Avani Victoria Falls: Our full report
Opened in 2001, the 3-star Avani Victoria Falls Resort (formerly known as the 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 Avani, 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.
Avani Victoria Falls Resort 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.
- Livingstone & Victoria Falls, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- A 2-3 night stop at the Falls is usually a good length.
- 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.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- We didn't stop to eat on our most recent visit to Avani, 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.
- Family holidays
- Avani is a bright, cheerful three-star hotel suitable for a good-value stay only 500m from the Victoria Falls during family holidays in Zambia. There’s a kids club here with special children’s activities, although this is at an extra cost. Children of all ages are welcome.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome
- There are family rooms at the hotel, and cots 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.
- 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.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Avani Victoria Falls
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Avani Victoria Falls have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- 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.
An energy efficient, community-focused resort
The first thing tourists may notice about Avani Victoria Falls is its location: only ten minutes’ walk to the Victoria Falls. At a closer look, the 212-rooms resort does not only provide access to an exclusive area, but also works to protect it by implementing energy-efficient solutions. For example, the resort has installed an Inncom Environmental Management System, which uses an innovative technique aimed at reducing energy consumption. Additionally, guests can minimize their environmental impact during their stay by taking the emission-free golf carts.
Another proof for Avani Victoria Fall’s sustainable operations is its partnerships with local NGOs which benefit the local community. For example, the resort sources products from the local farmer’s market on a daily basis. Additionally, it works collaboratively with Agribusiness in Sustainable Natureal African Plant Products (ASNAPP) to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture, and train farmers to produce quality market-driven products. Moreover, the hotel partnered with Family Hope Foundation for a women empowerment initiative which aims to provide education in a computer lab establishment.
Avani Victoria Falls’s commitment for environmental protection works hand in hand with the high level of service provided, which has been acknowledged and awarded by guests with TripAdvisor’s Ctertificate of Excellence in 2016 and 2017.
See more great sustainability projects in Zambia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- 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.
- Fire safety
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is available, at extra charge.
- There is a safe in each room. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted.
Other lodges in Livingstone & Victoria Falls
Alternative places to stay in this same area.