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“First time safari - you'll love it; safari usuals - it's a $$$ layover lodge BUT loads of wildlife roaming around” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp

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Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp
Certificate of Excellence
london
Level Contributor
86 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“First time safari - you'll love it; safari usuals - it's a $$$ layover lodge BUT loads of wildlife roaming around”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2012

Not sure whether this is a fate of any hotel in Livingstone, but appears most of the guests are one or two nights layover between changing their countries of safari or going back home.

As a result, service and activities are taylored accordingly:
- half a day or couple of hours templated trips;
- if you are travelling with kids i do strongly incourage you to visit the local traditional village (30mins away from the hotel) to make your kids get a perspective on their quality of life and schooling;
- on a night of a full moon i was told by one of the staff there are special night visit to Victoria falls - i wish they have told earlier so we could book me in!
- those arriving from delta will find boat trips less eventful. So not sure whether is worth it when staying 1-2 nights...
- ask for visiting cat's breeding centre (cheetahs, lions) as early as possible in advance as number of visitors is limited with no exceptions!
- Victoria falls are only 30mins away by car;

As for the lodge
- there only 3 camps authorised in this national park;
- lodges are build with proper window frames, rather then traditional tents, making it feel more of a hotel, then a wildlife camp.
- detail of what might need in the rooms is impecable, no luxury though (very simple wood pieces used for bathroom hooks, mirrors or panels, towels look like they have been well used, etc);
- all tents have a patio with modern chaise-longue facing Zambezi river. It is a fonderful experience to watch and listen the river flow by (it is onlyabout 50-100meters away from your tent);
- food is very good, but do not expect any splashes!
- if i had a choice would rather stay here at the start of my trip to get full enchantment, then at the end when already stayed in much exotic setting...

Room Tip: Though you see wild life through out the grounds, personally found tents 11 and 12 being the best fo...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sotola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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172 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2012

We spend 2 nights at Toka Leya and really liked it. After having been in the bush for a week, it was a bit of a shock to come somewhere that was so much more upscale. The tent was beautiful and large with a great view of the "migtht Zambezi" which was right in our backyard. It was also air conditioned and all the windows had glass, no screens. If you're expecting this to feel like being on safari, it won't. It's definitely not "the" place to go for a true safari experience. But it was the perfect place to end our safari before going to Cape Town. It's in a great location for going to Victoria Falls too. And our guide was awesome. Unlike other camps, you get your own guide. At Toka Leya they work with you to plan out what you want to do - you are not tied to other guests. This goes for dinner too. You sit at your own table and choose from a whole menu of options - all of which were delicious. Some of the best food we had on our 2-week trip in Africa!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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?
3 Thank NYCwanderlusty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indianapolis, IN
Level Contributor
48 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Toka Leya, a camp upstream from Victoria Falls, for two nights. We wanted more of a "camp" experience than just staying at a hotel in Livingstone. It's a beautiful camp with tented rooms and walkways and all the conveniences. The food is delicious and served in the open with a great bar area. Some of the activities we participated in: evening sunset cruise, a couple of game drives, a bush walk to see the rare white rhinosceros, and, of course, the highlight: Victoria Falls. We also did the micro-flight over the falls--expensive but worth it! The staff are friendly and helpful, even to the point of lending me a camera when mine malfunctioned!

  • Stayed May 2012, 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?
2 Thank ann_dalpiaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2012

Toka Leya was the first camp we stayed at, on a 3-camp honeymoon with Wilderness Safaris, in May 2012, for 2 nights. After checking through immigration at Livingstone airport and grabbing our bags, we were politely greeted by a driver from Toka Leya who transported us to the camp. It is about a 25 minute drive, partially through the town of Livingstone, and then into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park where the camp is located, anout 10km upstream from the Victoria Falls.

As part of your “entrance” to the camp, you are dropped off in an isolated spot next to the Zambezi River, where a guide helps you aboard a small speed boat moored on the riverside, whilst your bags are taken care of. This is your first taste of the Zambezi river, and with the spray from the Falls in the background, you take a short boat trip to the camp, located right alongside the river. We were greeted on arrival by the manager, with a refreshing cool towel and cold drink. A brief verbal introduction to the camp and minimal paperwork (only required to sign an indemnity form) later, you are shown to your room and free to begin enjoying your time at the camp.

