Reviews of Tongabezi
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Romantic, riverside lodge
We had a lovely stay at Tongabezi as the first stop on our honeymoon. The staff really did a great job of making us feel welcome and organizing activities for us. The river cabins were small, yet very comfortable. The food was excellent for all meals, though breakfast tended to be served late and a little slow in coming which was problematic for early AM activities.
Insects are a big issue due to it's location. The staff kept the cabins sprayed, and made sure that the curtains were shut in the evening which really helped keep the bugs out. They offered a "sanpan" dinner, where they bring your dinner out to a raft in the river. This was wonderful, except for the bugs.
While Tongabezi's location is very tranquil, it is about a 30 minute drive to the falls and all activities there. So, if your goal is to maximize your exposure to the falls themselves, stay closer to town.
Great bubble bath at Tongabezi
This was a great place to end our holiday.
The room, the view and service were great, as were the activities. We even went on a helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls, paid for by us, but arranged by the lodge and taken to the airport and waited for.
The laundry service was also very good.
My only criticism was that the mats in the room needed a good clean to remove stains.
Honeymoon at Tongabezi
Wow, what a place!!!
After the experiences we had on our honeymoon (Azura Mozambique and camps in Botswana), Tongabezi really raised the bar!!! A stunning location on the hippo-infested Zambezi with outstanding facilities and quite brilliant cuisine. The "Nut House" where we stayed is probably the most amazing place we will EVER stay.
We wished we could have had longer to spend enjoying Tongabezi as we spent a lot of time enjoying the wonderful activities that the Zambezi has to offer at Livingstone, in particular the white water rafting with Bundu Adventures and the helicopter trip which both come highly recommended.
We can think of worse places to wait for your flight home. We stayed at Tongabezi to be close to the airport the next day, but we got another great day of holidays.
Super service and nice accommodation. And we managed to slip in a visit to Victoria Falls.... At the end of our trip throughout Namibia we did not see much wildlife, but we weren't really expecting any.
Lovely camp and location
As a relaxing camp following 9 days on safari it was ideal. The cottages were delightful and there were lots of activities to choose from if you wanted to be active. The majority of the staff coundn't have been more helpful and friendly.
Trega , our valet was a star !
Attractive location on the banks of the Zambezi and a good base to view the Victoria Falls and, although this involves a drive, it could not be faulted.
Our experience on Livingstone Island with lunch so close to the edge of the Falls was really worthwhile. Helpful and charming staff, well schooled
The Nut House was just great. The service by our valets was outstanding. The whole Tongabezi team is very professional.
Big variety of activities. Due to our brief stay, we have just been to the falls, overflew them with a helicopter and visited the Livingstone museum.
One comment regarding the food; it was not to the level of Kapani/Kakuli; some further effort should be made with respect to the cusine.
great location and beautifully designed
The bedroom/bathroom was comfortable. Food was good, wine was limited to a house wine which was of a very mediocre standard.
Service was poor, apart from that at dinner which was very good. ( different staff?). Breakfast was always late.
Our 'personal valet' simply did not have a clue. The bedroom alert system - a field telephone - was not functioning. We drew this to his attention, asking him to have it seen to. Next day, When we needed it we found it still to be unusable. My husband walked to reception to report it. Nothing happened! Another visit to reception and a complaint to the Manager had it repaired without delay. Our valet said he 'forgot'. This, we feel is a serious omission given that one is asked not to leave the bedroom without a guide at night. In the event of an emergency there were no means of contacting anbody.
Expert Africa comments
Tongabezi's management has since commented that the member of staff in question has received further training to ensure that standards are upheld and to ensure that similar situations do not arise in the future. They are also considering of providing each room with an emergency whistle so that should any similar breakdowns occur in the future, these can be used in the unlikely event of an emergency.
The management comments that the lodge is also working on upgrading its house wine list and is looking at introducing a premium wine list (for which a supplement will be payable locally over and above the inclusive price).
We were probably spoilt by previous camps. Our transfer across the border was poor. We got off the boat and the agents were asleep in the van which resulted in us getting aggressively hassled by guys begging and selling things.
Tongabezi felt a little shabby round the edges. the activities manager seemed rather disinterested and we only had one time choice to visit Livingston Island. Chris and i were in the new room the nut house and the big positive was that the private pool was fantastic.
Some of the staff were extremely friendly, others not so. They did make a big effort with a private dinner and cake and song to celebrate Teresa's birthday. Trip to Livingston Island fantastic and guides wonderful which made the trip there worthwhile.
This was a return to Tongabezi for me and I have to say a slightly disappointing one. Whilst in a great position on the Zambezi and close enough to town, the camp has 'faded' since my last visit. I was in one of the open older style cottages, and I appreciate it must be hard to keep things fresh in an open room, but the room felt tired and unloved (fallen tiles lay around, stained/coloured sheets and fabrics, dusty floors/shelves), perhaps our feelings were exaggerated by the quality of camps we'd arrived here from.
In the communal areas we found the same 'rough edges', uncleared tables left for hours, communal couches and seats shabby and service was a bit hit and miss. Things improved over the stay but we had a desire to be 'out of camp' when we had planned to chill out here in camp for a couple of days before heading home.
Local staff were very friendly and had the most incredible smiles and singing voices, but didn't seem genuinely happy. It was odd. Like something was missing in tying it all together. This lodge is more expensive than others on offer, I would definitely try another lodge in the Livingstone area next time.
Not sure if the Transfers are linked to Tongabezi or Wilderness?? but we wouldn't do the full road transfer next time and instead fly from Kasane to Livingstone. The collection from Kasane, through customs and onto the boat were great, but the pickup from the boat transfer was mixed. We were harassed by the local vendors and they did nothing to support us during this. We got through customs fine, visas etc., but they weren't particularly friendly and small things like having no water in the van for us, when they said we were only people they'd picked up today.
The vehicle was comfortable and their driving was safe, but it felt like we had definitely left the 'care of Wilderness'.