Tag Archive: Livingstone

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?

Only 42 then, Dr. Livingstone was a Scottish missionary and explorer whose claim to fame includes being the first European to discover Victoria Falls in 1855. He was also a witness to a massacre of African slaves, prompting a meeting between him and H. Stanley of the New York Herald. In that 1869 meeting, Stanley was quoted to have asked “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”. The question is tinged with humor because Livingstone was the only white face amidst a group of Africans. The quotation likewise gave rise to a song of the same title back in 1968. Obviously, Dr. Livingstone cannot easily be forgotten in this land where a town, a Museum and a hotel, among others, were named after him.




Mosi-oa-Tunya (Tokaleya Tonga: the Smoke that Thunders; the ‘i’ is silent). “Discovered” by Dr. Livingstone in 1855.



But this blog is not about the man. This is about the Royal Livingstone Hotel right by the Eastern Cataract of the majestic Victoria Falls. To visit Livingstone Island, one takes a short boat ride from the Sundeck of this 5 star hotel. Fabulous is one word to describe this hotel. From the Sundeck, to the poolside, to the porch and breakfast nook, to the sprawling garden overlooking the “smoke that thunders”, one is tempted to swear that a single visit ain’t enough.




A boat ride from the Sundeck of Royal Livingstone Hotel will take you to the Livingstone Island where you can walk to the edge of the cliff or swim in Devil’s Pool right by the edge.


This is the Sundeck. During the wet season, the “mist” is more dramatically visible complete with the sound of the waterfalls.



Drinking by the porch or in the Sundeck is a must. I can just imagine how misty it gets during the wet season. A friend told me she’d never forget the sound of the gushing waters from the Falls while sipping her drink in this hotel. Quite an experience, I must say.




Poolside. Royal Livingstone Hotel. Eastern Cataract of Victoria Falls. Zambia.


Colonial-inspired Royal Livingstone Hotel. Its sister-hotel, the Zambezi Sun Hotel has a more African and resort- theme.



It would be a dream to actually stay in this hotel and be served your breakfast in this very colonial-inspired dining parlor. Or perhaps enjoy your sundowner from the hotel bar while listening to good music. Would they play “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” . I bet!




Breakfast Nook in Royal Livingstone Hotel


Feels and looks very exclusive.



So, would you stay here the next time you visit? “Sam” is waiting. (He just migrated from Morocco to Zambia).




Play it again, Sam.

If there’s something I learned not to miss here in Africa, it’s reading the signs. Oh sure, mind those signs. It can save your life!


BE WARNED! No wonder we had to sign so many waivers.

Funny. Amusing. Or scary? Having signed so many WAIVERS here, it becomes nearly obligatory to mind those signs. You don’t find much of them anywhere else.


Baboons really scare me. Reminds me of their my scary episode with their cousins in Kathmandu, Nepal.


This got me off that tempting bench by the river. In a heartbeat!

So, before you claim an empty bench and relax with a frothy hot cocoa, READ. For all the dangers they pose, I must say though that those signs are nearly inconspicuous.


Zebras by the Hotel entrance.



We took the 90 minute flight from Johannesburg and landed in the Livingstone International Airport. Frankly, one can hardly call it that. It’s a very small airport, manned by a minimum of airport crew who looked like a cast from some ongoing movie shoot. For a while, I suspected the X-ray machine would damage my camera and iPad. Don’t ask me why. The thought crossed my mind. Though I never expressed my fears.




This is Africa!






This is hardcore Africa. From the time we stepped out of the airport, fetched by a hotel van driving past dusty Livingstone with locals in colorful outfits, I sensed AFRICA. Soon enough, we were in our hotel touted as the nearest hotel to the majestic Victoria Falls. Not exactly in the same rank as its sister-hotel — the Royal Livingstone Hotel — but I like its ambience. Less colonial in architecture. Definitely more African.





Honestly….I passed only 2 roads in Livingstone, Zambia. And yes, those are the blue taxis of Zambia!


Not that old. But this is typical in the whole of Livingstone’s “CBD”.


The stark contrast between this small dusty town’s character and the grandness of the hotels by the Falls couldn’t be more pronounced. Zambezi Sun Hotel is a beautiful hotel with a very African theme. It is also a nature reserve where giraffes, baboons, crocodiles and zebras freely roam the grounds. It was tempting to leave some nuts just outside our room’s sliding doors. Or by the swinging bench by the river where a sign “Beware of Crocodiles” promptly got me off the bench to retreat back to my air conditioned room.




This is my breakfast view during my stay in Zambezi Sun Hotel.


Pleasantly surprised to find superb food quality and service here in Zambia. My favorite serving lady is named Nganda.



Once, the hotel van we were riding had to stop to let this towering giraffe pass. Another time, we got all excited when a good looking zebra roamed around the hotel front, unmindful of hotel guests snapping photos and following him around. My, we don’t even have to go to a wildlife park to see these safari animals. They’re everywhere. Sitting by the pool with a Mosi beer and a plateful of fries, I waited to check the rates for a foot massage by the pool. (Forget it. It’s way too much) From the corner of my eye, I saw a monkey and a tiny animal I couldn’t make out snooping from behind a tree. Not sure if they like French Fries or a beer, but really, I didn’t need company then. 😄




Zebra right by the hotel entrance!


Taken while inside the hotel van. The van stopped to let this regal safari animal pass. Giraffes in Zambezi Sun Hotel!


A bit of trivia: You can tell an alligator from a crocodile judging by the shape of their snouts. crocs have narrower, V shaped snouts while alligators have wider U shaped snouts. Alligators are also generally darker, almost black in color. As for the Lacoste reptile, it’s meant to be a crocodile. A green crocodile. Only in Lacoste. 😊



Typical buildings in Livingstone’s CBD.


And yes, this is a Catholic Church in Livingstone, Zambia.



Ah, I’ve been wrong so many times but I was never this sooooo wrong about one country. As we left Livingstone, Zambia I took one last look at the Saint Theresa Church along the Airport Road. Frankly? I didn’t expect to find Catholics in Zambia. It seems I was simply too engrossed over the country’s natural wonders that I was an epic failure in the other departments. To find almost every Zambian speaking fluent English came as a total surprise. And don’t tell me I should have known this country was once under British rule. There were many other ex-British colony countries I’ve visited where language was a problem. Not here. I totally enjoyed talking to the locals. Zambians are among the friendliest I’ve met. They can be quite chatty too. How delightful to find new friends!




LOO WITH A VIEW? We found this tented toiled just a few meters from the cliff edge by the Victoria Falls.

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)