Mosi-oa-Tunya—the smoke that thunders. This was the traditional name given to Victoria Falls. It’s a name that so profoundly depicts the torrents of cascading water that crash to the ground at an alarming rate. It captures the untamed natural beauty in all its power and mysterious whimsy. It speaks to the unknown and the discovered. And whilst it was the name given specifically to describe one of the Seven Wonders of the World, we think it is an accurate portrayal of Zambia as a whole.
Like a clouding smoke, Zambia remains unknown to many. But like a commanding thunder storm, it doesn’t take long to become fully immersed in the landlocked country’s magic. As Africa’s best-kept secret, it is not overrun by tourism but remains rugged and raw. It’s a mecca for adventure seekers, wanderlusters and bush aficionados alike. And named after the Zambezi River, Zambia challenges adrenaline junkies to gorge swinging, white water rafting and other extreme sports. While helicopter rides, idyllic canoes and cultural tours entice the rest of us.
Zambia is also known for pioneering bush walks and prolific game viewing. It’s home to the Big Five and many other rare species. And you simply can’t visit the country without experiencing an authentically African safari. Engage with elephant herds frolicking in the waters as hippos wallow in between. Encounter lions methodically stalking their prey. And expect giraffes, zebras and bucks to effortlessly slip into your day to day.
The only question that remains is where to stay. And whilst the understated country is packed with luxury resorts and eco lodges, choosing can be difficult. Fortunately, we’ve already done the research for you and have picked out the best luxury resorts. Here, you’ll have a front row seat to the untamed wilderness—but from the comfort of impossibly high thread count sheets and glistening infinity pools.
The 21 best luxury hotels in Zambia
- Toka Leya Camp
- The Royal Livingstone
- Latitude 15 Degrees
- Shumba Camp
- Tongabezi Lodge
- Ila Safari Lodge
- Royal Chundu Island Lodge
- Thorntree River Lodge
- Royal Zambezi Lodge
- Sindabezi Island
- Chikunto Safari Lodge
- Kaingo Camp
- Mukwa River Lodge
- Le Elementos
- Munga Eco Lodge
- Mwaleshi Camp
- The River Club
- Sausage Tree Camp
- Flatdogs Camp
- Neelkanth Sarovar
- Mukambi Safari Lodge
Toka Leya Camp
Managed by conservation pioneers, the high end tented camp is raised on stilts so as not to interfere with the untamed wildlife. With a featherlight footprint on the side of the river bank, the earthy interior and natural hues speak to untouched surroundings. And in doing so, the elegant tents fuse the world of luxury with dusty adventures.
Each tent (if you can call it that) at Toka Leya Camp features its own open side living room, bar and decked infinity pool overlooking the Zambezi. And while you can have your meals served here, the main dining room and campfire atmosphere is bound to draw you in. Debrief your boat or vehicle safari sightings over African-inspired international cuisine. And if you’re yet to experience the world-class spa, you’ll want to save a day just for that. It’s no wonder this is one of our favorite places to stay in Zambia. We’re sure you’ll agree.
Best for: Unstilted (and stilted) luxury.
Address: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Livingstone, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: wilderness-safaris.com/our-camps/camps/toka-leya-camp
The Royal Livingstone
If you’re planning a trip to Zambia, the Zambezi has got to be on your bucket list. But as one of the seven wonders of the world, it’s not something just to tick off, you’ll want to really experience it. The Royal Livingstone proposes a front row view of the magnificent body of water. And as you lounge by the decked-out infinity pool, you’ll see hippos wallowing in the waters below, inviting you into their space.
The Royal Livingstone hits the elusive sweet spot between opulence and unspoilt natural beauties. And while the panoramic views and rummaging wildlife are always a highlight, they’re enjoyed from perfectly manicured lawns with high tea. And later, cocktails and mouthwatering buffets. Not to mention the sheer variety of activities on offer. From thrilling endeavors such as white water rafting and bungee jumping, to more tranquil enterprises such as spa days, game drives and boat cruises—we don’t know where to begin.
Best for: Living up to its moniker.
Address: Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: www.anantara.com/en/royal-livingstone
Too often, travelers skip through Lusaka in search of safaris and waterfalls. But we would recommend a night or two in Zambia’s culturally-rich capital city. Especially if it means a stay at Latitude 15°. Designed with architecture aficionados and luxury seekers alike, the eclectic decor contributes to a chilled-yet-chic ambiance.
