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“Romance on the river, burglary on the balcony” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa

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The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Riverside Drive, off Sichango Road, Livingstone 10101, Zambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Romance on the river, burglary on the balcony”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

This is a wonderful place to stay and base your exploration of Mosi-oa-Tunya. It's not in the Zambian national park, but it's a very short drive away. As others have mentioned, it's perhaps not as ritzy as some of its competitors, but you get about 95 percent of the ritziness for 50 percent of the price. The food was superb, the service so good that two years from having stayed there I remember the desk clerk's name and the name of the guide who took us on the river cruise.

We stayed in a room that had a balcony facing Zimbabwe and the river. What a wonderfully peaceful place to spend an evening watching the water go by and the sun go down. In the distance you can see the Smoke That Thunders; close-up you can see crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks.

The dining area was much nicer than we might have expected, and the meals were superb. We ate breakfasts on a deck overlooking the boat launch and it was just about the best breakfast I've ever had in Africa.

My wife and I took the Zambezi River Lady Livingstone cruise where we saw all sorts of wildlife, but mainly the elephants were in control of the patch of the river where we were. I recommend the cruise mainly because you will fall in love with the scenery, but you will also learn something if you listen to the guide.

The bedroom/sleeping area is romantic, with the white mosquito net resembling a bridal veil. While the entire lodge is up to Western standards, the important thing about it is that the details don't let the traveller forget you are in Africa.

Which brings me to my warning here: the monkeys are very naughty. The day we were leaving my wife was in the shower and I was packing the bags. She had left the balcony door open to let some fresh air in. Big mistake. In comes a vervet monkey with a monkey on his back, figuratively speaking, because he headed straight for the liquor bottles we had placed in the trash. I shooed him and he got away with a mostly empty bottle of wine and my wife's shoe. Fortunately, he dropped the shoe on the balcony.

Unfortunately the words I used to shoo the monkey "Get out of here you f----' monkey!" upset my wife, because she came out of the shower with a towel around her demanding to know just who I was calling a monkey. I told her I was calling the monkey a monkey. At that point, the monkey returned with all his monkey pals and then didn't my wife and the monkeys get into it. I'd post the video except the towel slipped a little during the standoff and this is a family-friendly site.

Nothing worse than a monkey with a snootful of liquid courage when it comes to picking fights with the tourists, I guess. Finally, I played peacemaker and suggested that if we just closed the balcony door, not only would the monkeys stop bothering us, they couldn't bite us and send us to the hospital for whatever treatment you need when a belligerent monkey bites you. My wife wanted to keep fighting them for a while longer but sanity at last prevailed.

This is not to say that's any of this drama was the lodge's fault. There are signs telling you not to feed the wildlife; apparently, some people didn't read the signs and now the monkeys are drunks. But should you leave the door open on the balcony, be clear that your stuff will be lifted by tiny sticky fingers when you come back.

I plan to go back whenever I can. It has everything you need and the staff makes you feel at home. (I checked Feb. 2012 as my travel date but really this review was for a stay in Dec. 2010.)

Room Tip: You might ask for the riverfront rooms that are least accessible to monkeys. If you sit outside afte...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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236 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

My husband, sister-in-law and I have just returned after staying at the lodge for 10 days, as soon as you approach the lodge you cant help but be impressed by the entrance overlooking the Zambezi river which is beautiful. Unfortunately during our stay my sister-in-law was taken ill and had to receive medical help, the hotel staff including management did everything to help us from arranging food to be taken to the medical centre as well as supporting us in any way they could. They were fantastic and alleviated alot of stress. My sister-in-law recovered and we were able to recommence our holiday. We booked our excursions through the activity centre at the lodge who were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, the trips were fantastic and would definately recommend the 'walk with the lions' to the 'elephant ride'. The rooms were very comfortable with fantastic views overlooking the Zambezi river. My only contructive critism would be that the evening food was buffet style and became a little 'same as same as' and was yearning for something a little less spicy with not so much herbs, other guests had similar comments, if this were improved the whole experience of staying at this lodge would be 'Excellent'. The service at this hotel cannot be faulted in any shape or form, they were wonderful.

Room Tip: Request a room overlooking the Zambesi river - it is breathtaking.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

My daughter and I stayed here for 3 nights during the first week of December, 2012. The lodge is not as ritzy as the nearby Royal Livingstone or the Victoria Falls Hotel across the gorge in Zimbabwe. But it's an excellent upscale alternative that will cost you less.

The property is located directly on the Zambezi River and is actually the departure point for the Lady Livingstone sunset cruise, a popular and worthy local activity made super convenient when you're a hotel guest. All other excursions can be arranged easily in the hotel's tour office. We had no hitches in any of the arrangements we made here. It's a five-minute ride to downtown Livingstone, or to the falls. The hotel grounds are nice, with a moderate but decent-sized pool, and there are a number of decks and seating areas with patches of well-attended gardens.

