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“Zambia and the David Livingstone were great.” 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
Brisbane, Queensland
Top Contributor
342 reviews 342 reviews
140 hotel reviews
Reviews in 182 cities Reviews in 182 cities
385 helpful votes 385 helpful votes
“Zambia and the David Livingstone were great.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2009

We (father & teenage son) stayed at the David Livingstone for a few nights in June 2008, and I have to say it was excellent.

Our accommodation (second floor room with a balcony overlooking the Zambezi River) was well appointed (flat screen TV, separate bathroom – rather classy, up a few stairs from the bedroom, with 2 basins, separate bath and shower, separate toilet – comfortable bed with mosquito nets, chair and desk). There was a nice turn-down service in the evening, too.

The reception staff was enormously helpful – I can’t say enough about them. We were to have stayed in Zimbabwe as part of a tour, but due to Australia’s travel warning about Zimbabwe announced after the tour started, Peregrine in Australia made hurried arrangements to accommodate us at this hotel in Zambia. So the reception staff was faced with trying to arrange transfers, tours, etc, for us on the run, and especially as to how we were to get to our next tour destination, and assure us that all was well. They handled it well, and kept us informed.

The activities staff were brilliant too – being two girls who arranged for our microlight flight over the Victoria Falls (excellent – highly recommended), a game walk/rhino walk (rather sad, as there is only 1 remaining white rhino in the nearby Mosi oa Tunya National Park, under 24 hour armed guard – poachers got the second last one in 2007) and Zambezi River sunset cruise. My thanks to them both.

Those interested in the lion encounter at Victoria Falls might check the forum on this site on this topic, and make your own decision.

The Lodge’s facilities were very good. We didn’t try the pool, but the bar and restaurant, with open areas to overlooking the river were very pleasant, and the food (buffet style dinner and breakfast) was terrific. I was able to get internet access using the hotel’s laptop provided at reception. They organised some rapid laundering of essentials on a Sunday afternoon for us too.

At the dock adjoining the hotel is a 3 storey vessel called the Lady Livingstone, on which we embarked on our Zambezi River sunset cruise arranged through the girls at the activities office. Constant drinks, nibbles, wildlife (elephant, hippos, crocodiles on the islands in the river) and a great sunset are provided. It was well worth it.

The Falls themselves are awesome. A tip – you will get soaking wet if you follow the whole route, so the ponchos offered are a good idea, especially if you have passports and wads of paper cash in your pocket or wallet, or a camera.

All in all, this was great accommodation, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return. That’s not to say that there isn’t somewhere better to stay in the area, but we couldn’t have asked for more from the David Livingstone and its staff.

By the way, as for Zambia itself, the roads are generally dreadful (it is a poor country, after all – remember that when you tip), but the people were uniformly lovely. Everyone we met (irrespective of colour) was happy, smiling helpful and polite. We even found a taxi driver, Herbert, who amused us by singing “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo” – the theme to the TV show he loved as a child.

This was a great experience and I’d recommend it to those considering visiting Africa.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
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Surrey
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2009

We recently had the pleasure of staying here during a visit to Zambia. The lodge is right on the Zambezi, so much so that conversations were constantly interrupted by the sounds of hippos in the river!

The main building is a beautiful thatch complex that fits neatly into the surrounding bush. Not large hotel grounds other than the areas around the pool and decks, but who needs grounds when you have the RIVER.

We stayed in 2 adjoining bedrooms on the first floor with more beautiful views of the river, no more than 50 meters away, enhanced by the fold-away doors leading to a little balcony. The bathrooms were of a high standard with separate bath and shower.
Negatives about the rooms included stinginess with the amount of bottled water supplied, especially as the tap water is not drinkable. Two small bottles per day per room is a little mean. They were also stingy with the towels provided, both rooms were initially equipped with a single bath and hand towel. After requesting extra towels twice, we were given only one extra bath towel, which was quite a small, threadbare affair. Bathroom linens should not be skimped on in this kind of lodge. Stinginess detracts from any feelings of luxury you have upon first entering the lodge.

I agree with one of the previous posters regarding the quality of the food. Although the buffet breakfast and dinner offer an abundance of variety, foodies will be disappoint by the quality of produce and the level of cooking. The head chef is a very friendly guy who sadly has fallen into the trap of more is more. He presents strange food combinations like tomato and peanut soup, perhaps in an attempt to hide the poor quality of the basic ingredients. At nearly $170 per dinner for a family of 4, quality matters. Everything additional costs a fortune - $10 for a cup of coffee.
The staff at the hotel is well trained and truly friendly.
The hotel could also be more proactive in arranging professional transport for their guests, you could easily end up with someone's cousin's neighbour as your taxi driver in his broken, barely running car. This happened to us when we went to have cocktails at the Royal Livingstone Hotel...arrived in a clapped out smoking wreck...very embarrassing!

Overall Zambia is a fantastic destination with refreshingly friendly people who are rightfully proud of their country.
The Victoria falls are spectacular, no picture in the world can convey the humbling yet invigorating experience of standing there with the spray in your face! Note: bring your own waterproof parka or else you'll be forced to rent one of the smelly ones from the local vendors. It's like walking into the shower with your clothes and shoes on, wear shorts and sandals!

