The ultimate guide to what to do in Livingstone and around the Victoria Falls area of Zambia, including activities, costs and accommodation. With this guide, you aren't going to be short of things to do. (And if you are, then I don't know how to help you).
It's a long guide, so get yourself settled (maybe a cup of tea and a biscuit?) and get ready to read!
Can't be arsed to read the whole post or are you feeling like "I don't want to hear your life story, just gimme the facts!" Don't worry, we've got you covered - just jump to the section you want to read about below!
We lived in Zambia for three years and during that period I lost count of how many times we visited Livingstone. It's the number one tourist destination in Zambia and for good reason - it has the largest waterfall in the world and that alone is enough to attract millions of tourists every year. Aside from the Victoria Falls, there are many other activities to do in this town that are suitable for solo travellers, couples and groups.
The tours and activities in this area aren't cheap, so if you are on a tight budget you will have to carefully select what you want to do. However, many of the experiences are considered 'once in a lifetime' so this might just be the place to splash some cash!
So what did we get up to in Livingstone? Here's our rundown of the best things to do in the capital of the Southern Province of Zambia.
1) Visit the Victoria Falls
This might be an obvious thing to put on the list but I just can't emphasise enough how amazing and beautiful the Victoria Falls are. We stopped by the Falls every time we visited Livingstone because for us, the magnificent spectacle of the greatest curtain of falling water in the world (five-hundred-million cubic meters of water per minute during the height of the rainy season) plunging into a gorge 100 metres below, never really gets old.
You hear the thunderous roar of the Victoria Falls long before you see it. The sheer force of the water plunging over the edge drives a column of spray high into the air that drenches everything (and everyone) in a fine mist. There's a good reason why the traditional Tonga name for the Falls is 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' or 'The Smoke That Thunders'. As you get closer, the thundering sound gets louder and even before you come out onto the Knife Edge Bridge that passes right in front of the Falls, you can feel the spray on your face.
Getting In and Around
The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park/Zambian side of the Victoria Falls is open from 6am to 6pm and the entrance fee is $20 per person. On subsequent trips to Livingstone we brought along our work/residence permits and we were actually able to get in for $2 each instead which was a huge saving!
Once you enter the park there are a range of clearly marked trails that take you to different viewpoints, including of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Knife Edge Bridge. As you can see from the picture above, the latter is a footbridge that goes across a deep gorge and gives you a full view of the Eastern Cataract, the main part of the waterfall seen from the Zambian side. Another trail descends steeply through the rainforest and down to the Boiling Pot, which is basically a huge whirlpool in the Zambezi. Definitely wear some decent walking shoes or trainers!
What's the Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls?
There is a lot of debate about the best time to visit the Victoria Falls but I would say that you could visit at any time of the year and they will still be spectacular. Most people say that it is best to visit during the height of the rainy season (February - April) when the volume of water at the Falls is the greatest. There's huge amounts of spray during this time, so be prepared to get soaked through or hire a mac from the ticket office. The spray can obstruct your view of the Falls and some sections of the pathway might be cordoned off if it gets too slippery.
During the peak dry season (November/December), the amount of water in the Falls drops dramatically. In some places along the cliff edge it even dries up completely. The great thing about visiting at this time of year is that you can see the gigantic cliffs that form the edge of the Falls and you get a much better sense of the size and depth of the gorge below you.
A few words of warning: there are plenty of these guys around this side of the Victoria Falls and they might look adorable but they really aren't. The baboons here have become pretty bold after getting used to tourists feeding them so they are basically ready to just steal your stuff.
We watched some tourists leave their backpacks on the side of the Knife Edge bridge so that they could snap a few photos and in less than a minute a group of baboons had grabbed their bags and were rifling through them. The horrified couple just watched as the baboons chucked clothing, wallets and sunglasses into the gorge below. The guy attempted to grab the bag back while balancing precariously at the edge of the bridge, but the baboon just bared his teeth and was basically aggressive enough to make him think twice.
And that's the thing, they are aggressive and they will bite. The last thing you need on your holiday is to be searching for a hospital that will provide you with a rabies vaccination. To keep your trip baboon-bite free, keep any food out of sight and inside your bag and keep your belongings with you.
But sometimes even that is not enough. We took a picnic to the Victoria Falls with my parents and decided to have it in the designated picnic area. Afterwards, we carried the leftover rubbish in a bag intending to throw it away when we came across a bin. Too late. A huge male baboon came down and grabbed the bag off my dad. My dad then proceeded to tussle with the baboon, grabbing the bag back. I stepped in, thinking I was ten-men and tried to scare the baboon away and it basically launched itself at me. I ran away and left Vincent, my mum and dad to fight the baboon. I am not a hero.
Making Some Bad Decisions
As we walked across the Knife Edge Bridge during our first visit to the Falls, I noticed something amazing. It looked like people were standing on top of the waterfall, right at the edge! I love standing at the edge of high things (don't ask me why) so immediately I turned to Vincent and said, "I want to know how they got there and I want to go there too." He replied, shaking his head, "Of course you do."
Now just before I continue this story, I want to emphasise that what we did next is not something we would recommend that you do. There is a safer and much better way to walk across the top of the Victoria Falls through the Livingstone Island tour, which I will outline below. But we were young(er) and a bit more reckless then and so we decided to do something else first.
We walked back around to the beginning of the main path to the Falls and crossed over to the other side. And here, we met a man who offered to walk us across the top of the largest waterfall in the world and take us to the Angel's Armchair pool for the grand sum of 200 kwacha (£15). Initially we thought he was an official national park guide, but he actually turned out to be a random guy who was offering tours of the Falls. Again, not something we would recommend that you do.
Thunderstorms and Rising Water
We linked arms and started inching our way across the top of the Falls. At the beginning we were quite far from the edge but as the water filled our hiking boots, our guide took a path that brought us closer to the precipice. At the same time, the skies opened up above us and a full-on thunderstorm ensued. As we waded through the Zambezi, with the water rising past our waists and the current getting increasingly faster, Vincent gave me a look that roughly translated as "Why do I let you convince me to do these things?". We also had to keep a lookout for crocodiles and hippos because they were known to come this far down stream (and I actually saw a hippo right at the edge of the Falls on another visit).
Our destination was the Angel's Armchair, a natural pool 1.5metres away from the edge of the Victoria Falls. By the time we got there I was shaking from adrenaline and fear and soaked through.
