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Livingstone & Victoria Falls

The magnificent Victoria Falls are known by the local people as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “the smoke which thunders”.  The Falls, which were discovered by David Livingstone in 1885 and named after his Queen, are the result of the mighty Zambezi River which tumbles to a depth of 300 feet over a basalt fault line which is about a mile wide.  They are one of the greatest natural wonders of the world and a must for any first time visitor to Zambia.

There is far more to do at Victoria Falls than to marvel at the Falls themselves; upstream where the Zambezi is calm and placid, sundowner cruises and gentle canoe trips along the game rich banks could make the order of the day.  But once the river has taken its plunge, you will get a different experience altogether; for those with the courage, the rapids immediately downstream of the Falls offer some of the most exciting white water rafting you can find anywhere in the world.

There is also a spectacular excursion to be made on foot. The rainforest opposite the Falls is a unique swathe of dense tropical vegetation which thrives on the spray thrown up throughout the year.

But the ultimate view of this natural wonder can only be seen from the air. The ‘Flight of Angels’ provides a fabulous view of the upstream river and its many islands, the spray from the Falls as it is kicked a thousand feet into the sky, and the tortuous zigzag of the gorge downstream.

A visit to Livingstone Island is another treat in store for guests to this area. The island sits at the top of the Falls themselves, with access being by boat and a maximum of only two people are allowed on the island at any one time. It is therefore advisable to make an early booking if you would like to enjoy this great place.

There are many accommodation options in Livingstone ranging from luxury hotels and lodges through to local budget camps, kindly have a look at some of the lodges, camps and hotels in this area listed on this page below.

We are you independent safari and travel experts for Zambia so please feel free to contact is if you have any questions that are not covered by this site. Remember, a safari is an adventure and we are there to plan and organise your safari while Zambia is waiting to reveal its secrets to you.

Where to stay – Livingstone 

Islands of Siankaba

One of the private camps up-stream from Livingstone itself, this is ideal for those spending looking for more than just a brief glimpse of the Falls.

The camp is on a stretch of the Zambezi River where the main channel has split and the river runs between numerous small islands. The camps is set on two of these islands; the first that you arrive on from the mainland houses the central dining and bar area as well as the pool – then a small suspended plank bridge takes you over to the 2nd island where 7 large tents on raised decks are joined by wooden walkways. The islands have dense vegetation giving each room a very secluded feel.

Because of its distance from Livingstone and the Falls, we feel this camp is better suited to those looking to spend 3 or more days in the area. It is close to the Kazungula pontoon and day trips to the Chobe National Park in Botswana are organised. This is an excellent option for those wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of Livingstone town and the area immediately surrounding the falls.

  • 7 wood and canvas chalets on raised platforms
  • Open all year round
  • Children 10 years and older welcome
  • Swimming pool
  • Rates include airport transfers, a trip to the falls,      river cruises, and local walks
  • Transfer from Livingstone Airport – 50 minutes

Stanley Safari Lodge

This camp is set up on a hill to the east of the Falls themselves as such it has spectacular views of the spray from the Falls in the foreground and then extensive views stretching away to Zimbabwe, Botswana and even Namibia in the distance. The view really does come close to making up for the fact that this lodge is set away from the main river.

There are open suites and also standard cottages, the semi-formal gardens are a great place to enjoy breakfasts and the central open fronted main area that overlooks the pool, the gardens and the aforementioned view is well designed and furnished. This lodge is now run by Robin Pope Safaris.

This camp is priced slightly below most of its up-market competitors and is a great option, they offer the full menu of activities that are available around the Livingstone area, all of these can be organised on your arrival in camp and are charged extra.

  • 10 stone and thatched chalets – both open fronted and enclosed with glass windows
  • 4 suites with private plunge pool and deck
  • Open all year round
  • Children 12 years and older
  • Swimming pool
  • 20 minutes by road from Livingstone airport and 10 minutes from the Falls

Sussi & Chuma Lodge

The main camp has 12 chalets and then there are 2 Chuma Houses each with 2 bedrooms which are ideal for families or friends travelling together. The camp has been completely refurbished since it was taken over in 2007 by Sanctuary Retreats and is now one of the better places to choose from in the Livingstone area.

The camp is set right on the river; the round rooms are large and well furnished with outside bathrooms offering great views to the river. The two storied main building is again very conscious of the great views to the river. The main camp is not child friendly with a lower age limit of nine years but children of all ages are welcome in the Chuma houses.

  • 12 air conditioned tree-houses connected by stilted wooden walkways
  • 2 Chuma houses with 2 bedrooms each, ideal for family groups.
  • Swimming pool and Revitalising spa treatments
  • Children 9 years and older are accepted at Sussi and all ages accepted at the Chuma Houses.
  • Chuma Houses offer exclusivity with en-suite, a private plunge pool and own chef
  • Open all year round
  • Transfer from Livingstone airport to camp only 20 minutes

Tongabezi Lodge

The camp was built by 2 Englishmen back in the very early 90’s. For most of its early years the Zimbabwe side of the river was more popular than the Zambian side and this camp stood almost alone as an exclusive private lodge of high standing but on the Zambian side. Things have changed considerably in the past decade as the emphasis has changed from the Zimbabwean side over to Zambia and plenty of investment has been ploughed into the area, there are now plenty of camps challenging Tongabezi for the mantel of the most exclusive destination on the Zambian side but Tongabezi has always managed to combine innovative design with great service and so remains to this day one of the better options in the area.

