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“Right at the falls!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Zambezi Sun

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Zambezi Sun
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia   |  
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Hotel amenities
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Essential River Package
Ranked #5 of 13 Hotels in Livingstone
Saratoga, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Right at the falls!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Although it is a large property, we were very impressed by the decor, staff, food, grounds and most importantly the proximity to the falls. Being able to walk to the falls as often as we wanted to, at different times of the day ....was a real plus! The onsite clinic was very convenient and the Doctor caring and efficient - just what one needs when trying to get well quick on a trip!
The bushtracks office which coordinated our microlight flight and trip to Botswana, was extremely helpful and efficient. The microlight was a highlight of our trip.
The room was a little on the smaller side with not enough storage area or a desk/Chair to use. The overstuffed armchair took up a lot of space and was not useful.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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799 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Coppell, Texas
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

The exterior of the hotel is very nice. A lot of zebras, giraffes and impala wander around the property; which is awesome if you have children. My family and I were fascinated by the beauty of these animals. You are also greeted when checking in by some local warriors - This is very fun for the kids and adults alike! A lot of photo-ops. The checkin was smooth and the staff is very courteous. Another bonus was, this hotel is right next to the legendary Victoria Falls. So getting to the Falls is a breeze. All you have to do is walk a short distance and you are right there.

The hotel rooms are tiny. If you are traveling with more than 1 person, then you will be very cramped inside. There is a concrete divider between the beds (in rooms where they have two beds). I have no idea why someone would put a concrete divider there. Any one unfortunate to be over 6ft and sharing a bed better watch out. I have hit my knees on this block while getting out of the bed many times. Also on one occasion, the battery on our door lock apparently died, so we were waiting outside for well over 25 minutes in the cold before an emergency override key was brought over from the Royal Livingstone to let us in. There was no offer of any sort to compensate for this inconvenience.

Also, I found out that the local Zambians were charged a less than people that had US passports; which was ok by me. But I would expect the amenities to be on par with what we get in the USA.

The above was the difference between having a great stay and an ok stay.

Room Tip: Try to book your room with a travel agent. I discovered that they not only get good rates, but some...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, California
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

We booked this hotel as the less-expensive "3 star" option. It is owned by the same company as the Royal Livingstone (5-star), and is just next door. The Zambezi sun, however, is immediately adjacent to the entrance to the Victoria falls park gate. I mean, you exit the back of the Zambezi sun, cross a small parking lot, and you enter the park, using your hotel room key as a free pass for unlimited entry. Fantastic.

Your arrival is met with singing and dancing local tribesmen, and delicious complimentary cinnamon iced tea. Front desk staff is very helpful and friendly, as are most of the other staff.

The hotel has an activities coordinator desk in the lobby, but also an activity center in the back of the property with two outdoor bars, two restaurants (the one in the conference center is cheaper), and several high quality storefront shops. Large lagoon-style pool with outdoor bar.

The rooms are very comfortable. Powerful air conditioner was a little bit noisy, but that doesn't bother me much. Combination lock safe and accessible balcony with nice green view. We wanted a queen, but they gave us two single beds pushed next to each other. I'm not sure if actual queen beds are available, or if this is standard practice. The bathrooms are a godsend after 48 hours of travelling. Separate shower and tub. Water gets very hot and pressure is excellent. The tap water is drinkable in the hotel. In-room hair dryer and water kettle. Coffee is instant, but I'm noticing that people drink a lot of instant coffee around here.

They have both the old british plugs (240V, 50Hz, three round holes - different size and spacing from Euorpean... This plug is uncommon on universal adapters, and is also common in India) and new British plugs (240V, 50Hz, three square holes in the same triangular configuration... This plug is on most universal adapters). The new British plugs are more common here.

I used the business center to sign and scan a last minute contract for work back home. You use the same login account that you use for in-room wifi, and has the same pricing structure. Vera was very helpful in getting my paperwork done.

The breakfast in the morning is a large buffet with omelette and waffle bars. Be careful: This place caters to international clientele, so there is British food (Bangers and stewed chopped liver) lurking among all the otherwise delicious options.

The hotel staff was very helpful with all of our needs. You can ask the front desk staff questions about what is appropriate to pay for various services, and I felt comfortable that they were being honest with me.

Taxi rates are negotiable, but prices are basically dictated by the hotels. It cost me 150K (about $30 US) for a round trip to the airport by taxi from this hotel. Slightly less expensive, I'm estimating, than a comparable cab ride back home in LA.