Latitude 15° is a surprising oasis amidst the tree-lined avenues of Lusaka city. With an ethical stance towards the environment and sustainability, this luxury boutique hotel is committed to contributing towards the community through upcycling, curating original artworks and endorsing African talent. With a gym, spa, evening entertainment and gastronomic delights, we wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to extend your stay.
Best for: Coordinating your itinerary.
Address: 10101, Lusaka, Zambia Price range: $$ Website: 15.thelatitudehotels.com
Renowned for reliable lion sightings, Shumba Camp is a haven for bush enthusiasts and novices alike. As one of our top all inclusive eco resorts, the wooden architecture and toned-down interior blends in with its natural surroundings, whilst simultaneously being infused with modern comforts.
A stay at Shumba Camp poses a constant tension between soaking in the tranquility of the camp and immersing yourself in the untouched wilderness. Private balconies and a shared outdoor lounge area overlook the African plains. The pool beckons you with a glistening prowess. The outdoor buffet is a fusion of hearty curries and delicate dishes, made to be eaten under the stars while getting lost in African folklore. While the daily safaris get right up close to the big five and other rare species. The bottom line is: you’ll want to leave enough time to fully experience it all.
Best for: Meeting the king of beasts face to face.
Address: QVJF+75X, Musavu, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: wilderness-safaris.com/our-camps/camps/shumba-camp
According to its many accolades, Tongabezi Lodge is the ultimate romantic getaway or honeymoon destination. And we couldn’t agree more. Located on the banks of the Zambezi River, the earthy architecture and natural interior exude untouched tranquility. While the wild landscape encourages you to slow down and reprioritize.
Tongabezi Lodge is a part of the Green safaris group and is dedicated to environmental sustainability as well as unparalleled luxury, making it one of our best spots for eco vacations. Just a stone’s throw away from Victoria Falls, the all-inclusive resort is all about relaxation with a hint of adventure. And whether you’re embarking on a boat cruise, reprieving at the pool or experiencing a unique sampan dinner, you’re bound to leave with your tank filled—with love for each other and the country.
Best for: Setting the tone for a long and happy life together.
Address: Livingstone Way, Livingstone, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: greensafaris.com/tongabezi/
Ila Safari Lodge
Like Tongabezi Lodge, Ila Safari Lodge is also a part of the Green Safaris, meaning that it is committed to environmental sustainability and local community empowerment. So if you prefer luxury vacations that make a difference in the world, Ila Safari Lodge is right up your alley. From solar-powered electricity to Zambia’s first electric game drive vehicle, the innovative eco resort goes above and beyond to maintain the pristine ecosystem.
As one of the best boutique lodges in Zambia, Ila Safari Lodge is located on the Kafue River—a secluded oasis. And while natural tranquility remains at the forefront of the design, the unpretentious architecture effortlessly infuses African chic touches and modern comforts into the serene space. Witness elephants en masse frolicking from a cascading infinity pool. While mouthwatering spreads tempt you in for dinner. And luxury tents call your name at the end of an adventure-filled day.
Best for: Luxury everything—but make it green.
Address: Mumbwa, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: greensafaris.com/ila/
Royal Chundu Island Lodge
Fit for families and romantic getaways alike, Royal Chundu Island Lodge is worthy of its noble status. The high end all-inclusive resort comprises two luxurious lodges—River Lodge and Island Lodge. Both of which are in close proximity to the famed Victoria Falls, providing scintillating views of the Zambezi River.
The Royal Chundu Island Lodge displays impeccable attention to detail as they raise our standards for what passes as luxury. The River Lodge rooms exude an African spirit with vibrant touches amongst the earthy interior. While the slightly more expensive Island Lodge rooms encapsulate African elegance as white and blue hues set the tone for a tranquil escape. Whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed by the variety of activities on offer. We were particularly excited by the helicopter flights, island walks, sunset cruises and the Royal Chundu spa. While the candlelit banquets provide a journey in themselves.
Best for: Conferring titles of honor through all-inclusive luxury.
Address: Plot 9003, Nakatindi Road, Katambora, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: www.royalchundu.com/
Thorntree River Lodge
AndBeyond resorts are renowned for their unparalleled approach to luxury. And Thorntree River Lodge is case in point. Every tented room is an architectural work of art. The avant-garde wooden designs and modern minimalist earthy tones set the holiday mood. While panoramic views and floating decks with private plunge pools entice you to join them with a glass of champagne.