The standard river cottages were all re-furbished a few years ago, out went the meru-style tents and in came more of that now famous Tongabezi design style. The 5 cottages are complimented by 5 individually designed houses; the Tree House, Bird House, Honeymoon House, Dog House and most recently the Nut House. There is also the Garden house which has two rooms and is set within its own walled garden but away from the main river front.

  • 20 beds
  • stone and thatch cottages and Houses
  • Open all year round
  • Swimming pool
  • Children 7 years and older
  • Aromatherapy massage
  • Transfer from Livingstone Airport – 30 minutes

Sindabezi Island Camp

This camp is situated on an island, about 3kms downstream from Tongabezi and is accessed by boat from the main lodge. It underwent a complete re-furbishment and re-opened in July 2009, the 5 rooms are now beautifully designed with open fronts and decks reaching out to the river as it flows gently past.

Not the camp for those wanting to be out and about exploring all the activities available in the Falls area but ideal if you are keen to enjoy an idyllic hide-away, an exclusive setting and something really, just a little bit different.

  • 5 open-sided thatched cottages
  • Open year round
  • Children 14 years and older
  • Transfer from Tongabezi Lodge – 15 minutes by motorized boat or 1hr by canoe
  • No electrical power for recharging

Tangala House

This is the private residence of Ben and Vanessa Parker the owners of Tongabezi, they tend to travel over Christmas, Easter and in the European summertime so these are the only times the house is available for rent. It will sleep up to 8 guests and comes fully staffed and with pets to boot. This is a very special destination for anyone looking for exclusivity and a family atmosphere whilst visiting the Falls area. You can’t get away from the fact that this is a private house inhabited most of the time by its owners but that only adds to its attraction.

The house itself is beautifully designed and has been featured in several architectural and home style magazines; the garden and pool run down to the river’s edge and hippo and elephant are frequently seen from the house.

  • 8 guests in 3 double en-suite rooms and one twin room
  • Minimum stay of 3 nights
  • Open year round on request
  • Children of any age are welcome
  • Fully serviced (guide, chef, waiter, housekeeper)
  • Livingstone Airport 45 minutes transfer

David Livingstone Lodge and Spar

This is a good option for those wanting affordable luxury in the Livingstone area. It has 72 rooms so it is obviously a hotel rather than a lodge. It is however set right on the river’s edge and is close to town and so convenient of all the activities on offer in the area. It has only recently been built and comes with a spar and wellness centre for those wanting to pamper themselves after the rigors of their safari holiday.

  • Open all year round
  • TV, Radio, alarm clocks and hairdryers in the rooms
  • Children welcome
  • Health and Beauty Spa
  • Swimming Pool

The Royal Livingstone Lodge 

This hotel must occupy one of the most unique sites in all of Africa, its lawns stretch down to the Zambezi River just a few hundred meters upstream from the Falls. The public areas are spectacular with an obvious colonial feel to them and the staff uniforms complement the image. There is no doubt that sitting in the bar area or on the deck overlooking the river and the spray from the Falls is a treat to behold and worth a visit even if you are not resident.

  • Open year round
  • Air-conditioned, satellite TV, a mini safe, telephone & hairdryer in rooms
  • Transfer from Livingstone Airport – 20 minutes
  • Spa and wellness centre on site
  • Children accepted but no 3rd beds are possible

The Zambezi Sun Hotel

All that you might expect from a family friendly 3 star establishment is found here. The hotel blocks are set facing inwards to the rambling swimming pool and bar area, there are no real views of the river or the spray from the Falls which are just meters away. However there is no more convenient place to stay for a visit to the Falls themselves as you only have walk a few minutes from your room to find yourself looking over the precipice.

  • Open year round
  • Air-conditioned, satellite TV, a mini safe, a telephone and tea and coffee maker
  • Transfer from Livingstone Airport – 20 minutes
  • Children welcome

Waterberry Lodge 

Ideal for the more budget conscious clients that are looking for a private lodge feel but not wanting to pay the prices associated with most of the smaller exclusive camps.

  • 7 brick and thatched chalets
  • Open all year round
  • Children welcome
  • Swimming pool
  • 35 minutes road transfer from Livingstone Airport

Toka Leya Camp

Operated by Wilderness, this is a luxurious camp set within the boundaries of the Mosi oa Tunya National Park. There are 12 standard chalets made of canvas and timber on raised wooden decks overlooking the river.

The lodge has its own boats for river cruises and game-viewing vehicles for game-drives although the game in this National Park is only a side attraction for most guests who go elsewhere for the animals and come to Livingstone for the Falls and for the numerous activities available in the area.

  • 12 safari-style tents, plus a family unit
  • Open all year
  • On-site spa
  • Swimming pool
  • Children 6 years and older
  • Road transfer from Livingstone airport to camp 25 minutes

The River Club

This camp has been around since the mid 90’s and is built on a raised part of the river bank some 17 kilometres upstream from the Falls. It is well designed to take advantage of the views across a wide bend in the main river. The central area is delightfully colonial in style with old books and silverware to complete the illusion that one has stepped back in time

The camp sleeps a maximum of 20 guests; the rooms are open fronted and split level as they extend out from the steep river bank. There is a pool with a fantastic elevated view of the river and also a croquet lawn.

  • 10 open-fronted chalets
  • Open year round
  • Treatment house for different Massages
  • Children 6 years and older welcome
  • 30 minutes road transfer from Livingstone Airport