As the water levels were quite low at this point, the guide suggested that we could go swimming in the pool if we liked. I hadn't bought my swimming stuff with me but Vincent decided that since he was already wet through, he might as well go for a swim. I paddled around at the edge and took some photos of Vincent jumping off high things at the edge of a massive waterfall, with his socks still on.
After this, we headed back the way that we came and hiked down to visit the Boiling Pot, which is also close to the starting point for whitewater rafting trips. The hike down to the Boiling Pot is mostly steps and you don't need a guide, but be prepared for a long trek back up afterwards.
If you only have time to do one thing while you are in Livingstone, make sure that visiting the Victoria Falls is it. It really is spectacular!
2) Visit Livingstone Island and the Devil's/Angel's Pool (in a much safer way)
If you want to get as perilously close as possible to the edge of the Victoria Falls but in a much safer way than we did above, then a visit to Livingstone Island is for you.
Dr Livingstone, I Presume
Livingstone Island is named after David Livingstone, the British explorer credited for 'discovering' the Victoria Falls (which he then duly named after Queen Victoria, despite the fact that it already had a local name and people did clearly already know about its existence...but anyway). Apparently, the island at the edge of the Falls is where old David stood when he saw them for the first time, hence the island being named after him.
Trips to Livingstone Island are organised by the luxury safari lodge Tongabezi and the tours vary in price: we went on one of the morning 'breezer' tours which includes breakfast and costs $105 per person. There are also other options that include lunch ($170pp) and high tea ($145pp).
The tour begins with a thrilling speedboat ride that leaves from the deck of the Royal Livingstone hotel. This short trip in itself is pretty exciting because not only are you riding over the top of the Victoria Falls but there is also a chance that you might spot some wildlife on your way to Livingstone Island. The views are also simply to die for.
A Drink You Can Chew and Lots of Nice Views
Once we reached the island, we were greeted with a souped-up version of a traditional drink: chibuantu. Chibuantu is made with coarsely ground maize and water and is famously known as the only drink that you can also 'chew' because the maize falls to the bottom of your cup and you can eat it afterwards. This version was mixed with some kind of strawberry syrup, which makes it slightly sweeter than the versions we were used to having in the village.
After our welcome drink, the guides from Tongabezi took us for a small tour around the island, where we were shown the plaque marking Livingstone's discovery of the Falls and were also taken right to the edge. Having done this tour three times, I can say that the experience varies between the wet and dry seasons - basically, during the dry season you can pretty much wander about the top of the Falls in regular clothes and get a bit of spray on yourself but in the wet season, you will either need to wear swimwear or a raincoat as you will be getting soaked!
The guides also took us to different spots right near the edge for photographs. During the rainy season, we had to hold on really tightly to our guide and make sure we didn't slip on the rocks as we walked to the edge. They would then position us for a photograph and even hold on to us so we could look over the edge for a second and get a sense of how high up we actually were (if we hadn't realised that already).
Swimming at the Edge (Again)
This tour also includes the option of swimming in the Devil's Pool or the Angel's Armchair pool, depending on the season. During the height of the rainy season, the Devil's pool is often closed as the river levels are far too high and it becomes too dangerous to visit. In this case, tourists are usually taken to the Angel's pool instead.
To visit either pool on the tour, everyone had to link arms and wade across the top of the edge of the Falls in knee-deep water. When the water levels is higher, some swimming is required as the strong current could sweep you off the edge.
On all of our trips to Livingstone Island we had two guides leading us - one who would stand upstream and guide the guests over the rocky islands and through the water and the other would be downstream, presumably to catch anyone who was pulled away by the current. Once you reach the Devil's pool, the guides stand behind you so you can take pictures and to also stop you from going over the edge. I understand that these days there is also a rope at the edge of the Angel's and Devil's pool that you can hold on to as an additional lifeline.
Needless to say I wasn't convinced that one man standing at the edge of this massive waterfall was going to stop me from being pulled over (oh the irony given I'd trusted a random guy to take me there the day before).
Having already been at the edge on our impromptu Angel's Pool trip the day before, I decided to give the Devil's Pool a miss during our first Livingstone Island trip. On subsequent trips when the water was too high to visit either pool, I did wade out to the edge and I certainly felt like I was seeing enough from where I was. Don't let that put you off though - the Livingstone Island tour has a 100% safety record so they clearly know what they are doing! (And it is much better than going on a trip with an unlicensed guide.)
The tour ended with a lovely breakfast under a luxury style safari tent back on Livingstone Island. We had amazing eggs Benedict served with an English muffin, warm fruit and plain scones, fruit juice, tea and coffee. I'd certainly worked up an appetite by that point so I ended up getting second and third helpings! We then got a speedboat back to the Royal Livingstone. All in all an exciting, if slightly hair-raising trip!
3) Do Some Kind of Adrenaline Rush Activity
Are you a fan of bungee jumping? Whitewater rafting? Swimming under a massive waterfall? Maybe extreme fishing is your thing? (I actually have no idea what the last one entails, but I just assume that the fish are like, really extreme). Adrenaline junkies will be pleased to hear that you can do all of this and more in Livingstone.
I Wanna Get that Buzz, Yo
On our first trip to Livingstone I was really keen to do something that would give me a buzz (if you haven't guessed already, I love precipitious heights and physical activities) but I had to rule out some of the above options immediately. Victoria Falls has some of the most exciting rapids in the world as well as breathtaking scenery - whitewater rafting is therefore one of the main activities people do when they visit Livingstone.
However, swimming isn't my greatest strength and after talking to a fellow tourist who told me that her raft flipped over and she basically went under the water, slashed her leg open on a rock and then floated off down river and had to be picked up a while later, I put a strike through that one. I mean, the Zambezi has crocodiles. This is no joke.
I was keen to try bungee jumping but having read something about it wrecking your eyes (and my eyes already being so bad that I have to put on my spare pair of glasses to find my regular glasses) I decided to rule that one out too. After much deliberation, we decided that on our first day in Livingstone we would try out the Gorge Swing. And yes, I decided this for both of us.
Tip: If whitewater rafting is your thing, then you can either book a half day ($160) or full day ($170) trip through most guesthouses and hotels in the Livingstone area. You can also organise to do a bungee jump ($160) or bridge swing ($160) or even a bridge slide ($45) if jumping off bridges gives you the buzz you are looking for.
