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“I just wish I were there!”
Review of Tongabezi

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Tongabezi
Ranked #1 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
Certificate of Excellence
Ciudad Obregon, Mexico
Level Contributor
137 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“I just wish I were there!”
Reviewed 21 May 2014

When I remember our time at tongabezi I feel the desperate need to get back again! It was so outdoorsy, so cozy, so full of really trully nice people. The food has no comparison everyday we had a menu change and it was so amazingly delicious! afternoon boat safaris were a hit! Congratulations to tongabezi!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank happymary91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
28 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2014

What I Liked Most: Fantastic room, food especially breakfast

What I Liked Least: Guide recommended against visiting Zimbabwe side of the Falls

We stayed for 2 nights in the Tree House. This is a room with 4 trees as part of the structure, with an open view looking out onto the Zambesi. Quite an odd view from the toilet! Perhaps the most spectacular room of its type I have stayed in. The whole place in general has been nicely designed.

One of the included activities is of course a trip to Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. A guide was with us, and did the full tour of the Zambian side. We visited during April when there is a lot of water, and you get drenched after the first stretch on the Zambian side. We asked our guide about visiting the Zimbabwe side, and although admitting he had not been to the Zimbabwean side, he was sure it would be a "disaster" because if it was wet on the Zambian side, it would be much worse on the Zimbabwean side. Anyway, we ignored him, and the view was much better on the Zimbabwean side. Surely the guides should be aware of this, and I would argue there must be a case for including a trip to the Zimbabwean side as an optional activity.

The food was great. Breakfast was particularly inventive: try the corn bhajis or the sausage fritters. Service was friendly, helpful and cheerful.

Overall, in spite of the guide's aberration on the Falls, this was a tremendous place to stay.

Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank 984DavidA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tongabezi, Guest Relations Manager at Tongabezi, responded to this review, 23 June 2014
Dear David,
Thank you for your Trip Advisor comments regarding your stay at Tongabezi Lodge. We are glad that you enjoyed the Tree House and its unique features on the Zambezi River.
The Chef was extremely delighted that you enjoyed the food (especially
his Special Breakfast Menu).
We do appreciate your constructive comment regarding your visit to the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls and the guide in question has been debriefed accordingly. We do recommend this visit to all our guests as it is a long way to come and not see it from both sides if you can… it is of course also possible to see it from Livingstone Island and from the sky if you take a flight of the Angels. It is best to get a double or multiple entry visa if you wish to cross to the other side.
Thank you again and all the best for the future.

Best wishes,

Juliet
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

My husband and I spent 3 nights at Tongabezi in a River Cottage as part of our African trip in April 2014. We had an absolutely fantastic time taking advantage of some of the brilliant included activities as well as relaxing by the Zambezi.
The staff were all delightful, attentive and helpful throughout our stay.
The cottage was wonderful, made even better by our valet having run a bath for us each evening on our return! He was also on hand to escort us to our room each night given that there was a hippo grazing right outside our cottage on more than one evening.
Highly recommended is the sunset cruise for excellent hippo sightings (complete with drinks). The falls visit is a must and we splashed out on the helicopter trip which was absolutely worth it. Canoeing on the Zambezi was peaceful and quite the experience as was the local village visit and the game drive in the National Park very close to the lodge.
We also had organised to do the "Lion Walk" in nearby Livingstone. An incredible experience that was way more interactive than we could have imagined. If you want a very close encounter with lions, including the possibility to scratch the tummy of a wild lion, this trip is very highly recommended and the conservation cause is well explained and worth the contribution of the cost of the experience.
We would also suggest doing the sunrise cruise on your last morning. A beautiful way to say farewell to the Zambezi and Tongabezi.
All in all, a brilliant few days that set the bench mark for the rest of our trip!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank frithat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noosa, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 May 2014

Our party of twelve 'took over' the lodge for three nights last month. Sorry to the other guests as we had a super time. The location on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, was stunning. Our guide Chande was most helpful, knowlegable & gracious. And to have such a delicious array of food was unexpected. Our valet, Alvin was courteous and helpful,,,running a bubble bath with a glass of bubbles to ensure total relaxation. We even had a up close visit by a hippo who was keen to munch the grass behind our house. Loved the sunset cruise and our sundowners. We also saw the lunar effect which was special. We took gifts to Tujatane school which were greatly appreciated. As for the Victoria Falls, just amazing. The mist was all enveloping so after the walk we took the helicopter flight. An absolute must do. On our final night, the staff came to our table and sang for us. which was just a beautiful finale to our splendid stay. Thank you again to all the staff. Unforgettable.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank maureen c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
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
Helpful?
1 Thank RD36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jo T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tongabezi

Property: Tongabezi
Address: Private Bag 31, Livingstone, Zambia
Region: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
#1 Family Hotel in Livingstone
#1 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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