‘Money Can’t Buy’ Experiences at the Royal Livingstone in South Africa

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High tea at the Royal Livingstone
High tea at the Royal Livingstone

“Zambezi!” my group shouted in celebration as we overlooked the plunging waters of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We are standing on Livingstone Island, a short boat ride from the 173-room Royal Livingstone Hotel.

The falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in the Southern part of Africa. Our group worked together to swim across the heavy current of the Zambezi river on our way to Devils Pool. The natural pool is a popular vantage point that has been created by thousands of years of erosion, making it an exciting spot to take in the falls during dry season. After reaching the rock edge that overlooks a 355-foot drop, we took turns as the guide held our feet as we spread our wings and built up the courage to look down toward the piling rocks at the bottom. With mist spraying our faces and a few butterflies in our stomachs, there was nothing more liberating. If the Devils Pool doesn’t bring your group together, nothing will.

The Royal Livingstone Hotel definitely blew us away. The colonial-style hotel rests on the banks of the Zambezi river, offering a warm welcome of hippo, elephant and gator spotting to groups who arrive by boat. Hand massages by spa attendants are available during expedited check-in.

Book a reception for 100 on the open sun deck overlooking the river and watch zebras, baboons and giraffes play throughout the grounds. Move to the Royal Lawns for a scenic group meal for 250 pax. It’s not every day that a curious monkey will jump onto your balcony and dip into your fruit basket.

Warm hues of cream, pale green and gold make for calm and comforting guest rooms, each appointed with butler service and gorgeous views of the river. There are four meeting rooms on-site, including a 350-pax convention center, a 450-seat conference space and two new boardrooms.

For a luxury experience of silver cutlery, crystal glassware and damask linens, board The Royal Livingstone Express, an all-inclusive luxury train traveling through the picturesque Zambezi Valley. The train combines The Royal Livingstone hotel with the charm of rail travel via a partnership with Bushtracks Africa DMC. There are two dining cars with a seating capacity for 92 passengers.

Bushtracks Africa also provides tours around Victoria Falls, offering groups a great look into the history of David Livingstone’s 19th century discovery. Daredevils in the group will enjoy an open-air microlight flight 10,000 feet over and through the mist. Although each plane only holds one passenger (in addition to the pilot), there are three planes on-site, making group rides quick and easy. The 15-minute journey is smooth and beautiful, really giving a sense of peace and relaxation. There were several high-fives given on that day. – Gianna Wyatt

 

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