The Gorge Swing
The gorge swing isn't really the correct name for this activity. It's more like a gorge 'drop'. The 'swing' is suspended across a gorge (316m wide and 120m deep) through which the Victoria Falls used to flow. A harness is attached to the person jumping and you basically leap off the edge of the gorge and free fall 70m before going into a 95m long pendulum swing.
Powered by a cup of Ricoffee, Vincent and I headed to our 8.30am gorge swing appointment. Given that we were already a bit perturbed by the idea, we had decided that the best thing to do was just get it out of the way. We booked the experience through Fawlty Towers backpackers with whom we were staying and the cost of the activity included being picked up in the morning and dropped off afterwards.
There were two things I discovered when I did the gorge swing:
1) Stepping off a ledge is not as easy as I thought it would be.
2) I scream like a man.
There were four of us in this early morning group. We decided that we would go after the two other guys so we could watch how it worked and hopefully calm our nerves. This turned out to be a bad idea - it actually made the sense of trepidation worse.
There are two pricing options for the gorge swing - it's $90 for you to swing on your own or $130 to do a tandem swing. Both of us immediately thought that we didn't want to be responsible for the other's death so we opted for two individual swings.
We started off by signing one of those 'in case of death' indemnity forms and then we were harnessed up and shown how we were supposed to step off the edge of the gorge.
You have to pull your harness up to your chest and tense as you fall so that you don't get whiplash when the rope breaks your fall. The two guys in front us decided to step off backwards, but we decided that if we were going to be plunging to our deaths, we'd at least want to see where we were going.
As we watched the first guy step backwards off the ledge, I wasn't prepared for what I saw. He became very small, very quickly. It was the first time that day that I gained a sense of perspective as to how high up we actually were and how far the drop was.
Too Late to Change My Mind...
By the time it was my turn, I was sh**ing it. I walked up to the edge of the ledge and the man hooked me up to the rope on the swing. I looked over the edge and thought about how I could have been having a luxurious leisurely breakfast buffet instead of trying to kill myself on our first holiday in Zambia. Once my harness was attached, the man put a gentle but firm hand on my back and asked "Ready?". I wasn't but I said I was anyway.
The man counted "One...Two...THREE!" and then I stepped off the ledge. Actually, I tried to step off but my body fought me all the way: I had to drag my back leg to follow me and the man actually gave me a push. And then I was falling and a deep strangled sound echoed around the gorge. It was me, screaming like a man.
...And a lot of Time to Think About Dying
I always thought that if you jumped off something high the experience would be over very quickly. In reality, I discovered that when you are free falling for about 3.5 seconds, time goes by really slowly. You've got plenty of time to think about everything.
The rope jerked and suddenly I was gently swinging over the trees in the gorge. Everything felt beautiful and I could relax! I'd done it! The rope was slowly lowered on to a platform and I was unhooked. As I looked up I saw Vincent flying over me, arms and legs spread out like a flying squirrel. He was sailing through the air in absolute silence like a ninja.
When we were in Zambia, the gorge swing and bungee jump from the Victoria Falls bridge were the main adrenaline rush activities on offer in addition to whitewater rafting. However, they do also offer some other high wire activities including zip lining, a flying fox and abseiling. There's plenty of choice to give you that buzz!
4) Take a Microlight Flight Over the Victoria Falls
Taking a microlight flight or helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls is a fantastic way to see them from above, particularly in the rainy season when the spray from the water rises high in to the air as this can sometimes obscure your view of the Falls at ground level.
We decided to go microlighting when Vincent's sister visited us in Zambia as it was a chance to do another activity in Livingstone that we hadn't tried before. Microlight flights are offered by the company Batoka Sky and there are two options of 15 minute or 30 minute flights. When we visited, a 15 minute early morning microlight flight cost $130 per person, but this has now gone up to $179. The 30 minute flight is even more expensive at $360 per person.
We decided that we'd take one of the early morning flights (between 8am - 9.30am) and then get dropped off at the Victoria Falls afterwards.The tour price included being picked up at our accommodation and taken to Batoka Sky's aerodrome. Vincent was looking forward to the experience with his usual zeal, describing the impending experience as "flying over the Victoria Falls in a kite powered by a hairdryer".
The staff at Batoka Sky are very professional and gave us a safety briefing and explained what we could expect from the flight. A microlight is open on all sides and so we got a mind blowing view of the Victoria Falls and an even greater sense of how huge and magnificent they are. The pilots were also great - they give us a running commentary throughout the flight, pointing out the different features of the Falls as well as the wildlife. We saw elephants, hippos, giraffe, water buffalo and even crocodiles during our flight!
You are not allowed to take your camera with you, however there is a Go Pro attached to the wing of the microlight that takes photos throughout your flight. You can buy these pictures on a USB flash drive for $20 after your flight is over.
5) Walk With Lions
Whilst in Victoria Falls, we took the opportunity to walk with young lions through the Lion Encounter programme, which operates in both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Note: It is very important to do thorough research into any programmes offering animal encounters, to ensure that the animals are not being exploited. We did a lot of research about the programme before we went and we were reassured that the lions in the Lion Encounter programme were being bred as part of a conservation programme that ultimately aims to ethically re-introduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild. They were not being bred for canned hunting, which happens in other countries such as South Africa.
'Canned hunting' is basically when a wild animal is put inside a small enclosure so that a trophy hunter can shoot it from a safe distance and then pose with it (usually holding its head up, because you know it can't do that independently now, because it's dead) for a picture. This type of trophy hunting is particularly prevalent in South Africa. It is horrific and disgusting and there's no way we would want to support this kind of practise.
Having said all this, Lion Encounter Zambia suspended lion walks as of March 2015 (more details about this below). The Zimbabwean programme is still operating, but please do your research and make an informed decision before going on any programme offering animal encounters.
The Lion Encounter Experience
The Lion Encounter programme offers morning and afternoon walks lasting from 45 minutes to 1 hour and costs $135 per person. The price includes being picked up from your accommodation and basic refreshments.
The programme started with a short film about the ALERT (African Lion Research and Environmental Trust) four-stage lion conservation programme as well as other research, community and conservation programmes that the organisation does.
After that we had a safety briefing, where our guides explained that we should never try to touch the lions' heads or faces (I mean, why would you?); never have our backs to the lions and ensure that we always walk behind them during the experience. When the lions lay down to rest, we would be able to kneel behind them for a photo opportunity but we had to be ready to move away and stand up if they moved or started to find us a bit too interesting (read: when they realise we are potential prey) and wanted to take a closer look.
