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Tongabezi Lodge, Livingstone (Vic Falls)

The Best Room I have Ever Stayed In

I had the privilege of staying at Tongabezi in May, 2013 in both a river cottage and the Tree House.

The Tree House is a magical place that is unbelievable. I enjoyed candlelit baths whilst watching the sunset and the monkeys playing in the trees, I fell asleep whilst listening to hippos in the river, I enjoyed aperitivo whilst watching the sunset and taking amazing photos and I woke to mist on the Zambezi that was as thick as soup but lifted as the sun rose. I felt like a princess whilst at Tongabezi and kept busy over the four days enjoying many of the activities the lodge and Livingstone has to offer.

I loved it all – an elephant ride, a lion walk, the lunar rainbow, rafting the Zambezi, helicopter flight (make sure you do not just the falls but also the gorge), of course the amazing Victoria Falls (go at least two times for optimum viewing and photo opportunities), sunset cruise, Tongazbezi School visit and visiting the local village - Simonga Village.

I found visiting the Tongabezi School and walking over to Simonga Village to be very humbling experiences that are necessary to give all tourists a reality check. Tongabezi Lodge offers employment to many of the local villagers and also an education to the employees children which is a wonderful opportunity for these children. The school is also happy to accept donations of school items as well as monetary donations to continue their great work. You can check out the website to find out what the school needs if you are travelling to Tongabezi.

I didn't stop during my stay and I had a brilliant guide to take me everywhere. At all times I felt safe and secure whilst learning about life in Zambia.

The staff make every effort to engage with guests and to assist them with anything they need. Your own personal butler will always be there to assist you with anything you need and to keep your room and launder your clothes. Tongabezi has a dedicated activities coordinator who can also make any arrangements you require as well as arranging transfers to these activities. Be aware that some activities are included in the price of the room which they will be happy to discuss with you.

It does take approximately 30 minutes to get to Victoria Falls. I would suggest that you visit the falls at least two times to get an appreciation of the grandeur of such an amazing spectacle. I found that it wasn’t necessary to use a rain poncho during the day but be prepared the water is “fresh”. With the heat of the midday sun you will dry off quickly. Just remember to have a towel with you when you get back into the car. If you are lucky to be there during the lunar rainbow period then definitely take advantage of seeing a rainbow at nighttime. Victoria Falls is one of the few places in the world to see this and is absolutely beautiful. Photography enthusiasts will need to have a tripod as well as a camera with a slow shutter speed to get optimum results.

Tongabezi has great food, drinks and service that guests can enjoy whilst watching the Zambezi flow past. The lodge caters to all tastes so if you have any dietary requirements then let them know. The normal routine was 3 options offered for entrée/main with one being a vegetarian option. House wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks/water was provided with all meals and included in the price of the stay. The food was tasty and I never once felt hungry. Dining was done either on the main dining deck, undercover in their dining area, in the observation area, out on a floating pontoon, on the jetty or on the deck of your own room. Plenty of magical places to enjoy the Zambezi views under the stars.

I was travelling solo and everyone was always happy to greet me by name and with a smile and a chat. I can't wait to go back to Tongabezi to show my parents what heaven on earth really is. I would thoroughly recommend it above any of the mainstream hotels in Livingstone.

Room Tip: If you can reserve the Tree House then I would thoroughly recommend it.


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