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“Great place to visit the Falls” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tongabezi

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Tongabezi
Ranked #1 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
Certificate of Excellence
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Great place to visit the Falls”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2013

Just spend a night at Singabezi Island; the private island close to Vic Falls, which serves as an extension to Tongabezi. After a stunning safari in Zambia's most rewarding NP: Kafue NP where we stayed at 3 great camps (Mukambi, Busanga Plains Camp and Musekesi) flew to Livingstone to see thee falls. Upon arrival at Tongabezi (short transfer from Livingstone) we were served a good lunch, we're informed about all activities Tongabezi can organize (rafting the Zambezi, dip into Devils pool from Livingstone Island etc) and then transferred to Singabezi by boat (approx 20 minutes). Came across many eli's already, hippos, crocs and then arrived at their private island. Stunning open lodges (nothing between you and the bush but musketo-nets), great food, very kind staff. All in all a great treat!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pieter2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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365 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (111)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
74 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2013

The Tongabezi is a small lodge of maybe 13 cottages or houses. All with views right on the Zambezi River. We had a river cottage, that included a bedroom, bathroom, suite, and a semi enclosed room with mosquito netting and a ceiling fan. It also included a stone patio, larger than any other hotel patio I've ever seen. We had our own butler (Issac) who saw to our every need. Meals are served on the river patio, or on floats in the river if one wishes. Dinner is always by candlelight. All the meals are gourmet and include wine or liquor. Canoeing, biking, sunset cruises,and fishing are included . A nice touch is that all the electrical outlets come in different shapes so an adapter is not necessary. Essentially, the Tongabezi is breathtakingly beautiful lodge, with excellent service.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank bschoenb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
231 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2013

We had a fabulous stay at Tongabezi! We stayed in the Bird House, which was cool because it only had three walls, and it overlooked the Zambezi River. It was great waking up to the sound of the hippos in the morning! The only thing preventing me from rating Tongabezi 5 stars is because right at the end of our fabulous stay, we found out that they charged us $200 for the extra bed in our room. That was $100 a night! But overall, we had a great stay!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JRWalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2013

I have to admit to some trepidation as to staying in rooms with only 3 walls but how wrong I was.
Waking up to the beautiful African sunrise beaming onto your face on the private island of Sindabezi (in the aptly named sunrise chalet) with a herd of 60 elephant splashing around on the Zimbabwe banks of the Zambezi will forevermore be etched on my memory. An experience that truly brings you Africa at its best.
2 nights on Sindabezi and 2 nights in the Treehouse was perfect (although i would happily move into the Treehouse permanently.) The food is excellent and your itinerary (professionally managed by the WONDERFUL Juliette) is as packed or as empty as you want it to be. White water rafting (with a swim under the falls - only at certain times of year) and a microlight over the falls are a MUST. Livingstone island (and a dip in Devil's pool if you can) also ideal.
Your private deck of the treehouse is one of the most romantic places in the world to watch the sunset - the widths of the Zambezi stretching out before you slowly meandering along, the landscape littered with hippos and the occasional croc, Nyambe (our valet) delivering sundowners and bubbles, and the blazing African sunset lighting up the sky over the hills in the Zimbabwe national game park.
The treehouse is exactly that - a room build into the cliff around a tree - it has a thatched roof but no walls and this serves to bring you as close as possible to the very thing you have come to experience. Africa. The beds are so comfortable - mosquito netted four posters, and there is an aircon built into the bed in case it gets too hot - but October was fine and the cooler evenings meant it wasnt needed.
But Tongabezi is one of the best in the world because nothing is too much trouble. One busy day we didn't have time to go back to the lodge for lunch, so they arranged a picnic for us. While we were expecting sandwiches in the back of the truck - we were driven to an amazing private viewing point on cliff tops above the gorge near rapid 7 (that we had just rafted down) - and an umbrella, table, chairs was set out and a 3 course meal served with wine etc. I will also add that returning to the Treehouse that day there was already a bubble bath run for me as I walked into the room. (The bath with the best view in the world over some hippos splashing around in the river). Truly remarkable the touches that they add.
Sunrise, sunset cruises, Four posted beds, deliciously and fully catered (more than you could ever eat), the house wines are fine, the cocktails perfect (who knew that pimm's with banana would be a hit???!), bubble baths under the stars, fishing trips, hippo spotting, amazing guides that answer all your questions, the school connected to the hotel (a must see and you will end up wanting to help them out), campfires, the singing waiters (who do an heartwarming acapella set every night), elephants, oh and I forgot the spectacular Victoria Falls - but its all supported by the fact that the Tongabezi staff are so loyal and act so much like a family that make this trip so memorable.

