Sindabezi: Our full report
On a private island in the middle of the Zambezi, Sindabezi offers barefoot luxury just a stone’s throw from ...... the Zimbabwean bank. With a strong focus on sustainability and the environment, it’s a rustic and remote property that still allows you to visit the Victoria Falls.
A sister property of the more substantial Tongabezi , Sindabezi is reached by a 2km boat or canoe trip downriver from this main property.
Rebuilt in 2009, Sindabezi’s five beautiful en-suite chalets are set up on stilts a foot above the ground. The island is heavily wooded, with the chalets privately nestled between the trees, and this, combined with the sandy paths connecting them to the main area, make them blend effectively into the environment. All the chalets have open fronts facing the river, a sundeck, a hot outdoor shower, canopied bed and a loo with a view, so the feeling of being close to nature continues inside and out.
That’s not to say that the chalets are basic. The good-quality furniture is constructed from solid, polished wood, and the fixtures in the bathrooms include copper washbasins, lending a feeling of old-world luxury. The twin honeymoon chalets also have claw-footed baths out on the deck, and one even has its own section of private beach.
The central dining area is also raised on stilts, and is completely open-sided. It’s decorated with colonial antiques and comfy furniture, and maintains a smart but relaxed atmosphere. A short distance away a firepit is dug into the sand, enhancing the property’s safari lodge atmosphere, and an elevated wooden platform is a wonderful spot to combine afternoon tea with some birdwatching.
Sindabezi offers all the activities available at the main Tongabezi lodge, including guided canoeing trips and walks, sunset cruises, village trips, fishing, and game drives in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. The scenic 20-minute boat transfer to and from the island is almost an activity in itself, though it can be inconvenient for visiting the Victoria Falls (an additional 30-minute drive from Tongabezi) or taking part in other activities on the mainland. Game is often spotted on the banks opposite the island though, and the island itself is home to a plethora of birdlife (and often a locally known hippo who likes to sleep behind Sindabezi’s kitchen), so the most enojoyable activities can be exploring Sindabezi Island and the surrounding river channels with the camp’s guide.
Sindabezi manages to combine the high quality and exceptional service of Tongabezi with its unique location in the middle of the Zambezi. It has a more rustic, low key feeling than Tongabezi, with a style much closer to that of a safari lodge. Its location makes it a bit trickier to visit the Falls and take part in activities on the mainland, but if you are looking to relax in natural settings at the end of your safari, then it would be tough to find a better spot.
- Livingstone & Victoria Falls, Zambia
- Ideal length of stay
- Two nights would be fine, but three is much better, allowing you to make the most of the activities included.
- It’s a 40-minute drive from Livingstone Airport or Kazungula, on the border with Botswana, to Tongabezi, followed by a 20-minute boat transfer to Sindabezi.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We were unable to sample the food on our last visit to Sindabezi, in June 2015, but the quality of the food at its sister lodge Tongabezi has always been excellent.
- For an exclusive and relaxing Zambia honeymoon, spend some time at the idyllic private island of Sindabezi. The honeymoon chalets are privately situated at the end of the island, with a lovely outside bath big enough for two, and the staff will make a big effort to spoil you!
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Attitude towards children
- Children of 14 and older are welcome at Sindabezi
- Property’s age restrictions
- Minimum age of 14
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- No. Sindabezi sits on a small island in the middle of the Zambezi where the river flows fast and large crocodile and hippo often come out onto the surrounding banks. The island also has a very mature, peaceful atmosphere. With all these factors taken into mind, we would not suggest Tongabezi for children under 16.
- Sindabezi sits in an island in the middle of the Zambezi so there is no shortage of large crocodile and hippo which often come out onto the banks around the camp. The river also flows very quickly around the island. The island also has a very mature, peaceful atmosphere to it. With all of these factors taken into mind, we would only suggest Tongabezi for children aged 16+
- Power supply notes
- The rooms have solar lighting, and there are plug sockets in the chalets for charging batteries.
- There is cellphone reception on the island, but no other form of communication.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Transported in
- Water supply notes
- The chalets are fully plumbed in, with each bathroom having a flushing toilet, and a hot and cold running shower.
Water for the bathrooms is pumped from the river and filtered, and drinking water is brought over from Tongabezi on the mainland.
The Tujatane School & Village Project
Sindabezi is an eco-friendly haven, with a plethora of practices that prove their commitment: from using solar-power as their main energy source, to biodegradable toiletries and cleaning products, wood supplies from sustainable forests in the Copper belt near Ndola, and Vivreau still and sparkling bottling system that helps save 20,000 plastic water bottles a year and around 2,000 tin cans or organic vegetables fresh from the gardens on-site.
However, perhaps the shining star is the Tujatane School & Village Project. The school opened in 1996 and provides education to the Tongabezi staff children, as well as children from the local community. There are 11 class teachers, an ICT teacher and 10 assistant teachers who work in Pre-School, Reception and grades 1 up to 7. With the help of sponsors such as Sindabezi and its sister-company at Tongabezi, the school now benefits from a computer lab and a library/media room that are used by 280 students.
Part of the project provides daily lunch for all students and staff which consists of eggs and beans, as well as porridge at break time. The cost of the Food Programme is around U$10 or £6 a month per child.
See more great sustainability projects in Zambia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest doctor is in Livingstone, a journey of about 50 minutes by boat and car.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Although there is no fence around the property, Sindabei’s location on an island in the middle of the Zambezi naturally makes it very secure. There is a night watchman to escort you to your room after dark, and radios in each of the rooms.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are positioned throughout the lodge.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Full Laundry Service - Included
- Each chalet has an individual digital safe.
- Accepted payment on location
- There are no payment facilities at Sindabezi, so any extras (premium drinks, extra activities) must be paid for at Tongabezi. Bills can be settled in cash using US Dollars or Zambian Kwacha. MasterCard and Visa are also accepted.
Other lodges in Livingstone & Victoria Falls
Alternative places to stay in this same area.