By: Christopher A. Pape
What wondrous feeling must he had, when David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary, and explorer set out onto the broad land of Africa and discovered the marvelous Victoria Falls? The discovery of the glorious site, viewed from a first-person-ever perspective, must have left Dr. Livingstone in such paralyzing wonder, since the site continues to do so for millions of visitors to The Smoke that Thunders. What better way to personally discover this incredible wonder than to follow Dr. Livingstone’s footsteps with a stay at Tongabezi? The gorgeous and luxurious lodge boasts an amazing location and offers opulent luxury, perfect for Manhattanites filled with wanderlust.
Tongabezi Luxury Lodge rests calmly upstream of the legendary Victoria Falls, on the banks of the winding Zambezi River. Being some 10 miles away from the Mosi-oa-Tunya, or Victoria Falls known indigenously as the Smoke that Thunders, Tongabezi gives its guests the perfect opportunity to intimately encounter the World Heritage site. The magnificent Victoria Falls stretches over 5,604 ft. and has a height of 354 ft., which crowns Victoria Falls as the largest stretch of falling water in the world, and deservingly one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders; and the best place to experience this spectacular force of nature is on Livingstone Island, where Dr. David Livingstone first discovered this superb site. Tongabezi offers convenient daily Livingstone Island trips five times daily, which is itself a thrilling journey as passengers swiftly pass through the fast-moving channels of the Zambezi on a twin-engine boat, ensuring the perfect sighting experience.
At Tongabezi, travelers are greeted by a wide array of accommodation choices, as lodges are located at Tongabezi, Tangala House or Sindabezi Island, all on the banks of the Zambezi. Founded in 1990 by Ben Parker and the late Will Ruck-Keene, pioneers of eco-tourism in Zambia, the lodge is privately owned and run. Individual houses are all furnished with high-end amenities and are individually attended by a valet who takes care of guests throughout their stay and acts as a private concierge. One of the several gorgeous houses is the Dog House, located at the furthest edge of the Tongabezi garden. Three beautiful decks made by sustainable pine are connected to create a private world of its own at the location; they are raised high to not only provide all rooms with incredible views, but also to support the houses with great security. The open plan central deck is intimately created with community, relaxation and luxury in mind. It offers a private infinity plunge pool and a double-sided fireplace facing onto both the lounge and dining room.
Tongabezi puts an incredible focus on building an eco-friendly luxury lodge community, and extends that same focus and dedication to evolving the surrounding community towards positivity. With that specific goal in mind, Tongabezi gives back to its neighbors in a generous manner. Vanessa Parker, wife of Tongabezi founder Ben Parker, established Tongabezi Trust School in 1996 and has worked valiantly to grow the school. It now provides good education to staff children as well as children from the local community in a place where it is desperately needed.
At Tongabezi, guests can do as much or as little as they wish, with game drives, bush walks and boating trips available. The majestic Victoria Falls can also be viewed on foot in the national park, from inside the gorge, from Livingstone Island and from the air. With all the beautiful natural resources and a tranquil yet opulent space to return to at the end of the day, Tongabezi is undoubtedly worthy of a visit.
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