(5 cottages, 4 houses) P Bag 31, Livingstone; tel: 03 324450/68, 323235 ; fax: 03 323224; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.tongabezi.com
Set on a sweeping bend of the Zambezi, Tongabezi has set the region's standard for innovative camp design since it opened over a decade ago. It remains one of the most exclusive places to stay on the north side of the Zambezi, its setting matched by excellent service from a team of first-class local Zambian staff.
Five beautiful thatched cottages overlook the river, three with king-size beds, the others twin; all have large baths, and their own deck area. Even more exclusive are the spacious houses: the Bird House, the Tree House, the Dog House or the Honeymoon House (once cited as 'worth getting married for'). Each is individually designed, with a king-size double bed, impressive open-air double bath, and one side completely open to the river. Both cottages and houses are carefully secluded from their neighbours; all have the services of a private valet dedicated solely to looking after the guests in that cottage or house.
There is a lovely riverside thatched bar and spacious lounge area with a fireplace shaded by ebony trees hung with trailing creepers. The swimming pool is set against a rock wall, under a tumbling waterfall, while sun-loungers wait on a large wooden deck over the Zambezi. Meals are sumptuous affairs, served riverside in the dining room or outdoors, or even in the privacy of your own cottage. By special arrangement, couples can dine under the stars on Tongabezi's floating 'sampan' moored offshore, where each course is hand delivered by canoe – a romantic and memorable occasion.
The lodge's ethos is confirmed by its school, Tujatane, run for over a hundred children of Tongabezi staff and from local villages. Visits to the school are popular, with many guests choosing to contribute to its upkeep and future development.
Guided sunrise and sunset boat trips from the lodge's own jetty, canoeing, birdwatching trips, fishing, game drives (to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park), museum tours, transfers (in Zambia) are included. There are also options to sleep on Sindabezi, one of the islands in the river (see below), or to have a specially laid-on meal on Livingstone Island beside the Falls. These options are not included in the price and, like the lodge itself, should be booked well in advance.