Toka Leya is what Wilderness Safaris terms a “classic” camp, a notch below their top-of-the-range premier camps. If Toka Leya is anything to go by though, even the classic camps are amply luxurious, extremely well located, and offer every amenity available with impeccable service. It consists of 12 large “tents” (definitely one of the fanciest tents I have been in), raised on wooden stilts and each surrounded by expansive decking. At high volumes, the water from the river can actually extend under the camp, hence the fact everything is raised off the ground, with animals roaming around and under the camp. Two arms of tents are connected to the central camp area by wooden walkways, 8 on one side and 4 on the other. The main area of the camp consists of a number of interconnected wooden decks, covered and uncovered, which serve as meal areas, bar, lounge and bar areas. Next to the bar area is an “infinity” pool, which from certain angles, appears to drop off into the Zambezi river itself. A small spa exists, but we did not try this.

Each tent contains a large double-bed (very comfortable), behind which is the open-plan en-suite bathroom area with double sinks, cupboard (with electronic safe), separate toilet and shower. A door leads from the shower to the outdoor shower. Ample Charlotte Rhys toiletries are provided, as well as insect repellent and an air-horn for emergencies. The entire camp is totally open to the bush, so animals can and do come wondering in and past. Each room also comes with an air-conditioner, and a bank of electrical plug points which appeared to take all the major types, although I would still recommend taking the necessary adapters (3-prong round or square). Tea and coffee making facilities are available, and two new, reusable water bottles are provided, which you can fill with filtered drinking water rather than use factory-bottled water and the waste it creates (although this is still available if you desire). However, we never used these in-room drink facilities, as the main area of the camp has a bar and tea/coffee station, which always appeared to be open. One area which might need improvement is the training of the barmen. The one evening we requested some basic and very common cocktails, and he had no idea what these were, despite having all the constituents. Perhaps it may have been an isolated incident.

Our tent was located on the more “tropical” side of the camp, closer to the water and with thicker vegetation and trees, making it appear more private and secluded. Tents 5 to 12 on the other side of the main area, are located in a dryer, more open area. However, with lots of trees come lots of monkeys, and the animals took great delight in using our tent roof as a trampoline early every morning with sun rise, sounding like a rolling thunderstorm inside the tent! However, we did not mind this at all, as it is all part of the safari experience, and the monkeys were here long before we were! We also came across a hippo in the middle of the day busy munching away right below our tent.

Meals at Toka Leya are excellent, consisting of a buffet hot and cold breakfast (with a Chef’s special every day, for example eggs Benedict or scrambled salmon and chives egg), a la carte lunch (including pizzas with custom toppings, made in the camps own wood-fired pizza oven), mid-afternoon tea, and dinner (either a set menu or traditional buffet with barbecue/braai, plus paired South African wines). None of it is going to win any Michelin stars, but given the setting and location, it was very tasty and far beyond adequate, with plenty of choice. You will certainly not go hungry! Guests often gathered for drinks before dinner, and the one night we were entertained by a local band, complete with home made instruments and some humorous traditional stories told through song and dance.

Being the Victoria Falls, numerous activities are available catering for the adventurous and not-so adventurous, and either operated by Toka Leya itself, or they can organise for you through third parties. We did the afternoon/evening boat cruise, which is very relaxing and offers a great view of the must-see Zambezi sunset, with sundowner in hand. We also did a guided tour of the Falls, complete with waterproof ponchos and “crocs” sandals, provided by the camp. Finally, we did a game drive, primarily to see the small group of white rhinos within the Mosi-o-Tunya park, which are under 24-hour armed guard due to the terrible threat of poaching for their highly, but erroneously, valued horns. All 3 activites are highly recommended, and very reasonably priced (if not on the all-inclusive package at the camp). For example, the afternoon game drives were US$25 per person.

Service could not have been better, with each guide very helpful and knowledgeable, and the staff (from waiters to cleaners) in camp never stop smiling and going out their way to try make you feel welcome. You feel a genuine, natural warmth and friendliness radiating from each person, the Zambian people are some of the nicest I have met anywhere in my travels. Individual touches, such as the romantic turn-down and ice-bucket with sparkling wine waiting in our room one night, Amarula nightcaps, and little locally made “goodbye” gifts, on the pillows on our last night, abound.

Overall, Toka Leya was a fantastic start to our honeymoon, and I have no hesitation in recommending it highly as a place to stay for those wanting to visit the majestic Victoria Falls, or more correctly, Mosi-oa-Tunya.

