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The River Club
The River Club
The River Club
The River Club

The River Club: Our full report

The River Club sits high on the banks of the Zambezi River with expansive views both upstream and towards ...

... the Victoria Falls, and across into Zimbabwe. It’s a small, smart lodge at which guests usually stay for 2-3 nights when visiting the Falls. Owned and run by the knowledgeable Peter Jones, the lodge is based around a renovated 1940s’ farmhouse which now forms The River Club’s main area, and has a distinctly colonial feel to it.

The River Club may have been open for only a decade and a half, but visitors could imagine they have stepped back in time to Livingstone’s colonial heyday. From the waiters’ costumes, to the croquet lawn, the billiards room and the vintage Rolls Royce that can be hired for special occasions – some will find the atmosphere contrived and artificial, whilst others will love its historical feel.

In the main area of The River Club, known as Zambezi House, dining, entertainment and relaxation are top priorities. Here you’ll find a large lounge, library and study area stocked with a remarkable array of literature and photographs. As well as detailing Livingstone’s rapid development over the past century or so, these catalogue some of the town’s events and its more eccentric and charismatic residents. Leather chairs and comfortable couches provide a good excuse to just sit and pass the time, and there’s a gigantic fireplace for those chilly winter evenings. Alongside a variety of board games, and in stark contrast to the feel of the rest of the place, there’s a laptop with WiFi, for those wishing to tune back into the 21st century.

To one side of the main room is a tea and coffee station where a buffet breakfast is served. Afternoon tea is also served here, but dinner is usually taken outside on the veranda and eaten as a group (private dining can also be organised on request for special occasions).

In front of Zambezi House, the Club’s plunge pool must have one of the best views in Africa: looking straight out over the Zambezi. This isn’t just a great place to cool off in the heat of the day but also an idyllic setting for private dinners.

A short walk across the croquet lawn brings you to the Summer House, which is decorated with pieces of campaign furniture and old trophies. Here there is a wide-screen TV for any sports fixtures you might want to catch as well as a billiard table and chess set.

There are just ten chalets at The River Club, each named after famous colonial and African figures including explorers, hunters, politicians and royalty. The chalets are constructed on stilts and well spread out in fairly dense vegetation above the Zambezi River, giving each a very secluded feel.

Broadly, there are two types of chalet:
  • Eight are split level, with the bedroom and a small seating area at the top, and views through a screened window to the Zambezi below. This screen serves both to allow a through breeze and to ensure that insects are kept out; there are also mosquito nets on all the beds. From this upper level, where there’s also a separate toilet, quite a steep flight of stairs leads down to the bathroom complete with shower, free-standing bath tub and a second toilet. One of these split-level chalets is a family suite, featuring a second twin bedroom, plus an outdoor shower and a private plunge pool.
  • Two river suites (Rhodes and Livingstone), suitable for the less agile, are spacious chalets set in private gardens with their own private plunge pools and teak decks.

All of the chalets have air conditioning as well as ceiling fans above the beds, plus a fridge with bottled water, and an electronic safe.

Not surprisingly, activities at The River Club are largely based around the Zambezi, both upstream and further down at the Victoria Falls – about 45 minutes’ drive away. The lodge has its own boat which offers leisurely sundowner cruises accompanied by an experienced river guide. On our last visit to The River Club we thought that this was a particularly well-run activity which really took advantage of the Club’s peaceful location. Although there are a couple of other lodges in the vicinity with their own boats, you won’t see anywhere near the volume of traffic you might expect further downstream.

If being on the water is really your thing then why not try your hand at a spot of fishing? Whether a novice or an experienced angler you can spend a morning using the Club’s tackle before returning in time for lunch. Also on offer, of course, are tours of the Falls as well as visits to a local village (where many of the staff live with their families).

For those looking to keep fit while away, The River Club has its own tennis courts and even a couple of running tracks which ring the property.


Our view

The River Club is a very good base for exploring the Victoria Falls and the area in and around Livingstone. Easily accessible from both Livingstone Airport and Botswana’s border, it’s situated far enough from town to be secluded but close enough to visit the Falls as often as you like. The genteel colonial atmosphere won’t suite everyone, but if old-world luxury, good food, and a wide variety of activities are what you’re looking for, we’d recommend The River Club.

