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“Number 1 for a reason!”
Review of Tongabezi

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Tongabezi
Ranked #1 of 18 Hotels in Livingstone
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We have just returned from a 3 night stay at Tongabezi over the Easter weekend. Wow - I am not sure my words will ever do the experience justice, but I'll try my best!

The accommodation is stunning. We have 7 year old twins so the bookings staff recommended the Garden House for us as it was set back from the river, and completely enclosed by a wall, representing the safest option with young children. The 'house' was divine. It is 3 separate buildings - an open bedroom with king sized bed for the parents, an enclosed bedroom with twin beds for the children, and another building with dining and lounge area. Also a private plunge pool - it was like being in our own resort! I could not fault the accommodation. It was supremely comfortable and had everything we needed and more. Add to that our own private valet (Given) who would wake us in the morning with freshly brewed coffee and hot chocolate for the twins, and the experience was well over the top! Given (our valet) was attentive, without being intrusive, and made sure he knew our schedule and ensured that we had everything we needed. He was extremely polite and very sweet with our children. For safety, due to hippos and other wildlife, he was on hand to walk us to and from our room during the evening.

The setting for the lodge is stunning. Right on the river there are plenty of options for guests to choose from in terms of areas to relax with a drink, or where to eat, including dinner on a floating platform where you will be delivered each course via canoe (not to be missed!). And speaking of eating, the food at the resort is superb. Guests are given a set menu for lunch and dinner, with a choice of two mains, but the chef was more than happy to accommodate the kids or fussy eaters if required. Same with breakfast, an extensive menu but my children asked for pancakes on our last morning and they were happily accommodated. The picnic lunch on the island was also superb and well presented. Thumbs up to the chef, who makes the effort to leave the kitchen and ensure his guests are happy.

Activities - many included in the price of the stay (as is all food and alcoholic drinks - within limits). The activities manager Quentino came to see us after we had checked in to help us arrange our activities for the duration of our stay. On our wish list was a day trip to Chobe. He was very helpful ringing around different tour companies to find one that would let us do the trip with our 7 year olds. Lots of conflicting info from "no, they need to be 8", to "no they need to be 13" etc. Then all the companies came back with, "they have to do it privately". This was for an exorbitant amount of money! Seeing our disappointment Quentino (and some of the other staff who knew we had our hearts set on the trip) suggested we leave our twins at the lodge for the day. Our girls were happy to do that and they were well looked after by the staff with plenty of fun and adventures to tell us about when we returned from our trip. As an aside, it turns out that there were some other kids on our trip who were aged between 8-12 years, so it pays to ring around and try to organise it beforehand. So many activity highlights to choose from at the Lodge - the floating sampan dinner on our first night where our meals were delivered by canoe was great fun, as was the island lunch (spotting hippos and crocs on the way), the sunset boat ride and the canoeing trip (all very safe as the guide is with you in a canoe and a 'safety' boat drives in front to spot potential danger). Of course the trip to Vic Falls (also included except for the USD20 park fee pp) is a must do. At this time of year the falls were at their highest in terms of water and it was magnificent to walk the paths being drenched by the falls.

Saving the best till last .... the staff! All the staff, from the cleaners to the gardeners, reception staff, the waiters, the valets and the guides were fabulous. They all walk around with big smiles and greet their guests warmly. Nothing was ever too much trouble and the service was prompt. A special mention to our favourite guides Felix and Keegan - very knowledgable and friendly, great with kids.

In summary - as other reviewers have mentioned, this is not a cheap experience. But it is comparable with many quality 'all inclusive' lodges in southern Africa. The fact that there are a lot of activities included in the price makes it better value. Regardless, the quality of the lodgings and the service and friendliness of all the staff make this such an amazing experience that you'll soon forget about the price! Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank TeamSomerville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tongabezi, Manager at Tongabezi, responded to this reviewResponded 3 May 2014

Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed review following your stay in the Garden house at Tongabezi. It is great to hear that our vision for the family room worked as well for you in practice as we hoped.

It’s also so encouraging to read that you enjoyed all the activity and meal options on offer… especially that we managed to cater for every member of your family.

We appreciate all the compliments for our staff members, they really are passionate about their jobs. The waitresses (Daisy, Rita and Chrisulda) who looked after the girls were so happy to walk them back to the house and particularly enjoyed looking after them to allow you your trip to Chobe.

The entire team are delighted that your family had a lovely time and look forward to host you again.

Best Wishes
Rudy Boribon

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Reviewed 22 April 2014 via mobile

Stayed at Tongabezi for three nights as part of our honeymoon trip to Africa. It was superb. We had a lodge on the edge of the mighty Zambezi with spectacular views from our deck. The food, service and staff were simply the best. For us this was a uniquely excellent experience. We visited the Falls, canoed down the Zambezi, had two sunset boat trips (plus G&Ts) and visited the local school and village. Everything superbly organised by the wonderful people at Tongabezi. A trip we will never forget