The river boat safari is worth the cost! Getting up close and personal with swimming hippos and elephants, stopping for a picnic lunch on one of the deserted islands in the middle of the Zambezi river, having G&Ts whilst feeling the wind on your face and the thunder of the falls in your ears...

The flying fox and gorge swing experience is a thrill we will be repeating! The staff are well trained and highly professional with pleasingly reassuring safety measures in place!

Lastly don't miss cocktails on the river deck of the Royal Livingstone Hotel whilst watching the sun set over the mighty Zambezi...spectacular!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2009

This Lodge was recommended to us by Wild Wings Safaris and we were not disappointed. It is superbly located on the banks of the Zambezi River approx 7km from Victoria Falls, the spray from which can be seen and just heard from the river bank. Getting to the hotel is quite an experience! The roads around the town of Livingstone are not the best and the road to The David Livingstone Safari Lodge is just terrible. It is not very long, but the fact that your driver has to zig-zag all the way along it to avoid the crater-like pot-holes must double the distance! Once off the little tarmac that remains, the driveway to the hotel is a bumpy dirt track. But once you arrive, you tend to forget your boneshaking drive because the Lodge itself is simply magnificent.

Some of the problems mentioned earlier seem to have been rectified. For example, we had a safe in our room. However, I agree with an earlier comment that the food did not quite live up to the high standards of the rest of the hotel, not that it was bad, just average. Breakfast was however excellent with a huge buffet selection and the option of cooked breakfast with a chef on hand to cook whatever else you may want. The dining areas are superb, open plan overlooking the Zambezi River and the service was exceptional. All the staff, from our hosts Chada and Andrew to the waiting staff and tour booking clerks, were very friendly and helpful.

Our room was very comfortable and well appointed. Though not very big, this didn't matter as we didn't anticipate spending too much time in the room as there is so much to do and see. Once we had settled in we took the Sunset Cruise on the Lady Livingstone and found it a most relaxing and pleasant way to spend the evening after our flight from Cape Town.

We took a helicopter flight over the Falls from the helipad which is just next door to the Lodge. This is a MUST DO at Victoria Falls! Later we took a guided walk and experienced another MUST DO, getting drenched by the Falls' spray!

One of the highlights of our holiday, if not our whole lives(!), was a Lion Walk in the national park near Livingstone. This was a guided walk in the bush with two young lions and it was a most awesome experience!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Victoria Falls and our stay at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa made the experience all the more special. We would love to go there again someday by which time we hope they'll have fixed the roads!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2009

The hotel itself is quite nice with a spectacular view of the river as soon as you walk in. The staff are well trained and extremely friendly. Also the activities desk of the hotel is competent and offers basically all there is to do in Zambia. Unfortunately due to high water levels the swimming pool was flooded so we could not enjoy the pool. The room is comfortable, pleasently decorated with a good size bathroom. At the time of our stay the rooms were in an excellent, clean condition.
We had 2 treatments at the spa and they really were fantastic.
Leaving the harshest comments for last: the food was extremely disappointing. The management of the hotel should really get their act together and hire a decent chef to put together edible tasty dishes. I mean they are anyway spending the money on ingredients- why not add some quality in the way dishes are put together. Also there is the need for a pastry chef as the hotel would honestly be offering a better pudding if was an instant pudding powder mix. The food is of the quality of a 2* establishment- if that- it just really was a juxtapososition compared to the pretty lodge. Also ordering any meals outside the included meals (we had dinner and breakfast included) is extremely expensive and given the poor quality of the dishes, you feel really done in. The quality of food you have on a trip can really affect the entire experience.Also when we stayed there, the fitness centre had no equipment.

I definitely would recommend the elephant safari- really a lifetime experience
Also the half an hour helicopter experience in phenomenal (you literally fly into the gorges). Its worth the margi n on he 15 min flight as you see much more and have a better experience! Also the river safari is a much better experience than a the sundowner cruise. You are on a smaller boat so you get to go to parts that you can on the cruise and the boat is quicker to get to a place once an animal had been spotted.

  • Stayed April 2009
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southampton
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2009

absolutely fabulous place to stay - staff are excellent

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devizes, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
84 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2009

Great base for exploring Vic Falls - 100% recommend. New, spacious, well designed 5* rooms with gorgeous bathrooms and full fronted views onto Zambezi River. Staff are great and food served of very high quality. It is not the closest hotel to the Falls but that really doesn't matter one bit, you don't get any benefit from being closer anyway. Many guests we spoke to had also previously stayed at the Royal Livingstone and said this was much better.

The only thing I would say to avoid would be the Sunset Cruise which was over priced and pretty boring...

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2009

Loved the understated style of this new resort. Great position right on the Zambezi River. So nice sitting by the pool right on the river watching the sunset. The staff were friendly and helpful. The restaurant also enjoys a view over the river - the meals were good and wait staff attentive. The falls are fabulous. We were sorry to leave.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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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