- Well-appointed, traditional lodge
- Beautiful riverside setting
- Great location for Victoria Falls
The River Club is an upmarket, colonial-style lodge situated on the banks of the Zambezi River in southern Zambia. Accessed by air into nearby Livingstone airport, this sumptuous property sits on the edge of Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. The surrounding area supports a diversity of wildlife including elephant, hippo, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, plus the rare white rhino. With well-appointed, albeit somewhat pricey accommodation in a beautiful riverside setting only 18km from the legendary Victoria Falls, the River Club is a wonderful base from which to explore Zambia’s historic Livingstone area.
Set in 50 acres of private grounds, the lodge’s main building is a renovated 1940s farmhouse decorated in a traditional, Edwardian style. Communal areas include a spacious lounge with a fireplace and comfortable seating, plus a dining room, a well-stocked library, and a gift shop. Meals are served both indoors and alfresco on the pretty terrace, either communally or at individual tables. Private dining and special diets can be accommodated.
Outside is a modest-sized but enticing swimming pool with wonderful views of the Zambezi River. Also on site are tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a 2km nature/running trail, plus a games room, spa and gym. Note that it’s worth planning the timing of a visit carefully, since the lodge’s location means that it is somewhat exposed to the elements, particularly during the rainy season, and the very hot October to November months.
Tempting as it may be to stay within the comfortable confines of this charming property, there are plentiful activities to enjoy elsewhere, including game drives into Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, fishing excursions, sunset river safaris, and cultural visits to nearby Simonga and Sinde communities. An excursion to Victoria Falls, at their most impressive between March and October, is a must for any visitor. Canoeing, white water rafting, quad biking, and walking safaris can also be arranged, subject to age restrictions and availability.
The accommodation consists of 11 air-conditioned suites dotted amongst the trees. Each suite combines traditional furnishings with a fresh, contemporary feel, and boasts lovely river views. Accommodating between 2 and 6 guests, all suites house ensuite bathrooms with bath and shower, basin and WC, and a number of them comprise an outside deck with a private plunge pool, and a small but well-tended garden area.
Families with children over six years of age are very welcome at the River Club, with discounts available for youngsters sharing with adults. A two bedroom, two bathroom family unit comfortably accommodates four guests, and an additional bed may be provided upon request. This unit has a pretty garden with decking area, and a plunge pool. Also available is a larger, two bedroom suite, accommodating up to four adults and two children, with the added option of private dining. The lodge provides an ‘adventure kit’ for every young guest, along with an engaging range of child-specific activities including raft building, baking lessons, bird and insect safaris, and catch-and-release fishing. Board games and puzzles are also available. While the River Club staff do go out of their way to entertain younger guests, it remains the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are closely supervised at all times.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019