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“Excellent guesthouse” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tabonina Guesthouse

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Tabonina Guesthouse
3 Maisoko Road, Nottie Broad | PO Box 61284, Livingstone, Zambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 15 Livingstone B&B and Inns
Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
516 reviews 516 reviews
336 hotel reviews
Reviews in 336 cities Reviews in 336 cities
666 helpful votes 666 helpful votes
“Excellent guesthouse”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

This place isn't fancy -- and by giving it 5 stars I don't want to imply that it's a luxury stay -- but Tabonina offers excellent value for money. The owners provide outstanding hospitality: my family was even picked up at the Livingstone airport (for free) by the owner because he had the time and thought it would be easier for us. They are also happy to assist you with any questions you might have regarding transport, shopping, sightseeing, dining, etc. The rooms aren't fancy, but they are comfortable in a very "African guesthouse" kind of way. You definitely get a sense of place here, and it's only a short and safe walk into town (worthwhile to have a look, and maybe buy a souvenir or two). You need a taxi to get to the Falls, which I recall costs $10 each way.

Tabonina's rates are very affordable, and much cheaper than you'll likely find across the border in Zimbabwe (alas, if you're coming to see the Falls, you'll want to cross the border because the Zimbabwe side has better views: figure out the visa rules/cost in advance).

I would say even more, but I agree with almost everything written by previous guests. A perfect place to stay for an inexpensive, personalized visit to Livingstone.

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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154 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
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English first
booandkat@gmail.com
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2012

We stayed at the Tabonina Guesthouse for 2 nights in June, 2012. We took a taxi from the airport and the driver did know it. We had the family room, which had a full/queen and two twin beds which was just right for our family. The room was basic and clean, the bathroom had a shower with spotty water pressure; if the housekeeping staff turned on their sink the water would disappear. Bronnah and her husband were very nice and helpful; we got ripped off by the taxi driver they called to drive us to the Falls and they called him and got our money back! The staff arranged our excursions for us; we did the sunset cruise on the Zambezi river the first night, which was a relaxing way to start our trip, and did the elephant safari (nice to ride the elephants but did not see a lot of animals), the helicopter ride over the falls, which was short, expensive and worth it, then arranged our own bungee jump, etc. The guesthouse is a bit of a walk to town, definitely a taxi ride to the falls. Breakfast was basic but arranged to meet our schedule, which was great. Overall a good value.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

Lovely room, comfortable beds, wonderful & helpful staff & hosts (we loved them all), relaxed environment and excellent location. A comfortable walk to central Livingston. My only complaint is that our time at Tabonina was all too brief. When we head back to Zambia, this is definitely where we're stayin'. Knowing that we could always retreat to Tabonina at days end made our stay in Livingston more enjoyable than we had anticipated.

Jan & Glenn, Melbourne, Australia

Room Tip: The best are opposite the pool.
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  • Stayed June 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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Lusaka, Zambia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2012

Beautiful place for families with home-atmospere, very good service, nice people. The Kids enjoyed the Pool, we enjoyed the pool-table. Very fair prices, thats our place in Livingstone.

Many thanks to the owners and the staff, we had a very relaxed time!

Room Tip: We had room 1 with two kids, really nice!
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  • Stayed May 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2012

We stayed at Tabonina for 4 nights with our 18 month old son. The rooms are very clean and spacious, supplied with DSTv, free wifi, Tea/coffee making facilities, mosquito nets. Very comfortable and good quality beds. The atmosphere of the guest house is so relaxed and pleasant that it puts you at ease immediately on arrival. There is a swimming pool just out the rooms with sun beds and we all really enjoyed that. The gardens in the guest house give a great local feel of the place.

The hosts Laurent and Bronnah are very pleasant and warm. They made all bookings for us that we requested. We had to make changes for some activitivites that we were doing that they made all the required phone calls with a smile. The breakfast by the pool every morning was good. It was served at whatever time you wanted. The fresh mango juice from their gardens was a highlight at breakfast time. We even used their kitchen at night times to cook our dinner which was really handy as travelling with a young child. They have a friendly dog Yummy and 2 rabbits and our son loved having them around.

