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Wavell House, The Best Kept Secret in Harare, Zimbabwe

By Kach Umandap July 10th, 2017 Posted in Africa Travel Blog, Destination, Luxury Hotel Review One Comment

The Wavell House is more than just a private guest lodge, and rather it’s a “home away from home” – the perfect haven for businessmen, couples, or even solo travelers that are looking for a tranquil and relaxing place to stay within a city.

The lodge has a unique architecture, settled within a secluded suburban neighborhood, which I considered the safest of all the hotels I have stayed in Africa. It has seven modern designed rooms with own private entrances for the convenience of the guests. The garden surrounding the lodge has a magical quality that I haven’t seen elsewhere. It is full and open, and trees run through the center and some benches to sit on while watching the sun slowly rise so you can actually make yourself at home. The bed is enormous and comfy, when I lay down it feels like I’m sleeping on clouds and makes me feel relaxed.

Moreover, the lodge can also be the best place for writers, book authors, and online entrepreneurs. With its tranquil environment, exterior and interior walls dominated by a calm white color, a veranda overlooking the beautifully landscaped garden, and friendly  staff, this place truly lives up to its slogan being, “A space to breathe.” It is a quiet place where you can feel “Nature’s vibe”, making it easier to make your imaginations run free – unleashing one’s “creative energy”. I managed to catch up with some of my online work as the wifi works brilliantly! Thus, this will help you create better original outputs!

It is accessible to everywhere! It is 10 minutes drive to the city centre and 20 minutes away from the Harare International Airport. The owner of the lodge could also arrange a taxi to pick you up from the airport or a service going around if you fancy a city tour.

History of The Wavell House

This old yet humble and glowing lodge is a home to Ros and  Nick, two lovely Zimbabweans of British descent. They belong to the third generation of British people emigrated and settled in Zimbabwe in 1920’s. The British diaspora beyond Zimbabwe has struggled after the declaration of independence, and President Mugabe is under control of the country. Despite the country’s social and economic presence, Ros and Nick have started their businesses such as café, pottery, fabric companies, and furniture shop. They expanded their home to a private guest lodge to extend their means of income. Ros started as a potter since 1984 and made some unique hand painting and hand throwing high-quality pottery with a combination of western and African form and design. She also started Kudhinda Fabrics that provides hand printing and screen printing textiles with African dash of colors. Nick has also begun as a furniture designer and manufacturer that travels all the way to Malawi.

The owners and staff

The owners, Nick and Ros are very hands on to their guests. As I have mentioned before on our social media account, my friend Arione, who travels with me on the first month of my trip has been stuck in Nairobi Airport for few days.  The couple was so kind as they helped me a lot for Arione entry to Zimbabwe which I’ll be discussing in the next part of this article. On the second day of my stay in the Wavell house, I spent time with them and had a great conversation, and they even watched the videos of my wedding. Even in a short span of time, I spent with them, they made me feel like I’m a member of the family.

Behind the spotlight are also some brilliant people working towards providing the luxurious yet homely experience during their stay. Steven, the chef – whom I believe, the best cook out of all the hotels I’ve stayed in my trip so far. He cooks the best breakfast with your choice either cooked English breakfast or some home-made pastries for continental! His freshly cooked dinner could make you feel at home and satisfy your palate. Kristina, the cheerful housekeeper with the lovely big smile each morning she comes to my room to tidy up and make my bed. They both speak fluent British English here – well most people do, even their billboards!

The Wavell house is situated in a much secured neighborhood, it is well-fenced with a huge gate to secure the property. It has two friendly Greyhound dogs, Mr. Striker and Ms. Brown, to either guard or entertains dog loving lodge visitors.

During my time spent with the owners, I could see myself and Jonathan through Ros and Nick. Their eloquence and sense of humour are a great tandem. Nick drove me around the city so I could see the beauty and vibrancy of Harare. Also, Ros took me to her café (insert the name), I had some pizza and house wine. I never felt the true generosity and act of kindness from people until I met them.  Their altruism service and understanding towards others is simply amazing!

Airport Drama

Apparently, there was a technical problem regarding the e-visa of Arione. On the way from Mahe, Seychelles we had a stop-over at Nairobi Airport before getting the flight to Harare. A pre-approved e-visa is required before entering Zimbabwe. Because of the technical issues to Arione e-visa account, she was not able to print the copy of her e-visa. It is necessary for the travelers to have your printed copy of e-visa beforehand. The staff of Kenya Airways did not let her board for the flight to Harare. Since I had mine on hand, I managed to fly to Harare alone sadly leaving Arione in Nairobi.

Questions were raised if it was necessary for the airlines to be very compliant and strict? Yes. I eventually found out that they would be paying a penalty in case they would let someone who had no pre-approved visa.

I also had a hard time while my friend was stuck in Nairobi Airport as I cannot move on to our next place to visit. I am the only person who could help her to sort her problem with Immigration in Zimbabwe, which is not her fault in the first place. I told Ros and Nick about Arione’s dilemma at the airport, and they quickly understood and figured out what to do. They have contacted some people who could help us. I have never imagined before how can other people show sympathy and help when you are facing obstacles. Eventually, we all sorted everything, and Arione arrived in Harare safely.

The Challenges of Traveling to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a lovely country and a home to the famous Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park.  It’s capital, and most populated city is Harare. However, there are some major problems that this country is facing at the moment. First, is the government itself and second is you can’t easily withdraw cash here – this somehow had something to do with the Inflation rate.

