Road trips are the best ways to discover the world and to see a country properly. With a car, you can go to places that are not really accessible if you were travelling the conventional ways of tours. As part of our epic driving trip from London to China, we stopped over in Montenegro. A road trip in Montenegro is very much worth it, so if you fly in the country, do consider renting a car to drive through it and perhaps stop by a few other surrounding countries.
We have been to Montenegro three times, twice for leisure and once part of a press trip. It was Mitch’s first time here and he was super pumped to see what things there were to do. Montenegro is a beautiful destination with delicious wine, mountains, beaches, lakes and here are our recommendations based on what we have done in the country.
Things to do in Montenegro
Whether you like adventure, outdoors, luxury or wine tasting, the country will have something for you to make your vacation through Montenegro an enjoyable one.
Wine tasting in Montenegro at the Radevic Estate Wines
We have been here twice and it is always a good experience. What makes this wine tour more special than the others are the stories of Dr Goran Radevic and of his wife Renee. Both organize very hospitable and homey wine tour that ends with a feast of meat, cheese, etc over many types of wines. We will let you guess or get the surprise of what is in store for dessert! In a nutshell, if you want to learn more about wines or like wine and want to hear more about it, Radevic Estate Wines is your prime destination! Goran has so many stories, you will be in awe. You can get more information about a winery tour in Montenegro at the Radevic Estate Wines here.
Wake up at the Regent in beautiful Porto Montenegro
This five-story terracotta roofed luxury hotel is inspired by the Renaissance Venetian style of the countless Italian palazzi found in the Bay. Here you can unwind at the Regent Spa with its indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, steam room and hammam providing the perfect sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. It is located in the heart of luxury Porto Montenegro. There is a large variety of restaurants and bars and if you are into shopping, there are more than 40 shops with items ranging from grape to luxury fashion. At Porto Montenegro is a world-class yacht club with full sailing facilities. We enjoyed for hours the pool and spa of the Regent Porto Montenegro. If you are peckish, make sure to feast at the Gourmet Corner for lunch.
Take a helicopter tour over Kotor
Takeoff from the Tivat airport, a few minutes away from the Porto Montenegro Marina, to see views of Sveti Marko Island and Porto Montenegro from the skies. It is such an amazing experience to do a helicopter ride and it makes it even better with the views of Montenegro.
You will fly over Our Lady of the Rocks, an islet that, according to legend, was artificially made over centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding an icon of Madonna and Child on a rock in the sea in 1452. You will also see a panoramic view of Kotor Old Town. A big must! You can book your journey with the Discover Montenegro team.
Stay within the walls of Kotor and visit the local market
Explore the mountains by bike
Montenegro is rich in mountainous terrain and has a variety of fantastic cross-country biking trails that offer breathtaking views of its amazing landscapes. There are many options you can choose from half or full-day rides, through the mountains or along the coastline, or combine the two for a multi-day biking trip.
With Discover Montenegro, you can get full-suspension bikes with helmets, hydration packs and experienced guides that will assist you in discovering the wild beauty of Montenegro.
We have done a tour with the Regent Porto Montenegro team which organized us an active day which involved us biking up from the top of the hill of Kotor going down with wonderful views of the city.
Go on a rafting adventure
Whitewater rafting adventures are also possible in Montenegro. It is a truly perfect country to visit if you are into nature and adventurous activities. If you are into that, make sure you sign up for an adventure on the adrenaline-filled rapids. Northern Montenegro offers an abundance of great adventure trips, including a 14km rafting adventure which starts there.
Montenegro has both freshwater fishing in its mountains, streams, rivers and lakes, as well as deep sea fishing only a short distance off its coast. Tours offer you the highest quality equipment and guides. The peak fishing season takes place from August to November when the water is warmer.
Visit the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica
Podgorica isn’t a MUST but if you have a car and have time on your hand, might as well go see the Old Town, Old Clock and Ribnica Fortress. If you feel like some Arabic food, Byblos which is in Porto Montenegro is also open in town.
