With the rising ‘smoke’ from the Victoria Falls visible in the near distance, and the thundering waters themselves a mere 10-15 minute walk away, the Royal Livingstone certainly boasts one of the most dramatic and atmospheric locations of any hotel in Africa.
And while this is not necessarily a typical JbD destination, it has to be said that its unbeatable setting is not the sole reason the Royal Livingstone is included in our Zambian portfolio. A modern hotel, opened in 2001, the Royal is set in extensive and very attractive grounds (complete with grazing zebra and giraffe), and comprises 173 handsomely furnished rooms, each en suite and all with their own private verandah set along the Zambezi river. The rooms come with their own butler service and are divided into various categories including 113 luxury twin rooms, 54 luxury king rooms, 3 luxury suites, 1 presidential suite and 2 rooms designed and equipped specifically for the disabled.
The public areas are spacious and elegant, and include both a formal a la carte restaurant serving fine cuisine and a more relaxed open-fronted lounge/restaurant, which looks out on to the waterside lawns (where a particularly indulgent afternoon tea is served). The highlight though is undoubtedly the glorious sundeck, which is positioned right on the river and is ideal for relaxing at any time of the day or night – one of the best sundowner spots we’ve come across. There is also a swimming pool, good library, Spa, activity & tour booking centre and a banking/foreign exchange service.
Royal Livingstone Hotel, like many in the area, is geared very much to the tourist, and there is a wealth of activities to enjoy on and around the river, including guided morning tours, helicopter flights, microlight flights, white water rafting, fishing, sunset river cruises, jet boating, bungee jumping and dug-out canoe trips amongst the Zambezi river islands. Away from the water, further activities include quad biking, abseiling, golfing at an 18-hole championship course designed by Gary Player, and day trips to Livingstone town. The hotel is set within the 46 hectare Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Wildlife Park and if you haven’t had your fill of wildlife activities by the time you get here, there are horse back and elephant back safaris on offer alongside game drives, bird watching trips, safaris to see the park’s rhino and journeys over the border to Botswana to the Chobe National Park.