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“Great location, but not much more” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of AVANI Victoria Falls Resort

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AVANI Victoria Falls Resort
Ranked #3 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Great location, but not much more”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 19, 2009

Hopefully most people staying at the Zambezi Sun are doing so to visit the Falls, and not for the accomodation.

The location cannot be beaten, but the accomodation is average. Dark, narrow corridors set the scene for modest rooms - which I would describe as 3-star.

The communal pool / bar/ restaurant area is very nice.

Food is expensive and underwhelming. I was served a hamburger which, after a couple of bites, I discovered contained raw meat.

While not particularly hungry one night, we were told that the ONLY dinner option is a USD40 per person buffet. After spending USD80, a couple sat down at a table next to us and announced that "they only wanted a club sandwich each" - which was duly served to them. I felt ripped off.

My advice - don't go here expecting a lavish stay - just enjoy the Falls.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nightwatchman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Carnation, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2009

Stayed 3 nights at the Zambezi Sun. We enjoyed it very much. Being greated by the Africian Tribesman was a fun touch. Loved the fact we were so close to the Falls. You could hear the thunder from the Falls at the resort. The staff were awesome (friendly and helpful), the rooms met our standards and the atmosphere was terrific. Loved the giraffes, monkeys and zebra.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank DandM95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2009

I loved this hotel, the pool was huge the staff friendly the rooms clean. The location was amazing.
I stayed here purely to take part in various sports and see Victoria Falls. The only thing we had pre booked was a cruise on the African Queen, which is basically a 2 hour trip on a boat with free drinks and a few snacks (althought the snacks had dead flies in them...). I was a bit worried about not having anything else booked but if anyone is in the same situation please do not panic, there is an activity centre on site where you can book most things. As a guest at the hotel free unlimited access to Victoria falls is available and it is great fun. We saw pictures of Vic Falls in November and it is not anywhere near as spectacular as it was in May when we saw it. Me and my friends did the bungee from the bridge and it was $105 (USD) for the jump and I think it was $35 (USD) for the DVD and $15 (USD) for the picture CD, all worth it in my opinion. The walk from the hotel to the bridge is simple (just ask at the gate leading to Victoria Falls where to go) but people are really trying hard to sell you stuff when you get outside the hotel and walking towards the bridge, my advise would be just to say no thankyou and to walk on. You have to get an exit ticket (which is free) from the border crossing - just let them you are going to the bridge, you need to get a ticket (also free) when you come back as well.
Whilst at the hotel we were given a voucher for a free High Tea at the Royal LIvingstone, which is right next door, this was lovely but the food had bees all over it, more bees that I'd ever seen but I guess it was free so I shouldn't complain, if I'd paid I would have been really disappointed.
Monkeys and Zebra roam around the Zambia Sun and the monkey's really do try and take food, even if you are sitting there eating it.
We didn't eat at the hotel restaurant for lunch or dinner, but we did eat at the Crocodile Cafe and the Squires Grill, both nice but in the Squires Grill and spider was in the bread rolls - yuck!
Everything can be paid with using USD in the hotel and you can charge activties booked at the activity centre to your room and pay at check out.
My advice:
The helicopter ride is good but we were charged $40 (USD) for a dvd of us walking onto a helicopter and getting off it again, a bit of a rip off so we didn't buy it. I, personally didn't enjoy the helicopter as it made me really sick. The helicopter flight was $135 for a 15 minute flight.
The shower in the rooms is great but can't be quite hot, so just watch out for that. (The bath is seperate but I didn't use the bath).
TV Channels are limited.
Rooms have air con and heating so you can keep cool / warm.
Towels are provided but I wasn't provided with any flannels.
The safe in the room is free.
Beaware when going on any trips and we did the half day activity (gorge swing, flying fox, abseiling) and the staff really push you into buying stuff. I didn't give in but felt really pressured into purchasing something.
Go on a microlight flight, it is amazing, smooth, not scary at all (and I normally get scared at anything) I really can't recommend it highly enough.
Insect Repellent plug in room, but I would still reccommend taking your own.
If you want to do a day trip to Bostwana (which was good) or any other country make sure you have a visa that allows this.
Internet is provided free of charge in the business centre but it is far from high speed and oftend stops working, still it was free and good enough to send a few e mails.

ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE - CHECK WITH EMBASSY - VISA INFO FOR UK PASSPORT HOLDERS: I have never had to get a visa before and really was daunted by this prospect, if you want a single entry visa (no trips to Botswana, Namibia etc...) then you can get it on arrival for $50 USD per person. I wanted to do the Botswana day trip so I needed a multiple / double entry visa, as far as I know these can only be purchased prior to arrival. Call the Zambia Embassy in London ([--] was the number I rang) to check the costs, print off a form from the zambia embassy london website and send it off (special delivery) with a postal order and your passport. It took just over a week for my passport to come back to me (the visa is just a stamp in your passport). Get in the queue in Livingstone for the non visa / residents. We got in the VIsa queue and got told that that queue was just for people buying there visa.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank EnglandLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrington, eNGLAND
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 21, 2009

Stayed at the hotel for 2 nights as part of a Falls/Safari holiday break.