Visit Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital
Driving from Tivat towards Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro, make a few short stops to witness amazing views of the Adriatic Sea and Boka Bay. Walking through the centre of Cetinje each house in the main square reveals its own unique history. Cetinje is a small city with immense historical heritage. The former capital of Montenegro was founded in the 15th century and is still considered the honorary capital today. Located at the foot of Lovcen Mountain, hidden from sight but open to all, it is the origin point of Montenegrin culture and spirituality.
From Cetinje, you can head to Lipa cave, one of the oldest known caves in Montenegro. Lipa Cave is the first cave adventure in Montenegro offering a charming diversity of karstic formations that provide visitors with a unique look into the underground world.
National Park Durmitor
Mountain Durmitor is home to 163 bird species, about 50 types of mammals and apparently the greatest variety of butterflies in Europe. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Black Lake!
Hope you will enjoy driving through Montenegro! Let us know in the comments below your favourite parts of Montenegro and if we have forgotten anything as well.
Are you a wine lover and happen to be travelling in Montenegro? Well, this is why you probably landed here to find The Best Wine Tour in Montenegro, The Radevic Estate Wines. If you are seeking a luxury retreat to dive in wines, we really recommend you to plan an excursion to discover the wines and foods from the central region of Montenegro and visit Renee and Dr. Goran’s winery Radevic Estate Wines.
Their wines are made from grapes grown on naturally cleaned soil, without any pesticides or herbicides. Their wines are made by the technologist Ivan Dašić and foods you will eat is prepared with a lot of love from the family. The produce is all sourced from the Montenegrin small food producers.
Radevic Estate Wines Price
They are open to visitors all year round, except January, by appointment only. Tasting tours may be limited during the Harvest but you can join them as they pick their grapes for the current vintage. Tours are limited to small groups of 6-8 people at a time at around 25 Euros/pp.
Opening hours are daily by appointment only from 9 am to 4 pm.
The 25€ tour includes tours of the Estate, vineyards, winery, and Grappa House lasts approximately one hour with a tasting of 3 of our award-winning wines, including our signature “Renee” dessert wine, a glass of grappa, and an array of delectable small-bites prepared in their kitchen! Following the tour and tasting, you’ll have the opportunity to visit their cute Retail Shop where their wines and exclusive wine accessories are offered. They also sell organic honey, lip balms, and healing essential oils.
Custom tours like the below we have experienced can be arranged by calling them in advance and they will quote you accordingly.
Contact them here to book: +382-69-276-055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Radevic Estate, Rogami-Piperi bb 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro
Listening to Dr Goran’s stories
Wine tasting experience in Montenegro: Radevic Wine Estate
The owner, Dr Goran Radević will tell you many tales of his professional and life experience working as a doctor in China, South
Africa and the Cayman Islands. His life story is an experience on itself to listen to while going through his winery tour.
On most of his tours, you will taste six wines including a dry Chardonnay, semi-sweet Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Vranac and Renée (premium liqueur semi-sweet white wine they create) with a plate of cheese, olives, smoked ham, sausages all made by
local producers of Montenegro. Dr Goran and his wife are more than happy to custom make the tour based on what you want to experience.
How far is the winery from the capital?
Radevic Estate Wines is located in the historic village of Rogami, just 10 minutes outside the city limits of Podgorica. But from the centre of Podgorica, the winery is about 45 minutes drive. We personally drove all the way from Kotor to the winery which took us 1 hour and a half. Once you’ve put it on the map. It can be confusing to find it, we personally got lost and had to stop a local biking around to borrow his phone to call Dr Goran to give us the right directions! We basically completely missed the small sign!
Make sure to try Vranac at the Radevic Estate
If you don’t already know, Vranac is an ancient variety of grape native to Montenegro. With it can be made a dry red wine which is very typical in the region of the Balkans. “The word ‘Vranac’ means strong, black and powerful horse (black stallion), and wine made from this variety of grape is associated with strength, potency, and success. Vran also means ‘rav en colored or black’; red wine is also known as black wine in many South Slavic languages.”
