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“cute and personal” 4 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 19 Livingstone B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
“cute and personal”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2012

stayed here for 3 nights in july 2012 in room 1 as a solo traveler.

the rooms and facility are very basic, but has everything you need. the atmosphere was also very cozy and the premises felt safe (guard at the gate even at night). the bed was comfortable and there were two comforters which i appreciated because it was cold at night. there was a kettle for heating water for coffee/tea, fridge, cable tv, ac, mosquito net. loved the piping hot water in the shower. my only little complaint about the room: the wooden bathroom seat was a bit oversized and heavy, causing the cover to fall on your back every time you sit.

the staff was very friendly and let me use the kitchen to heat a bowl of soup. the cleaning staff is very thorough...perhaps a bit too thorough because i had my luggage sprawled on the table and floor but they tidied everything, folded my clothes and placed them in the closet. i found that slightly weird but i think if you are worried about privacy, you can just tell them not to provide you with this service.

i wasn't crazy about the free continental breakfast which included instant coffee, fresh juice, toast with jam/butter, and cereal. it would be a great addition to this cute place if a hot breakfast was provided especially since the guest house is not exactly close to town, you can't simply walk to another place for alternative breakfast options.

the hotel is quite a bit of a walk away from the town center. in fact, it was far enough that i never actually walked it myself. the owner laurent gave me a lift on the first day and i ended up taking cabs every other day. it was a bit inconvenient in terms of location, but the town is small enough that it's not that big of a deal.

what's great about this place is the value and the service. i have to agree with others regarding the hospitality. laurent was always helpful and can answer most of your questions about livingstone and tours you might be interested in. he suggested and helped me book the livingstone island breakfast and sunset cruise which were both great experiences. loved the complimentary rides to the airport, laurent didn't mind giving me lifts whenever he was free.

basically, if you are looking for luxury, then of course you would go for something like that royal livingstone. but if you are looking for a more personable and intimate experience and don't mind basic facilities, then i highly recommend tabonina.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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203 reviews from our community

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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 (41)
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English first
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

We have just got home after a 40 hour bus journey from Livingstone and we are still talking about how wonderful our stay in Livingstone was! The success of our trip was largely due to Tabonina and the very helpful hosts and staff. We were especially grateful to receive advice on activities based on personal experience which helped us shape our time in Livingstone into something very special. The room was comfortable and clean, the pool looked lovely (though a bit chilly at this time of year!) - all in all a very relaxing environment. Breakfast was basic but enough to set you up for a day exploring Livingstone and service was excellent - we were told even before asking that breakfast would be provided early on days we had early morning activities. The guesthouse itself is just a short walk from town which meant it was easy and pleasant to wander out for restaurants and shops. I have already recommended this place to my parents and would recommend it without hesitation to anyone looking for a place to stay in Livingstone.

  • Stayed July 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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Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
604 reviews 604 reviews
372 hotel reviews
Reviews in 372 cities Reviews in 372 cities
782 helpful votes 782 helpful votes
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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booandkat@gmail.com
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
20 helpful votes 20 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
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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 19 B&Bs / Inns in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
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 and two non en suite rooms, with an ablution block nearby, a breakfast/dinner area, a sitting room equipped with large flat screen TV, a swimming pool, a gazebo with pool table for drinks and games, and a self-catering kitchen. ... more   less 
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