Royal Livingstone Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zambia

The Royal Livingstone Hotel at the Victoria Falls in Zambia is quite simply amazing. It is not that cheap, but is in a glorious location with glorious service and a totally wonderful experience.

The hotel is situated right on the banks of the very impressive Zambezi River, and you can sit on a large deck having sundowners and watch the river flow by before it thunders over the gorge (You can see the spray from the Falls from the hotel), or even as you lie by the pool watch the river. It is situated in a large nature reserve which has 2 hotels owned by the same chain called Sun International. The Zambezi Sun is closest to the Falls and the Royal Livingstone is about 10 minutes walk to there.

There is also a hotel shuttle bus that can take you to and from each hotel, and you can use their facilities and sign them to your room. The Zambezi Sun is targeted more at families and a more value offer, and the Royal Livingstone target a more luxury and couples market and costs around US$510 a night. You can walk to the Falls easily and this is a real advantage.

The hotel attracts a mostly European travellers, with some Americans and a lot of Eastern Europeans. It did not seem to attract South Africans and this may be that with exchanges rates (as everything is in US$ unlike at the sister Zambezi Sun which was in local currency) it is too costly.

Before the troubles in Zimbabwe, few people stayed on the Zambian side and now the Zambian side is growing faster and attracting more tourists. The Royal Livingstone feels like it has been there forever, but it only opened in about 2001. They did a wonderful job at creating a kind of colonial and established feel that was such a draw for the famous Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. It is apparently the only Five Star hotel in Zambia

In the park the 2 hotels are in there is some wild life. There are many very naughty monkeys who will attempt to raid your table for sugar at meals of you sit outside. There are some giraffe, impala and then a herd of zebras who seem to enjoy walking to and from each of the hotels to graze and be seen. Some evenings they would stand next to the terrace when people were eating for hours.

The rooms are not massive bit nicely and stylishly done. There is a large comfortable king bed, TV with good selection of satellite channels, seat, tea and coffee making facilities and a large bathroom with huge shower and great bath.

As regards facilities go, there is an internet room with a number of PCs that had quite fast access and was free. The pool is a good size and has comfortable chairs. The pool tends to be quite quiet as most people stay for 1 or 2 nights and seem to head off all day doing activities. There is a large lounge and great bar. High tea is a feature and is served from 3pm to 5pm which attracts many visitors to the hotel, as do the cocktails at sundown on the deck. There is a lot of activities on offer that you can book in the area through the activities desk.

Breakfast is a fantastic and huge buffet, and lunch is served also in the restaurant but is very quiet. The bar has light food until 7pm. The restaurant at night is popular and has a good menu and lots of variety.

The hotel has a lot of staff and service is fantastic. I really loved the hotel and recommend it highly. I will go back.



Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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