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“Perfect base for Victoria falls!”

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AVANI Victoria Falls Resort
Ranked #3 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
Certificate of Excellence
nashville
Level Contributor
69 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Perfect base for Victoria falls!”
Reviewed December 11, 2009

I was unsure of what this place would be like after reading some of the reviews, but my mom and I were very pleased with the Zambezi Sun! The location was a perfect place to stay to see Victoria Falls! Just a short walk away - you could visit the falls as often as you like! We also booked a Lion Walk tour through the hotel and it was amazing, as well as a sunset cruise. The food was a buffet nightly - and it was delicious. I am not one for buffet's, but spending three nights here - I wasn't bored at mealtime. The rooms were clean. The pool was a nice place to spend a few hours in the middle of the day between activities. The animals on the property were quite fun too! It was a nice place to stay for a visit. However, if you are looking for something upscale, I would suggest the Royal Livingstone. That was a "nicer" hotel. But...for the money and service, I have no complaints with the Zambezi and would definitely recommend this property.

  • Stayed August 2009
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Helpful?
Thank travelgalTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
85 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2009

This hotel is right on the falls. It is only a 5 minute walk to the falls. The grounds are very well kept, and the pool is excellent. The staff is very well trained and extremely friendly. The rooms are a little small, but very adequate. The air conditioning worked very well which is a bonus since it was near 100. The pool bar is very expensive, but the cafe is very reasonable. The breakfast was very nice.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Richard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
India
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 24, 2009

We had been planning this holiday for months to see the Victoria Falls and yet… we were not quite sure what to expect. We arrived at Livingstone airport, a charming airport, surrounded by greenery- the only airport I have seen, where you wait outside in the gardens to board your flight! We were booked at the Zambezi Sun and they had a person at the immigration counter who had taken care of visa requirements for all guests coming off the flight who were staying at their hotel. An excellent start.

We were escorted to the hotel bus and set off for a short 15 minute drive to the hotel, through the quaint town of Livingstone whilst being given a running explanation of all the places we passed.

The hotel property is set in the Mosi Ou Tunya wildlife sanctuary and sits right on the banks of the Zambezi River. It has two hotels – The Royal Livingstone a five star hotel and The Zambezi Sun a three star hotel both set at far ends of the same property. In fact, where the property ends the Falls begin. Once you drive in you are filled with a feeling of space, calm and solitude. It’s a long meandering drive to the hotel and suddenly we saw, next to our moving bus, two beautiful giraffe and an Impala. The hotel staff has this story to tell – the Impala does not stay with the other Impala but with these two giraffes! They say he is very confused…and thinks he is a giraffe and has adapted the mannerisms of a giraffe! We reached the reception of the hotel to a lively welcome of song and dance by four N’guni tribesmen, wet towels and refreshing drinks.

The Zambezi Sun is what you want it to be...a sanctuary of quiet or full of possible adventure! This is an informal hotel which is reflected in the carefree colours of the hand painted interiors - the perfect place to holiday with family and children. The rooms open out into the gardens where zebras, giraffes and deer roam wild. Lovely outdoor and indoor restaurants that serve world cuisine… include a variety of Indian food! A band that played under the African sky - African songs, English ones and… Kal ho na ho! There is a superb pool and a Spa where you can relax and have an African massage. There also is a daycare center for children with lots of different activities and for the adults a casino where you can, if you wish, gamble the night away!

The Victoria Falls…or as described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as “ Mosi – Oa – Tunya” - The Smoke that Thunders, were first seen by Scottish missionary David Livingstone in 1855 and he named them after Queen Victoria. To imagine - he set off on the uncharted Zambezi (he called it Gods highway) to access the interiors and came upon the spectacular Victoria Falls! Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is something all travelers should try and see in their lifetime.

What is really interesting is how “commercialism” like luxury hotels, chopper rides, boat cruises and tourism – co-exist so peacefully with nature without either imposing on it or destroying it.

The Falls were a 5 min walk from our room and living in The Zambezi Sun gave you free and unlimited access to them. The Falls are a glorious and awe inspiring sight on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe. 1708 meters wide, throwing up columns of spray which can be seen from miles away, as 546 million cubic meters of water plummet every minute into the gorge over 100 meters below. The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide calm river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges – creating some of the best white water rafting experiences on the planet. The sunlight creates countless rainbows which sweep across the mist and are a magical sight to behold.

A well marked and paved path along the edge of the rain forests provides one with an unparalleled series of views of the falls. Every so often the path will open out into a clearing for a magnificent view of the Falls. They play peek a boo with you. One will most certainly get drenched with the spray thrown up by the falls – as you are literally 20 to 30 feet away, so I wore the raincoat provided by the hotel and ventured on! My husband and kids refused the raincoats and got drenched – which they insisted was great fun.

We crossed the border on foot to the Zimbabwe side – a short 15 minute walk and viewed the falls from there. There is much debate over which country has the better view – but with the political situation in Zimbabwe – most visitors stay in Zambia. The borders are very porous and the authorities are very easy about visitors crossing the check post. You can bunji jump from the bridge too…and I believe from friends who have done it, that it is the most exhilarating experience ever.

