Reviews of Tongabezi
Wildlife sightings and reviews
63 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Tongabezi and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
Although I was surprised to discover on day 2 that there were a lot of monkeys around which we were not initially told about. After I had used our plunge pool my husband told me that they had been peeing in it so I was concerned about how clean it was.
Perhaps guests need to be warned about the number of steep steps to climb - after 10 days of inactivity it was quite a challenge! A good information folder about the lodge and grounds and activities on offer would have been very useful - eg about the nice pool which was hidden away and which we really enjoyed using daily, Sorting out the activities between the 4 of us, became somewhat complicated although we very much enjoyed all the trips we did.
We had no radio or means of communication apart from one night when it appeared. It meant we had to keep going down to reception/bar to get service. The radio clearly should have been in place according to instruction sheet about it in our room. On arrival at airport our transfer driver was not good - was tailgating the car in front most of the time.
We were not expecting a valet and found breakfast the first day very slow so ordered everything in advance which speeded things up. Although it was slow again on our last morning because he seemed to be doing everything - eg bowls ran out, fruit salad ran out." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 3n in Zambia
Our butler Jato took amazing care of us and provided for our every need. The food was delicious and we were treated like newlyweds even though we weren't!!!
We ended up sponsoring a child at the Tongebezi school because their program was so inspiring! The only downfall was finding a massive spider in our shower on the second night. I hate spiders!!!!" See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 3n in South Africa; 2n in Zambia
All the staff we so helpful. The evening boat trip and the surprise visit to the Sandbar was very special." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia; 3n in South Africa
the only negative comment would be that as soon as we arrived we were subjected to a hard sell
regarding activities, both ones included in the camp price and others which would have been at extra cost." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
"An extremely comfortable few days"
We enjoyed it enormously, particularly having a bath and not
getting up at 5.30 am to go for a game drive, but felt that two days
was long enough and we were ready to return to the Bush." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
"Tongabezi on the Zambezi"
We were blessed to be staying in the villa, which we had no idea about prior-- (thank you Justin!) and had our own private pool. There are lots of hippos in the area, which adds another element of excitement.
The dining tables are scattered far enough away from each other to allow plenty of privacy, imagine candlelit dinners, being serenaded by fabulous local acapella talent, listening to hippos grunting nearby. Just dreamy...
I had one of the best massages of my life here!
Even if you and your significant other aren't madly in love, you will leave here feeling more tender toward each other at the very least." See all these reviews: 11n in Kenya; 2n in Zambia; 1n in South Africa
"Tongabezi - outdated and tired"
The room was very well sized and the original concept was great, as was the concept for the hotel in general, however the hotel appears to have been in some sort of decline and is now a poorly maintained and outdated facility. The room rates are world class but the hotel standards, facilities and service are significantly below world class. Major maintenance is needed to the deck (and it is due to be rebuilt but it should have been rebuilt years ago), pathway lighting does not work in places, doors don't close, sofa coverings in the bar area haven't been cleaned in years and neither has the dust cover on the coffee and tea facilities in the room or the outdoor furniture coverings. Nobody in management would appear to have paid any attention to points of detail for some time.
The staff are kind and pleasant but would appear to have had virtually no training, it didn't help that the hotel wasn't full and consequently staff weren't fully occupied and they tended to hang around in groups chatting amongst themselves.
At one fifth of the price Tongabezi may have been acceptable but it certainly does not merit its price tag." See all these reviews: 6n in Botswana; 2n in Zambia
With regards to the maintenance issues that you pointed out, the Manager admits that upkeep is needed in some areas. We have been assured that the issues are now being attended to.
You also mentioned that staff appeared to have very little training. Tongabezi have said that they do have an in-house training programme in place; this is linked to the international Lobster Ink training courses. However, they do admit that further training is needed to close some weak areas of service.
Expert Africa’s most recent visit to Tongabezi was in August 2015, when we found the accommodation and main areas to be in good order and the service spot on. We expect to pay a return visit to the lodge in 2017, and will pay close attention to the standard of the facilities and service.
The highly here is the rooms which were really lovely (including air conditioning), plus the setting, overlooking the Zambezi with the most absolutely wonderful sunsets in the evening.
The pool, restaurant and other facilities were also of a high standard.
As with Sindabezi, there are lots of inclusive activities here, but we really enjoyed just lazing about enjoying the view.
Just one slight negative, in all of the other camps, there was a great communal atmosphere, with all the guests getting together for breakfast, lunch and dinner and really enjoying sharing their experiences.
Although this was said to be possible at Tongabezi, it didn't really happen, so you didn't get the chance to interact with the other guests. Tongabezi felt more like a exclusive boutique hotel, which itself is not a bad thing, but it did slightly lack the social aspect that often makes the Safari Camps really quite memorable." See all these reviews: 13n in Botswana; 4n in Zambia
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Other lodges in Livingstone & Victoria Falls
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Avani Victoria Falls
Just a few minutes' walk from the Victoria Falls, with access for guests included, the Avani features good facilities in peaceful grounds at a modest price.
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.
Islands of Siankaba
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.
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.
Toka Leya Camp
The new Toka Leya Camp stands beside the Zambezi inside Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park – so wildlife often passes through. It's a comfortable tented camp which has great service and includes a range of activities.
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.
The River Club
The River Club, near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, overlooks the Zambezi River.
Sindabezi, near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, is an island in the middle of the Zambezi River
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.
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.
Tangala House, the family home near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls
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.