Tongabezi Zambia recently invited me to a weekend away at their luxury lodges on the banks of the Zambezi River. Having never been to Livingstone, I happily accepted.
Getting there was easy – the flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone is effortless and takes about one hour and 45 minutes. Tongabezi is situated about 25 kilometres from Livingstone on the Zambezi River, upstream from the Victoria Falls. Staff with genuine smiles welcomed us on arrival and as we were due to spend the first night on Sindabezi (Tongabezi’s sister property, pictured above) we took a short boat ride to the private island.
Sindabezi Island with its prolific birdlife and lush greenery simply stole my heart… It offers a unique and intimate experience, which will be the highlight of any honeymoon or romantic getaway. It is also perfect for small groups as it can be booked exclusively.
At the centre of the island, you will find the dining deck (elevated up in the trees), a peaceful open-air lounge and a stargazing deck. A mokoro deck can be found at the end of the island. The five open-sided cottages are set on the river’s edge with views over the Zambezi floodplains and the Victoria Falls National Park. Bedrooms are ridiculously romantic and feature beautifully crafted Zambian furniture, with mosquito netting over the beds. Some rooms have open-air baths and all have showers. Solar panels provide hot water and bedside lighting. Sindabezi’s charm lies in its understated luxury and simplicity; if you cannot live without air-conditioning or similar comforts, then Sindabezi is probably not for you. There is no pool at this lodge, but guests may use the lovely swimming pool at Tongabezi.
Dining on Sindabezi is a relaxed affair and deliciously fresh meals are served on the various deck areas around the camp. Sitting around the campfire at the end of the evening meal was a highlight and the perfect way end to the day.
Our second night was spent at Tongabezi Lodge offering a choice between River Cottages and the more luxurious Tongabezi Houses. The five cottages overlook the Zambezi River and feature large beds (with mosquito netting), indoor and outdoor seating and large en suite bathrooms with shower and bath. I especially liked the comfortable seating area outside as it allows you to simply drink in the sights and sounds of the river… and the view from the bath is unbeatable!
The four Tongabezi Houses are open-fronted, each with a unique feel and layout. The houses are perfect for honeymooners or guests simply looking for a more private experience – featuring superb views, large bathrooms with sunken baths and private dining. There is also a garden cottage (currently under renovation) ideal for families.
Delicious meals may be enjoyed on the deck, or, for a more intimate experience, the magnificent Lookout can be requested.
Activities at the Tongabezi and Sindabezi Lodges include Victoria Falls visits, craft shopping, game viewing at Mosi-Oa-Tunya national park, Zambezi river activities, a visit to the Tujatane trust school (highly recommended) and a local village visit.
Tongabezi Zambia offers a unique experience with something for everyone. In addition to the above there are a few must-do activities (which we were privileged to experience) that I can highly recommend: Livingstone Island is the best place to view the falls and this thrilling experience includes breakfast, tea or lunch and an opportunity to swim in the Devil’s Pool. Dinner on the Royal Livingstone Express is a six-course delight! Experience the romance of rail travel on this dinner-train to nowhere.