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Reviewed 25 December 2009

The setting is superb as it sits right on the Victoria Falls. Guests can see the spary and hear the thunder of the water.
The rooms are spacious and spotless and the food superb.
There is plenty to do from the hotel from flights over the falls to trips to a local African village.
The grounds are beautifully kept with wild animals roaming free

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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Thank FreddyBerkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2009

We arrived at Zambia from Joburg and handed over $80US each for our double entry visa as we would be heading into Botswana and this saved both time and money over multiple single visa stamps.

We got a really cheap deal through asiarooms for around half the cost of every other site but it meant no bus transfer. Haggle with the taxi drivers outside and you will be fine. Ours was happy to point out everything on the way down to the falls going through town. Ask them to stop off at the shopping centre near the hotel and you can pick up some drinks and nibbles for the room.

Check in was swift and involved a cold drink and an authentic african welcome from a few dancers which seemed a little bit ott but the retired tourists seemed to lap it up.

The hotel grounds take you right to the the falls and you can access them any time you want through a little gatehouse (garden shed) where you sign in and out. The falls are incredible to see and if you want to see them in their glory you will get soaked so be prepared.

We hiked down to the boiling pot whirlpool and I would advise against wearing thongs (flip flops) and you do not need any of the local guides either. Keep heading downhill even when you think you are going the wrong way .

The rooms were more than adequate and the pool area was fine. The buffet breakfast was enormous and you can watch the staff trying to keep the local monkey population at bay during service. Drinks and food are very expensive so bring some basics from the supermarket or have dinner at Squires on site which is a very affordable option. We had the dinner buffet one night and were not particularly impressed with any of it.

The activity centre sorted us out with a day trip to Chobe in Botswana which was a highlight. Saw better close up animal activity there than we did during a week in Kruger. We also took a microlight flight over the falls which was delayed due to low cloud but eventually took off and was a memorable event.

If you are looking for a true african adventure then stay clear but if you want decent rooms right on top of the falls then it is perfect.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Stevietraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2009

I was unsure of what this place would be like after reading some of the reviews, but my mom and I were very pleased with the Zambezi Sun! The location was a perfect place to stay to see Victoria Falls! Just a short walk away - you could visit the falls as often as you like! We also booked a Lion Walk tour through the hotel and it was amazing, as well as a sunset cruise. The food was a buffet nightly - and it was delicious. I am not one for buffet's, but spending three nights here - I wasn't bored at mealtime. The rooms were clean. The pool was a nice place to spend a few hours in the middle of the day between activities. The animals on the property were quite fun too! It was a nice place to stay for a visit. However, if you are looking for something upscale, I would suggest the Royal Livingstone. That was a "nicer" hotel. But...for the money and service, I have no complaints with the Zambezi and would definitely recommend this property.

  • Stayed: August 2009
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Thank travelgalTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2009

This hotel is right on the falls. It is only a 5 minute walk to the falls. The grounds are very well kept, and the pool is excellent. The staff is very well trained and extremely friendly. The rooms are a little small, but very adequate. The air conditioning worked very well which is a bonus since it was near 100. The pool bar is very expensive, but the cafe is very reasonable. The breakfast was very nice.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Richard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2009

We had been planning this holiday for months to see the Victoria Falls and yet… we were not quite sure what to expect. We arrived at Livingstone airport, a charming airport, surrounded by greenery- the only airport I have seen, where you wait outside in the gardens to board your flight! We were booked at the Zambezi Sun and they had a person at the immigration counter who had taken care of visa requirements for all guests coming off the flight who were staying at their hotel. An excellent start.

We were escorted to the hotel bus and set off for a short 15 minute drive to the hotel, through the quaint town of Livingstone whilst being given a running explanation of all the places we passed.

The hotel property is set in the Mosi Ou Tunya wildlife sanctuary and sits right on the banks of the Zambezi River. It has two hotels – The Royal Livingstone a five star hotel and The Zambezi Sun a three star hotel both set at far ends of the same property. In fact, where the property ends the Falls begin. Once you drive in you are filled with a feeling of space, calm and solitude. It’s a long meandering drive to the hotel and suddenly we saw, next to our moving bus, two beautiful giraffe and an Impala. The hotel staff has this story to tell – the Impala does not stay with the other Impala but with these two giraffes! They say he is very confused…and thinks he is a giraffe and has adapted the mannerisms of a giraffe! We reached the reception of the hotel to a lively welcome of song and dance by four N’guni tribesmen, wet towels and refreshing drinks.