The place is not in town but a short walk away or you can get a taxi for a small charge. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone staying in Livingstone and will be coming back.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Livingstone, Zambia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2012

I spent a week in Tabonina at the end of February 2012 with my wife and 8 year old son, while looking for houses to rent, schools and basic needs so we could take the plunge and move permanently to Livingstone. The owners, Bronnah and Laurent where extremely nice and helped us each step of the way. The room was very comfortable, the staff attentive, and the pool priceless! Location is very quiet and ideal for a family stay, but still at a reasonable walking distance from the town center. Highly recommendable!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zambia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

After reading fantastic reviews on Tripadvisor I booked Tabonina guesthouse for a family holiday with my parents and my boyfriend in Livingstone. The hotel staff, and owners Bronnah and Laurent were amazing all the way from the beginning to the end of what turned out to be a very eventful holiday.

When we arrived at the guesthouse, my mum realised that she had left her rucksack, containing her passport, mobile phone and all her spending money in the taxi we had taken from the bus station. My mum began to panic and I spoke to one of the guesthouse staff who then called a taxi driver she knew and informed him of what had happened. This lady then called another taxi driver who took us down to the taxi rank and she spoke to everyone there about what had happened and who had taken us from the bus station. Eventually, we found out that the taxi driver had discovered the bag and was on his way back to the guesthouse and so we got in another taxi and went back to wait for him. Bronnah and Laurent were there and were very concerned about what happened, but assured us that things would turn out okay as we had taken a proper registered taxi driver. While we were waiting they offered us some tea which helped to calm my mum down. Bronnah also spoke to the taxi driver who had taken us to Tabonina to see why the other driver was taking so long to return the bag. The taxi driver did eventually turn up with the bag and nothing was missing from it. We were so grateful for the efforts made by the staff at Tabonina and Bronnah and Laurent - my mum was so worried and this could have been something that ruined our whole trip.

We told Bronnah and Laurent what we wanted to do whilst in Livingstone and they booked everything for us very efficiently and quickly. We had a superb itinerary, from going walking with the lions, a sunset cruise down the Zambezi river to a trip to Livingstone Island. My parents really enjoyed everything that had been booked for them and had a fantastic time. It was also great that the guesthouse cost included breakfast - cereal, toast and fresh mango juice, which is fantastic as eating out in Livingstone and doing a range of activities can all add up to being very expensive.

My parents were also going to be going to Chobe national park by themselves, however, the day before they were due to go, my mum had a bit of an accident and hurt her arm. Bronnah and Laurent were very understanding and made it really easy for me to cancel that part of their holiday without incurring any extra charges. They even said that they would waive the room rate for the final night of my parents trip (as they were leaving a day early and it was a short notice cancellation) but we paid them anyway because we had been so impressed with the service and care at the guesthouse.

The rooms at Tabonina were very clean and there was also a lovely pool. It is a short, 10 minute walk into the centre of Livingstone and a cheap taxi ride back after it gets dark. Tabonina have a taxi driver they trust and he can pick you up/drop you off from the bus station and airport as well. The guesthouse also has a lovely, well behaved dog called Yummy who is very friendly and a cat as well, so if you like pets it is also the place to stay.

'Tabonina' means 'be happy with us' and we were definitely happy while we stayed there. If we visit Livingstone again, we will definitely be booking Tabonina! Thanks for making our stay so lovely!

  • Stayed August 2011, 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
    • 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 Tabonina Guesthouse

Address: 3 Maisoko Road, Nottie Broad | PO Box 61284, Livingstone, Zambia
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated close to the Victoria Falls, one of the biggest wonders of the world, Tabonina Guesthouse is a secure, cosy and relaxing guesthouse located in the peaceful Nottie Broad area of Livingstone, only a short walk away from the town centre. Set in a beautiful mango tree garden, Tabonina Guesthouse consists of nine en-suite rooms, a breakfast/dinner area, a sitting room equipped with large flat screen TV, a swimming pool and a gazebo for drinks and games. ... more   less 
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