Fodor's Expert Review Tongabezi Lodge

About 19 km (12 mi) upstream from Victoria Falls, on Zambezi River, Livingstone, Southern, Zambia Fodor's Choice

If you're looking for a truly African experience, this owner-run open-fronted lodge on the Zambezi River was designed to complement the Africa you have come to see, without trying to upstage it—but you'll still find indulgent offerings and personalized service at every turn. Standard cottages are spacious, cream-and-ocher rondavels featuring private verandas that can be enclosed in a billowing mosquito net. Three houses are built into a low cliff and incorporate the original riverine forest canopy; one house hugs the water with a private deck extending over the river; and the Nuthouse breaks with Tongabezi tradition, as it's entirely enclosed and also has an exclusive plunge pool. King size beds set into tree trunks and covered by curtains of linen netting, oversize sofas in the sitting areas, and large claw-foot bathtubs on the private decks are all unashamedly indulgent. Every room has a local guide who acts as a personal valet and caters to your every whim. Room service is ordered via two-way radios, and the lodge has two masseuses. Tongabezi offers various meal options, including a romantic candlelit san pan (pontoon boat) floating on the Zambezi (with waiters delivering each course by canoe), as well as a number of private decks and the eclectic Lookout.


  • the original open-fronted lodge
  • owner offers personal service and thoughtful touches
  • management is environmentally-focused and community aware


  • The use of local materials for building and decoration might not meet luxury standards for some
  • interaction with others is limited—though some might count this as a pro
  • a bit of a distance from town and most activities


Green, Romantic, Service


Phones: 213-32–7468


6 houses, 5 cottages
Rate Includes: All-inclusive

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