The Zambezi Sun is what you want it to be...a sanctuary of quiet or full of possible adventure! This is an informal hotel which is reflected in the carefree colours of the hand painted interiors - the perfect place to holiday with family and children. The rooms open out into the gardens where zebras, giraffes and deer roam wild. Lovely outdoor and indoor restaurants that serve world cuisine… include a variety of Indian food! A band that played under the African sky - African songs, English ones and… Kal ho na ho! There is a superb pool and a Spa where you can relax and have an African massage. There also is a daycare center for children with lots of different activities and for the adults a casino where you can, if you wish, gamble the night away!

The Victoria Falls…or as described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as “ Mosi – Oa – Tunya” - The Smoke that Thunders, were first seen by Scottish missionary David Livingstone in 1855 and he named them after Queen Victoria. To imagine - he set off on the uncharted Zambezi (he called it Gods highway) to access the interiors and came upon the spectacular Victoria Falls! Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is something all travelers should try and see in their lifetime.

What is really interesting is how “commercialism” like luxury hotels, chopper rides, boat cruises and tourism – co-exist so peacefully with nature without either imposing on it or destroying it.

The Falls were a 5 min walk from our room and living in The Zambezi Sun gave you free and unlimited access to them. The Falls are a glorious and awe inspiring sight on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe. 1708 meters wide, throwing up columns of spray which can be seen from miles away, as 546 million cubic meters of water plummet every minute into the gorge over 100 meters below. The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide calm river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges – creating some of the best white water rafting experiences on the planet. The sunlight creates countless rainbows which sweep across the mist and are a magical sight to behold.

A well marked and paved path along the edge of the rain forests provides one with an unparalleled series of views of the falls. Every so often the path will open out into a clearing for a magnificent view of the Falls. They play peek a boo with you. One will most certainly get drenched with the spray thrown up by the falls – as you are literally 20 to 30 feet away, so I wore the raincoat provided by the hotel and ventured on! My husband and kids refused the raincoats and got drenched – which they insisted was great fun.

We crossed the border on foot to the Zimbabwe side – a short 15 minute walk and viewed the falls from there. There is much debate over which country has the better view – but with the political situation in Zimbabwe – most visitors stay in Zambia. The borders are very porous and the authorities are very easy about visitors crossing the check post. You can bunji jump from the bridge too…and I believe from friends who have done it, that it is the most exhilarating experience ever.

You can take a boat out to Livingstone Island almost on the edge of the falls and have breakfast, lunch or dinner. You are guaranteed a private meal as there is only space for a few people on the island and access is controlled and coordinated by the hotels.

Outside the hotel was a Native craft market where there were a cluster of shops and a sweet old man of the N'guni tribe playing music on African drums. Much to his delight my son joined him and they had a good jamming session! What was interesting was that in order to encourage visitors to shop directly at this market, craft seen at the market was not available at the hotel shops.

There is so much to do here and all of it very well organized and service is always provided with a smile. No one attempts to hustle or push you into anything. Rafting, bunji jumping, horseback and elephant safaris, abseiling, day trips to Chobe in Botswana, cultural tours through a colorful local market and a visit to Chief Mukuni’s village, historical tours to The Livingstone museum, a historical tour of the town and the Railway museum, fishing, the snake and crocodile park, luxury cruises, canoeing, rafting, quad biking, micro flights, and helicopter ride over the falls. All these activities are affordable even on an Indian budget. Most hotels have an activity center or counter where you can see what is available and make bookings – incredibly efficient and convenient. It is of course advisable to make all your bookings in advance so as to ensure that it is not all booked up when you arrive.
 
We went for a game drive into the park one morning and saw lots of wildlife and also got charged by an elephant! Later I was told it was just a “mock” charge. Well, at that point there seemed nothing “mock” about it! This part of Zambia does not have any cats – but day trips to see lions at nearby parks are easily arranged.

That evening we went for a leisurely three hour sunset cruise on the Zambezi which was magical. We ambled along in this lovely river boat, saw hippos in the river and elephants on the banks.  The service was fabulous with unlimited food and drink and we watched a stunning sunset.

The next day we went on a horseback safari. I have never ridden a horse… and was really not sure of this. But it was easy… and riding on a strong, beautiful horse, who kept grazing (!), through the jungle and along the banks of the Zambezi, seeing Zebra and Giraffe… while keeping an eye out for crocodiles and hippo, was and is going to be an unforgettable experience......

 

Stayed: May 2007, travelled with family
2  Thank NanditaBaig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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