Our guides explained that lions are intimidated by the height of humans, which left me feeling a bit nervous that I didn't have that advantage to count on and kicking myself for not taking the minimum height requirement more seriously (I just made it). We were then each given a long wooden stick (yep, that's all!), that we could distract the lions with, if they started to get too close.
Getting Up Close With the King of the Beasts
A small group of us were then led out to a grassy clearing by four guides and introduced to the three lions that we would be walking with that day. They were all aged between 16 to 18 months - these were actually the oldest lions in Stage One of the programme. After 18 months, the lion cubs are deemed too dangerous to take part in the walking experience and at this point they move to the next stage of the programme where they practice and hone their hunting skills.
The lions were much bigger than I expected - when we walked alongside them, their backs nearly came up to my waist. At this age they didn't look fluffy or cuddly at all (the image you get when you hear the phrase 'lion cubs'). Instead they looked like the very majestic, muscular, powerful animals that they are. The guides explained that they wouldn't be fully grown for another two years at least. Whoa.
The three lions in our group were extremely active, which was another thing that surprised me because I expected them to be sleeping and lazing about all the time. Instead, they play fought with each other, climbed around on trees and rolled about in the grass.
When the lions were resting, the guides gave us the opportunity to touch them and have our photograph taken. I was so excited about this and also very scared - if one of the lions decided that it had had enough of me, it could get nasty very quickly and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
I knelt down behind one of the lions and stroked its back - its fur was much rougher and coarser than I expected, it felt almost like a carpet. Up close I could see how big their heads and paws actually were - I couldn't get my head around the fact that these huge lions were still just cubs! As time went on I became more comfortable with the lions and I even touched the rough brush-like end of one of the lion's tails (also known as the 'spore').
The guides also used the lions' rest periods to show us some of their physical characteristics. So we got the chance to have a closer look at their teeth and the 'dew' claws, which are only found on their front legs, and act like a thumb. These are used by lions to hook and maintain their grip on their prey.
Our group was fairly small - just six of us including myself and Vincent. Every member of the group was given the chance to have a photograph taken with the lions and to walk beside them. The guides were close by all the time and kept an eye on the lion's behaviour (e.g. telling us when to move out of the way if they thought a lion was about to get up) and so we always felt safe.
For us, the experience was a rare once-in-a-lifetime chance to get close to these amazing animals, in a conservation setting. The lions were clearly treated well and did not behave as though they were tame but just more familiar with humans.
The ALERT Four Stage Programme
Lions in Africa are listed as a vulnerable species and there has been an estimated 30-50% decrease in the numbers of wild lions in Africa over the last 20 years. Lion Alert's Four Stage programme aims to ethically re-introduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild.
Stage 1: From the age of 3-18 months, lion cubs born in captivity are taken on walks in the bush to familarise them with their natural habitat and help them develop their hunting and stalking skills.
Programme staff, volunteers and guides are perceived by the lions as dominant members of the pride and help with this familiarisation. The walks also help to generate funds for the later stages of the programme such as veterinary costs and procuring land as well as raising awareness of the threats to wild lions.
From the age of 18 months, the lions take part in the night encounter programme where they hunt for larger game together in the dark, as they would in the wild.
Stage 2: The lions are released into a large enclosure where they can start to live and hunt as a wild pride. These lions will be monitored for research purposes but there is no longer any human contact at this stage.
Stage 3: The pride is located to a larger area, where they will spend the remainder of their lives. This area will have a variety of species in it, including competitive ones. At this stage the aim is for the pride to breed cubs that will have had no human contact.
Stage 4: Cubs born in Stage 3 will be raised by the pride in a totally natural environment, and when old enough, can be relocated into those areas of Africa that need them.
The Lion Encounter programme operates in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Gweru (Antelope Park, Zimbabwe) and until recently, Livingstone in Zambia.
How Successful is the Programme?
One of the controversies about ALERT's programme is that despite it starting in 2005, it is yet to release any lions into the wild. Instead, there is a captive population of lions in Stage 2 of the programme that is simply increasing as the lions continue to breed. Given that these lions cannot be released into the wild due to their familiarity with humans, there is a huge concern that they will instead be used for canned hunting.
Lion ALERT has strongly refuted these allegations and have stated elsewhere that the challenge of moving lions to Stage 3 of the programme is due to funding, but concerns about the success of the programme have been great enough for the Zambia arm of the operation to suspend its activities in 2015 and "reduce the number of lions entering into the African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme, until lions have been successfully released into the wild from the programme”. ALERT's operations in Zimbabwe are still continuing but at a reduced level.
It still remains to be seen whether lions in the programme will eventually be released in to the wild. Our understanding of the programme at the time was that it had fantastic objectives, the lions were treated well and our money was going to a good cause. Vincent's sister even volunteered for 5 days with the organisation and similarly felt confident about the ethics of the programme. The concerns above however present it in a new light and so our advice would be to really read up on this programme and any other similar ones in Livingstone/Victoria Falls and decide for yourself.
6) Walking Safari or Game Drive
The good news is that you can happily see wildlife in the actual wild by going on a walking safari or game drive in the Mosi O Tunya National Park. We decided to go on an afternoon walking safari when my parents visited and it was fantastic - we were able to see a variety of wildlife, including the rare white rhino!
A Bit of Safety Advice
We were picked up from our hotel in a safari jeep and driven to the park headquarters. Over a cup of tea and a muffin, the guides at the park talked us through the wildlife we could expect to see, how we could get the most out of the walking safari and the Do's and Don't whilst out walking - i.e. do ask questions about the wildlife and observe any animals that you see quietly, don't wander off and get yourself gored by an elephant. Pretty basic stuff, really.
Given that an animal mauling or goring you is something that any sane person would like to avoid, we'd also been given advice about what kind of clothes to wear for the activity. Basically, no bright colours or white. So, the white dress that you are planning to swirl around in to create that perfect 'African' safari photo for the 'Gram? Yeah, don't wear that. Other advice included wearing sun screen and insect repellent, long pants and a long sleeved top if possible and suitable closed walking shoes, in case you happen to stand on a snake. I've had closer-than-I'd-like encounters with a spitting cobra and two black mambas (in my bin bags of all places!), so this is a real thing. Leave those flip flops at home.
