Tag Archive: Royal Livingstone Hotel

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.

I like the vibe here. More than anywhere else. It has the “truly African” feel to it. Or perhaps, I should say “Truly Zambian”.




Just a few meters away is the edge of the cliff. Have your Eggs Benedict breakfast here while “listening” to the smoke that thunders. Victoria Falls!



Breakfast right by the “smoke that thunders”. What beats that? I’d readily give up my oyster and champagne breakfast for this experience. Yes, it is more than just breakfast. It’s quite an experience to munch through your Eggs Benedict while listening to the gushing waters from the falls and feeling that “spray” of water as the wind blows your way.





Thank you, Chikie, for this photo. I really hammed it up, didn’t I?



To think I was already so pleased with Zambezi Sun’s buffet breakfast. And my premier breakfast spot right by the pool, which Ngandan secures for me every morning! Can’t complain about this Zambian leg of my African journey. Everything worked out perfect here. It’s in the stars!




Royal Breakfasts indeed! A local, Ngandan, secured this spot for me each morning.



From our hotel, it’s only 2 kilometers trailing a path to view the Falls from different angles. Make that 4 kilometers for a return trip. The sun is out but the path is slippery owing to the water spray from the waterfalls. I’ve read about this tourist who slipped and fell from the edge (yes, he died) when a baboon sprung from nowhere to snatch his bag. So let me just say I took great care scaling those steps, crossing the wet bridge, watching out for baboons and yes, snapping way too many photos.





An aerial shot of the Falls with the Zambezi Sun Hotel on the lower left. From this spot, we hiked towards the steel bridge where we had a better viewing of the Falls and the Livingstone Bridge. Had a good “spray” too!



You can only take so many photos of the SAME Victoria Falls. From a helicopter, from the edge, from the bridge, from the many viewing spots. Lighting differs quite a bit, and the mist from the Falls can make or break a shot. After a while, you stop. Wiping my camera lens, I can only feel gratitude in my heart for all these natural wonders. The Falls. A rainbow here and there. Standing on a spot of land in Zambia, while looking out to the other tourists standing on a spot of land in Zimbabwe just across the Falls. Or looking down to the Zambezi River where some dare white-water raft or swim at Boiling Point. Such beauty. And I was there!






Photo Credits: Chikie. (That’s me up front, busy snapping photos while getting slightly wet from the water spray)


That’s the hiking trail. Just 4 kilometers return trip. And look at that rainbow!



Oh, by the way, there are some others who’d rather view the Falls while jumping off Livingstone Bridge which connects Zambia to Zimbabwe. If you care for a jump, just remember that a young woman once bungee-jumped and the rope snapped and she plunged straight into the waters. She had the presence of mind to swim under the currents to pull her feet off the rope then swim up to the nearest rock to wait for rescue. Now, what are the chances you can do a repeat of that? Best of luck, chap!




You can only take so many photos of the same Falls.