Our experience at the Radevic Wine Estate
We have been here twice and it is always a good experience. What makes this wine tour more special than the others are the stories of Dr Goran Radevic and of his wife Renée. Both organize very hospitable and homey wine tours that end with a feast of meat, cheese, etc, over many types of wines. We will let you guess or get the surprise of what is in store for dessert! In a nutshell, if you want to learn more about wines or like wine and want to hear more about it, Radevic Estate Wines is your prime destination!
When planning your trip to Namibia, Sossusvlei is a must visit. It is home to majestic sand dunes but also the odd and beautiful Deadvlei.
Sossusvlei is part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park as the oldest desert in the world. No visit to Namibia is complete without a stop to Sossusvlei to photograph and walk through the dead trees and the gigantic sand dunes. The national park is HUGE if you look at the map, but there is limited accessibility. Unless you plan to climb up every dune possible (why?) one day is enough to explore everything. Unless you plan to try some of the trails then, that’s another story. Do plan more time and don’t make the mistake of coming back to your car after dark because it will be PITCH dark and there are no lights.
Where to stay at Sossusvlei
NWR Sesriem Campground is quite popular but we were always reluctant on staying at any NWR property as their service is known to be the worse ever. There are a few campsites a little bit away from Sesriem but it is recommended to stay in Sesriem to access to the park right beside. The advantage of staying inside the park, even considering the high price, is that you can go to the dunes earlier than sunrise and climb up to witness that beauty. Taking the cheaper option of staying outside and you will have to wait for 7 am or 7:15 am to drive another hour until you reach Deadvlei or Dune 45, the sunrise hotspot. We personally didn’t care about the sunrise so we stayed outside the park. Even though we were not there during the high season, we showed up late and there were no spots left in any of the parks, so be aware of the importance of booking. If you want to stay anywhere in this region, you will have to book in advance (the only exception are wild camping spots).
Sossusvlei Park Fees and Opening Hours
It costs 80 NAD per person per day for the entry fee + 10 NAD for your car. The park opens at 7-7:15 am in the morning but there will be a car line waiting at the gate. So make sure you are there closer to 6:30 am if you want to be the first person in the gate. We got there at 6:45 am and we were the 23rd car in line, just to give it some perspective that it was not even the high season when we were there.
How to Get to Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is very easy to access and so is its Dune 45 and Deadvlei. We were a bit worried before doing our research if it was hidden and hard to both be found but it is so easy and straight forward. So the park entrance is at Sesriem. Literally not far from the only gas station of the place. It is also a great place to get snacks, petrol and supplies.
From Sesriem, it is a one hour drive to Dune 45 and Deadvlei after entering the entrance gate at Sesriem.
From Solitaire, take the C19 route south towards Sesriem to turn on the right after 70 km on the D826. It will be a bumpy (duh) 10km until you reach Sesriem.
From the capital of Windhoek, it is a 4-hour drive.
Watching the Sunrise at Dune 45
You will, unfortunately, need to stay within the only camp of NWR to be able to make it for sunrise as it is inside the park. Gates only open for the rest of the people at 7 am, 7:!5 am even if the guard takes his time to assign everyone numbers in the queue. Do get there earlier anyway as there are queues. From there you will drive a 45km, 35-40 minutes drive until you reach dune 45. You won’t miss it because it is marked and you will see a parking area, maybe a few cars already there. Just a note, the speed limit in the park is 60km an hour but not everyone will adhere to that.
Dune 45 is the most popular dune to watch the sunrise and will take you about 20 minutes to hike up to the top. Sunrise is spectacular from what we see in the photos, we just decided to pass because we have seen a good bunch of magnificent sunrises and sunsets at dunes in the Middle East.
A fun activity to do at Dune 45 is to run or roll down the dune. Rolling down is more crazy, fewer people to it, but it is a hell of a thrill.
Visiting Sossusvlei and Deadvlei
Passed Dune 45, if you drive all the way until the end, you will reach another parking area where most drivers and tour buses leave their car to get on another safari 4wd. Why? The last stretch of 2km to Deadvlei is fully sandy roads and we did see 2 cars that were stuck. If you are not an experienced sand road driver, chances are that you will get stuck. In our case, as much as we have dune bashing experience from Dubai, it wasn’t worth it with our heavy Toyota HILUX. Paying for the round trip lift was way more worth it than the possibility of getting stuck. If you do decide to drive on that stretch, don’t forget to adjust our tire pressure down.