And So We Set Out
Once our briefing was over and each armed with a cold bottle of water, our guides took a group of eight of us out in the jeep to the place that we would start our walk. Incredibly, just as we were getting down from the jeep we spotted two giraffes nearby and were able to spend a bit of time observing them before they moved away. The activity was already off to a great start!
Our luck continued as we managed to spot a number of other animals during the activity, including hippos, elephants, zebras, deer, a crocodile and then finally two white rhinos.
We had been expecting to possibly see one white rhino, so to see two was a real treat! The rhinos were seemingly undisturbed by our presence and continued to do what rhinos do, which seemed to be snuffling along the ground looking for tasty grass.
Our guide explained that white rhinos are primarily grazers and that they have distinct features that make them distinguishable from black rhinos. Size is the first thing: white rhinos are much bigger than their black counterpart, with a female weighing about 1,700kg and the male about 2,300kg. So basically, they are the size and weight of a large car. Which didn't do anything to deter my mum from getting as close as possible for a picture (and Vincent wonders where I get my daredevil streak from?).
Unlike the black rhino, which is known for its bad temper, the white rhino is a fairly placid creature. This is why it simply continued its grass-munching activities when we were close to it and why my mum felt comfortable putting herself in what looked like mortal danger.
Other distinguishing features of a white rhino include a large head that is always on the ground, because it primarily feeds on grass; trumpet-shaped ears; a smaller second horn and a slight hump in its back. Our guide explained that because a white rhino's neck muscles are too weak to lift its heavy head and as it has poor eyesight, its hearing plays a huge role in it being alert to danger. It can even swivel its ears independently when it is resting!
The walking safari itself lasted around three hours and as a group we were able to set our own walking pace. Our group wandered along pretty leisurely which was great for the older members of the group, although had there been a reason to speed up, I am sure that my septuagenarian parents could have kept up, as they are pretty hardcore like that.
Our guide took the time to point out various flora and fauna and medicinal plants used by the local Tonga people and showing us the tracks of the white rhino and other large game. When we did spot animals, the guide was careful not to disturb them and always made sure that we were at a vantage point from which we could safely view them. Do bear in mind that there will be points on the walk where you don't see any wildlife (this isn't a zoo after all) but you can use this opportunity to ask the guide any burning questions that you have.
A walking safari costs $80 per person and the whole activity from pick-up to drop-off lasts around four and a half hours. The maximum group size for the activity is eight people and the walks take place either in the morning or afternoon, with pickups at 06.30 or 13.30. Refreshments are also provided in the middle of the walk (we had homemade tasty lemonade and cake - yum) and at the end, where we were served a cold drink before we took our transport back to the hotel.
You can also organise game drives (which take about two and a half hours) in the same region of the park, which costs $65 per person. A game drive would be better for families with young children, as children under 14 years of age are not allowed to participate in walking safaris.
7) Take a Trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana
Yes, yes I know - this isn't an activity that takes place in Zambia. But if you want them real 'safari' feels you need to head to Chobe National Park as it is world renowned for its game viewing. And you would be crazy not to do this as it's so easy to organise from Livingstone!
You can either do a day trip from Livingstone or camp overnight for up to three nights in the national park. The difference between these options is obviously price (I ain't gonna lie, it can be expensive!) and the number of game drives that you have in your activity. Having more game drives does increase your chances of good wildlife sightings, but this isn't necessarily always so: on the two-day-one-night Chobe experience we had a morning game drive where we didn't see anything much for a whole three hours but did freeze our arses off. It's all luck basically!
For more information on doing a safari in Chobe National Park, check out our blog post (including visas, accommodation and more!).
8) See the Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe and Have Afternoon Tea in the Victoria Falls Hotel
Hang on a minute! Am I recommending yet another activity that takes place outside of Zambia? Okay, technically yes but, it's in the Victoria Falls area and you only need to cross over a bridge to go into Zimbabwe, so why wouldn't you?
The Zimbabwean side of the Falls used to be the most popular side to visit and so the infrastructure on this side of the park is actually more developed than on the Zambian side. The Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls was also the preferred place for tourists to stay in as it was only 2km away from the national park. Unfortunately, political instability and upheaval in the country from the year 2000 onwards resulted in tourists either not visiting Zimbabwe at all or flocking to the Zambian side of the Falls instead.
Happily, recent developments in the country have resulted in a record number of tourists returning. Long may it continue!
Isn't it Overkill to See the Same Waterfall from Different Sides?
Well, that depends. There is a long standing debate over which side provides 'the best' view of the Falls. The Zimbabwean side of the park has the greatest share of frontal viewpoints of the Falls as two-thirds of the waterfall lies in Zimbabwe. Therefore, it has a better view of the Falls all-year-round and a number of incredible view points such as the Devils Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Some of these viewpoints take you right to the edge of a steep cliff (that might not be a positive thing in your book but it is in mine).
The Zambian side of the Falls allows you to get really close to the waterfall itself as the Knife Edge bridge passes directly in front of the thundering water. You can also only get to Livingstone Island and hike down to the Boiling Pot whirlpool from the Zambian side. Plus, there are a number of other walking trails on that side of the Falls and the entrance fee is also $10 cheaper.
If you have the time on your trip, I would recommend that you actually try to see it from both sides.
How to Visit the Zimbabwean Side of the Victoria Falls From Zambia
We decided to visit the Zimbabwean side of the Falls with my parents (we used their visit as an excuse to do all sorts of cool things). To get to Zimbabwe from Zambia, we had to walk over the famous Victoria Falls bridge. You can also take a taxi over the border if you like, but it's an exciting part of the adventure to actually walk over the bridge that links the two countries. The walk to the Zimbabwe border post took us about 25 minutes and along the way we passed by a queue of tourists waiting for their turn to do the bungee jump off the bridge. I gave them a cheer as we passed by, just in case they needed any further encouragement to throw themselves off.
Tip: If you want to visit Zimbabwe, we would recommend that you apply for a KAZA visa as it allows you to enter Zambia and Zimbabwe multiple times and also covers day-trips to Botswana through the Kazungula border. The visa costs $50 and is valid for 30 days - it's also cheaper than a double entry visa to Zambia (which costs $80) and you can visit Zimbabwe too! You can apply online and get an e-visa and approval letter prior to travelling or get it on arrival at Lusaka and Livingstone airports in Zambia or at Victoria Falls or Harare airports in Zimbabwe. It's also available at the Kazungula border to Botswana and at the Victoria Falls border to Zimbabwe. More information on visas for Zambia is at the end of this post.