You can take a boat out to Livingstone Island almost on the edge of the falls and have breakfast, lunch or dinner. You are guaranteed a private meal as there is only space for a few people on the island and access is controlled and coordinated by the hotels.

Outside the hotel was a Native craft market where there were a cluster of shops and a sweet old man of the N'guni tribe playing music on African drums. Much to his delight my son joined him and they had a good jamming session! What was interesting was that in order to encourage visitors to shop directly at this market, craft seen at the market was not available at the hotel shops.

There is so much to do here and all of it very well organized and service is always provided with a smile. No one attempts to hustle or push you into anything. Rafting, bunji jumping, horseback and elephant safaris, abseiling, day trips to Chobe in Botswana, cultural tours through a colorful local market and a visit to Chief Mukuni’s village, historical tours to The Livingstone museum, a historical tour of the town and the Railway museum, fishing, the snake and crocodile park, luxury cruises, canoeing, rafting, quad biking, micro flights, and helicopter ride over the falls. All these activities are affordable even on an Indian budget. Most hotels have an activity center or counter where you can see what is available and make bookings – incredibly efficient and convenient. It is of course advisable to make all your bookings in advance so as to ensure that it is not all booked up when you arrive.
 
We went for a game drive into the park one morning and saw lots of wildlife and also got charged by an elephant! Later I was told it was just a “mock” charge. Well, at that point there seemed nothing “mock” about it! This part of Zambia does not have any cats – but day trips to see lions at nearby parks are easily arranged.

That evening we went for a leisurely three hour sunset cruise on the Zambezi which was magical. We ambled along in this lovely river boat, saw hippos in the river and elephants on the banks.  The service was fabulous with unlimited food and drink and we watched a stunning sunset.

The next day we went on a horseback safari. I have never ridden a horse… and was really not sure of this. But it was easy… and riding on a strong, beautiful horse, who kept grazing (!), through the jungle and along the banks of the Zambezi, seeing Zebra and Giraffe… while keeping an eye out for crocodiles and hippo, was and is going to be an unforgettable experience......

 

Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank NanditaBaig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
basingstoke
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2009

very expensive , they only want dollars , charge 10 % service for everything you touch. local traders do not believe , pay 1/4 of what they ask for . Once there you are trapped its 7 miles to livingstone , 3 restaurants all very expensive and food isnt very good . bottle of water 4 dollars . Zmbia is improving its economy by charging visitors to much , this hotel especially . but lots of animals to see and its near the falls . be very careful though with this one , honestly.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank basingstoke_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2009

The Zambezi Sun resort has many amenities to help one enjoy a vacation in Africa and is located right at Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. While we were there, we attended a show called Dancing Around Zambia which is performed by the Livingstone Performing Arts Foundation (LiPAF). This was such an amazing combination of drumming, dancing and singing and was more like a theatre show than the usual dancing one sees in Africa. We were amazed at the talent in such a small city as Livingstone. After the show, the cast spent time with us and we discovered that LiPAF is an NGO, employing people in the arts and sponsoring several community projects. Although the show is at the Sun, LiPAF operates independently and is dependent upon ticket sales for its revenue. At $20 per person we found the show to be the best bargain in Livingstone and would highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hawkestone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
31 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2009

First time visit to Livingstone to see Vic Falls etc. and stayed at the Zambezi Sun for 3 nights early Oct 2009. The hotel is on a large secure area with its more expensive big brother the Royal Livingstone next door. Zebras and giraffes wander about the area pretty freely.

The Zambezi is a perfectly located, family style hotel for anyone wanting to spend a few nights at the Falls. The staff are very friendly, you can walk to the Falls, the acticvity center is round the corner. Food and entertainment is what you would expect from a tourist type hotel. If you are on a budget then there are more affordable hotels/hostels around. Internet is available from from the Business Center or you can buy a time allocation for wireless. The pool is ideal for a relaxing swim after a busy day.

I shared a room with my daughter and we had 2 double beds in a good sized room. There are a multitude of activities you can book to cater for any budget or level of excitement and the staff at the center are always eager to advise. All the activites we booked were well organised but you can spend a lot of money so research what you want to do.

Livingstone is a 20 min taxi ride and there is not a great deal to do when you get there. We did not visit the museum so cannot comment on that. Had a few beers in a local bar.

One thing to note, if you are going specifically to see the Falls then check the season as at low water the Zambian side is a bit of a trickle. There are options such as going over the bridge to Zimbabwe to see it from that side but you need another visa etc, fly over the Falls in a helicopter or microlight. We did the microlight and it was awesome........scary but brilliant.

If you want our advice on the best thing to do........white water rafting, what a day and worth every penny.

Overall a perfectly adequate hotel offering reasonable accomodation and service. If you want imperial granduer then better stay next door.

  • Stayed October 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SconieJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
1 review
Reviewed October 10, 2009

Great location. 5 minute walk to the falls. The food is mediocre at best.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ferndog5
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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