Access to safari and lion/cheetah/elephant encounters is fantastic. I couldn't believe how many animals we saw (rhino, zebras, giraffes, buffalo, elephants, impala, and more). Baboons, impala, giraffes and zebras wander across the hotel property on a daily basis, so you might see one right outside your room door. You don't even really need to plan out your activities ahead of time if you stay in this hotel. The prices are roughly the same whether you book them before you leave home or if you do it through the hotel front desk/activity coordinator. Just book your airfare and this hotel, and take care of the rest when you get here. You're gauranteed to have a fantastic time.

Weather is wonderful right now in August. Shorts during the day, and pants with a light jacket at night. Can't speak to the rest of the year, but people here tell me the weather is like this from Feb to Aug, and only gets warmer after september. I haven't seen a single mosquito so far this trip. I brought repellant, but haven't used it at all. I usually get eaten alive by insects when they are around, so I'm concluding that it isn't much of a problem here this time of year.

Livingstone is hosting the UN World Tourism Conference next week, and everything is being fixed up and repainted, and is in tip-top shape. I don't know how long that will last, but this town seems serious about catering to tourists.

We took a boat out of one of the riverside hotels yesterday. If you want to have a hotel pool with an amazing river view at sunset, the Zambezi Sun is not for you. However, if you want all-day access to stroll by the beautiful victoria falls as often as you want and excellent service in all domains, then this is your place.

Room Tip: Ask if there are actual queen beds available, or just singles that they push together.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

This is a great hotel with a great location. When they say walking distance of the falls they should say easy walking distance. After our tour of the falls with a guide, which was worth doing, we were able to return every day at various times. It was great seeing the falls in the morning as well as later in the day. We were particularly grateful for the water purification system. We freely drank the tap water and used the ice cube machine with no issues.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

We stayed here for three nights at the end of June. I felt it was a great experience. The rooms were very clean the staff very friendly and helpful. The breakfast buffet ( included in our stay) was excellent and I looked forward to getting up and enjoying that each day. The hotel was just a short walk to the falls and hotel guest had free access to the park. My only disappointment was not seeing a lot of animals on the grounds. I saw no zebras and I was very disappointed. Other than that , I had a wonderful stay at the Zambezi Sun.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

After a long days driving we decided to "spoil" ourselves. It took 30 minutes to check in, that should have been warning enough. After checking into the room we went to the pool bar and ordered lunch. I ordered the Portuguese steak, MR. I got a pricy well done minute steak. I called the waiter, sent it back and waited for a decent steak. The steak was better, but the egg that was on top sat under the salamander together with the fries and salad. The egg was now overcooked, the salad warm and the chips soggy. For dinner we went to the Buffet restaurant and after lunch was not prepared to pay R500 per person for dinner. Reception could not figure out how to activate the Wi-Fi either, you have to pay for this even though you just paid almost R4000 for the room. Breakfast starts at 06:30, after completely loosing it the chef found a waiter at 06:45 to serve us coffee. During this whole unpleasant stay we never once saw a manager. Check-out took 45 minutes. Never again!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Kowloon
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights in mid July with our teen boys. The rooms were basic and clean. Bathroom is nice and large. The TV in one room did not work and the reading lights by the beds were wobbly but we didn't bother to complain as it was a short stay.

Highlights of the hotel is the location, with easy and unlimited entrance to the Falls, plus the free rain coats for guests. I didn't tell the boys of the animals, so imagine their shocked faces when a giraffe appeared right in front of the path to the RL hotel for the sunset happy hour! We later saw 6 zebras, including a baby, parading in a row across the hotel lawn!!! Lovely!

Breakfast was included in our room rates and it was a good buffet! We lunched at the pool side and at the Crocodile Cafe. The food was good at both places but i think that it was better valued at the Cafe. Plus you can try the local beef stew there. In the evening the dinner buffet was quite empty and having read the reviews, we didn't try. We called for room service both nights as we were too tired to go out again. This was disappointing as the marguerite pizzas arrived without the basil leaves (seriously- it had 3 ingredients=tomato sauce, cheese and basil leaves!). The next night we ordered it again and they said it was not available. Food was good but some are expensive for what it is, like the cheese burgers. But no choice when we are tired and wanted something quick and easy!

The Sun is a good value for a short stay...

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zambezi Sun

Address: Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia
Phone Number:
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
#4 Family Hotel in Livingstone
#4 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Zambezi Sun 4*
Number of rooms: 212
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Zambezi Sun, located on the edge of the eastern cataract of the Victoria Falls, reflects the richness and diversity of the country’s heritage; capturing the very soul of Africa – unpretentious, fun and welcoming. With its warm, earthy architecture, inspired by an African walled village and simple finishes highlighted in bright mosaics and fabrics as well as intoxicating Zambian artworks and accessories, the Zambezi Sun is set to turn your stay into a memorable experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zambezi Sun Livingstone
Zambezi Sun Hotel Livingstone

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