The entrance fee to the Victoria Falls National Park is $30 per person, so as I mentioned, slightly steeper than on the Zambian side.
Tip: We also hired some raincoats from the main park office: if you want to keep your valuables dry (especially that fancy camera), this is a must. There was some serious spray from the Falls when we visited in July and by the end we all looked like we had taken a shower. Raincoat hire is about $3 per person.
There's also a souvenir shop and a cafe at the entrance, so if you are hungry after your walk around the Falls you can sit down for a well deserved snack. Of course, we decided to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea...more about that later.
There are 15 different viewpoints on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls and a cobblestone path leads from the entrance gate to the first viewpoint, where there is a statue of Livingstone. From there the pathway basically took us into the rainforest and along the edge of the cliff on an easy to follow route. One of the earliest sights that you will see is the Devil's Cataract - this is the lowest of the five waterfalls that make up the Victoria Falls at a height of 60m.
Apparently, the Devil's Cataract derived its name from a nearby island in the Zambezi river where local people were supposed to have carried out sacrificial ceremonies. Of course, missionaries then came along and in their missionary-like-way waggled their fingers and declared that the practice was 'devilish', hence the name for the area.
We took our time walking around, especially as the path was very wet and slippery. Many of the view points just had very basic barriers between us and the cliff edge. This of course didn't stop my mum from wanting to take a closer look (and again, Vincent wonders where I get my love of danger from). Despite there being lots of spray, the views were incredible.
As we headed along the path towards the Eastern Cataract (also known as the Rainbow Falls) the barriers disappeared altogether and we were basically walking along the edge of the cliff. The path lead us to the furthest viewpoint: the aptly named Danger Point. Basically no barriers, just some boulders that you can perch on and a cliff edge. Depending on the time of day, you can often see rainbows at this point, or just over the other side of the cliff. Much to Vincent's dismay, we decided that this would be a nice place to take a few family photos.
Many people like to go to Danger Point in the late afternoon as this is the best time for photographs and when you are likely to see rainbows going across the Falls. It's worthwhile remembering that the park closes at 6pm and that this viewpoint is the furthest point from the exit gate so leave enough time for yourself to get back.
Afternoon Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel
We had booked afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel at 3.30pm, so we hurried back along the path. It's about a 10 minute walk to the hotel from the entrance to the Victoria Falls - there was a signpost that led us from the entrance right to the hotel's manicured lawns. When we arrived we found warthogs snuffling all over said manicured lawns, some were even down on bended knee! Just a regular day in a hotel in Zimbabwe I guess.
As we were all pretty much soaked through by the spray, we went to quickly get changed in the toilets.
The Victoria Falls Hotel is famous for being Zimbabwe's oldest and grandest luxury hotel. Built by the British in 1904, the hotel showcases British Edwardian architecture at its finest and was originally constructed to house the railway workers who were building the Cape-Cairo railway line. Although the railway was never completed (certain sections are missing in Uganda and Northern Sudan and some areas have fallen into disrepair), one of the major initiatives of the project was the Victoria Falls bridge - the first bridge to be built that crossed the Zambezi river. I don't know about you, but the idea of a Cape-Cairo railway journey sounds amazing to me, so I am saving that one in my bucket list.
Okay, history lesson over. On to the afternoon tea!
Afternoon or 'high' tea is served on the Stanley Terrace of the hotel. From our seats on the terrace we had an amazing view of the Victoria Falls bridge and the spray from the waterfall below. Afternoon tea is served from 3-6pm and is very reasonably priced for a silver service tea: it cost us $30 per stand which serves two people. The hotel also accommodates different dietary requirements: when I booked I asked for one vegetarian and one regular stand.
The afternoon tea comprised of a selection of delicious finger sandwiches, plain and fruit scones, cakes, clotted cream and strawberry jam. There was also a great variety of teas on the menu (I decided to go for a classic Ceylon tea) and we had unlimited refills of all the teas that we had chosen. Everything was really tasty - the only negative was that I felt the butter had been left out for a bit too long and I thought it tasted a little rancid.
Sitting on the terrace, watching the sun go down over the Falls and listening to the pianist tinkling away in the background was a wonderful, relaxing experience. Who doesn't like having afternoon tea with a killer view?
9) Stay in a Luxurious Safari Lodge
Sometimes it's good to just blow some money on a bit of luxury. Even if only one of you has a job and so you are there'fore both living on one salary. A small salary. (Can you tell that I am not a financial adviser?)
Thathi (this word means 'Dad' in Sinhala) - it's time for you to stop reading. Unless you want to make that pacemaker work a bit harder once you've looked at the costs. If you do keep reading, try to remember that I didn't do this recently and so you have nothing to worry about NOW. Plus, what's the point of stressing over something I have already done?
At the end of our first four months living in Zambia, I decided that I wanted to do something really special for New Year's Eve. Really special. Even though we didn't really have that much money. But we'd worked so hard - I just wanted to celebrate, ya know? And anyway, what did I have savings for if it wasn't to do special and exciting things?
If you are still reading this Thathi, then I know you have answers to my (actually rhetorical) question. "Pension", "Rainy Day" etc.
So, I did a bit of research. And I discovered that there was a luxury bush camp on a private island in the middle of the Zambezi river. Considered to be one of the top ten eco-lodges in Africa by Fodor, Sindabezi Island has five open-sided thatched chalets that offer uninterrupted views over the floodplains of the Zambezi and into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
The island is managed by Tongabezi luxury safari lodge - I compared the prices of staying at the lodge vs the private island and found the latter to be about $100-$200 per night cheaper. I guess this is because accommodation on Sindabezi island is in theory more 'rustic' with the water for your rooms being heated via solar panels and your room not actually having any proper walls (the chalets are built out of wood beams and canvas) or air conditioning. Plus the main lodge has a swimming pool and wifi. But who cares? It's still pure luxury. And I am a rustic kind of gal.
Staying on a luxury private island on New Year's Eve is always going to cost you a pretty penny. I emailed the lodge to enquire about availability and was excited to receive a friendly response saying that there were indeed chalets available for New Year's Eve and that it would cost us $415 per person, per night. Daaaaaamn.
Thathi, are you still lurking around? It's your own fault if you've started to get heart palpitations.
I took a breath and after about 15 minutes of internal debate, emailed back to confirm that I wanted to book for one night. January was going to be a very lean month.
