The River Club: The Lowdown

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The River Club sits on a broad, beautiful sweep of the Zambezi upstream from Victoria Falls.  Peter Jones, the River Club’s owner, was paddling along in his canoe and fell in love with the plot. After much tense negotiation with owners, he bought the land and built his dream lodge on the site of an early 20th Century farm.

What’s The River Club really like?

Despite being a lodge of the 21st Century, there’s a colonial air to the River Club. Perhaps it’s because it’s so small, or because it’s privately owned, but staying here really does feel as if you’re temporarily a member of a rather lovely private club. The original farmhouse has been converted to make the main heart of the lodge- there’s a long teak dining table for jolly dinners (though quite a few meals are served outside), a fire to snuggle up beside and a pool to wallow in.

The River Club has just 11 rooms- seven of these are River Suites with lovely views out over the Zambezi. Rather decadently, these are some of the only rooms we know that have two bathrooms- next to your bedroom there’s a small shower room, and down below there’s a bathroom with a glorious full tub that we could float in for hours. Luxury River Suites have just one bathroom, but a rather splendid plunge pool, and there’s also a two-bedroomed family suite, again with its own plunge pool. This is really best suited to a family safari as there is not a dividing door between the two rooms. Lastly, the Princess Mary Suite is a two-bedroomed private villa that sleeps up to six (beds for children can be set up in the lounge), and has its own private garden, a pool and dining area.

Just as an aside, for any Jewish visitors, there’s a surprising amount of Jewish heritage in Livingstone, and the River Club, unusually for this part of the world, has a kosher kitchen. Please note that as the  Mashgiach and kosher chef need to fly in from Johannesburg, there is a small charge to cover this (please ask us for details) and advance notice is definitely needed!

Family safaris at the River Club: The great thing about visiting the River Club with children is that there is just so much to do there. We’d wholeheartedly recommend this at the end of a family safari– free from the (necessary) safety limitations of the bush, here children can play tennis and croquet, build a raft to float on the pool, bake cookies with the chef and visit the local school and village.  There are two family suites at the River Club, and extra beds can also be added into several of the rooms. It’s also possible to arrange babysitting here for a small extra charge. The River Club accepts children of six years and older.

What can I do at The River Club?

It’d be pretty difficult to run out of things to do at the River Club. Guests who want to use it mainly as a base for relaxing can stay on a bed and breakfast or full board basis, whereas those who want to make the most of all that Livingstone has to offer can stay on a fully inclusive basis. If you fall into the former camp you might just make a visit to Victoria Falls, perhaps enjoy a gentle sundowner cruise on the Zambezi and have a gentle massage or two during your stay. If you choose to be more active, there’re game drives to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, village visits, fishing (seasonally) , visits to local villages and to the Livingstone and Railway museums.  On top of this there are all of the usual activities at Victoria Falls– microlights and helicopter flips, horse riding, and white water rafting.

Giving back at the River Club: Over the years, the River Club and its guests have made several significant contributions to the local community. There’re too many for us to number here, but they include building a library, a classroom and a canteen at the school, helping to improve the supply of clean water, and providing breakfast for 400 children at a local school.

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