It was a good thing that Ros sent me a message and advised to withdraw USD  before arriving in Zimbabwe. They arranged a shuttle bus to supposedly pick us from the airport, me, Arione, and Jonathan. Unfortunately, I was the only passenger present because Jonathan stayed in the Florida Keys working on our yacht, Empress. While Arione, my dear friend, was being stuck at Nairobi Airport.

I asked the shuttle driver if I could pay using my card and I was lucky he agreed and paid him 55 USD since  I was picked up by a shuttle bus, but you can also ask them to arrange you a smaller car for 30 USD.

The Wavell house sits in a much-secured location that makes people feel as if it’s in the UK. It has two friendly Greyhound dogs, Mr. Striker and Ms. Brown, to either guard or entertain dog loving lodge visitors

Rooms in Wavell House

Getting to the Private Lodge, the room brightened up my day. It had a large double bedroom since Ros Byrne thought Jonathan was tagging along. Arione who recently arrived is in another room. The bed was nicely made, and the interior was westernized. Everything about the entire lodge was indeed beautiful. We are staying here for exactly one week before I travel to Mozambique, alone and Arione will be on her way back to the UK.

Photo by Booking.com

Wavell Hotel offers seven rooms with intricately designed interiors. So, if you want to book into this hotel, you can ponder on these lists before you decide:

Photo by Booking.com

Superior. The superior room is where I am staying at. Designed for those who intend to stay longer at the lodge.  It is a large room with Ottoman style bench at the tip of the bed. A sofa is available for you to lounge in and chairs with tables made out of precious wood, in case you want to eat in the room. Currently, I used it to place my gadgets for work.

A desk is also provided with an electric outlet for your electronic notebooks/laptops. Moreover, a large ensuite bathroom with a shower and bath is yours to enjoy. A flat screen TV for your entertainment and an extra lengthy king-sized bed with duvet beddings is yours to lie down comfortably and relax!

Photo by Booking.com

The bed also has a mosquito net to keep those unwanted insects away from your body while sleeping. Malaria, after all, is quite prevalent in Africa but not in an elevated place in Harare. This is just to keep the lodge’s guests safe. Rates may differ according to the number of occupancies.

Photo by Booking.com

Standard. The standard room is fit for one but can also be occupied by two clients. It has an extra length queen-size bed, an ensuite shower only. Floors are carpeted, and beds are neatly made up.

Discounts are also available depending on the length of your stay. Wavell House’s rooms are expanded across the lawn so guests could also enjoy it.

Photo by Booking.com

A friendly reminder from the hotel is to switch off the electricity as the costs of energy tend to be expensive.

Other Amenities in most rooms

  • Daily housekeeping
  • Fridge
  • Coffee facilities
  • Cabinet/Closet
  • Access to the beautifully tranquil lawns.
  • A speedy wireless connection
  • Free toiletries


Outdoor Pool. Dipping in the outdoor pool, it has a great view of the peaceful gardens and the veranda. Big enough for laps to those who want to keep fit during their trip.

Safe and Tested Potable Tap WaterThe tap water comes from the property’s borehole making it pure, clean, and safe to drink.

A Peaceful Drink and Meal. A complimentary breakfast is available when you book. You add the amount for dinner. Their chef, Steven, cooked the best sunny-side-up eggs for me – so far, only in this lodge did I get the type of consistency I want with my sunny-side-up eggs. A variety of wines and beers are also being offered.

Airport Shuttle Service is available upon request, and additional charges may apply.

There is ample parking space for Rooms 1 and 2.

Area guide

Newlands Shop – A short ride away to a strip where a line of restaurants, bars, and retail shops await!

Chapungu Sculpture Park – Check out pure Zimbabwean talents as their stone sculptures are displayed throughout the park.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls – Dubbed by CNN as one of Seven Wonders of the World, this majestic beauty – this waterfall is found on the Zambezi River by the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park – its grasslands are the home to the wildest African dogs, Elephants, and even lions. It’s the largest Natural Reserve in Zimbabwe.

Other areas/restaurants/parks:

  • Paula’s (Cafe/bar) – 0.5 km
  • Food Lovers (Supermarket) – 0.5 km
  • Victoria 22 (Restaurant) – 3 km
  • Newlands Market (Market) – 4 km
  • Haka Game Park – 6 km
  • Domboshawa – 20 km

Monkey Dividers

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Wavell House

1. How much does accommodation cost at the Wavell House?

Prices are around $130 – $180 USD per night, depending on the type of accommodation you want. Check the latest room rates through the hotel’s website or online booking websites like Tripadvisor, & Booking.com.

2. What is the check-in time and check-out time?

Check in is from 14:00 – Midnight, Check out is from 6 AM – 11 AM

3. Are children allowed?

No, children cannot be accommodated in this hotel.

4. Can you smoke here?

Rooms are non-smoking. There are designated areas for smoking, ask the staff!

5. Are pets allowed?

Pets are strictly not allowed!

6. What amenities do they have?

Go back to the amenities portion of this article.

7. Are there available promos to save money?

Yes, check the lodge’s website!

8. What are the closest landmarks to the Wavell House?

The Newlands shopping center in Harare is nearby!

9. Are popular attractions nearby?

Victoria Falls but it’s an hour flight away which would cost you around $180 for a return flight ticket.

10. What is the nearest airport?

Harare International Airport is 12 Km away from the Wavell House! You have to pay $30 for the taxi.

Note: I stayed as a guest in Wavell House. However, all opinions are based on my personal experience.

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One thought on “Wavell House, The Best Kept Secret in Harare, Zimbabwe

  1. This is definitely an ideal holiday destination, great pics and outstanding services! thanks for sharing.

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.