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“Friendly, peaceful and helpful”

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Tabonina Guesthouse
Ranked #1 of 29 Livingstone B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Friendly, peaceful and helpful”
Reviewed 4 July 2014

I stayed at Tabonina with my boyfriend for 3 nights in June and it was brilliant. The guesthouse is set around a nice pool and courtyard and the room we stayed in (in the main house) was big and super clean with an en suite bathroom, hot water all day and AC for when it is hot (it wasn't when we were there!). Laurent very kindly picked us up from the airport and then immediately helped us book bikes, rafting and a helicopter ride, meaning we made the most of the 3 days we had in Livingstone and didn't have to spend time arranging anything.

The staff at Tabonina were all incredibly friendly and accommodating and arranged our breakfast for whatever time suited us. They also arranged a taxi to take us back to the airport and answered questions we had about various activities.

We walked into town every evening, which seemed very safe and it's easy to also flag down a taxi to get to and from town (it's less than 2km away so a nice stroll or very quick car ride)

All in all I don't think you could stay in a nicer place and I would highly recommend. It's also excellent value for money.

Room Tip: We stayed in the main house but the rooms by the pool look out on the pool and you can have breakfas...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank zoedibb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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278 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
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English first
Memphis, Tennessee
1 review
Reviewed 2 July 2014

This is a lovely accommodation for an amazingly low price. The people who run it were so friendly and helpful, emailing us ahead of time to see if there was anything we needed them to arrange for us. They booked our day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana, negotiating a group discount for us, and giving us useful tips -- such as, be sure and get the $80 double-entry visa (instead of the $50 single entry visa) when first entering Zambia, if you are planning on visiting Chobe NP in Botswana, in order to avoid paying a second $50 (for a total of $100 in visa fees) when re-entering Zambia after the day trip.
The grounds are beautiful, the rooms clean and comfortable, with good showers (plenty of hot water and good water pressure), and the outdoor dining area in a delightful place to enjoy the continental breakfast. I highly recommend this for anybody visiting Livingstone on a budget.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank debigray57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
netherlands
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 July 2014

Livingstone is a beautiful and friendly town.
For me Tabonina was the best choice I could have made, not more than a 15 minute walk away from the center in a nice and quiet/safe neighborhood. A peaceful walk passing a small daily vegetable market where you definitely should buy some small bananas.
The staff is more than friendly and gives a very personal attention to all the guests. The rooms are spotless clean and look as nice (or maybe better) as you can see on all the pictures. I was in the budget room (named so by owner Laurent) which was absolutely fine. Maybe a bit smaller than the rest, but nothing wrong with that. And the bathroom was big enough!
Being away from the center there is absolutely no noise from traffic and you can sit outside around the pool in all tranquility.
No restaurant, but if you don’t feel like going out, you can order food in from 3 good restaurants in town (Indian, Italian, Chinese and snacks). The restaurants are a 5 to 10 minutes drive by taxi. Omelet and fried eggs, my favorite breakfast on African holidays, can be ordered as extra. They were freshly prepared every morning and a real treat.
The staff helps you perfectly with choosing activities and also has a list of good taxi drivers.

If you arrive or leave town by bus/coach the busstation is only a 5 minutes walk from the guesthouse.

Please stay a little longer than just to see the Falls and visit the big Maramba market, only 10 minutes walk from the guesthouse. Also the museum telling the history of Zambia and Livingstone in town is really interesting.

As there are no motorcycles in town Livingstone is really quiet (and dust free) and I found it a very relaxing stay at Tabonina.
Thanks Laurent and staff for the pleasant stay. Whenever I am back in town, I most certainly book a room with you again

Room Tip: The budget room is a perfectly fine choice. The room has everything you need. No tv but if you can n...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Erna K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Long Beach, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2014

Stayed at Tabonina for 3 nights in June 2014. The staff was wonderful! Laurent gave me excellent recommendations for restaurants. The center of town is about a 20-minute walk from the house, but I felt very comfortable making the walk alone at night. Just make sure you bring a map. The Tabonina staff was great about arranging taxis, and they can book any tours/excursions you're interested in (Chobe is a must see). Difficult to think of any criticisms. The WiFi slowed down a bit in the afternoons, but that's really when you should be out and about anyways.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank DanK124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

Take in to consideration when reading this review that it is in Zambia so you may well get power cuts and water being down. What you will get is friendly service.

Took a taxi straight there from Livingstone Airport negotiating the fee with the driver before hand. These days you are only meant to use Zambian Kwatcha but they do accept $. The welcome was very friendly and informative. Our room had air-con but you can get without costing slightly less. It was November hot and humid so if from a more temperate climate air-con may be best though it will go down with power cuts. Our on-suite was functional but far better than the average Zambian would have so please keep this in mind. The shower worked and the toilet flushed.