Room Tip: The treehouse.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank nnn2849
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
128 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2013

I had the privilege of staying at Tongabezi in May, 2013 in both a river cottage and the Tree House. The Tree House is a magical place that is unbelievable. I enjoyed candlelit baths whilst watching the sunset and the monkeys playing in the trees, I fell asleep whilst listening to hippos in the river, I enjoyed aperitivo whilst watching the sunset and taking amazing photos and I woke to mist on the Zambezi that was as thick as soup but lifted as the sun rose. I felt like a princess whilst at Tongabezi and kept busy over the four days enjoying many of the activities the place has to offer. I loved it all - elephant ride, lion walk, lunar rainbow, Zambezi river rafting, helicopter flight (make sure you do not just the falls but also the gorge), Victoria Falls, sunset cruise, Tongazbezi School visit and visiting the local village. I didn't stop and I had a brilliant guide to take me everywhere and at all times I felt safe and secure whilst learning about life in Zambia. Tongabezi has great food, drinks and service that guests can enjoy whilst watching the Zambezi flow past. The staff make every effort to engage with guests and to assist them with anything they need. I was travelling solo and everyone was always happy to greet me with a smile and a chat. I can't wait to go back to Tongabezi in March to show colleagues what heaven on earth really is.

Room Tip: If you can reserve the Tree House then I would thoroughly recommend it.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Saminmilan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
80 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2013

We would have given this accommodation five stars if it weren't for two thing. One was the lack of proper air and ventilation in the Dog House, which is one of the rooms we stayed in. The manager, Juliet was excellent and tried to do what she could, but the design of the room was poor and did not allow for air circulation. Because of this, the room was unbearable until about 8pm at night, when it started to cool down. Juliet told us this room is actually going to be taken off the market for two weeks to correct this problem. The room itself is not actually a "room", it is three buildings: one bedroom with a king sized bed, a gathering room with sitting and dining areas and a secon bedroom with twin beds. There are two full baths, with what seemed to be unlimited hot water! There is also a plunge pool which is great after a long hot day.
The other room we stayed in was the Nut House. This room had very good air con and ventilation, but we were disappointed with all the bugs, spiders and scorpions in what was supposed to be a closed room. Still the setting was great and it also had a nice plunge pool over looking the Zambezi!
The staff and the service here are all excellent! They went out of their way to ensure we had everything we need. Our personal valet, Issac was outstanding! He was incredibly attentive and made sure he met our every request.
The food should be worked on. The breakfasts, salads, soups and breads were all outstanding but their main courses were only average.
We would certainly recommend this place now that the air and ventilation is being corrected.

Room Tip: The dog house will be PERFECT once the air is corrected!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Martinj911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tongabezi, Owner at Tongabezi, responded to this review, October 8, 2013
Many thanks for your constructive as well as your kind comments - I am thrilled that you feel that the Dog House will be PERFECT once we sort out the teething issue we experienced by opening our newest room in the hottest month! We are adding one more air conditioning unit above each bed canopy, and also installing a mist irrigation system around the rooms that will cool the room in the hot afternoons, and I hope bring in the hippos to graze the fresh grass below the rooms at night - an added bonus! It's great to hear that you appreciated the wonderful team we have here at Tongabezi - and your comments about the food will be looked into. Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback, and for being open minded in seeing the good as well as the not so good!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast
Level Contributor
41 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2013

We stayed on Sindabezi Island during our honeymoon; I cannot tell you how idyllic the place is! Candlelit meal on your private beach, a freestanding bathtub that they fill with bubbles then bring you champagne, lying in your four poster bed listening to hippos moo!

I doubt I'll ever find anywhere as perfect at here again!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank kjskathryn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tongabezi

Property: Tongabezi
Address: Private Bag 31, Livingstone, Zambia
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Livingstone
#1 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
#1 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Tongabezi 4*
Number of rooms: 10
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 
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Also Known As:
Tongabezi Hotel Livingstone

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