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“Heavenly secluded sanctuary”

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Islands of Siankaba
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Heavenly secluded sanctuary”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

You are greeted by one of the husband/wife managing directors couple on the mainland and then transported to the lodge by boat. You arrive on a small island in the midst of the Zambezi River - technically on the Zambia side. Your accommodation will have you perched on the very edge of the river with unparalleled views of the water and across to the Zambia side. Hippos and crocs are everywhere - as are some pretty amazing bird life.

It's the people that will made our visit so special. The staff are incredibly gracious and kind. Always with a smile. They are very proud of their country and are delighted to share it with you. We had the pleasure of sharing the lodge with Zambia's founding President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. While his security detail was omni-present, it was not an inconvenience. His presence and kind interaction with us made this visit most memorable.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank wfiring
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siankaba, Owner at Islands of Siankaba, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Many thanks to Wfiring for taking the time to share your experiences at our lodge. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and we look forward to welcoming you back on day.
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2012

Siankaba is generally an excellent place. The people are warm and helpful and I seriously commend them on how much they help the local kindergarten. The set up of the place is extremely creative - all the "rooms" (they are essentially little houses on stilts so youre in the tree tops) are linked by wooden bridges so you feel like you're in "nature" and the view overlooking the river is delightful. Food is also good here, though the selection is quite limited compared to lodges in South Africa.

Dinners at Siankaba are an experience. On our first night dinner was hosted by a teacher from the local kindergarten and on the 2nd night by Brett, the lodge manager. Having dinner with the locals really grants the opportunity to gain insight into life in Africa and how it all operates which is a nice way to broaden the knowledge of guests at the lodge.

The staff are excellent. Brett and Claire were very welcoming with my desperate need for wifi and even organised for me to go back to the mainland (where internet is) on the boat earlier than everyone else. Claire even allowed me to sit in her office (interrupting her) to use the wifi. Victor is also an extremely nice and helpful guy as well as Louwesi. Brett also organised for a driver to take us to and from locations and he was EXTREMELY helpful. He was also very concerned with our safety and walked us EVERYWHERE.

My criticism of Siankaba lies with the rooms. The floors were often dusty and it left me feeling quite "dirty" despite showering as my feet were always black. Further, on one of the nights we were there it rained quite heavily and one of the windows couldnt be shut and instead of moving stuff/telling us the staff that went into the rooms to close the windows merely left stuff to get wet. Water also dripped from the ceilings as I think the tarp roof couldnt handle the amount of water that had accumulated. However, issues like this can be easily remedied so I suppose it isnt that much of an issue.

The lack of air conditioning was also slightly uncomfortable as on hot days the ceiling fan is not enough.

I have to also note that Siankaba is actually quite far away from all the activities but since they organise the car it is not that bad! It is however about a 40 minute ride to Victoria falls one way. So if you're looking for an adventure type holiday this is maybe not hte place but for honeymooners, people that want to relax, the location is quite ideal :)

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank nicolecatherineng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siankaba, Owner at Islands of Siankaba, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Dear Nicole.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a report, it is much appreciated.

I would like to personally apolgize to you for the 'small downfalls' that you found at our property. We really do strive to make every stay sheer perfection for our guests and am very sorry that we failed on this occasion.

It would seem that the weather was really against you during your stay, with one of the longest periods of sustained rainfall we have had in many years, and you were quite correct the chalets could just not take the continuous rain! With heavy rain like this the temperature and humidity rise to very high levels and so it can become somewhat uncomfortable. I would like to assure you that this very much the exception.

In terms of our position - most of our guests find it advantageous to to be out of the 'hustle and bustle' and noise of the Livingstone area. Our Islands were indeed developed to maximise the beauty and serenity of the river.

We would love to welcome you back to the Islands again in the future, perhaps during our 'dry' season so that we can achieve perfection!
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London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2012

You are transported to the lodge by boat. As you turn the corner the mighty zambezi opens up in front of you and it is truly awesome. The lodge is almost totally hidden from view keeping the natural beauty of the river complete. On arrival there is a very warm welcome. The rooms have stunning views of the river are comfortable, charming and quite rustic. Evening meals are eaten on one large table together with all guests and a couple of lodge "hosts" this made for extremely enjoyable and interesting conversation. We greatly enjoyed chatting to everyone. The food is delicious and the staff are all wonderful. My only tiny quibble was that the white wine wasn't very chilled but that was acted upon as soon as I mentioned it. It was a wonderful place to stay and we very much hope to return.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siankaba, Owner at Islands of Siankaba, responded to this review, December 3, 2012
Dear Sollis.

Thank you so very much for writing a report, we are delighted you enjoyed your stay.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the white wine not being chilled sufficiently, we assure you we have put training in place to ensure this does not happen again. Your feedback is invaluable to enable us to constantly improve our standards.
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Johannesburg
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2012

My wife and I had booked to spend a few days of 'honeymoon' time here, but when our son was injured at school, we asked if we could bring the kids along...fortunately the lodge was empty so we were allowed to bring them along.

On arrival at the reception you are transported to the island by boat...and one can not help being mesmerized by the natural beauty of the Zambezi and its surrounds.

On arrival you are greeted by the warmest welcome, and the entire staff compliment are efficient, without being intrusive. The tented Chalets are luxurious...and what better than return to bubble bath that has been run for you.

One can not write a review about Siankaba without mentioning the food...superb gourmet food in the middle of the bush!!

Thank you to the entire team for an excellent stay...we will be back.