Breakfast outside by the pool was great.

Room Tip: From November to March if you are from cooler climate you may wish air-con one
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank midget2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
84 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

We had booked at Tabonina for a 2 night stay after considering the reviews on TA and considering the 2nd ranking amongst B&B. I would agree with all the previous reviews that Laurent and Bronnah are wonderful hosts. In fact Laurent even came to pick us up at the airport (despite some trouble with his car). The hosts and the staff are very helpful and this is a great VFM place to stay.

The breakfast is very basic. Cereals, 2 slices of bread, butter, jam, juices and tea/coffee. Of course there is an option to upgrade for a nominal charge. One morning we decided to pre-order our omelets for the next morning breakfast and requested for mushrooms (which are normally not available). Laurent went the extra mile to get us an omelette with mushrooms (many thanks Laurent for your superb service). Laurent's recommendations on places to dine were bang on. He also connected us to a cab driver, Obey, whom we used on all the days and would recommend highly to everyone.

However, despite all the above positives, the reason for a lower rating is that the rooms are very basic and more suited for the budget traveler. Our rooms were not near the pool. Our room was not equipped with TV (Laurent mentioned that it is specified on the net but i guess we missed reading about it). The bathroom is very basic, besides the water pressure was very erratic. The wifi signal only worked near the pool and did not work in our room.

I guess I was slightly misled by all the rave reviews and expect it to be a much better property. I guess we were at fault as i remember reading the response to one of the reviews by the owner saying that some of the reviewers are raising expectations by some fabulous reviews and correctly stating that this is a budget accommodation.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sharad N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tabonina, Owner at Tabonina Guesthouse, responded to this review, 11 June 2014
Thank you for taking the time to post your review. We are delighted that you have stressed that we offer value for money and go the extra length to give good and personalized service to our guests.

As for the reasons you’ve listed for giving us an average review, let me put forward a few answers. The room you had booked was the Zmw380p/night family suite, i.e. a unit made up of two different rooms, one with a good queen size bed, small fridge, wardrobe, desk, tea and coffee facility, bedside tables and lamps, the other with two good single beds, bedside tables and lamps, both with air-conditioning. Hair-dryer, iron and a safe are available on request. Is it not a step above basic? Sorry for the water pressure problem, which you did not mention to us at the time, it does sometimes happen. The rooms with television, including our two other family rooms — which are listed along with the sitting room with large screen TV on our website —, had already been booked and were not available at the time of your reservation. As we explain to our guests when they arrive, the Wifi signal doesn’t reach our three rooms more recently opened, they would therefore need to come to the first section of Tabonina (a few meters away) to avail of our free Wifi. It goes without saying that all our rooms cannot be located around the swimming pool, and in fact you had not made that request. We always mention that our complimentary breakfast is a ‘continental’ one and I guess could therefore be described as basic. Most of our guests find it satisfactory, others like to complement it, as you did, and I am glad I was able to fulfill your culinary wishes. Guests can also order a full English breakfast from one day to the next.

Obviously reviews are and will remain subjective and depend on guests’ expectations. As we have pointed out several times to other guests on Tripadvisor, indeed you mention that you’ve read it yourself, we have never claimed to be a boutique B&B. Our price range puts us firmly within the budget guesthouse category. In all fairness, we should be evaluated as such, not as a boutique B&B.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 June 2014

I decided to stay 4 nights at Tabonina GH after a friend told me about this place. The staff working at the GH and the owners are very nice people and they are always really and happy to assist you with anything you need during your stay at Tabonina. The room I stayed in was big, the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was very spacious and had a bathtub.
The continental breakfast was very good! and the staff made sure I enjoyed every bite of it!
The room, house and pool were always very clean, I really enjoyed sunbathing at the pool.

This place is not too far from the center of the town, it takes 15 mins (by foot) to reach the nearest supermarket, ATMs, banks, etc.

I highly recommend this place to other travellers! I would definitely stay at Tabonina again.

Room Tip: rooms next to the kitchen and living room might be noisy sometimes.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank vlsources
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tabonina Guesthouse

Property: Tabonina Guesthouse
Address: 3 Maisoko Road, Nottie Broad | PO Box 61284, Livingstone 20100, Zambia
Region: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 29 B&Bs / Inns in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated close to the Victoria Falls, one of the biggest wonders of the world, Tabonina Guesthouse is a secure, cosy and relaxing guesthouse located in the peaceful Nottie Broad area of Livingstone, only a short walk away from the town centre. Set in a beautiful mango tree garden, Tabonina Guesthouse consists of nine en-suite rooms and two non en suite rooms, with an ablution block nearby, a breakfast/dinner area, a sitting room equipped with large flat screen TV, a swimming pool, a gazebo with pool table for drinks and games, and a self-catering kitchen. ... more   less 
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