Note: The current prices for the chalets on Sindabezi island now start at $520 per person per night.
How to Get There
To get to Sindabezi Island, you have to travel to Tongabezi Lodge which is about 15 minutes drive away from the centre of Livingstone. We hired a taxi from our backpackers hostel to take us there and it cost 76 kwacha, which is around £6.
Upon our arrival at Tongabezi, we were able to check-in and the friendly staff told us that a boat would be leaving for Sindabezi island in about an hour. We were starving so that gave us just enough time to have a yummy lunch of freshly made pumpkin soup, kebabs, watermelon and feta salad and roasted vegetables, whilst sitting out on the deck of the lodge. Sitting out there and looking over the water already made us feel incredibly relaxed. We were ready for this $800 luxury. Bring it!
Once we had finished lunch, our boat to Sindabezi island was ready. A short 15 minute ride and then we were there - welcomed on to the island by more friendly staff who gave us a fruity welcome drink.
They led us down a little path to our chalet...we'd seen the pictures and so we knew what to expect but when we saw it for ourselves we were hugely impressed. It was the perfect place for us to spend New Year's Eve. The chalet had its own private deck from which we could sit and gaze out over the Zambezi and as it was open on three sides we had stellar views. If it rained, there were rain proof covers on the inside of the chalet that could be rolled down, but unless everything was getting soaked through, we decided that there was no way we were going to do that.
The bed was super comfortable, with large fluffy pillows and again, you could just sit on the bed and enjoy a view of the river. A short, wooden decked walkway led to an outdoor rain shower with solar powered hot and cold water and luxury toiletries.
The accommodation rates at Sindabezi island included all our meals, drinks and sparkling and house wine, laundry service and inclusive activities. The staff told us that our stay included a complimentary sunset cruise on the Zambezi, starting at 5.30pm. Until then, our time was our own. I mentioned to Vincent that it would be great if we could sit on the deck and have a pot of tea and some biscuits to share...and about 10 minutes later a pot of tea with shortbread biscuits magically arrived! Talk about service.
Sindabezi island is a fantastic place to be if you are animal lovers like us. Sitting on the deck and looking out on the river, we quickly began spotting animals on the riverbank opposite our chalet and we realised how close to them we actually were. A crocodile was lazing on the sandy bank across from us and then a little while later, a pod of hippos swam down the river and towards our chalet. It was basically like going on safari from the comfort of our bedroom.
At 5.30pm we made our way to the jetty for our sunset boat cruise. Again this was a great opportunity to see more wildlife: we saw hippos, beautiful birds and baboons scampering around. There was also a storm rolling in which made for a really dramatic sunset.
The boat trip was really intimate (it was just us and one other couple) and it was made even more special by the fact that the captain stopped the boat in the middle of the Zambezi as the sun was setting and asked everyone what their choice of tipple was! So we had 'sundowners' of wine and beer whilst (you've guessed it!) watching the sun go down.
After our cruise, we were taken back to the island and told that our dinner would be served at 8pm. And that there was also a surprise for all of us staying on the island for New Year's Eve!
In the meantime, the pathways to our room had been lit with hurricane lamps, giving the whole place a really romantic feel. We sat out on our deck for a little bit longer and then it was time for dinner. First we were invited to have a drink around the bonfire and then we were led to our private candlelit table for a delicious three course meal (which included a yummy chocolate fondant for dessert and more wine and beer). And then there was more champagne, wine and beer around the camp fire. By this point, we and the other guests were pretty tipsy (no surprise really considering all the free flowing alcohol that we'd been having all night).
The surprise of the night was that the staff had arranged a troupe of dancers and singers to entertain us and see in the New Year. The dancers were really talented and by the end, all of us were involved (perhaps stumbling more than dancing!) It dawned on us that this was a really unique and special way to celebrate New Year's Eve, on what was essentially our own private island. The staff set off fireworks at 12 am and after that we went off to bed, satiated, happy and ready to be soothed to sleep by the sound of nearby hippos grunting.
I awoke the next morning, excited by the prospect of breakfast (what can I say, this girl has a healthy appetite). There was a light knock on our door and a steaming pot of tea was placed on our deck. After a little more relaxing and wildlife-spotting on the deck (that crocodile was still there) we leisurely made our way over to investigate the breakfast buffet. Like dinner, there were lots of wooden tables set up for breakfast - we decided to sit at one inside the small thatched roof lounge area, as it had rained the night before and some of the tables were still a bit damp.
Breakfast was a selection of fresh tropical fruit, cereals and delicious pastries. After breakfast there was one more thing on our list of included activities that we were definitely not going to miss out on: a complimentary full body massage back in our room.
By the time we we left Sindabezi island, it felt as though we were floating on Cloud 9. For us, this special experience was worth every single penny and one of the most memorable ways to see in the New Year that we have ever had.
10) Take a Sunset Cruise Down the Zambezi
If you suffer from serious FOMO in relation to sunsets, don't worry - you don't have to stay at a luxury safari lodge to go on a sunset cruise down the Zambezi!
There are a number of different options for cruises along the upper river of the Zambezi. If you are a bit of a party animal, there is the option of a two and a half hour Booze Cruise ($65 per person), the cost of which includes all your drinks (beer, spirits and wine), snacks and a BBQ.
We decided to do a sunset cruise with my parents and although my Dad likes to think of himself as a 70-plus Sri Lankan party animal, I decided to opt for a slightly more chilled-out cruise on the African Princess. The African Cruise Company fleet operates two boats: the African Queen, a 70 foot, triple-deck catamaran with a capacity of 120 passengers and the slightly smaller African Princess which can carry 80 passengers. Similar to the Booze Cruise, the cost of the two and a half hour trip on either the African Queen or Princess ($75 per person) includes all drinks and snacks with a waiter service.
We were picked up from our accommodation at 4pm and taken to the pier where we boarded the boat. Whilst the cruise is ostensibly about seeing a glorious sunset over the Zambezi, it's also another incredible opportunity to spot wildlife along the river.
Once on board, we were served drinks and as the cruise began, the captain gave us a history of the boat, the Victoria Falls and the Zambezi river and pointed out any animals that he spotted along the way. We saw hippos, crocodiles and a variety of birds whilst munching down on snacks served by the waiting staff. They even gave out pairs of binoculars to the different groups on the boat to make it easier for us to spot animals. I've spoken to people who have actually seen giraffes and elephants on their cruise, but as with anything nature-related, it largely depends on your luck!
