Livingstone
Tongabezi

Nestled into the banks of the Zambezi River, hidden amongst the dense ebony forest, lies the matriarch of all African luxury safari lodges.

Private, exclusive and a tranquil base from which to see the thundering Victoria Falls, Tongabezi offers all the opulence of a five star retreat with a hint of romance from the bygone, adventuring era of Dr Livingstone himself. Enjoy the warm Zambian ambiance, family feel and delights of this great river on the doorstep.

Facilities & Activities

Start the day with a hot coffee beside the fire pit at the waters edge, or take a refreshing dip in the lovely swimming pool, set into a rock and complete with its own small Victoria Falls. Rejuvenate with a massage at the spa or find a quiet nook in one of the stunning wooden decked lookouts and soak in the incredible vistas and quiet sounds of river life.

When it’s time to explore, then the lodge is perfectly positioned to offer a smorgasbord of activities. Choose from white water rafting, canoeing, boating, fishing and game drives with experienced and friendly guides. However, the main attraction is, of course, the extraordinary force of nature that are the Victoria Falls. Tongabezi offers optimal viewing from the tiny Livingstone Island, said to be the first place from which Dr Livingstone sighted the falls. There are up to five trips a day on the exciting twin-engine boat followed by an informative and interesting guided tour of the island and spectacular views. Guests can tailor these trips to suit their own timescales and can add in cultural village walks, market visits, museum trips, sunset river cruises, dinner on their own private island or whatever takes your fancy on the day. All will be organised and handled for you by the lovely local staff, leaving you to sit back and enjoy the ride.

And if that isn’t enough, then the adventure capital of Southern Africa is just up the road, offering anything from helicopter flights, elephant back safaris, microlight flights, abseiling, bungee jumping and tours to the wonderful National Parks. The handy Activities Centre at the lodge will organise all the logistics for you. However, it might be necessary to replace that coffee by the fire pit with something a little stronger by the time you are safely delivered back to the luxurious comfort of the lodge….

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Dining

It’s home cooking at its best here, with an extensive menu of mouth-watering dishes washed down with South African wines. Start the day by feasting on warm muffins, cakes, fresh fruit and yoghurt or a full hot cooked breakfast on the wooden veranda of The Lookout. Lunch is taken where you please – they’ll even rustle up a delicious picnic to be savoured out in the bush or on the river if you’d prefer.

Dinner follows sundowners around the campfire and is enjoyed at the communal table on the deck overlooking the river. If private dining is more your style then there a variety of beautiful options dotted around the lodge or on your own private balcony. Arrange for a ‘Sanpan dinner’; a candlelit delight on a pontoon out in the middle of the Zambezi itself, where you’ll be tended to by your very own personal waiter upon his arrival in a canoe!

Rooms

Choose from unique accommodation in one of the 7 luxurious Houses or 4 River Cottages, each individually and authentically finished with furniture and pieces from all over Africa.

Couples can choose from either the Nut, Tree, Bird or Honeymoon Houses and for groups or families the choice of Dog or Garden House (both sleep 5) or The Tangala House which sleeps up to 6.  They all come with a personal valet, who will organise all meals and itineraries and generally ensure you have the perfect stay. The houses offer open fronted accommodation with large open bathrooms and sunken bathtubs in which to unwind after a days adventuring – bringing a whole new meaning to ‘loos with views’. The private balconies and decks offer stunning panoramic vistas out across the river, providing the perfect setting for a peaceful candlelit dinner serenaded by the night.

Alternatively, the River Cottages are cosy and comfortable with a large double bed or two singles. They all have en suite bathrooms along with a separate indoor/outdoor seating and decked dining area to enjoy the gorgeous views over the river.

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Family

As of 2023, Tongabezi now welcome children of all ages and its a great choice for a family stay, helped by the wonderful warm and welcoming staff. There are plenty of child friendly activities such as drumming lessons, tracking and tiger fishing along with visits to the nearby village, meeting the children and a taste of the local school.

Children under 5 stay free of charge and those 12 and under pay 50% of the adult rate when sharing with 2 adults.

There is a dedicated children’s menu and the chef is also happy to cater to the fussiest of eaters and preferred mealtimes if necessary.

The new addition to Tongabezi, The Garden House, is an ideal option for a family stay. The house consists of a double and twin room with a separate lounge and private garden with its own pool. The Dog House offers two large en-suites with separate living and dining area and has a stunning infinity plunge pool over the Zambezi. For even more space, there is also the option of Tangala House with three double bedrooms, swimming pool, trampoline and lawn games. Extra beds can also be accommodated in the other houses and cottages, depending on the ages of the children.

Sustainability

From its conception Tongabezi has strived to be a true eco-lodge, they also support and involve themselves with the local community, for example the Tongabezi trust school- Tujatane has grown from a small class of 15 in 1996 to a large primary school of over 280 students, helping to provide local children with new opportunities. All the Tongabezi lodges employ local bush guides and lodge staff who are unskilled in environmentally friendly practices. The lodge is also currently investing in new environmentally friendly initiatives such as e-rovers and solar powered river boats to ensure the surrounding nature remains as untouched as possible.

Location

It’s a 1 hour 45 minute flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone and then just a 40 minute drive to Tongabezi. Transfers will be organised for you. The lodge is found directly on the banks of the river itself, just downstream from the great Victoria Falls and provides an extraordinary setting for exploring this fascinating area, tucked away from the tourist hustle and bustle in Livingstone town.

Please be aware this region is Malarial.

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