Tongabezi has a reputation that is hard to beat in the specialist lodge industry. A small camp set on the northern banks of the Zambezi, Tongabezi has just six cottages and four houses, all overlooking the river (with the exception of the Garden Cottage, which is used for massage).
The houses (Bird, Honeymoon, Dog and Tree) each have their own character and charm. The houses are spacious and have a reputation for high design and luxury. Tree House is our favourite. The cottages are much simpler in layout and design, but still extremely attractive, with a small verandah, large bedroom and en-suite shower all under a thatch roof.
The main area of Tongabezi Lodge is composed of a small swimming pool – set at the foot of a small rock face. There are large wooden platforms that stretch out over the river, a wonderful place where meals are served. Pre-dinner drinks are served in the bar, nearby to a small fire place, an ideal way to start the evening.
Close to Tongabezi Lodge is a small jetty, which juts out into the river. Here canoes are available for navigating up and down stream, and also boats for transfers to Sindabezi Island.
On arrival guests are sat down to run through the options, which will then be booked for them. There are a number of activities included in the rate. Tongabezi also have the concession for Livingstone Island, which sits right at the head of the falls.
If you are looking for an imaginative and comfortable African lodge close to the head of the falls, then you won’t get much better than Tongabezi.
Tongabezi is open through the year. The months of January and February see the most rain in their summer season. The months of July and August are their coolest but with lovely clear skies.
Operating on the Zambezi brings its own challenges. At Tongabezi we desire less noise, less emissions and as little as possible upset to the local flora and fauna.
To achieve these goals we:
The very nature of a bush school lends itself to ticking many green choice boxes! The uniforms are recycled … and recycled and recycled again! The same principal is applied to all our books and educational supplies. All our students walk to school – no matter how far away they live.
We order the bulk of our wood supplies from sustainable forests in the Copperbelt near Ndola.
Three new aluminium boats made by Legay marine in Port Elizabeth have been delivered. They are similar to the old banana boats, but more spacious and more stable due to their shallower draft.
Willow & Associates are top water treatment consultants and have designed and has custom made our purification plant. The recycled water is used for irrigation and to feed the Tongabezi wildlife dam.
Sindabezi is powered by solar energy with paraffin lamp supplements. The waste water system pump is also solar powered. The entire Sindabezi has no grid dependency as even cooking is done with gas. All our soap shampoo and cleaning products for the rooms and kitchen are biodegradable.
Sindabezi Tujatane School & Village will all be receiving increasing use of solar power and an extensive composting project to recycle part of the kitchen waste is also under way. By the end of 2009 all our boat engines should be four stroke – chosen for being quiet and not releasing any oil emissions into the water.
Tongabezi Lodge staff has joined the Aids Council of Zambia and Share (An American funded Public Private Partnership) in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
A generous sum of money has been allocated to the Staff Welfare Committee for use by any staff member with dwindling health. Staff members have access to funds through the Staff Welfare Committee to deal with emergencies and limit vulnerability.
Tongabezi’s solid reputation for splendid service allows the company to manage, maintain and operate Livingstone Island successfully. Making a buck is not where it ends though, we also make a difference. 10% of all the revenue that is collected at this World Heritage site goes to the Mukuni community – In the spirit of Tongabezi’s commitment to effectively controlled and personally overseen charity, these funds are used to build houses for teachers and classrooms for children.
Tongabezi Trust School
The school opened on 1 May 1996 and due to its huge success it has been growing ever since. The school provides education to the Tongabezi staff children, as well as children from the local community, in an area where educational funding and materials are scarce.