Perched on the banks of the Zambezi River in view of the spray rising from famed Victoria Falls, the colonial-style Royal Livingstone Hotel is an ideal locale for experiencing the falls from the Zambia side of the gorge. Fronting a grand expanse of lawn that sprawls down to the river's edge, the hotel enjoys a location steeped in history: David Livingstone stood on nearby Livingstone Island at the lip of the falls in 1855, naming the the great cataract in honor of his queen.
The Royal Livingstone offers 173 air-conditioned en suite guest rooms including twin- and king-bedded rooms to larger suites, as well as 17 individual riverbank residences. Each room is decorated with blend of Victorian elegance and African warmth and boasts a private terrace looking out toward the Zambezi River. Every detail evokes period ambience, from the lamps, the magnificent paintings and the black and white photographs of early pioneers. The elegant lobby is open to the outdoors where you'll find a swimming pool on the expansive lawn and a broad deck built over the river – the perfect afternoon spot to savor a cool drink and view the spray of the falls. Zebra and giraffe often wander the grounds. High tea, dinner and drinks are served in the lounge, bar and dining room, or a private dinner can be arranged beneath the "Monkey Tree." The spa offers a full range of treatments in a river-facing gazebo or indoors.
Luxurious Toka Leya Camp enjoys a prime location overlooking the Zambezi River. The east side of the camp is shaded beneath a canopy of trees, while the west side enjoys an open setting next to an ancient baobab tree. Wildlife around the camp includes elephants and crocodiles along the riverbanks and islands, and plenty of resident hippo that often create a ruckus nearby. A wide variety of birds are also on display.
The camp's 12 tents are raised on stilts and connected by wooden walkways to the main common area, minimizing the footprint on the land. Tent interiors utilize earthy hues in harmony with the natural environs. All have private shaded wooden decks with expansive views over the Zambezi’s braided channels. Each tent has individual climate control settings to ensure a cool summer sanctuary. Gauzy mosquito nets are draped over poster beds, and spacious en suite bathrooms have double-basin vanities and large showers. The camp’s shared central area incorporates a lounge with plush sofas and reading lamps, a bar, and a canvas-sheltered dining area complete with traditional pizza oven. A swimming pool is surrounded by a large wooden sun deck with lounge chairs overlooking the river.
Activities in the area include a Victoria Falls tour, sunset cruises, and guided nature walks and game drives in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, home to Cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala and more. A special highlight includes the possibility of spotting a white rhinoceros in the park. Guests can also explore the town of Livingstone and its museums, and a nearby village. A visit to the village offers a chance to see how local people live, with insights into their culture and traditions. Other activities available at an additional charge include helicopter flights, canoeing, jet boating and whitewater rafting.
The River Club
The River Club is one of Africa’s most coveted accommodations. Set on the banks of the Zambezi River just over 11 miles upriver from world-famous Victoria Falls, this Edwardian-style house with manicured lawns and 11 guest chalets offers a blend of historic colonial ambience with best of African culture and hospitality.
Each luxury chalet is elevated above the riverbank and has a comfortable bedroom and sitting area. The main level’s en suite bathroom has a shower, flush toilet and sink. A second bathroom, located down a flight of stairs, features a clawfoot soaking tub overlooking the river. A complete wall of windows on one side of the luxury chalet is all that separates you from the waterfront. Sink into the plush window-front couch for uninterrupted views of the flowing Zambezi and the hippos and crocodiles that inhabit it. The main area of the lodge maintains a homey feel, with a comfortable lounge, dining room, library and broad veranda. Most meals are served in the shade of the trees and within view of the River Club’s lush gardens, though indoor dining is also an option. A croquet court, pool, deck with hammocks and lounge chairs, and a wellness center welcome guests to relax after a long flight or a day spent exploring the environs around Livingstone.
Activities available to River Club guests include sunset cruises and visits to Victoria Falls, Simonga Village, local markets and Livingstone town, which dates back to the early 1900s. The David Livingstone Museum is another interesting attraction, housing many of the explorer’s personal possessions and memoirs. For adventure seekers, high-adrenaline activities such as whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, abseiling and helicopter flights over the falls are also available at an additional cost. Guests interested in wildlife may enjoy a game drive in nearby Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, home to an abundance of wildlife including buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala and elephant—plus the potential to spot a white rhinoceros. Birdlife in the area is also rewarding, with frequent sightings of several rare species such as Schalow’s turaco, African finfoot, half-collared kingfisher, African skimmer, rock pratincole and collared palm thrush. Fishing is also possible, with tiger fish and bream the most common catches.
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