With our Africa flights booked and a plan in place to spend New Year’s Eve at Victoria Falls we had one hotel on our wish list: the Royal Livingstone, a luxury five star hotel perched perfectly on the banks of the Zambezi River with the mist and roar of the thunderous Falls just a few hundred meters away. The Royal Livingstone, with its stunning interior, majestic views and amazing service is considered one of the best luxury properties at Victoria Falls and we couldn’t wait to check it out!
The Royal Livingstone
The Royal Livingstone Hotel is a collection of 173 rooms in a lush resort setting against the backdrop of the stunning Zambezi River. As soon as we stepped into the colonial style resort we felt instantly relaxed and we couldn’t wait to settle in and enjoy our stay. We were greeted by Edward, the life and soul of the Royal Livingstone reception, who was adorned in the traditional Lozi festive dress in anticipation of the approaching new year. As he welcomed us with a refreshing iced tea we were treated to a complementary hand massage while some opportune zebra and giraffe wandered through the grounds. We knew we had made the perfect choice!
Travelling as a trio we booked two rooms at the Royal Livingstone and jumped into a waiting golf cart for the short journey to our bedrooms. Kennedy, our butler for the duration of our stay, greeted us at entrance and showed us through our two rooms which were side by side. The bedrooms were spacious and elegant with king size beds and patio doors which opened to private verandas with views stretching far over the Zambezi. Bliss!
With its idyllic setting on the banks of the Zambezi River the views from the Royal Livingstone can only be described as exquisite and extraordinary. Livingstone Island, where David Livingstone himself first set eyes on Victoria Falls, is visible in the distance. This is where he famously described the Falls as ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels on their flight’ and, only a few hundred meters across the river from the hotel, the mist rises from the thunderous Victoria Falls. It really is a beautiful sight.
Wildlife on the Grounds
Zebras, giraffes and monkeys roam freely through the grounds of the Royal Livingstone and hippos and crocodiles make frequent appearances in the nearby waters of the Zambezi. The antics of the wildlife delighted all of the guests and the animals had celebrity status among us – it really was a joy to watch!
Food and Drinks
We’d chosen the Royal Livingstone as, with the exception of our Victoria Falls adventures, we wanted to indulge in some well earned rest and relaxation after our time exploring the desert and coast of Namibia. The Royal Livingstone was perfect in this respect: from a delicious breakfast spread to the crowd drawing afternoon tea to the sundowners overlooking the Zambezi our every whim was catered for in-house.
A delicious breakfast was included in the room rate and, on both our mornings, we indulged in all there was on offer: omelette, salads, a hot buffet, sparkling wine, copious amounts of fresh fruit and tasty bread. Breakfast is served in the restaurant and on its terrace overlooking the river and we loved our morning routine of enjoying breakfast while watching the mist rise over the Victoria Falls. It was a perfect way to start the day!
Afternoon tea, or high tea as it is known in Zambia, is an appetizing mix of dainty sandwiches and scones, savoury tarts and an incredible festive inspired cake table full to the brim of delicious treats. We’re big fans of afternoon tea and the Royal Livingstone offering quickly took its place as one of our favourites – it was so good we indulged on both days of our stay!
We loved our evening drinks and the old world charm of the David Livingstone inspired Travellers Bar where Livingstone’s paintings adorn the walls and the air was filled with the beautiful notes of the resident piano player.
The absolute highlight of our stay was the evening sundowners on the sundecks overlooking the Zambezi. Watching the sun set over the river while hippos played in the surrounding waters as the Falls thundered in the distance was a truly incredible experience and the memories will stay with us forever.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations
How does one celebrate New Year’s Eve at the iconic Victoria Falls? We have a few ideas!
Our New Year’s Eve started with a tour of Livingstone Island and a swim in Devil’s Pool, one of the most terrifying yet incredible experiences of our lives. As an added bonus the Devil’s Pool tour leaves from the sundecks of the Royal Livingstone! Our once in a life time swim was followed by a sparkling wine accompanied breakfast and a jaunt over to Zimbabwe to see the Falls from a different perspective. We then enjoyed a couples massage overlooking the Zambezi while zebra wandered past us in the grounds. The hotel hosted a New Years Eve dinner but, after the day’s exploits, we could only manage a glass of champagne at midnight before we went straight to bed!
The outdoor swimming pool is relaxing and refreshing. Other facilities included a gym, a business centre, a curios gift shop and some relatively stable wi-fi which was quite good by the rest of our Namibia and Botswana road trip standards. Hotel guests have unlimited access to the Falls via a private gate.
The Royal Livingstone is the perfect escape for some rest, relaxation and luxury on the banks of the Zambezi under the backdrop of the thunderous Victoria Falls. We absolutely loved our stay and the combination of an incredible property, stunning surroundings and great staff quickly propelled the Royal Livingstone to one of the favourite hotels of our travels and one which we would absolutely recommend.
Read more about our Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls trip
- Check out our Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls road trip itinerary here
- If you’re planning on visiting Livingstone Island or swimming in Devil’s Pool read our Livingstone experiences here and our ultimate guide to Devil’s Pool here