Megan Green

Megan Green

Country manager: Zambia

Geographics

Location
Livingstone & Victoria Falls, Zambia
Ideal length of stay
We’d recommend a stay of around two or three nights at The River Club depending on how many activities you’d like to engage in at The Falls.
Directions
The River Club can be reached by road transfer either from Livingstone Airport (about 40 minutes) or from the town of Kasane in Botswana. The Club also has its own helipad.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities

Special interests

Luxury
The River Club has one of the best views over the Zambezi and a delightful, old-fashioned, quite colonial character; exemplified by croquet lawn, a billiard room and a vintage Rolls Royce. Just ten smart, split-level chalets line the riverbank – complete with beautiful canopied beds.
See ideas for Luxury

Children

Attitude towards children
River Club is very happy to welcome older, well-behaved children.
Property’s age restrictions
Minimum age is 6 years old.
Special activities & services
The River Club can arrange childrens meals, but there's no babysitting possible.
Equipment
None available.
Generally recommended for children
Yes - but only for older children.
Notes
Parents need to understand that there is no fence around the infinity pool, and that the atmosphere hiere is a fairly 'adult' one ... so loud or unruly children wouldn't fit in well.

Communications

Communications
There is WiFi in the main building, and a computer that guests can use.
TV & radio
There is a TV in The Summer House for special sporting events but fundamentally the river's the main entertainment, and there's a fair bit of birdlife and wildlife to watch too!

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
Nearest doctor is in Livingstone, about 30mins drive away.



Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from The River Club. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
Dangerous animals
Moderate Risk
Security measures
The security here is very good - with an electric fence and radio-controlled security guards. Every room has individual digital safes.
Fire safety
Extinguishers outside every room and well kitted-out with fire hose system

Activities

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Canoeing

    Canoeing

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Elephant encounter

    Elephant encounter

  • Fishing

    Fishing

  • Helicopter

    Helicopter

  • Kayaking

    Kayaking

  • Microlight

    Microlight

  • White-water rafting

    White-water rafting

Extras

Disabled access
In Place
Laundry facilities
Full Laundry Service - Included
Accepted payment on location
Visa & MasterCard are accepted without extra charge; Amex and Diners card are not.

Other lodges in Livingstone & Victoria Falls

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Avani Victoria Falls

Avani Victoria Falls

Just a few minutes walk from the Victoria Falls, good facilities, lovely grounds and adequate rooms at a modest price make Avani a good choice for a short visit.


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Royal Livingstone Hotel

Royal Livingstone Hotel

Conveniently located just a short walk from the Zambia. side of the Victoria Falls, the colonial-style Royal Livingstone has beautiful grounds and small but quite luxurious rooms.


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Tongabezi

Tongabezi

Secluded on the banks of the Zambezi, less than 20km from the Victoria Falls, Tongabezi is one of the most exclusive lodges in Zambia.


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Islands of Siankaba

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In a lovely location on the Zambezi upriver of the Victoria Falls, Islands of Siankaba provides a tranquil setting to relax at the start or end of a safari to Botswana or Zambia.


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Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

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Offering great value for money and within easy reach of the Victoria Falls, Waterberry is a small, family-friendly lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River.


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Toka Leya Camp

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Stanley Safari Lodge

Stanley Safari Lodge

Stanley Safari Lodge has views of Victoria Falls spray from all the rooms, and is a convenient base for exploring the Zambezi River area.


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Sindabezi

Sindabezi

Sindabezi, near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, is an island in the middle of the Zambezi River


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David Livingstone Safari Lodge

David Livingstone Lodge

The four-star David Livingstone Safari Lodge is in a lovely spot on the edge of the Zambezi River in Zambia, close to the Victoria Falls.


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Thorntree River Lodge

Thorntree River Lodge

Rebuilt in 2017, Thorntree River Lodge is one of the best riverside lodges in Livingstone, with a strong sense of the environment and straightforward access to the Falls.


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Tangala House

Tangala House

Tangala House, the family home near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls


No reviews yet
Sussi & Chuma

Sussi & Chuma

Sussi & Chuma combines a luxurious, laid-back camp with a good location on the Zambezi River, with quick access to the Victoria Falls.


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