As one of our best luxury lodges in Zambia, Thorntree River Lodge appreciates the balance between grandiose opulence and being grounded in nature. Although it’s far from a camping trip, outdoor baths and open dining areas allow you to fully immerse yourself in the exquisite environment. And if you’re not out tracking rhinos on foot or canoeing down the river, we trust we’ll find you relaxing at the spa or indulging in the kitchen’s mouthwatering a la carte menu.
Best for: A rose amongst the thorns.
Address: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Mosi-Oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: www.andbeyond.com/places-to-stay/africa/zambia/livingstone/thorntree-river-lodge/
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Zambia has got to be one of the most understated countries for safaris. And after a stay at Royal Zambezi Lodge, we’re sure you’ll agree. The all-inclusive five-star luxury lodge faces the famed Zambezi River. Here hippos permanently wallow. And elephant herds come to cool off and play in the water. Whilst you have a front-row view of the uninhibited wilderness.
As well as sharing the landscape with Africa’s noble giants, Royal Zambezi Lodge is a reprieve from the mundane. The aristocratic suites feature a shady veranda overlooking the river and freestanding copper baths with a similar view. The African-inspired interior blends in with the natural setting. And with everything included in the package, you can just relax at your private plunge pool as you wait to be called for the next safari adventure or mouthwatering meal. Hakuna Matata.
Best for: Cohabiting with Africa’s noble giants.
Address: Lower Zambezi River Zambia Lower, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: www.royalzambezilodge.com/
Sindabezi Island Lodge
If Green Safaris’ ethical approach to luxury has caught your attention, Sindabezi Island Lodge is another incredible eco resort well worth considering. Located near Victoria Falls this is our best-kept secret for honeymooners and rest-seekers looking to escape the busyness of cosmopolitan living.
Sindabezi Island Lodge comprises five open-sided, thatched chalets—each telling their own love story. The interior is clean and contemporary with African chic touches constantly reminding you of your surreal surroundings. Free-standing baths are set outside, providing the perfect space to gaze up at the stars or out at wild animals drinking at the river. While private dining decks and the bar lounge invite you to debrief your day over gastronomic artworks.
Best for: A wild romance—worth falling for.
Address: Nakatindi Road Livingstone ZM, 10101, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: greensafaris.com/sindabezi/
Chikunto Safari Lodge
They say a leopard can’t change its spots. And in this case we’re relieved. We can’t think of a single thing we’d change about Chikunto Safari Lodge. From the untouched wilderness to the raised safari tents, every moment spent at this all-inclusive resort is a moment spent in paradise.
Chikunto Safari Lodge is perfect for families and large groups seeking long lasting memories. Each game drive is made unforgettable by highly qualified guides and rare sightings. Walking safaris satiate an excitement for eye opening adventures. The evening fire pit creates a sense of camaraderie and encourages shared stories. And the option to dine under the stars means that your African adventure doesn’t end at sunset.
Best for: An innate sense of adventure.
Address: XV69+HW6, Mfuwe, Chilelemba, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: www.chikunto.com
If you’ve been toying with the idea of a camera upgrade, Kaingo Camp is your excuse to do so. With photography hides scattered around the camp and prolific game viewing, you’re bound to come away with a few personal bests and a whole lot of memories.
Besides the photography opportunities, Kaingo Camp is a haven for relaxed adventure. As one of our best boutique resorts, the inclusive package exceeded our soaring standards for what constitutes luxury. The African-inspired interior is exquisitely elegant with an untamed rugged edge. The elephant hide star bed provides the opportunity to sleep in a very comfortable bed, only a stone’s throw away from the wild water’s edge. While surprise sundowners locations add a romantic element to the bush adventure. As part of Shenton Safaris, your visit to Kaingo Camp also contributes toward wildlife conservation and community empowerment. That in itself may be a reason to stay—let’s call it guilt-free indulgence.
Best for: A new lens for luxury.
Address: South Luangwa National Park Mfuwe, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: www.shentonsafaris.com/
Mukwa River Lodge
A retreat looks different to everyone. To us, it’s relaxing and forgetting everyday commitments. The Mukwa River Lodge is located along the almighty Zambezi River. As it harnesses the colossal body of water’s therapeutic benefits, it has the power to relieve all tensions and to restore a zest for life. A couple of nights here and you’ll feel like a new person.