Getting to Deadvlei Without a 4×4 or experience driving on the sand
So when you get to the end of the tar road, there is the 2km off-road part. So you will need the 4WD. NWR offer the shuttles drive you around the park round-trip is 175 NAD (12$US) per person.
Getting stuck, fun…
Best way to explore Sossusvlei and Deadvlei
Get there as early as possible to get the place with fewer crowds and to avoid the mid-day heat. We explored Deadvlei first and it was the best decision ever! To get there, climb the dune right beside and run down which is a ton of fun. The Big Daddy dune is the largest sand dune in the national park which you can capture from your photos at Deadvlei. Give yourself some time to get to the top!
Once you see Deadvlei, Sossusvlei can be less appealing because, well it’s only a big white salt flatbed beside dunes. Personally, Deadvlei was our highlight of the say and where we spent the most time to shoot beautiful shots for prints.
Hope you enjoy the photos and the guide. Let us know if any changes have been made with this location in the comments section, as update information will always be helpful for future travellers! Have a safe journey in Namibia!
If you are planning a road trip in Botswana and planning to do a few self-drive safaris, Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is certainly one you can’t miss! You must be on point with your information, and for several reasons as tour companies and locals are quite protective of their national parks to encourage local businesses while you book their local safari excursions.
Best time to go do a self-drive safari in Chobe
First things first, when is the best time to visit Chobe National Park? We traveled in early May in Botswana. April to October is the best period to go to the Southern African part in general for wildlife watching. As the dry season is during this period, animals tend to roam more around waterholes, making it easy for animal spotters like us to find them around those points of interest.
Weather is chilly at night and hot during the day but not horribly hot, which makes it even better for safaris.
Shot on Nikon Z7 with the 70-200mm + Z Mount
Chobe National Park fees
Park fees are to be paid at the entrance gates. Fees are valid from whenever the time you pay them until the next day at 11 AM. Foreigner adults are 120Pula per person, per day and cars are 50Pula (about 10 pula is 1$USD) Campsites within the park are approximately 50$USD per night.
Recommended car for a self-drive safari at Chobe National Park
Needless to say, you better be experienced driving on sandy roads and off-road because there are no nice roads at all in Chobe! Better not drive alone but with another car for the classic and famous “just in case” situation!
This mean that you better have a car that can drive off-road, means that it is recommended to drive a 4×4. 4×2 tend to also get stuck so if you are driving a 4×2, just go along with friends so they can tow you out in case of being stuck. If you plan to only rent your car in Botswana, you can rent self-drive 4×4’s in Maun or Kasane.
How to get to Chobe National Park and get around
Chobe has several gates to the reserve but from Kasane, you will take the main one that all safari’s of the lodges around take. Pay your park fees and the adventure begins.
If you drive North coming from Maun (a central city in Botswana), you will visit Moremi National Park before entering Chobe.
You won’t get good cellphone reception at all, non-existent we must say, so it is recommended to have your Maps.me downloaded to navigate and being able to pin places you’ve seen in the park. Tracks4Africa is a recommended app to get your way around in the National park. as it includes interest points like campsites, attractions, petrol, etc. In other words, it’s like iOverlander but with more information and which you will have to pay 20$US to buy the Botswana guide. Your GPS or Garmin will work to navigate around as well.
Things you need for a self-drive safari in Chobe National Park
Proper vehicle: As we mentioned before, you better have a 4×4 and a driver comfortable driving on sandy roads and off-road. It is very common for cars to get stuck in Chobe.
Food & drinks: Get all the snacks you need for the day if you plan to only do a day trip. If you plan to drive to a campsite within the park, make sure to have everything you need for dinner unless you plan to dine at the restaurant of your lodge. Make sure to bring a whole lot of water with you as it can get hot during midday.
Extra fuel:Only if you plan to stay within the parks, bring enough gas as there are no petrol stations in the parks. If you drive from North to South towards More, you can find fuel in Khwai village in Moremi from locals but it is expensive and it is not certain to get some.
