|Three Egyptian geese on the shore of the Chobe River.|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|Bird’s nest at the Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.|
It was an exceptional trip and we’re so happy we had the opportunity to experience these three countries in Africa: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. Each is unique in its own way and in each case, we felt welcomed, safe and in good hands as we embarked on our various tours.
Another aspect of this trip we’d failed to mention which greatly enhanced the experience in Zambia has been our seven-night stay at the Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.
|The beautiful restaurant and bar at the Livingstone hotel at night.|
Rated as a four-star hotel by various booking sites, we were thrilled to be able to stay in this convenient location with services and amenities befitting our criteria for comfortable travel.
Although the king room was typical for most mid-range hotels, the bed and bedding were of a good quality, the room amenities satisfactory including a hot kettle with supplies for coffee or tea, excellent air con, and much to our liking, windows that open with screens, an amenity rarely found in hotels. Plus, good quality, complimentary Wi-Fi is included in the rooms and common areas.
|The walkway from the guest rooms toward the lobby/entrance of the Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.|
Breakfast was included in our package which we purchased through Expedia on our website. The complimentary meal was available beginning at 6:30 am, until 9:30 am with times changing on weekends from 6:30 am to 10:00 am.
The food is hot, fresh and well prepared in a pleasing buffet with many options and special orders for eggs cooked to perfection. Most mornings, Tom had fried eggs and I had poached, except yesterday when I ordered an excellent omelet.
The coffee and tea is served table side at no extra charge and many juices and water with lemon and orange slices is available at breakfast and throughout the day.
|We dined at the hotel in this area during our seven-night stay. The food and service were good.|
On a few evenings, we dined at the hotel when we preferred to eat in. The food is good, although not necessarily exotic and can fulfill the needs of most tourists. Preferring to experience a more authentic Zambian meal we ventured out on five of our seven nights.
Last night, we returned for a second time to the restaurant the locals consider #1 in Livingstone, listed on TripAdvisor as #4, Café Zambezi, a definitely exotic and inviting restaurant filled with local charm and culture. Again, our meal was spectacular.
|Bar seating area surrounded by a Koi pond.|
The Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone provides some of the most impeccable services we’ve seen in hotels during our years of world travel. The staff is ultra friendly but in a genuinely kind and caring manner.
They proved to respond to each request with the utmost of attention and detail. Management staff is readily available often stopping by to say hello and asking of there was anything we needed.
We highly recommend this hotel to any travelers seeking a pleasant, easy environment whether they’re in Zambia conducting business or visiting to see the many wonders in the area. Most of the tours are within a 45-minute drive from the hotel.
|We enjoyed a few drinks in this bar on a few evening.|
The hotel can arrange transportation to and from the airport and all of the tours through their highly competent concierge staff. We had the fine opportunity to work with Mapoma Chipasha who went over-the-top to help in many ways in helping us with a few details.
He’s highly competent and knowledgeable in arranging tours and may be reached at email@example.com. Yesterday, he provided me with a list of the events we engaged in during our seven-night stay.
For kwacha 9550.92 (ZAR 11,826.34, US $944) a visitor can ask Mapoma to arrange all the same tours that made our experience in Zambia exceptional which includes:
1. Round trip to the airport from the hotel
2. Victoria Falls on the Zambia side with a private guide
3. Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side with a private guide
4. Chobe National Park safari with guide
5. Chobe River safari with guide
6. Lunch at Chobe Safari Lodge between the above two safaris
7. Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River on the Lion King, appetizers, and all drinks included.
8. Transportation and taxes are included in each of the above experiences.
Many other tours are available including many high adventures including white water rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining, parasailing, ultralights, helicopter rides (too expensive for our budget right now) and many more.
|Huge bright pink rose.|
Although we were very happy with our tour arranger, Chris Tours, many hotel guests feel more comfortable booking tours through their hotel. No doubt, either option is highly satisfactory, most likely using the same companies and guides included in these popular local events.
Following is our usual final expenses, including figures also calculated for the South African Rand (ZAR):
|Expense||US Dollar||South African Rand (ZAR)|
|Hotel & Flights (rt) 7 nights||$ 2,730.22||$ 34,138.42|
|Tours||$ 759.01||$ 9,490.59|
|Taxi||$ 71.78||$ 897.53|
|Dining Out||$ 131.00||$ 1,638.01|
|Tip||$ 114.66||$ 1,433.70|
|Visa (Zambia Immigration)||$ 100.00||$ 1,250.39|
|Pharmacy & Misc.||$ 42.08||$ 526.16|
|Total||$ 3,948.75||$ 49,374.80|
|Avg Daily Cost||$ 564.11||$ 7,053.58|
This morning, we’re off to the airport at 11:00 am. Our flight is at 1:35 pm and we should be back in Marloth Park by 6:00 pm, considering the long drive from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga.
|Yellow hibiscus on the ground of the hotel.|
Our thanks to the hotel staff, our tour operator Chris Tours, Alec our tour driver, and all of the fine support staff that made this week-long experience one we’ll always cherish as one of the highlights of our world travels.
We especially connected with our taxi driver Matthew who is a kind and generous man who is very chatty, offering a wealth of information on the area along with many local cultural morsels of wisdom. Matthew may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you plan to come to Zambia, he’s the guy to call for local transportation.
|Pretty orange bloom.|
Next time you hear from us, we’ll be back in Marloth Park sitting on the veranda while waiting for our “friends” to stop by for some pellets. We were out of carrots and apples when we left, but I assure you, we’ll be heading to the market very soon. Of course, we’re looking forward to seeing our human friends, too!
Have a glorious weekend!
Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2017:
|The waning sun creates an impressive beam of light of the sea from the deck of the Celebrity Solstice in Alaska. For more photos, please click here.|