The plus points for this hotel are:-
a) Location for the Falls - 3 minute walk to the eastern edge
b) Friendly staff - example is Webster who looks after the animals within the grounds - went out of his way to show them to us.
c) Breakfast - very good varied choice available plus good fun to watch the monkeys steal food
d) Room was more than adequate and clean. Air conditioning worked.

On the other hand
a) Location - remote from other alternatives. Taxi booked via Hotel was expensive eg Hotel to Livingstone $10 per person (I would expect to pay $5 per person in UK). I wouldn't recommend a stay longer than a couple of days.
b) Buffet dinner - cost $39 per person
c) Alternative is Squires Restaurant which is within the grounds, very basic meal of 2 x salad starters + 2 x burger/chips + 3 x bottles of lager was $50. - menu quoted prices in Zambian Kwacha but bill was in $. On checking found exchange rate charged was circa 4,490 per $ compared with market rate of circa 5,200 per $ ie a 16% mark up

Visitors need to be wary of hawkers around the Falls area - my advice would be to ignore them entirely. If you return their hello its very difficult to get rid of them as they wont take no for an answer.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mickfirman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami and Berkeley
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2009

The Sun, along w. its sister hotel, The Royal Livingstone (about 200 meters away) basically share the same grounds within the National Park area of Victoria Falls. These grounds are literally right where the Zambezi drops over the falls. The main diff. between the hotels is the price. The Sun is moderately expensive, the Royal is outrageously expensive.
We stayed at the Sun. The location is worth every dollar. The rooms are clean, but ordinary. After 10 days of safaris in remote locations, it was a shock to simply be where there was full time electricity and TV. Service was outstanding. Breakfast was included and everything you can think of was available. I would suggest gorging and making full use of breakfast because other meals are VERY pricey. Hamburgers $13, a dinner buffet, $40. You can eat at either the Royal or the Sun.
Not to be missed is sunset on the wood deck in front of the Royal - right on the river. IMPORTANT - if you order a drink, you will be asked if you want a "single" or a "double". It turns out a "single' only has what appears to be just several drops of liquor. A double would have about 2/3 of a normal shot glass. Best to order the local beer. It is excellent and cold and perfect on a warm evening.
Another plus of the Sun's location is - just outside the grounds is a native crafts market. There is enough quality merchandise to entice even an avid collector. We had gone to the village about 10km away where workers crafted these arts and bought a lot there. If you buy a lot, make sure you have it packaged professionally. We paid a local guy $40 to package. We checked one medium sized box and a suitcase and all arrivedm unscathed.
But I digressed. Everything is billed in US dollars. If you can, bring CASH. And bring new bills. We had our bank make up a packets of new ones, 5's, 20's and hundreds. If there is a slight blemish or tear on a bill, some merchants won't take it. In Zambia, you can use Visa card in some places, including the hotel - but they will charge you, like most places, a 7% premium. Mastercard is not accepted anywhere i could find in Zambia. Having lots of ones makes it handy to leave tips.
After spending all the time and money to get to Vic falls, not spending the relatively few extra dollars to stay at the Sun, rather than the next nearest place - which would involve you having to take a taxi, would make no sense.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank miketha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
india
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2009

We lived at the Zambezi Sun intl hotel a 2 minutes walk from the magnificent Victoria falls.
The hotel is a very bright and cheerful place with a very peppy atmosphere and sumptuous food .
You can see giraffes and zebras grazing peacefully in the hotel lawns. The kids running around after the velver monkeys who will not think twice before entering your rooms and vanishing with whatever they can lay their hands on !

A flea market round the corner will sell African craftsfare, esp the famous African masks.
You can also walk down to the Zambezi river or go for an elephant back safari, river safari or river cruise.
The people are very friendly and every smiling.
All in all a lovely place to spend a quiet vacation in the lap of nature.

  • Liked — young atmosphere
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank mvkIndia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Level Contributor
28 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2009

We stayed here for 2 nights. The location is amazing, right next to the falls and you can visit as many times as you like for free. However the bar and restaurant prices were very high. The Squire restaurant just off site was a much more reasonable option.
Decor of the rooms was garish but followed the African theme. Only upstairs rooms have balconies and there was no mini bar or writing table. Staff were friendly and generally helpful.
I don't think that I would want to stay for more than 2 nights

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank tortoisephobic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about AVANI Victoria Falls Resort

Property: AVANI Victoria Falls Resort
Address: Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road, Livingstone 20100, Zambia (Formerly Zambezi Sun)
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 Family Hotel in Livingstone
#3 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
#4 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — AVANI Victoria Falls Resort 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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