The Zambezi Sun is the closest hotel to the great Victoria Falls - barely 500m away!
Zambezi Sun: Our full report
Opened in 2001, the 3-star Zambezi Sun is a sprawling resort hotel with an informal atmosphere, and a colourful, fun design throughout. The closest hotel to the Victoria Falls, it's really all about the location as you're just a few minutes walk from one of the Natural Wonders of the World.
It's adjacent to its sibling hotel, the 5-star Royal Livingstone, which is just a ten-minute walk away. A shuttle also operates between the hotels at regular intervals during the day.
The hotel has a total of 212 rooms, which are comfortable, but not large. Built over two levels, they're either pool or garden facing. The ground floor rooms having a sliding door that opens up directly onto the grounds, while the 1st floor rooms each have a balcony.
With walls painted in funky, geometric designs – a mix of earthy tones and some brighter colours - most of the 208 standard rooms have either either twin or double beds, although there are also rooms with two doubles, which are suitable for families with young children. All have a television, tea and coffee making station, a telephone and an electronic safe. The en-suite bathrooms, with a bathtub, separate shower, toilet and washbasin. Soap, shampoo and moisturizer are also provided.
The four suites are broadly similar to the standard rooms, but have an extension to a separate lounge (with sleeper couch) and an additional bathroom with a shower, toilet and washbasin.
At the centre of the hotel is a huge, curving swimming pool with sun loungers and umbrellas dotted about on the grass. Adjacent to the pool is an al fresco café and bar, with the main restaurant just beyond.
On the sprawling property, just a few minutes from the main hotel complex, is also the Falls Entertainment Centre. Here you'll find an informal a la carte restaurant, a small café, a few craft and souvenir shops, as well as an activity centre – which is also generally a pick up point for many of the activities such as white water rafting etc.
Many of the numerous activities available at the Falls can be booked and paid for prior to your arrival at the hotel, but there is an Activity Desk at the hotel reception where these can be arranged locally and added to your bill to be paid for at the end of your stay.
It's just a 5-10 minute walk from the hotel to the Falls themselves, open between 6am and 6pm daily. Entrance to the Falls is included for guests staying at the Zambezi Sun, and you can visit as many times as you like! There are also three nature trails on the property – and don't be surprised to come across zebras, giraffe or even impala. They're quite used to people, but do keep a respectful distance as they're still wild animals.
Our viewThe Zambezi Sun is a large hotel, but it has a superb location and when compared to it's nearby sister hotel, is relatively inexpensive and we think it offers good value for money for a short stay at the Falls. A big plus is that entrance to the Falls is included for guests staying here.
Ideal length of stay: A 2-3 night stop at the Falls is usually a good length.
Directions: There are daily flights into Livingstone Airport from Lusaka and from Johannesburg. Then it's around 25 minutes by road to the Zambezi Sun Hotel. Alternatively, transfer overland from Kasane in Botswana, which takes around 1½ - 2 hours.
Owner: Part of the Sun International chain of hotels
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: We didn't stop to eat on our most recent visit to the Zambezi Sun, but the restaurant was bustling and there was a wide array of breakfast dishes – from cereals, yoghurt and pastries through to a 'Full English' – on offer.
Dining is informal here, with a buffet breakfast and dinner available in the 'Theatre of Food' restaurant. Dinners are usually themed and depending on the day of the week, you might expect European, Mexican, Indian or more traditional African fare. The restaurant is open for breakfast from 6:30-10:30am daily and for dinner from 6:30-10:30pm daily.
Lunch can be ordered from an a la carte menu at the Poolside Grill & Bar between 12:30 and 4:30pm daily. However, drinks can be ordered from the bar between 10am and 10:30pm.
Additionally, The Squires Grill in the nearby Falls Entertainment Centre offers an a la carte menu for both lunch and dinner; or if it's just a light snack, coffee or cool drink you're after, then head to The Crocodile Café.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Family holidays: The Zambezi Sun is a lively, fun hotel with facilities that cater well for families with children of all ages.See more ideas for Family holidays in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome
Equipment: There are family rooms at the hotel, and cost as well as high chairs are available on request. There is also a kid's club – Kamp Kwena – offering a range of programmes and outings with trained child minders. Open 9am-1pm and 2-5pm, to children between the ages of two and 12 on a full or half-day basis. However, children under the age of four must be accompanied by a parent. The hotel also offers babysitting services. Both the kid's club and babysitting are at extra cost.
Generally recommended for children: We would generally recommend the Zambezi Sun for families with children of all ages.
Notes: Be aware that this is a malarial area. The pool is unfenced and there is some wildlife – including baboons, monkeys, giraffes and zebras – on the property. Children need to be under parental supervision at all times.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: The hotel has good communication facilities, including WiFi, which is available to guests at extra cost. There are telephones in each of the rooms.
TV & radio: There are televisions in the rooms, with limited satellite channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Livingstone, about 25 minutes drive away.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: The hotel grounds are surrounded by an electric fence and there is a gate guard on duty at all times.
Disabled access: In Place
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is available, at extra charge.
Money: There is a safe in each room. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted. Because of new currency rules in 2013, cash payments may be made only in Zambian kwacha. However, there are currency exchange facilities on the hotel property.