Sat phone:If you plan to get really adventurous staying long in the national park, it is recommended to have a satellite phone to be able to have some means of communication for emergency situations.
Camping and staying in the park during your self-drive safari in Chobe National Park
Note that it is quite expensive to camp within the camp. Prices are around 500 Pula (around 50$US) per person just for camping in the park. We really recommend you to stay at one of the lodges around and get in an out of the park after your safari.
Kasane is a popular base for people that want to do a Chobe Safari and there are several options you can choose from. During high season, it is highly recommended to book in advance, otherwise, you are fine doing like what we did and choose one from iOverlander and drop-in to see if they have space. We personally camped at the Thebe River Safari Lodge and also tried their safari sunrise game drive at 440 pula per person.
If you plan to camp within the parks, you will probably need to book in advance as they are your only options for accommodation. Wild camping is not recommended nor allowed and if a ranger catches you wild camping, you will be invited to leave.
List of lodges/campsites in Chobe
There are 3 public campsites in Chobe but the public still means that you need to pay to stay there! Note that the stays inside the park are mostly booked out well in advance, mostly because of the tour groups.
Savuti Campsite & Linyanti Campsite (by SKL Camps), note that the road to Savuti can be hectic just after the rainy season and that guests have been minding the terrible noise of the generator.
Ihaha Campsite(by Kwalate Safaris)
Other options are Mwandi view and Muchenje campsite, around 14km to the western gate of Chobe.
List of lodges/campsites in Moremi
Xakanaxa Campsite & South Gate Campsite (by Kwalate Safaris)
Third Bridge Campsite and Gcodikwe 1 Island Camp (by Xomae Group)
North Gate Campsite (by SKL Camps)
Chobe National Park Self-Drive Safari Complete Checklist
Good camera with a zoom lens, 70-200mm or 200-400mm, read more about our safari Nikon photography gear
Petrol if you have a small
4×4 Toolkit (recovery kit): make sure it has a shovel, high-lift jack, sand ladder and tow rope
Lower your tire pressure as soon as you enter the park as it is sandy right away
Tire air compressor
One or ideally two spare tires
A satellite phone or other navigation systems
Food and beverages, lots of water
First aid kit
If you are camping, make sure you have your own wood, matches, etc just in case the lodge doesn’t have any for you to buy
The recommended number of days for a safari in Chobe National Park
Specifically, if you are self-driving, it is recommended to stay about 5-days to about a week if you plan to as well see Moremi National Park. That long period is suggested just to increase your chances to witness animals hunting and for you to spot the harder species like lions and leopards.
What animals can be spotted in Chobe National Park
Elephants, a whole lot with their beautiful tusks
A whole lot of birds
If you are lucky you can also spot
Shot on Nikon Z6 with the 70-200mm + Z Mount | There are A LOT of elephants in Chobe National Park
Have a Safe Safari in Chobe!
Hope you get an amazing time at the Chobe National Park for your self-drive safari. Information is important, so let us know in the comments below if any changes or extra tips would be useful for travellers to know about.
PS: Note that after some research, we found that rangers sometimes make you wait until 9 AM to give priority to all the private safari guided tours. This is not always enforced but when it happens, there is no point to argue to make them let you in.
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Let us know how your trip goes and please do contribute and leave us updated info in the comments section so every future traveller can benefit from the collective knowledge.
Looking for somewhere to stay in Cape Town? We made sure we were staying at the most centrally located hotel, The Taj Hotel Cape Town with all the historical sights right on our doorstep. The Taj property is originally home to the South African Reserve Bank, Temple Chambers and then the Board of Executors (BoE). It gives it a classical appearance of grandeur and you can even take the stairs down into the haunted cellar.
Where is Taj Cape Town Located
The Taj Hotel Cape Town is located right in the cultural heart of Cape Town’s city centre, nearby Long Street, the main walking street of the city with bars, restaurants and tons of shops. Not far away by car is the bar street as well. It is quite vibrant at night if you are that way inclined. It is within walking distance of a park (Company’s Garden), Cape Town’s historic landmarks and attractions like museums, the Houses of Parliament, St. Georges Cathedral, St. Georges Mall and the Ou Kerk (Old Church). From our room, we were able to see the gardens and the church.