As one of the most exclusively luxurious Zambia resorts, Mukwa River Lodge goes to huge lengths to transport you to another world. The decor is extravagantly elegant as it fuses colonial influences with African touches, resulting in a culmination of pashmina carpets, wicker baskets and bronze accents. Spend your afternoons reprieving on the deck with a good book, canoeing down the river or embarking on safaris. While a sumptuous outdoor riverside massage awaits your return. And a versatile menu reimagines local ingredients into mouthwatering artworks.
Best for: Putting the treat in retreat.
Address: Farm 1492 Nakatindi Road Livingstone, 00000, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: theresidenceportfolio.co.za/homemukwa
While Zambia is packed with luxury resorts and boutique hotels, there aren’t many 5-star hotels in Lusaka. But with Le Elementos being amongst the few, there’s no reason to skip over the country’s capital.
Le Elementos is culturally rich and exclusively decadent. The rooms feature modern minimalist designs with all the necessary amenities. The flagship restaurant can be found in the serene green courtyard with water feature backdrops. The versatile menu is influenced by international cuisine with signature African classics. And the deck bar appears to float on water, making it a highlight for most guests. Whether you’re hosting a party or planning your next conference, the contemporary space provides the perfect atmosphere for relaxed mingling and sophisticated soirees.
Best for: An element of surprise in the middle of the city.
Address: No 14 Lukasu Road Rhodespark Lusaka ZM Lusaka ZM, 10101, Zambia Price range: $$ Website: leelementos.com/
Munga Eco Lodge
Named after David Livingstone—the Scottish explorer to discover Victoria Falls—Livingstone Town is a hub for those visiting the falls. For those interested in the local history and archeology, the Livingstone Museum is a must-visit. And the Munga Eco Lodge is our top stay close by.
As one of the best hotels in Livingstone, Zambia, Munga Eco Lodge perfectly integrates the African bush with modern comforts. The chalets are inspired by traditional clay huts. And the bean shape mimics that of the Acacia pods found around the property. Although simple, the decor is rustically elegant with beautifully tiled accents. The biological swimming pool is a distinctive feature. While the resort strives to provide a fully green experience through many sustainable initiatives.
Best for: Paying homage to history while pioneering sustainable initiatives.
Address: Livingstone, Zambia Price range: $ Website: www.mungaecolodge.com/
Whether we know it or not, we all need a digital detox every once in a while. And in a setting like this, we doubt you’ll miss your Instagram feed. Wi-fri free with solar communal charging, Mwaleshi Camp promotes sustainable tourism as well as the benefits of reconnecting with loved ones in nature.
As one of our top eco resorts, Mwaleshi Camp is a hotspot for lion, wild dog and rhino. Known for their walking safaris, the all-inclusive camp provides some of the best itineraries. Expect a relaxed breakfast followed by walking safari. Arrive home to an organic buffet lunch and spend the afternoon gazing out of a hammock with a book. A delightful afternoon tea, evening walk and sundowners summon you out. The three-course dinner served by candlelight is always a highlight. While the sounds of lions and hyenas are the only lullaby you need.
Best for: Walking in the wild.
Address: North Luangwa National Park, Eastern Province, Zambia, North Luangwa National Park, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp
The River Club
With an air of grandeur, The River Club is a charming lodge located on the edge of the Zambezi River. Perfect for families and couples alike, this is the ideal space to unwind through various activities and relaxing afternoons.
Every room at The River Club is elevated to overlook the river with a private balcony, perfect for reprieving with a book. The decor exudes a timeless elegance with Edwardian-style finesse. The ground features tennis courts and croquet lawns. While natural trails invite runners and walkers to explore the untouched area. Sunset cruises are a popular choice amongst guests. And the passionate chef always serves up gourmet dishes with French and English influences. Fusing European delicacies with the African spirit, this is an experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
Best for: European elegance meets African sunsets.
Address: Farm 1519a, Nakatindi Road, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: www.theriverclub.africa/
Sausage Tree Camp
Don’t be deceived by the name. Sausage Tree Camp epitomizes bush luxury. The private suites feature African inspired chic interiors. They all come with their own private deck and scintillating Zambezi River views, perfect for romantic escapes and honeymoons. If you’re traveling as a family or in larger groups, Kigelia House is the spot for you with two en suite rooms separated by an open-plan living area.
