The minute our shuttle pulls up to the The Avani Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia I know we are in for a treat. After an early morning, a flight from Lukasa and a drive to the destination, the journalists on my shuttle are sleepily staring out windows until someone hollers – GIRAFFE. We roll up to the lobby where we are greeted by a group of four local dancers who take turns placing hand fashioned crowns on our heads while someone snaps photos.
Located in Subsaharan Africa, the Avani Victoria Falls is a welcoming, unique resort located within walking distance to the wonderous Victoria Falls. The nature reserve the property sits on features zebras, giraffes, monkeys and more, roaming the grounds daily at dawn and dusk.
This past October I had the chance to spend three wonderful nights at the Avani when doing a fellowship in Zambia. From the moment I arrived I felt welcome and safe. Staff are attentive and friendly and the surroundings are immaculate and magical.
It’s All About Location
Just like that real estate adage: it’s all about location. The Avani Victoria Falls in Livingstone has location in spades. Imagine waking up and opening your drapes to see zebras all over the courtyard grazing on grass. Now imagine driving back on your shuttle at night after a long day working or exploring and finding a bull elephant crossing the road with a small entourage. You get all that and more at The Avani Victoria Falls. Even now, writing this and reflecting on being there, I can’t help but shake my head in wonder at how incredible it was watching wildlife peacefully grazing while tourists stroll past.
Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park
The Avani Victoria Falls is not far from the banks of the Zambezi River, in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. Rated at three stars, this resort felt much higher to me. There are 221 en suite rooms and numerous spaces equipped for conference capabilities as well. Every room has either a view of the landscaped in ground pool at the heart of the resort, where wildlife can be spotted daily as well, or a view of the lush SubSaharan bush.
A Moroccan Style Beauty
Moroccan style rooms are charming and remind you that you are immersed in a completely different culture. Each of the rooms has ample space for at least 2 people and a small family could manage in the room that I stayed in. There is a large bathroom space with shower and bathtub.
There are two restaurants on property. Buffet style breakfasts and dinners are perfect for conference, business or family travel. This is not a place that stands on formality and yet there are many opportunities to enjoy traditional African dishes here. The grounds are lush and the grass is peppered with quirky animal sculptures. On arrival you will be escorted by shuttle to your room. You are likely to pass by a cute looking pond but beware the sign regarding a crocodile on the premises. If you are traveling with small children they will need close supervision due to the wildlife here.
Located a really short walk away is the Royal Livingstone Hotel. The Avani Victoria Falls shares some privileges with the Livingstone so be sure to take advantage of those.
In your off hours you can easily walk the pathways to the falls or to the neighbouring Royal Livingstone Hotel. The patio there overlooking the Zambezi River is gorgeous. Make it a priority to visit at least once when the sunsets. Have a sundowner as you watch a family of Hippopotamus yawn and play in the river. Be sure to snap some photos and a selfie or two.
Best of Two Worlds Near Victoria Falls
A stunning location, the Avani Victoria Falls is the more affordable of the two resorts both located on the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. The Royal Livingstone is the second of the two. Visitors can freely move between the Avani and The Royal Livingstone.
Wifi is free but be warned you are in Zambia and it is not as reliable as some other destinations.
Temperatures in this area of the world are extremely hot and can hit 40 Celsius regularly. It’s important to hydrate and take breaks in your room. Water at this resort is safe and drinkable. Bottled water is also readily available if you prefer. Always check with your local travel clinic or family doctor to determine which vaccinations are crucial. I had numerous vaccines preparing for this important trip.
The Avani Victoria Falls, Zambia
There are so many things to do nearby. The Avani Victoria Falls is the perfect spot to stay if you plan to take part in any of the adventure activities nearby. Because this resort essentially backs onto Victoria Falls, you are within 5 to 10 minutes of the Zimbabwe border and can cross over. Do your research first though and check to see if it is safe, what it costs and how to cross – by foot or car. The view from either side of the Falls is gorgeous but there are better photo opportunities on the Zimbabwean side. And there’s a wicked crazy bungee jumping activity on the Zimbabwe side of the falls.
I travelled as a recipient of the UN Foundation’s Zambia Fellowship this October. I received transportation, accommodations, excursions, and meals while visiting Zambia. My opinion is my own and my stories are truthful.