7 of the best restaurants along the Zambezi

The Victoria Falls remains one of Southern Africa’s most awe-inspiring attractions. Liesl Venter rounds up some of the best floating and riverside restaurants along the Zambezi.

The Zambezi Explorer (Zimbabwe) 

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The Zambezi Explorer offers luxury breakfast, lunch, dinner and sunset cruises to take guests on a meander through the islands, offering an opportunity to view the abundant wildlife along the way. The Zambezi Explorer Cruise Company also operates other vessels . Two options are available for corporates – a luxury catamaran that can be hired exclusively for private events or corporates can hire a single deck on one of the other vessels for smaller functions. A mainland venue is also available where events can be hosted on the riverbank.

Zambezi Reflections floating restaurant (Zimbabwe)

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The Zambezi Reflections, also operated by the Zambezi Explorer Cruise Company, is the sister vessel to the Zambezi Explorer. This dedicated floating restaurant offers gourmet meals on the Zambezi River just above the Falls. Considered a premier dining experience on the river, it is becoming increasingly popular for its dinner cruise, which combines a sunset cruise with dinner. Catering for smaller groups, it is an intimate and very special experience of the Zambezi at night.

The Royal Livingstone (Zambia)

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The Royal Livingstone, on the Zambian side of the Zambezi, is a good option for those not wanting to venture out on the river itself. The five-star hotel offers a variety of dining experiences, including the colonial traditions of afternoon tea and sundowners on the riverside deck. The hotel offers a fine-dining menu showcasing the cultural diversity of Zambia and also has facilities available for larger private dinner parties.

African Queen/Jetty Dinner (Zambia)

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Livingstone Adventures offers a combination activity where guests first take a sunset cruise aboard the African Queen, followed by dinner served on the lower deck of the boat. Guests are collected from the local hotels and lodges in Livingstone and transported to the African Queen. Two vessels are available for larger groups and the option of a marquee on the banks of the river is also available.

Thorntree River Lodge (Zambia)

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This unique lodge in Zambia’s Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park draws inspiration from local customs and culture. The main lodge consists of a lounge with an open dining area, where the fine-dining experience of African cuisine comes to life. The dining room flows into a private, temperature-controlled wine cellar stocked with the finest wines. A communal deck set on the river’s edge has a sunken boma area and an infinity pool. Wooden decking floats on the edge of the river, and moves with the water level to create the illusion of sailing in a boat, creating a seamless feel between river and land.

Victoria Falls Riverside Venue by Liz Lane (Zimbabwe)

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The Victoria Falls Riverside Venue is a private and exclusive landscaped riverside venue and arguably one of Victoria Falls’ best outdoor facilities. The venue lends itself to a lovely evening on grassy banks overlooking the Zambezi. It is a stunning and natural setting complemented by excellent food.

The Lookout Café (Zimbabwe)

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The Lookout Café is fast establishing itself as a must-see venue on a Victoria Falls itinerary. Situated 120 metres above the Zambezi River, overhanging the giant Batoka Gorge just down from the Falls, it offers a downstream and upstream view of the river unlike any other.

The venue combines an open-air restaurant with lovely lawned terraces and can be booked for private functions in the evening.

Written by: Liesl Venter
Published 3 Mar 2017
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