Described as one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, Zambia lies in the heart of Southern Africa and is a truly stunning place to visit. Boasting an array of landscapes and wildlife, reflected through the diverseness of its people and culture, it should certainly be added to your holiday wishlist. But if you're looking for a truly natural Zambian experience, look no further than Livingstone. Home of the mighty Victoria Falls, also known locally as Mosi-Tunya directly translating to ‘The smoke which thunders’. Livingstone is a historic city named after the British explorer David Livingstone, and it's known as the tourist capital of Zambia. Set just 11km from Victoria Falls, it is a fantastic base for visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The city of Livingstone gives travellers not only the experience of the mighty Victoria Falls but also the opportunity tackle the thrilling adventure scene. This makes Livingstone the mecca of backpacking for thrill seekers.
1. Victoria Falls
A trip to Livingstone requires a compulsory visit to the Victoria Falls, with walks that let you view the falls from different angles. You can cross the footbridge that sways through a cloud of water spray towards the Knife Edge (a slippery walkway that runs right along the crags). Other ways to experience the falls is to make your way down the slopes to the banks of the Zambezi, where the Boiling Pot (a massive whirlpool) roars away.
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Thrill seekers, rejoice! The exhilarating Microlight flight is the perfect opportunity to get your pulses racing. It also has unique, uninhibited and immensely breathtaking view of the Victoria Falls. Furthermore, you can experience the spectacular gorge that the Zambezi River has carved into the surrounding landscape over thousands of years. The Microlight literally gives you a bird's eye view of the incredible vast wildlife. Something not to be missed by adventure seekers.
3. Riverboat Safari
If you're not a fan of heights but still want to do something fun, why not try a riverboat cruise for the upper river safari experience. The boat safari allows you to explore the Zambezi River and its myriad of islands such as the famous Livingstone Island. This particular safari lets you enjoy the thrill of speeding over rapids across the river then slowing down for a leisurely viewing trip around the Zambezi and coming up close and personal with hippos, crocodiles and more. The river safari, in particular, is perfect for avid bird watchers, giving an extraordinary insight into the vast species of birds within Zambia from the Bee Eater to the African Data and Kingfisher. Meanwhile, the romantics can also enjoy sunset cruises along the famous river.
4. Mosi-Tunya National Park
If you're desperate to see beautiful animals in their natural habitat, be sure to book a visit to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which may be one of the smallest of its kind in Zambia. The park is perfectly situated along the Zambezi River, just a stone's throw away from the mighty Victoria Falls. Home to Africa’s biggest personalities, such as the white rhino and buffalo, you can also find other animals such as antelopes, warthogs and elephants which can be spotted crossing the Zambezi towards Mosi-oa-Tunya’s ‘sister park’ on the Zimbabwean side of the border. This park is also perfect for bird watchers who can view up to 35 species. The open game-viewing vehicles, driven by expert guides are the best way to encounter these animals in their natural habitat.
5. Royal Livingstone Express
Dining with a twist! The Royal Livingstone express offers a culinary journey of a lifetime and you'd be crazy to miss out on the unique experience A combination of fine dining opulence mixed with picturesque views - it really is quite something. Complete with a smart dress code, passengers have a classy adventure to the Victoria Falls Bridge to watch the gorgeous African sunset and marvel at the sight of the world’s largest waterfall, before heading back along the newly refurbished Mulobezi railway line to Livingstone town in a beautiful and romantic steam train.
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Where to stay in Livingstone
If you want to witness the Victoria Falls and enjoy a truly Zambian experience, having an accommodation that can provide you with the best experience is a necessity. Situated on Mosi-oa-Tunya’s National Park, and just five minutes from the falls, is Avani Victoria Falls Resort which gives guests unlimited free access to the famous attraction. Avani stands apart for its natural beauty and vibrant local style, connecting the wild side of travellers to Zambia’s wondrous landscapes and big game thrills. The 46 hectare grounds attracts zebras, giraffes, impalas and more. Guests have the luxury of strolling through the gardens for a wild nature walk or go bird watching. Boasting an incredible 212 rooms, the hotel décor is characterised by a mixture of African colours and a touch of Mediterranean influence.
Where to eat in Livingstone
The Avani Victoria Falls Resort offers a wide range of dining experiences: The Theatre of Food showcases a 'buffet surprise' to start and end the day, serving familiar international cuisines alongside Zambian specials accompanied by live music. The Boma provides the ultimate African dining experience, and for those of you who don't know, Boma means ‘enclosure’ in Swahili and comes from the days when tribesmen would cook and protect their communities. The Boma is a great way to immerse yourself in Zambian tradition by sitting by the fire feasting on local delicacies and enjoying traditional tribal songs and dances.
How to get to Livingstone
Getting to Livingstone and the resort is fairly easy, as Livingstone Airport hosts domestic and international flights. The resort is a swift 25 minute drive away, made seamless by an efficient transfer service. Once at the resort, guests are a given a spectacular cultural welcome at the reception, with Ngoni Warriors performing traditional songs and dances.