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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara Victoria Falls, Zambia

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara Victoria Falls, Zambia

colonial hotel

The world is full of iconic landmark hotels, and the Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara is one of them. Named in honor of David Livingstone, who brought Victoria Falls to the world’s attention, this legendary property has Old World charm with modern amenities, all next to one of the world’s largest waterfalls (it has the world’s widest sheet of falling water).

bridge over waterfall At Royal Livingstone, you can hear the thunder of the falls and see the inverted rain spray shooting up over the horizon of the mighty Zambezi River. Local wildlife roam the grounds freely adding to the atmosphere of lounging by the pool or enjoying a drink on the terrace. This is a bucket list hotel, for sure. Besides the fact that guests have unlimited access to Victoria Falls (others have to pay), here are five top reasons to visit the Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara Victoria Falls in Zambia.

The views

hotel roomFrom this vantage point, you cannot see the waterfall, but the sound would be deafening. Instead, what you see is the peacefully flowing river and its rising plumes of mist and rain from the crashing water below. It is a peaceful retreat best enjoyed from your room’s terrace, by the pool or in the colonial-style living room and lounge area.

hotel room with tubGuest rooms, which are undergoing impressive renovations with plans for completion in 2025, showcase mosquito net-canopied beds with plush duvets as the centerpiece of the rooms. The remodeled accommodations will eventually all have enormous wall paintings showcasing scenes from the park and more local touches in the artwork and design fixtures. The intent is to modernize without losing the colonial feel.

zebraFor the coming year, the hotel will have a mix of the two accommodations, and it is smart to look online to see the room type you want. All are within two-floor buildings lining the riverside with each accommodation benefiting from water views. It’s not just the Zambezi fronting the rooms, but the hotel’s own wildlife that wander freely: giraffe, zebra, baboons and impala among others. They wander past your room and through the hotel’s pathways as if they were in their own national park.

The food

restaurantThe menus here show excellent attention to detail including a separate menu with vegetarian dishes that is as long as the main menu. Each day, a rotating selection of soups and Zambian side dishes gives guests a chance to sample something new.

At the main dining room, you can eat indoors in an elegant dining room or on the river-facing terrace. Breakfast is a decadent buffet with everything from Mediterranean to Indian options. Made-to-order eggs and juices are on offer, Zambian staples like “nshima,” a porridge-like side dish main from cornmeal, are on the buffet, and rows of energy shots and smoothies add color.

restaurant on riverLunch and dinner are served in the same place or by the pool. For dinner, a real treat is making a reservation on the dock over the river. At sunset, the views are breathtaking as you watch the sun set just behind the rising spray of Victoria Falls.

The people

man smilingZambian people in general are incredibly friendly, but the staff here is a step above. The team is almost entirely Zambian, and you won’t pass a single person that does not smile and greet you. From gardeners and to receptionists, the service is a real highlight. In fact, for many of these people, it is a symbol of success to work for such a well-known hotel.

If you ask someone for directions, they will likely walk you there rather than just point the way. Butlers attend to guests in each of the individual buildings, and housekeepers weave in and out of rooms without guests even noticing. It is all so carefully orchestrated to maximize the sense of relaxation.

poolBy the pool, the staff bring fresh towels, top of chilled water and even point out passing birds or tell stories of the resident animals as they pass the pool chairs.

The spa

Positioned on the banks of the river, the individual cabanas allow guests to hear the river rushing during massage and beauty treatments. The reception process takes place on a terrace with welcome drinks made from the hydrating rouselle plant in view of the falls. Then, guests are ushered to their treatment rooms for a foot bath ritual.

spaOne notable addition is that while lying face down on the massage table, the spa has placed slanted mirrors just below the head rest so you can see the river flowing. The therapist can even leave the door open. The spa uses Terres D’Afrique products as well as local oils and flowers during treatments.

After the treatment, guests lounge on cushioned chairs beneath swaying branches and facing the river. The energy of the water is renewing and seals the benefits of any treatment.

The sustainability efforts

people taking picture of a giraffeGeneral Manager Laurie is serious about sustainability. He has taken the hotel to new heights to support the environment and the community surrounding it. Anantara hotels worldwide are known for these efforts. But Laurie’s creativity to find new ways to keep adding things is commendable.

The hotel does not use single-use plastics and bottles its own water. It uses a rigorous cleansing and reverse-osmosis process to make still and sparkling water. Some of the proceeds from water sales in the restaurants go to support water-related cleanliness projects in the community. Food waste from restaurants goes to the hotel’s own composter and then used in the sprawling gardens.

gardenA huge amount of its food ingredients come from local farmers. The hotel brings them to its own farm and assists them with top-quality protection from pests and animals. As produce grows, the hotel agrees to buy 100% of it. Other things come from the hotel’s own gardens. It relies on the Ebenezer Child Care Trust (orphanage) and the Pink Envelope Project (vulnerable women) to help keep it running.

The same goes for its meat and seafood sources. The hotel uses local providers giving jobs to those in the region. There is even a team of beekeepers that the hotel employs from rural areas. They make the property’s honey while earning a steady stream of income for their families.

Even its linens and soap get repurposed. The wonderfully smelling Africology toiletries in the room come from pump bottles. But, the bars of soap are collected once a guest checks out. They are then melted down, sanitized and made into new soap bars for those who need them. When bed linens, table cloths and towels reach the end of their life cycle, the hotel removes them from rooms. On-staff tailors clean, repair and dye them into a rainbow of colors. These are then sent to area children’s hospitals.

school girls smilingThe hotel also supplies materials to the Linda Community School. Through the Pack For A Purpose program, guests can bring supplies from home to donate, too. The school has a list of its current needs, usually available through the hotel.

As a guest reward for a stay at this amazing hotel, they can sign up for GHA DISCOVERY. Members earn “dollars” based on how much they spend. This will be doubled by the program. Members can redeem them at a future stay for any GHA DISCOVERY hotel around the world in the future.