Livingstone – Home of the Mighty Mosi-O-Tunya!
Livingstone is synonymous with Zambian travel, because hardly anyone makes a trip to Zambia without visiting Victoria Falls, which is also referred to as the Mighty Smoke that Thunders and the Mosi-O-Tunya. And that is not without good reason, because it is a marvel to behold. The rest of the world clearly thinks so too because it is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world!
Once you’ve taken in the breath-taking views of the Falls, and let me add that the best time to soak it in is during the rainy season in Zambia between end of October – April otherwise you could find it dried up if the previous rainy season wasn’t up to par, there are lots of different activities to keep you entertained centred around the falls.
If you’re coming from Lusaka, you can either drive which will take you approximately 5 or 6 hours to get there. The road is mostly good apart from a small patch of terrible road between Kafue and Mazabuka. There are several buses which depart from Lusaka Intercity bus station to Livingstone daily. I haven’t taken the bus in a long time, but it’s cost effective and won’t break your bank. If road travel isn’t for you, then you can fly into Livingstone with either Proflight or Mahogany airlines.
For international travellers, your tour operator will usually arrange your flights directly into Livingstone. You can also do this yourself if you’re curating your trip yourself, and the websites for both Proflight and Mahogany are easy to use and allow you to book your flights online.
Activities for the Thrill Seeker:
Some of the activities one can do in Livingstone include bungee jumping, rope swing, white water rafting, devils pool and many more to say the least. I will of course focus on the activities I have done to give my personal experiences. I will start with white water rafting which I have done twice! It is scary going into it because of the fear of the unknown, but it is largely a safe activity to do and the tour company will explain the risks for you to decide if you want to go ahead or not. It is soooo much fun bounding up and down the rapids on the falls as you look up and watch the water cascade down the falls. One for the adrenaline junkies out there! The first time I did the activity the raft didn’t capsize and the second time the raft did capsize which was extremely scary but part of the fun haha! You are belted up in life jackets, so it felt safe and I know how to swim which comforted me further. My mum on the other hand can’t swim but she still did the activity and survived it!
Probably my favourite activity that I have done in Livingstone is the Devil’s Pool. It has a scary sounding name, but I think it is a must do for thrill seekers. Do note that the activity can only be done when the water levels are low in the Falls to ensure the safety of guests, and this is typically between late August and early January. With this activity you get to see a different side to the Falls and enjoy panoramic views as you swim on the edge of the falls in Devils Pool. It is also a nice activity because you get a tour of Livingstone island and you are treated to a delicious meal. We did the activity late morning and had a beautiful lunch and cold beers after!
All the activities mentioned above can be booked through the hotel or lodge that you stay at, or you can book direct online. There are several tour companies based locally with their information on the internet so put in your key word, and the information will follow.
Activities for the Chilled Traveller:
Now that I’ve gotten my thrill seeking experiences out of the way in Livingstone there is nothing that I enjoy more than just putting my feet up poolside at a beautiful lodge whilst I guzzle many a cocktail and my second favourite activity is a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi river. I had previously been a sucker for the African Queen boat cruise, but on my last trip in May 2019 we did the Mukuni Boat cruise which was excellent! We paid $55 each which included the boat cruise, all drinks and yummy snacks. Well worth it if you ask me!
I am not into museums on a trip because I honestly find them quite boring, but the Livingstone Museum is very informative and if museums float your boat, then it’s worth you checking out. The museum is situated in Livingstone town centre.
With it being the tourist capital of Zambia, you can imagine there is an abundance of accommodation options for one to choose from and the good news is there is something for everyone’s budgets.
For the budget conscientious traveller who still wants a semblance of rustic charm I would recommend Maramba River Lodge. You can choose between a tented chalet, chalet or camping options. I have stayed in both the tented chalet and chalet and both are lovely and clean. The tented chalet has more of an edge for me because I love the outdoor shower within your room. Who wouldn’t want to shower underneath the beautiful Zambian sky?! Both the chalets cost $70 per night for residents. If you want all the options, please peruse their website to see more information. Another alluring thing about Maramba is that the pool is set by a small section of the Zambezi river and if you’re lucky you will see elephants roaming around. What a treat!
If you want something more luxurious, then I would recommend The David Livingstone Lodge and Spa. It is absolutely beautiful with its thatch roof and interior décor. Think wood, thatch and gold! Residents will pay about ZMK1800 per night with international guests paying more. For up to date pricing, give their website a visit or send them an email. The main features of attraction at David Livingstone for me is their infinity pool overlooking the Zambezi river, I love the buffet breakfast, their bar is also lovely with the bar staff serving up delicious cocktails and my personal favourite, the spa! It is absolutely bliss. The staff are highly trained, and I enjoyed a couple’s massage, facial and pedicure with my husband.
Lastly, if you’re into a good time, make sure you sample the local nightlife! It is so much fun. Livingstone is a safe city and you won’t be disappointed enjoying a beer in the local bars. Ask your hotel staff for the latest happening spot and head over there!