Tongabezi Lodge – Victoria Falls, Zambia
When it comes to luxury safaris, Tongabezi is a regular award winner, with Conde Nast voting it the best lodge in Zambia and amongst the top 20 in Africa. Set in dense trees right on the banks of the wide Zambezi river, it is both peaceful and serene. There’s nowhere more fabulous to sit than out on one of the wooden decks, almost suspended above the river, listening to the sounds of the river and everything that lives around it.
Each of the river cottages and houses is uniquely designed and luxuriously spacious, with furnishings and décor from around the continent. Some of them, like the Tree House, are the stuff that dreams are made of. And each comes with a private valet, who attends your every need and helps create the perfect safari experience.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For it is a beautiful property upstream from the mighty Victoria Falls - here you can enjoy a sunrise boat trips on the Zambezi, a sundowner on the sandbank or super floating on the Zambezi.
Location:12km upstream of Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
Rooms:5 secluded river cottages & 7 spacious family houses with private valets.
Swimming:A lodge pool & bar, private plunge pools or Devil’s pool on the edge of Victoria Falls.
Children:This is a wonderland for families.
Accessibility:There are no facilities for guests with limited mobility.
Open From:All year round.
Full of charm and character, we love the cottages and houses at Tongabezi. Romantically furnished and decorated with African artwork, the focus is very much on the views from their expansive verandas and plunge pools. The River Cottages are intimate and secluded, whilst the Tree House is very popular – built into the rock and around large trunks. The larger houses are palatial, sleeping up to six guests, with fabulous outside dining spaces.
Whether you’re dining on the pontoon looking out over the river, in the privacy of your own cottage, or out on the Zambezi itself, the food here is exceptional. Dining here is all about the experience. A picnic lunch on a sand bar with your very own pop-up bar, or a candle-lit dinner on a sampan as the sun sets, will leave you savouring those precious moments.
At Tongabezi there is no set itinerary – guests can do as little or as much as they like. And whilst this is the perfect spot to sit back and let life float by for a few days, there’s a lot you can pack in. There are early morning game drives into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Whilst it is Zambia’s smallest, it is rich with wildlife and is a refuge to the endangered white rhino. Chobe National Park with the continent’s largest elephant population is a day trip from Chiawa and can be easily arranged through your private valet.
Naturally, one of the best ways to explore is on the river. Watching the sun rise and set on the water is magical, and here you’ll see all sorts of wildlife both in the river and along the banks. The river is a fabulous place to fish, with over seventy-five species, including the one that everyone wants to catch – the tiger fish. No trip here will be complete without seeing Victoria Falls. Your guide will get you right up close, and depending on the water levels, take you swimming in Devil’s or Angel’s Pools. To see the falls from another angle, take a microlight flight, or go white water rafting in the gorge below, where the rapids are certainly not for the faint-hearted. Tongabezi encourages you to immerse yourself in the local culture, and so a trip to the Maramba and Mukini Village markets is highly recommended. A stay at Chiawa immerses you in the heart of the continent.
Tongabezi is a magical place for families and the team here go out of their way to make sure your safari together is a memorable experience. The river houses are perfectly set up for children and extended families, and activities can be tailor-made.
In a commitment to preserving the surrounding ecosystems, Tongabezi and its sister lodges are part of a whole range of wildlife conservation initiatives and community projects. These include reforestation programmes, HIV awareness programmes, anti-poaching patrols and regular litter clearing in order to keep the environment pristine for wildlife. The lodge also works in partnership with the local Tujatante school, and guests who are interested, are more than welcome to visit.
Victoria Falls, Zambia
12km upstream of Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – a short drive from Harry Mwanga Nkumbula airport.