Room Tip: All the rooms have fantastic views
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Phantomreviewer280
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siankaba, Owner at Islands of Siankaba, responded to this review, November 20, 2012
We are particularly satisfied that 'phantomreviewer' (great name!) enjoyed their stay with us and would welcome you back anytime!

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review, it is much appreciated.
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Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2012

Our room looked out over the Zambesi River so we woke to wonderful sights & sounds. Dinner on a big table allowed us to meet the other guests from all over the world, and enjoy lovely food. The sundowner cruise was amazing - drinks on a sandy island in the middle of the Zambesi. The only real negative was on leaving: the Duty Manager told us we were to be picked up at 10.30am for our onward flight, but we were woken at 8.15am and told we had to leave in 15 minutes. So we had to leave without breakfast (they could have packed us a small breakfast in that time).

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Peter S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2012

We stayed four nights, as part of our three week honeymoon trip. Could have stayed longer, although the 40 degree heat in October is pretty tough. The staff here could not do enough for you, Brett and Claire manage the property along with a fabulous team - Humphrey, Victor, and Graham to name a few.

Built on two islands on the banks of the Zambezi river, perfectly molded into its natural surroundings, luxurious half wood and half tent cabins, perched above the river on stilts. To access your cabin you need to cross two rope bridges, it really is the wilderness. The transfer from Livingstone airport is about 1 hour and 10 mins, with at least 20 minutes of that on a dirt road (bit bumpy) Once you reach the reception you have a 5 min boat transfer to the islands.

We had cabin 7 also known as Baobab. Its the best room with the best view. Amazing sunrises in the morning! You eat like a king here, breakfast is a four course affair (if you fancy it) with a special everyday but you can order your classic favorites cooked the way you like it, lunch is tasty, light with a choice of meat and veg main. In the evening, before dinner recommend to take the sunset cruise on the river, you'll get to see hippos and crocodiles and enjoy a sunset aperitif. Back on the island, dinner is hosted by a member of staff, as there are only 7 rooms and not many of you, they seat you all together, which is great. We met some lovely folks on our trip, even exchanged emails. Every meal was amazing, five courses, all carefully put together with a mixture of local and international dishes. The house red and white wine is good, and most of the spirits and local beer "Mosi" is included in the cost.

Lots of activities are included, but what is not they are happy to organize it for you. We did Vic Fall and Livingstone Island on the same day. If you do the Livingstone Island trip (80usdpp) in the summer when the falls are not at their fullest you can swim in the devil pools on the edge of the falls. The massage therapist on site Bessy is great, great technique and knowledge, had a very relaxing massage in the room. Many want to also see the falls from the Zim side, we were not fussed as you get great views from Livingstone Island. If you do, remember to get double entry visa when you enter Zambia, as you'll need to get a visa to cross over to Zim and cross back into Zambia.

Recommend to visit the village and meet the kids and teachers at the local school, what is so unique about Islands of Siankaba is how much they have done for the community and how much they still want to do. The best story is the head teacher of the school, he was a bar man at the lodge and had always wanted to teach, they paid for his teaching training so that he could achieve his ambition of working with kids from the ages of 3-6. If you want to know more before you visit, get in touch with The U Foundation http://www.theufoundation.org

We loved our stay here, and was very sad to leave, but hope to return for an anniversary or birthday. Thank you again to everyone at Islands of Siankaba for making our stay very special.

Room Tip: Beat view over the river can be found in room 7 or Baobab Room
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank travelgirl2106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siankaba, Owner at Islands of Siankaba, responded to this review, November 5, 2012
Dear Travelgirl2106.

We can only thank you sincerely for writing such a comprehensive review. It really is appreciated. We are also extremely happy and satisfied that you enjoyed your stay, it makes our day to read reviews like yours.

Keep travelling and keep writing such geat reviews!

The Siankaba Team.
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Sykesville, MD
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I was a bit apprehensive at staying this far from our primary destination for this part of our journey, Victoria Falls. Ah... but I am so glad we stayed here at Islands of Siankaba. What a unique, relaxing, and luxurious stay we had. We loved the wooden bridges and walkways that led to our tents, the wood floors in our tent, free standing tub, shower with never ending hot water, and comfortable deck. Beautiful common and bar area. We were on a 2.5 week safari and the diner we had the first night here was our absolute favorite. Brett made us feel at home, ensured our previously booked excursions were all set, and helped us book additional activities. Loved the sunset boat ride. We toured the falls from both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides... a must do. We also rode an elephant at thorntree boma... another must do. Neither were a very far ride in a nice air conditioned van.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Wanderlust-and-Wino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siankaba, Owner at Islands of Siankaba, responded to this review, October 18, 2012
Thank you so much to Wanderlust and Wino - it sounds like you had a wonderful time, we are so pleased. I know that Brett will be ecstatic to hear that you enjoyed his dinner the best during your trip and I totally agree about the Elephant trip - it is such a privilege to be able to share time with those amazing animals.
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Additional Information about Islands of Siankaba

Property: Islands of Siankaba
Address: Kazungula Rd, Livingstone 60845, Zambia
Phone Number:
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 84 Specialty Lodging in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Islands of Siankaba 4.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Islands of Siankaba is a luxurious lodge, exclusively sleeping just fourteen guests. The principle guest amenities (dining room, lounge, bar and swimming pool) are located on one island whilst the seven guest tree suites are situated on the smaller island overlooking the river towards the game reserve on the southern bank. The two islands are linked by a series of suspension bridges and overhead walkways in the tree canopy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Islands Of Siankaba Hotel Livingstone

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