Despite the sumptuous accommodation, there is much to do around Sausage Tree Camp. Some of their more popular activities include game drives, walks, canoes, cruises and birding. While they’re also known to serve some of the best dishes in the country. The presentation is exemplary. And the flavor is even better. Be sure to ask about the water lunches—you’d be remiss to leave without experiencing one.
Best for: Bush chic meets gastronomic genius.
Address: Lower Zambezi National Park, Jeki, Zambia Price range: $$$$ Website: www.sausagetreecamp.com/
Exuding its own unique charm and charisma, Flatdogs Camp is one of our favorite places to stay in Zambia. And whilst it’s not a five-star resort, it’s certainly come a long way from its backpacking roots. The low key camp has something for everyone—from simple Meru tents to luxury villas. But even if you opt for the value options, you’re guaranteed to be impressed by the clean interiors and unbelievable views.
Flatdogs Camp is located just outside the Mfuwe gate. So whilst you’re not exactly in the park, you’re still surrounded by the wilderness and rare sightings. When you’re not on a game drive or guided walk, there’s plenty of fun to be had at the camp itself. From the pristine swimming pool to communal library, the vibe at the camp is all about shared experiences and community living.
Best for: Barking up the right tree.
Address: Plot 8755, Mfuwe, Zambia Price range: $ Website:www.flatdogscamp.com/
Neelkanth Sarovar Premiere
Even as the most expensive hotel in Lusaka, Neelkanth Sarovar is still of excellent value. Located in the heart of Zambia’s capital, the luxurious hotel provides the opportunity to explore the city’s vibrant streets, whilst returning to modern comforts at the end of the day.
All of the glamorous suites at Neelkanth Sarovar are kitted out with supreme king sized beds, large wardrobes and all the necessary amenities. The hotel has four dining options consisting of multi-cuisine restaurants, a bar area and a cafe. While the decked-out infinity pool and state of the art gym keep up your fitness regime. Plus, Neelkanth Sarovar is home to one of the best spas in Zambia. So you have our full blessing to take a self-care day at the hotel.
Best for: Seeking luxury in Zambia’s soulful city.
Address: 6111 Manchinchi Road Lusaka 10101, 38196, Zambia Price range: $$ Website: www.sarovarhotels.com/neelkanth-sarovar-premiere-lusaka/
Mukambi Safari Lodge
We’d be remiss to complete our list of hotels in Zambia without including Mukambi Safari Lodge. So we won’t. Located in the untame Kafue National Park, this all-inclusive luxury resort is one of the best spots to encounter elephants, leopards, cheetahs, hippos and an unbelievable variety of birdlife. And when you’re not out discovering new species, the spectacular camp is the ultimate reprieve from everyday life.
Mukambi Safari Lodge offers family chalets, riverside villas and luxury tents—each of which capture the soul of the country through wooden finishes and pops of color. The glistening infinity pool cascades into the Zambezi River. And you need not leave the camp to encounter many of the Big Five. Don’t forget to enquire about the outdoor massages. We bet you’ve never experienced that kind of tranquility before.
Best for: Untamed encounters.
Address: Near Chunga Kafue National Park, Zambia Price range: $$$ Website: www.mukambi.com/
Frequently asked questions about the best hotels in Zambia
Zambia is one of Africa’s most underestimated countries. Not only is it home to the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls, but it also has some of the best safaris. This makes it a mecca for adventure seekers, bush enthusiasts and wanderlusters alike, So whether you’re white water rafting down the Zambezi, encountering the Big Five on foot or embracing the tranquility of some of the most luxurious resorts, you’ll find the beauty of the country absolutely mesmerizing.
When most people think of Zambia, they think of the Zambezi and Victoria Falls. And whilst both of these are an excellent reason to visit the African country, there is much more to it than that. Zambia is also renowned for pioneering walking safaris and now has some of the best game lodges in the world.
Zambians are renowned for their friendly greetings and welcoming nature. And you don’t have to spend much time in the country to feel at home. Despite being a developing country, Zambia is known to be one of the safest countries in Africa according to the World Economic Forum.
Zambia’s local food staple is maize cooked in a variety of different ways. Whilst the African country isn’t known for its gastronomy, it is home to some of the most luxurious resorts worldwide. These resorts usually have world-class restaurants, offering international dishes with an African flare. From dainty fine ding to hearty stews and curries, the best resorts in Zambia take you on a culinary adventure.