Welcome to the magical world of the Victoria Falls, the amazing Zambezi River and the magical Tongabezi Lodge
If you live in Africa, a weekend getaway in the bush on one of Africa's greatest rivers is something that is part of your culture, essentially something you can relate to. If you live elsewhere in the developed world, it is one of the most exotic things you can imagine. .
Located twenty kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls, you will find a retreat that is simply out of this world, in terms of views, comforts and luxuries. Situated along the bank of the Zambezi River, there are eleven different cottages of varying sizes and luxury. What unites them is a sense of tranquillity and warm intimacy. The local Tonga staff are more than welcoming and greet you by your name as soon as you arrive. With the luxury of a butler who brings you whatever you require and sits down and explains to you all the activities, you have already a feeling of the place.
What struck our own Nicky Searle on a recent honeymoon stay was the pervasive air of being in your own private kingdom. Even if Tongabezi Lodge is fully booked, there are so many different spaces to retreat to that you hardly see anyone else at all.
The decor is a relaxed mixture of African influences and materials, with Colonial and Zanzibari being the dominant themes. Nearly all the cottages are completely open with no windows yet are completely exclusive, with no one overlooking anybody else. There are separate lounges or nooks where you can sit or lie. They have a rather special sanpan or floating deck anchored to the river floor, which has as its furniture a table for two where a silver service dinner is rowed out to you.
As for activities, the whole point is that you can do as little or as much as you want. In this relaxed environment (apologies for using the word relaxed again, it is a dominant theme!), you could be excused for being a lotus eater. There are however numerous excursions which you can do. Paddling out in canoes to the nearby islands, mountain biking to the village, lunching on Livingstone Island, going for game drives to the national park, guided bush walks, visiting the Falls by foot, vehicle, helicopter or even a bungee jump over the railway bridge!
Tongabezi is not a game lodge. It is a retreat, a rather special place on the banks of one of the worlds most beautiful and romantic rivers. It is perfect for couples or those who want to refill their tired urban batteries.
Writing now from Cape Town, where snow has just fallen, I am falling in love with my own picture. I think a plane flight is calling!
Tongabezi Lodge Victoria Falls by Uyaphi.com
- Nkwali Camp
Nkwali Camp has been designed so that guests always look out - to the bush and to the river. South Luangwa is superb game viewing country, with a beautiful area of ebony woodland and open grasslands.
Elephants regularly cross the Luangwa River, seen from the bar, or come to the waterhole near the thatched dining room.
- Chundukwa River Lodge
Chundukwa River Lodge, a small intimate and luxurious lodge located within a 30-minute drive from Livingstone and 36 kilometres upstream of the Victoria Falls.
Owner run and managed, Chundukwa offers just six river-facing chalets all with views of the Zambezi.
- Kakuli Bush Camp
Kakuli Bush Camp is one of the few Zambian and South Luangwa National Park bush camps to open in February and March.
At this time of year, the river is high, we gain access by boat and activities are either on the river or on foot in the drier, sandy areas that surround the camp, with spectacular wildlife.
- Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge
Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge, a Relais & Châteaux property situated on the mighty Zambezi River just upstream from Victoria Falls on a 15 km stretch of private waterway.
The perfect option for both a romantic escape or a unique, fun-filled family holiday.
- Luwi Bush Camp
Due to its remote location, there are not many roads in the area so activities are centred on walking safaris. This fact makes Luwi Bush Camp one of the most enthralling camps in Zambia.
The wildlife in the South Luangwa National Park is prolific and to track it each day on foot is a memory that will last a lifetime.
- Busanga Plains Camp
Busanga Plains Camp is an intimate option for those seeking out an almost private wildlife safari experience, perfect for couples, honeymooners and small groups alike.
The luxury Kafue camp offers up only four luxurious tented suites, each with commanding views over the Busanga Plains.