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Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

Philadelphia...
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Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

For our honeymoon in October 2013, we are starting our trip to africa with two nights at Victoria Falls. We are choosing between the Royal Livingstone in Zambia and the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. Anyone have thoughts on these two places in terms of service, safety, food and room comfort?

A few people have told us not to stay in Zimbabwe for safety reasons, but would like others thoughts as we want to start our honeymoon off right!

Thanks!

London
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1. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

Hi,

I have stayed in the Royal Livingston on 2 occasions. The hotel is well kept and the staff are excellent, although we did find on our second visit it wasn't 'quite' as good. The plus for Royal Livingstone is that it falls within the national park and so entrance to the falls was included (2009). The view of the falls is definitely better from Zimbabwe, which you can arrange locally.

We are actually going to The Vic Falls hotel next week for 4 nights, so I will be in a better position to let you know my opinion when I return. I have heard the Vic Falls hotel has recently been refurbished, so I hope I am not disappointed.

It will be VERY VERY hot in October, and the falls not quite as impressive, but from the Zim side they are still an amazing sight. I will try to update information on The Vic Falls hotel on my return.

Miami, Florida
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2. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

We stayed at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in 2008 and it was an excellent choice not only because you do not have to worry about access to the Falls (go over free of charge as it is included as part of your stay), which you can walk over to (or have the hotel transport you), but it's safety (except for the monkeys constantly keeping an eye on you for a possible purse to steal) is unparalleled. We purchased a visa and went over to Zimbabwe for excursions one day to visit including over to the hotel, which sadly made us feel very unsafe...we were so glad we did not stay on the Zimbabwe side, and we have heard this over and over by other travelers over the last few years also. Although the view was different in March from both sides, Zambia was the smarter choice and so was the RL hotel. If price is not an object, and even if it were, stay on the Zambian side. Economically the tours are cheaper on the Zimbabwe side, and because of the state of economics you can easily negotiate price before you get there, but having to do it all again, it was tense trying to cross the border at night!

Silver Spring...
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3. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

As mentioned, the falls may be better at that time of year on the Zim side. We found zero security problems on the Zim side. Also if you are travleing SA then you avoid the Yellow fever shot by not going to the Zam side.

London
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4. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

We visited the Zim side in November, and the falls were fairly full - quite a lot of mist!

We stayed in the Vic Falls hotel, which was lovely - the food in 'Jungle Junction' was quite good and cost $35 each + wine at approx $28 per bottle - so coming from UK, not overly expensive - but if you are from US, I believe it works out quite expensive. We stayed for 4 nights and had 3 lunches and 4 dinners plus beer + wine approx $400 - which I s'pose isn't too bad for a 5* hotel - the service was OK, but from memory I think service was better in the Royal Livingstone in Zambia, I also think the view of the river from Zambia is more interesting - although the view to the Gorge brisge was a lovely sight! Enjoy wherever you decide to go!

PS - Entrance to Vic Falls is $30 to UK citizens!

Edited: 13 December 2012, 19:10
Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

Royal Livingston would be my choice - the Zambians are extremely friendly and the hotel has a deck right on the Zambezi river which makes for a spectacular sunset spot. I have stayed there at least three times and have never been disappointed. The food is generally very good, the service top notch and the location right on the river is definitely a huge draw card. The Vic Falls Hotel is a fair distance from the falls and in my opinion rather old fashioned and stuffy. I visited there last December and found the service and the food was definitely not up to scratch - I did not stay there on that occasion so I am not sure of the standard of the rooms.

I am sure you will enjoy which ever one you decide on.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

I was on Zim side for 2 days and had absolutely no worries about safety, I am not sure what others are talking about and I walked around the town solo. I think VP is an oasis in Zim, really was safe to me.

I only saw the Zim side but I believe the view would be far superior from Zim based on my walk by the falls and the helicopter flight u should do. Zam has access to Devil's pool which would be fun.

VFhotel is older but service was good and there is an air of history as you walk around the grounds. There are more modern hotels as well.

So I would suggest Zim but I have not been to Zam.

Pecatonica, Illinois
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7. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

We stayed on the Zimbabwe side (Victoria Falls Safari Lodge) two years ago and did eat lunch and walk around the Victoria Falls Hotel. We also walked just to the Zambian side, but did not want to have our passport stamped because of the required yellow fever shot. We went on to spend several days on safari in Zimbabwe. My husband and I did a great deal of walking around the falls, the town, the craft market and NEVER felt that we were in an unsafe position (of course we were sensible about putting ourselves in conditions that might be questionable, but we'd do that anywhere we would travel). Victoria Falls also has police who will escort you if you feel uncomfortable. The people were warm, the service great, and we felt like we, with our tourism, were helping their economy, Don't let the idea of feeling unsafe in Zim be the deciding factor to picking the hotel at which you wish to stay.

Frankfurt, Germany
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8. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

We are in Vic Falls right now (Zim) and no security issues whatsoever!!!

As for going to Zambia, you will need a yellow fever vaccination if you go through Johannesburg.... I can't say anything about the hotels, but from my research Zim is more affordable and 3/4 of the Falls are in Zim.

In October the Zambian side might be almost dry, so you will need to get to Zimbabwe to get the whole picture.

Edited: 18 December 2012, 16:13
Dubai
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9. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

We are planning on staying at the VFSL next month for 2 nights, how was the experience for your stay?

Thanks

Pecatonica, Illinois
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10. Re: Royal Livingstone/Zam or Victoria Falls Hotel/Zim?

We found VFSL to be a wonderful "home base." The grounds are beautiful. We had wonderful service. You are a bit outside the city of Victoria Falls, but they have a dependable complimentary shuttle. The shuttle did let us out at several different places--the falls, the bridge area so we could walk over to the Zambian side, the craft market. Our balcony faced the watering hole and you never knew what you'd see----cape buffalo, elephants, kudu, etc. We had a package where meals were included. We ate dinner at the restaurant there (very good, nicely served), breakfast there in the mornings (perfect view of the animals), and dinner at the Boma (a decidedly touristy meal, but such fun with the drumming and dancing). Rooms were clean and comfortable. Just remember to leave the balcony doors closed or monkey will surely come in! We had purchased several crafts and needed them packed for home. I asked about paper to wrap them in, and someone at the front desk actually wrapped them for me. That was done so much more carefully than I would have. We recommend VFSL. Have a wonderful time!