It’s official: The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara is one of the finest retreats in Africa. This summer, this five-star hotel was named in the ‘Three Best Resorts in Africa’ category of Travel & Leisure’s latest World’s Best Awards, voted for by the magazine’s well-travelled readers.
But it’s no surprise. Not only does the Royal Livingstone ooze Victorian elegance, offer bygone-luxurious rooms and serve deliciously creative food, it has arguably the best location on the continent.
Named after intrepid explorer Dr David Livingstone, the Royal Livingstone is the perfect place to get up-close and personal with Victoria Falls, the colossal 1,708m-wide by 108m-high sheet of water that’s rightly regarded as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The Royal Livingstone sits in a prime spot on the Zambian side of the cascade. It is reached via an exhilarating boat ride along the Zambezi, which flows along the end of the hotel’s leafy grounds (where you’ll likely spot zebra and giraffe roaming around). Every one of the opulent rooms here has a private veranda with river views. But, best of all, Victoria Falls itself is right on the doorstep – the hotel has its own exclusive entrance to Victoria Falls National Park, and guests are free to visit as often as they like.
Not only that, the hotel’s wide, west-facing, water’s-edge deck looks right over the top of the falls. You can sit here with a cool drink, watching the mists rise up and listening to the roar of what locals call Mosi-oa-Tunya (‘the Smoke That Thunders’). Despite stiff competition, it’s right up there as one of Africa’s most jaw-dropping sundowner spots.
From the Royal Livingstone you can take a boat trip to mid-river Livingstone Island and the world’s greatest infinity pool: Devil’s Pool is a natural rock ledge at the top of the falls where – if you dare – you can peer over the edge into the plunging, fizzing abyss.
The hotel is an ideal base for a range of other activities too. Soar over the river, the gaping gorge and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park by helicopter or microlight. Take a private river safari or game drive with an expert guide to seek out hippos, crocodiles, herds of elephant and a bright abundance of birds. Follow in David Livingstone’s paddle-strokes on a canoe trip on the Upper Zambezi. Or find white-knuckle adventure, rafting on the lower river’s thrilling white water. You can also have a romantic picnic in the Royal Livingstone’s garden, royal high tea by the pool, inspired haute cuisine in the restaurant or a traditional boma feast outside by the fire.
Along with a number of other initiatives supporting local communities, the hotel has also recently launched their Youth Programme in partnership with SOS Children’s Village and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, an initiative which will see children undergo blended learning, helping them to develop the essential skills and experience needed to secure sustainable employment across a number of different industries.