The rooms are not enormous but big enough with a very nice bed (two doubles squniched together) and a modern, tasteful bathroom. It is possible to see through the slats a tad into the shower area from the bedding area, though, which required a little attention since I was here with my adult kid, not my wife, but we worked it out. You have two chairs on a small deck with a view of the river through trees (we were in 144, perhaps some other rooms have a clearer view?). A vervet monkey was sitting on our deck rail as we first entered the room and you have to remember to keep your big fold-out porch doors latched when you're away to avoid monkey invasions. The doors do not meet the floor tightly, either, so expect visits from the occasional beetle or spider. The mosquito net around the bed is pretty much standard in Africa and did the trick against insects. Keeping the lights off when you're out in the evening is probably not a bad idea (there's a room safe, so no worries). But we were not overrun by bugs, by any means. There were no roaches on patrol. In general, the property is clean and well appointed. Oh yeah, we also got a small frog one night in the room, but that was actually desireable! We placed him back outside after a close inspection.

The restaurant is open-air with friendly staff. Breakfast is included with the room. Other meals are not but we didn't feel the prices were all that bad. Our exit bill for food, bar drinks, and a couple of sips of the hotel's wifi service came to $164 US for 3 days. I think that was 2 dinners and two lunches, and a couple of bar visits for the two of us, plus the wifi.

You can buy 2-hour chunks of wifi, by the way, for $6 US each. It's a little hinky, so make sure you stay connected and aren't accidently being switched to expensive satellite service! They have no computer access for guests (a little dissappointing), but if you email them documents like boarding passes from your iPhone, they'll gladly print them out. Back to the food, the quality was generally good with upscale presentation. There was one pasta dish my daughter didn't like all that well, but mostly, it was tasty eating. Ask them to make you a yummy omlette in the morning. While you wait, you can feed off the ample breads, rolls, fruit and meats on the breakfast bar. You will not starve here, that's for certain.

In general, I thought the location was great for accessing Victoria Falls and the Zimbabwe border. The guides they contracted were all excellent and on-time. I would recommend heading over to Zimbabwe for the Zim side Vic Falls tour, but I would do this with a guide because it takes all of the confusion out of the complicated border-crossing procedure. If you're not the tour-guide type, a cab ride to the falls or town is about $10 US round trip. The hotel staff can get that together for you.

By the way, the four-circle rating I gave this place could have easily been 5, if not for the hinky wifi and the lack of a computer and printer for guests to use. Everything else about this hotel is really pretty top-notch and just only a rung or two under the pricier Royal Livingstone down river, which is insanely ritzy. You can check that hotel out if you take the Livingstone Island tour as it leaves from that property.

Room Tip: 144 on the ground floor had a river view that was partly obscured by trees and was near the boat lau...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012 via mobile

We had great time, we found the place by mistake and it was one of the best mistake we had, great rooms, food and service we defiantly will be back next time in Zambia. The place is on the shore of the Zambezi, you can sit and enjoy and relax.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bath
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Be prepared for a wonderful view on entry , disregard the dusty track off the main road ,all will be well.
The hotel has been well maintained and the standard of reception is a good foretatse of this medium sized friendly hotel.It is further from the falls than some competitors but leads right onto the river.A River cruise sets off from the hotel .
The gardens lead down to the Zambesi and the infinity pool likewise.
Dining is in the open fronted restaurant or bar snacks on the terrace.In the evenings there may be local(good) music , see photo.
Dinner was good with daily specials as well as set items.Try the local Beer That Thunders !
The hotel has a knowledgable activities sales women who can fix most local visits and activities.

Room Tip: Go for a River view , well worth the extra Work out trips before arrival as ther is a lot of choice...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Backnang, Germany
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

We stayed 3 nights and have enjoyed every single moment. The reception was very helpful and freindly. The breakfast was offering all you can ever think off. The staff was friendly and decent in their service. The place is clean and has a very romantic athmosphere. We saw direct from our room over the Sambesi river with animals. Direct in front we saw baboons and hippos.... So amazing! We felt no secon as foreigners but like living with a friendly family.

Room Tip: Always go for a room with view over the river!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kernersville, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

A great place to stay and relax. Right on the Zambezi River and the sunset cruise is a must. The entire staff was so friendly and worked hard to make sure everything was to your satisfaction. The food was very good and it was great to eat while watching elephants and hippos nearby in the river. An easy trip to Victoria Falls from the hotel. You can see the mist from the falls while sitting on the outside deck.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa

Address: Riverside Drive, off Sichango Road, Livingstone 10101, Zambia
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 43 Specialty Lodging in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 77
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The lodge offers visitors a restaurant, bar, conference facilities, suitable to cater for large groups and the individual traveler, with a variety of safari excursions and activities in and around the falls. The Lodge consists of 77 rooms, all en-suite, of which 5 are suites and 2 rooms accommodate the differently abled comfortably. All rooms look out over the Mighty Zambezi and a leisurely sun downer can be enjoyed from your private balcony. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
David Livingstone Safari Hotel Livingstone
David Livingstone Safari Lodge And Spa

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