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank RD36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Whilst visiting our son in Lusaka, we took a 3 night vacation to the stunning Tongabezi Lodge ~ spending 2 nights in The Dog House and 1 on Sindabezi Island. The whole experience was absolutely fantastic. As an Interior designer I was particularly excited by the interiors- stunning use of African artefacts and furnishings together with luxury fixtures and fittings. Amazing!,! The staff were fantastic, our valet Forbes, looked after us superbly as did the knowledgable guides Godfrey, Felix and Ronald. Nasson and also took great care of us on Sindabezi. The trip to Victoria Falls is something we will never forget.
Thank you Rudy and staff for making our stay so memorable, we only wished we had stayed longer...
Nigel, Joanne and Kristian

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Jo T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2014

We stayed here for just 3 nights mid-February and hadn't thought of writing a review until I read that awful on about no power, no generator. It's Africa for goodness sake! We stayed in The Bird House, magical. Still can't believe that we awoke to the gentle, silent, powerful Zambezi flowing along just below our accommodation. A truly wonderful stay in EVERY way, extremely helpful and friendly staff, great food. Summed up in one word - FAULTLESS!
Linda & Brian

Room Tip: Ask if there's an upgrade available, or pay a little extra.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lindam4322014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tongabezi, Manager at Tongabezi, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2014

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment so graciously regarding your recent stay in the Bird House at Tongabezi lodge. We are delighted to read that you thoroughly enjoyed your stay and especially that you had the opportunity to see the Lunar Rainbow.
Our staff relentlessly works towards offering our valuable guests our sincere Tongabezi style of friendliness and dedicated services - your kind words will certainly encourage our team to keep up the good work.
Look forward to see you again.

Rudy Boribon
Manager

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Reviewed 4 April 2014 via mobile

A lovely hotel with great staff and a school that is making a difference!!it is on the banks of the Zambezi River. Our rooms were called The Dog House and it was magical! We had a bedroom suite with another room with a private pool, dining room and lounge. We had a lovely breakfast there each morning.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Angie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tongabezi, Manager at Tongabezi, responded to this reviewResponded 8 April 2014

Dear William and Angie,

It was our pleasure to host you at Tongabezi and we are delighted that you enjoyed your stay.
We are delighted that you thought your massage was wonderful and so pleased to note that you rated all our services as excellent.

What a pity you did not have time to enjoy another night in the peaceful setting of the Dog House – we would have loved to host you a little longer.

On behalf of the entire Tongabezi team I would like to thank you for your kind words and wish you only the very best.

Sincerely,
Rudy

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Reviewed 20 March 2014

Tongabezi offers first class service in a beautiful location that creates memories that will last a lifetime. The accomodations are extraordinary. We satyed in the Dog House and it is really three separate large houses with its own plunge pool and deck. We saw a hippo from our deck one evenning that was great fun. Great beds, bathrooms and lounges. They think of most everything you would expect in a five star accomodation and more. The attention of a full time butler is something that is easy to get used to. The food is excellent and the ingredients fresh. If you are fortunate enought to have Chanday as your guide you will be very well taken care of and informed about Zambian culture, wildlife and history all with outstanding good humor. Highly recommend lunch on Livingston Island as it really is a breathtaking experience to be on the edge of the falls sitting in the Zambezi River. Sunset cruise is also fun as you can watch the hippos and some great birdlife. The game drive is worthwhile but without predators it does feel a little more like an animal sanctuary. In short, a superb experience that takes most of us way outside of our everyday life and inspires in many ways. A final note of service..my wife left her laptop in the car that dropped is at the airport and everyone at Tongabezi bent over backwards to get us the computer before our plane departed. Above and beyond service. A word about value...all of this wonderous service and facilities in the middle of the wilderness do not come at a value price. You need to see it as an investment in an experience rather than a rationale cost based analysis. If you can afford it, I highly recommedn the experience.

Room Tip: Dog house great for families and is closed to the outside unlike most of the other houses that are o...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Bruce B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2014

We had the most wonderful experience at our stay at this incredible hotel. We spent one night on Sindabezi Island and had the island to ourselves (there were 7 of us staying in 4 cottages). The Honeymoon Suite as were all the cottages were spacious, clean and open to the Zambezi. We heard the hippos and fantastic bird calls - so wonderful. Dinner was excellent and the bonfire that followed was the perfect way to end our first day in Africa! The stars were unbelievable from this island. Nasson took wonderful care of us, keeping the fire going and keeping our glasses filled! Following this we spent two nights at the Tongabezi Tree House and cottages. (Yes, cute monkeys did visit our deck!) All aspects of this wonderful lodge were incredible. Service is outstanding … highly recommend … true luxury! Chande, Juliet, all of the employees were fabulous!

Room Tip: All the rooms on Sindabezi were great. The Treehouse on Tongabezi was really cool!
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank LoriLough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tongabezi

Address: Private Bag 31, Livingstone, Zambia
Region: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Livingstone
#1 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
#1 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range: £826 - £1,234 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Tongabezi 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tongabezi Lodge, the first river lodge on the Zambian side of the Victorian Falls, is a privately owned up-market lodge, built with emphasis on exclusivity and romance, located on the banks of the Zambezi River. Tongabezi has four open-fronted thatched houses and five river cottages all with sweeping views over the river and a Garden Cottage set in its own private walled garden. In addition we have the private island bush camp at Sindabezi Island and the Tangala House family home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tongabezi Hotel Livingstone

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