Room Tip: All the rooms look fantastic. Rooms 1 to 4 on one side of the camp are located in more densely fore...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 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?
6 Thank Zimbonicko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level Contributor
28 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2012

Toka Leya is located 20 minutes from Vic Falls on the banks of the Mighty Zambezi - Each of the 12 private "tents" are connected by a raised wooden walkway and all have an exceptionally large balcony with stunning views of the Zambezi River. We woke up to a large gathering of impala just outside our tent and later in the day were greeted by 3 elephants who made it impossible to move from the communal dining/bar area to our rooms - not a bad way to be held captive. In the evenings guests are escorted by the lodge's guides to their rooms in case they come face to face with any of the local wildlife (hippos, elephants etc). The Toka Leya tariff includes 3 meals (including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) and 2 activities daily such as guided tour of the Victoria Falls, boat trip along the Zambezi, Livingstone City tour, just to name a few. Sightseeing is via the lodges open jeeps. The food is very good, not over the top lavish but very nice nevertheless with buffet breakfast and 2-3 choices for lunch and dinner. Try the pizza in Toka Leya's pizza oven - its delicious. The rooms are extremely large and comfortable, double basins, indoor and outdoor showers, wooden floorboards, coffee/tea making facilities, hair dryer, complimentary laundry. When guests are at dinner the beds are turned down in order to cover the bed with the mosquito net for the evening. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable - nothing is too much trouble. The bar area is beautiful - right on the river banks so peaceful as too is the adjoining deck shaded by a huge boab tree. As most people visit Livingstone for the falls, I would recommend a maximum stay of 2 nights. Our stay was wonderful, thank you.

Room Tip: Request a room close to the main facilities.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank dhnafrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2012

The best camp !!! The foor was so great, service perfect,the tents were so beautifull !! Everything was perfect.

Thanks to the staff !

  • Stayed April 2012, 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 Cederic123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY, NY
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2012

Toka Leya has the potential to be a 5-star resort, but is operating at a 2-star level. Management needs to understand what excellent service means, and then train and set expectations for their staff accordingly. The rooms and grounds are very nice structurally, the food was very good, and the staff are very friendly. However, the sheets have cigarette burns in them, the fan in my room was from 1983 and the control buttons had fallen off, the pool towels are old and stained, they had to switch my room once due to a septic pipe burst with horrid implications for my bathroom, and when I went (March), the place was swarming with ants. Hundreds in my room each day, 30 on the dinner table before we were seated. Housekeeping left the door open whilst cleaning to invite more bugs in, and the staff didn't understand the concept of spraying for bugs before we complained - and we were not the only ones. My next stop was the Okavango Delta, and the manager told me 'good luck, you'll have much more bugs there' - we didn't, as the management there took care of things. At this price point I expect it. Toka Leya was worth $200-300/night, tops.

Room Tip: ask for a room near the dining area so you have to walk less
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank TravelGirlNY77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp, responded to this review, May 2, 2012
Thank you for the feedback received. Whilst we are terribly disappointed that you did not enjoy Toka Leya, we value feedback positive or negative. Regarding the softs complaint, thank you for bringing this to our attention, it will be dealt with seriously and with urgency. Regarding training and service, as an organization we are striving to exceed expectations in offering world class service. We have embarked in a revolutionary media-based training company called Lobster Ink who have developed cutting edge training techniques in all aspects of guest interaction in hospitality. We know this resource will succeed in uplifting individual growth and the service offering at Toka Leya, and thus negate the housekeeping issues that you encountered. Please except our apology and hope to see you back at Toka Leya.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp

Property: Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp
Address: Parks Road, Livingstone, Zambia (Formerly Toka Leya Lodge)
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 84 Specialty Lodging in Livingstone
Hotel Class:4 star — Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A safari-style sanctuary situated right on the banks of the Zambezi River, Toka Leya provides a peaceful wilderness experience just 12 km away from the iconic Victoria Falls. It is the perfectplace to unwind for a few nights before or after a safari, or visit as a stand-alone destination. With luxurious outdoor baths, a wellness centre complete with yoga/meditation deck and your private veranda overlooking the rushing, roaring river, there is ample space to relax - or set off on one of the many adventurous activities on offer, from white rhino tracking to bungee jumping. • 12 tents (3 family) • Victoria Falls tour • river cruises • game drives • nature walks • village visits • spa and gym • catch-and-release fishing ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Toka Leya Hotel Livingstone

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