The cruise was a really relaxing experience and the attentive staff do their best to ensure that you are thoroughly fed and watered and enjoying yourself. There were also plenty of comfortable wicker chairs around to sit down in if you didn't want to spend your time standing around. Towards the end of the cruise, we were treated to a glorious sunset that turned the Zambezi into a shimmering river of red and gold.
A number of nationalities do not require a visa to enter Zambia and you can find a full list here. British, EU, US, Canadian and Australian citizens need a visa: this can be obtained on arrival at Lusaka and Livingstone International airports. A single-entry visa on arrival costs $50.
If you persevered and read through my ramblings above in relation to crossing over into Zimbabwe from Zambia, you will have seen that I recommended applying for the KAZA visa. This is the most economical choice as it allows you to enter Zambia and Zimbabwe multiple times and also covers day-trips to Botswana through the Kazungula border. (WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!)
The visa is available to people from around 40 countries and costs $50. It is valid for 30 days and you can visit Zimbabwe as well. You can apply online and get an e-visa and approval letter before you travel (your visa will be stamped into your passport when you arrive). Alternatively, you can get it on arrival at Lusaka and Livingstone airports in Zambia or at Victoria Falls or Harare airports in Zimbabwe. It's also available at the Kazungula border to Botswana and at the Victoria Falls border to Zimbabwe.
If you are not eligible for the KAZA visa but want to visit Zimbabwe from Zambia, you can apply for a double-entry visa on arrival which allows you to enter Zambia twice. This costs $80 and is available at Lusaka and Livingstone airports. If you want to enter Zambia more than twice, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry visa (which also costs $80) before you travel, from your nearest Zambian High Commission. Single, double and multiple-entry visas are valid for 90 days from the date of first issue with the exception for US citizens, where the multiple-entry visa has a validity of three years. For more information on the different types of visas for Zambia, see here.
Some nationalities require a visa prior to travelling to Zambia - to check whether this applies to you, please see here.
Getting to Livingstone
Possibly the easiest way to get to Livingstone is to fly into Livingstone International Airport (also known as Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport). Domestic, regional and international airlines operate from the airport: most visitors fly to Livingstone via a connecting flight in Johannesburg, Nairobi or Lusaka. From the UK, Kenya Airways, South African Airways and British Airways operate flights to Livingstone. Check SkyScanner to get the cheapest flight prices and compare times.
Domestic flights from Lusaka to Livingstone are operated by Proflight Zambia, with several flights leaving each day. It also operates regional flights from Durban in South Africa, Zimbabwe's Harare International Airport and Lilongwe Airport in Malawi.
There are a number of bus companies operating a Lusaka to Livingstone bus service, with several buses leaving each day from the Intercity Bus Terminus in Lusaka. We used to travel on Mazhandu Family buses as we found them to be clean and comfortable and they would generally run on time. We usually booked our tickets from a local Mazhandu ticket booth the day before (they had an online booking system but we never used it) and we had assigned seats so there was no need to fight for seats when getting on the bus. However, the company had its license revoked in 2017 due to safety concerns after a few Mazhandu buses were involved in accidents. Our understanding is that the service was still operating in July 2017.
CR Holdings and Shalom Bus Company still operate services from Lusaka to Livingstone - neither company has a website and you have to book your tickets at their booths in the Intercity Bus Terminus. It is best to do this the day before you travel - most ticket agents will say it is not possible to book a ticket more than a day in advance. A ticket costs around 140 kwacha and the journey takes about 7 and a half hours, with buses leaving from 6am onwards.
If you love driving and are in the mood for an epic road trip, you can rent a car from Lusaka and drive the 500km to Livingstone. You are sure to see some beautiful scenery on your journey! The road between the two cities is generally in pretty good condition and not blighted by the pot holes that seem to scar many other Zambian roads. Europcar has an office at Lusaka airport and you can investigate their car rental prices online.
Got a lot of time on your hands? If so, then maybe you want to take the train down to Livingstone. It can take between 13-18 hours depending on the train line you choose. For more details, check out this website and for information on times, fares and getting tickets have a look at The Man in Seat 61.
Fawlty Towers lodge is right in the heart of Livingstone and provides clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation for tourists on a budget. Whilst they market themselves as a backpackers lodge, Fawlty Towers actually has a range of accommodation options available: from dormitories at $8 per night to deluxe twin and double rooms with ensuite bathrooms at $75 per night.
We stayed in a standard double room which cost us $40 per night and had an ensuite bathroom. Free tea and coffee is available all day and there is also a swimming pool, bar and wifi access. If this hasn't convinced you, at 3pm they also serve free pancakes! And who doesn't like free pancakes?!
Fawlty Towers was a great option for us on our first visit to Livingstone because we could easily book all our activities through their in-house activities office and they also offer a free transfer to the Victoria Falls that leaves at 10am everyday. A similar option to Fawlty Towers is Jollyboys Backpackers - we haven't stayed there but it has really good reviews. They have similar accommodation options and you can also camp on their site.
Tabonina Guesthouse is another affordable option - we stayed here when Vincent's sister and my parents visited. It's a cosy place with a range of double, queen and family sized rooms. We stayed in a double room with en-suite bathroom which was $52 per night and the room rate included a continental breakfast (and if you are lucky, some freshly made crepes!). The guesthouse has a really nice pool and free wifi. They also let people camp on site.
The husband and wife team, Bronnah and Laurent, are super helpful and we booked all our activities through them at really reasonable prices and with excellent, professional tour operators.
If you want to completely blow your budget on accommodation, there are a large number of luxury accommodation options available. Tongabezi lodge, the River Club and the Royal Livingstone Hotel are three of the best high-end hotels in Livingstone. We've stayed at Tongabezi/Sindabezi island and the River Club and the food, rooms and hospitality are out of this world. Prices start at around $400 per person, per night. If you don't want to pay the hefty price tag that comes with staying in these places, you can still enjoy some of what they have to offer: we used to enjoy cocktails on the deck of the Royal Livingstone and had dinner there too which was fantastic.
Livingstone has a million and one things to do and see, which makes it a fantastic destination for everyone. We kept coming back time and time again and I'm sure that once you've been to Livingstone, you will want to do the same!
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Tell us what you think in the comments below! Have you been to Livingstone? What did you get up to? We'd love to hear from you!