Offering a small number of individually-styled cottages and houses set in a tranquil spot along the Zambezi River, Tongabezi Lodge makes for a peaceful stay before or after a safari or for those looking to explore the Victoria Falls and Livingstone area. In the centre of the lodge is an open-sided thatched dining room and lounge, while the swimming pool has been built into the natural rock by the river. Guests can sit out on the spacious, raised wooden deck overlooking the river to enjoy leisurely breakfasts, while pre-dinner drinks are served around the atmospheric fire pit. Privately owned and run, the property offers a warm, friendly service.
The River Cottages have an African style with high ceilings, stone floors and large windows facing the water. They feature spacious bedrooms and en suite bathrooms with clawfoot baths, as well as their own entrance porch with seating and colourful cushions.
The individually-styled houses differ in size, with the two bedroom Garden House and Dog House offering ample space and amenities for families, including private plunge pools. The three bedroom Tangala House for larger families features a pool, trampoline and dedicated chef. The Tree House enjoys a secluded location amongst the branches of an ebony tree with excellent river views, while the Nut House has folding doors opening out to a private garden and plunge pool.
The lodge enjoys a scenic position on the banks of the Zambezi River, around 30 minutes upstream from Victoria Falls and several kilometres northwest of Livingstone. The area affords a variety of activities, from bush walks and boat trips to game drives and hikes.
Food and Drink
Guests can dine around the large communal dining table, out on the deck beside the river or on their private terrace. Alternatively, the relaxing Lookout makes for a more exclusive dining experience, with guests able to book a whole floor if they wish. The menu is regularly updated according to the seasonal produce grown in the property’s vegetable and herb gardens and fruit orchard to ensure fresh, tasty dishes.
Children aged seven and over are welcome to stay at Tongabezi, with rollaway beds and extra mosquito nets provided and a number of larger accommodation options available. A children’s menu is available and food can be served at preferred meal times. A variety of child-friendly activities are offered, from tracking animals to playing games with local children in nearby Tujatane, drumming sessions around the campfire and African treasure hunts.
Tongabezi has a Honeymoon House featuring a private balcony overlooking the river, providing a romantic setting for a candlelit dinner. Couples can also enjoy romantic dinners floating on a sampan in the river, with each course delivered by canoe. Alternatively, book a meal in The Lookout, which offers privacy and peaceful river views.
Facilities and Activities
Activities include visits to Victoria Falls, canoeing on the river and trips to Tujatane Village for an insight into local life. A trip to Livingstone Island, on the edge of Victoria Falls, is recommended; you’ll be taken by boat and given a brief history tour before swimming across the channel, crossing a rocky outcrop and jumping into a rock pool right next to the main flow of water – a spectacular sight and sound as the water cascades over the rocks.
Environmental and Social Responsibility
Tongabezi helped to establish and still supports Tujatane Trust School, which since 1996 has grown from teaching 15 to around 250 students. It also helps to fund housing for local teachers.
Staff at the property are involved in the Aids Council of Zambia to raise awareness and break the silence over the disease.
To protect the environment, solar power is used for lighting, water is recycled for irrigation and wood is sourced from sustainable forests.
Tongabezi appeals to us due to its style, peaceful riverside setting and exceptionally attentive and friendly service, with staff doing everything they can to make your stay enjoyable without being obtrusive.
Livingstone & Victoria Falls itinerary suggestions
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.