I spent 3 nights here with on honeymoon and was completely blown away. Myself and my wife own a small hotel in Kenya, and have a real appreciation for quality of service in the hospitality industry, which made my experience all the more special.
We had come from Rwanda and were at the beginning of a month long journey through Africa, and Tongabezi was a genuine highlight. After arriving into Livingstone we were greeted by our friendly driver who transferred us to the lodge. The drive was short and he gave us a little bit of history about the area along the way.
Upon arriving we were greeted with cold towels and drinks - always a nice touch as it was pretty warm - and then shown through the main lodge area and onto our room. We were staying in the Tree House - which was recommended as their best room, and i have to agree. I didn't see all of them, but this one swept me away. It's hard to properly describe how luxury can be achieved without closed rooms, air conditioning, marble clad sinks and rich carpets - but some places get it just right, and Tongabezi is one of those places.
The room was set against a large rock face behind the bed with everything facing out towards to the Zambezi river. There was a gorgeous free standing bathtub, with a starlight shower, sitting area, safe, fridge, lovely selection of books, and a small sun deck that sticks out of the front. As this is the last room on the property, there will be no one coming anywhere near you - especially if you put the "come back later" sign up, which can be seen a good 20m before the path reaches the room. Perfect honeymoon touch. Speaking of which, upon returning from our first days activities, there bath was run with a complimentary bottle of champagne on ice!
After Nyambe - our super friendly room steward - showed us around, we went with him back to the main area where we were seated - alone - for lunch. We were then greeted by - forgive me for forgetting the name - but the guy who would help plan our activities for the next few days. I thought this was a particularly nice touch, as there is a lot to do around the falls, from bungee jumping, to white water rafting, helicopter rides, falls tours, Livingstone Island etc, and so having a solid plan really helps.
During lunch, Rudy, the Manager, came over to chat and i quickly asked my usual set of questions, trying to obtain a bit of the history behind the owners and how the lodge came to be. He was a lovely guy with great knowledge.
All in all the service was top class, and food is some of the best i have ever experienced a lodge / camp. The dining is wonderful as they spread the groups of guests around the main area, offering you options of where to dine each night, and so, if you're looking for honeymoon privacy, it really works.
The evenings are spent by the camp fire whilst you exchange stories with other guests / managers. Juliet was a pleasure to be around, with a fantastic knowledge of the country and Tongabezi itself, as she's been with them almost since the beginning!
So to sum up:
- Amazing outdoor back to nature experience, waking up with a view of the Zambezi river is breathtaking!
- Superb service from all the staff, in particular - Nyambe, Juliet, Rudy & Raphael
- Excellent food, each and every meal was a treat
- Do the sunset cruise one night, Devils pool if it's open and heli ride through the gorge!
All in all a wonderful little piece of our honeymoon and if i visit the falls again - i'll be staying in the tree house!
Thanks to all of you
Leo & Gemma
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tongabezi Lodge, the first river lodge on the Zambian side of the Victorian Falls, is a privately owned up-market lodge, built with emphasis on exclusivity and romance, located on the banks of the Zambezi River. Tongabezi has four open-fronted thatched houses and five river cottages all with sweeping views over the river and a Garden Cottage set in its own private walled garden. In addition we have the private island bush camp at Sindabezi Island and the Tangala House family home. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tongabezi Hotel Livingstone