple like a deck of cards.

We were either brave or just plain stupid to open our lodge during covid, but we felt we had to make a go of it. On June 25th 2021, Pamarah Lodge opened its doors to the public for the very first time. We even remember the names of our first guests and nicknamed them the “brave Belgians” for being brave enough to travel to Zimbabwe! For the next two years we worked tirelessly to build a solid reputation for Pamarah, and the bookings began to pick up as confidence in worldwide travel grew.

In 2022 our two adult children, Holly and Ross, returned home after a sojourn in the UK where they were studying and working. Our family was finally complete, and we can proudly say today that Pamarah is 100% family run! The name “Pamarah” is an acronym of our first names: P for Phil, M for Mornette, R for Ross and H for Holly. We feel blessed beyond measure to be able to live and work together as a family in our home country of Zimbabwe. Our son Ross is the chef, and our daughter Holly helps us with all things financial! Our wonderful staff are 100% Zimbabwean and part of our extended family.

A visit to Pamarah Lodge will take you into a charming extension of the lodge’s natural surrounds, sensitively designed to make it feel a part of the neighborhood. The lodge itself is an eclectic collection of brick under thatch buildings, nestled comfortably amongst shady indigenous teak and msasa trees. A number of freestanding structures are woven together with winding pathways and tropical landscaping. Pamarah’s unique style reflects clean straight lines coupled with gentle organic curves, where every part of the building is curvy and inconsistent, providing intrigue and surprise around every corner.

The interior design of the lodge is a fresh interpretation of decades gone by, combined with contemporary classics and creative use of space and height. Fixtures and fittings, tiling and soft furnishings are modern and in keeping with international hotel standards. The teak furniture in the rooms was custom designed and manufactured locally in Victoria Falls by the African Touch. The artwork in the lodge showcases various hand-picked aviation and photographic collectables as well as historic images, echoing our family’s love of history, aviation and photography. Many of the aviation themed black and white photographs were taken by my late father and professional photographer, Mike McGeorge.

A locally fabricated steel spiral staircase in the main reception area provides a stunning focal point when guests are checking in. The design, inspired by a jet turbine engine, has a floating elegance with belies the structural integrity of this steel engineering masterpiece. There is no doubt when you visit Pamarah that you are entering the space of an aviation loving family!

A relaxed atmosphere combined with tasty home cooked food and good company are the final ingredients which make a stay at Pamarah Lodge truly memorable. The open sided gazebo bar and eaterie, aptly named “The Prop and Rotor”, and the elegant poolside seating area provide guests with a cozy spot to unwind after a busy day of adventuring. A pre-booked 3 course dinner awaits those who don’t want to eat out, and a full English breakfast is included in our rates. Itineraries can be custom built and personalized by our experienced front desk team.

We love where we live and we love what we do. We genuinely enjoy bringing pleasure to our guests and sharing our Pamarah story with them in our little corner of paradise!



Contact: +263 788 651 626

Instagram & Facebook: @pamarahlodge

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