Our favourite part about the location of The Taj Cape Town is the proximity to Bo-Kaap Museum and Bo-Kaap itself being walking distance. It is a neighborhood full of colourful houses. At the museum, you will find everything about the local Islamic culture, heritage, and history. The Bo-Kaap area became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery. The walking street behind the hotel is full of snacks, coffees, and souvenirs.
How to get around the hotel
In Cape Town, Uber is operating very well and actually quite fast compared to Dubai. If you book an Uber, make sure you are ready by the time to book it. Although, when staying at the Taj Cape Town, you get complimentary chauffeur service for a 10km radius from the hotel in a lush Jaguar SUV with still and sparkling water at your disposition. Not to mention the free wi-fi on board! Needless to say, it is a free airport transfer but you simply need to book it in advance so they know when to pick you up or know when is the right time for departure from the hotel for your flight. The system is very organized on the schedule sheet they manage so if you need to use it to go somewhere specific, book your car in advance. Last minute usage is only possible when the car is available and going nowhere, which we were lucky to grab one to get to the Cape Town Waterfront. Don’t miss the complimentary Taj Cape Town guided City walk tour.
The card provides you with the number to call and reach the team to book your next lift.
Dining at Taj Cape Town
The Lobby Lounge
The Taj Cape Town is home of many great restaurants and bars in the city. Starting with the impressive Lobby Lounge, right by the check-in area. It is dominated by a barrel-vaulted skylight which is supported by four big marble columns. Their guests enjoy breakfast, extended into Mint, or Afternoon Tea or even the perfect setting for drinks as it turns into a cocktail bar and cigar lounge.
Mint, the Local Grill
Mint is the casual all-day dining restaurant where you can have breakfast as well. We personally preferred sitting in the beautiful lobby area for breakfast. Mint has an outside terrace and indoor show kitchen. The menu is quite international including some South African local dishes.
Mint, all-day dining restaurant at the Taj Cape Town
Taj Cape Town popular Afternoon Tea in Cape Town
Bombay Brasserie is the signature specialty restaurant which offers fine-dining Indian gourmet cuisine with a menu created by world-renowned Chefs from India. We made sure to have our Indian cuisine fix by trying out the 6-course set menu. The restaurant’s atmosphere is very elegant with a classic feel which was perfect for us to make it a date night!
Absolutely love our dinner. It was great to eat delicious Indian food again!
Looks small but we were FULL
The Twankey Bar
Among the top bars in Cape Town, The Twankey Bar is an iconic bar known for its world-class bespoke cocktails. If you like to mingle, you sure have to spend some time here, as a guest or not of the Taj Cape Town!
The Cigar Lounge
If you are a cigar lover, you must stop by The Taj Cape Town Cigar Lounge for a few cocktails to accompany your cigar.
Spa & Wellness at Taj Cape Town
The award-winning Jiva Grande Spa at the Taj Cape Town is the premier spa destination for residents and travelers alike. It has 6 Treatment rooms, including a Double Massage Suite for couples which is huge with a beautiful tub! We were booked in for a good pampering session knowing after the stay we would begin our drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg, doing a loop to Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana. Our couples massage started with a leg and feet scrub followed by a dreamy but firm massage of 60-minutes before being redirected to the relaxation area with some tea and fresh fruits served. Gotta say, we really enjoyed the treatment as the therapists are really strong and firm and it feels like you are actually getting a strong massage, something we really value during a session. We always prefer firm and sports massages!
The fitness centre is a fully equipped Technogym with everything you need to fit in a good exercise session to be completed with a plunge into the heated indoor pool. It is small but the length is perfect enough to fit in many laps as exercise as well. The Sauna, Steam room and Jacuzzi were not working and with no water in the tub considering the water draught Cape Town has been through. If guests really want them to function, the hotel will make it happen but this is an initiative to encourage guests to be aware of their water use during their journey in Cape Town.
The heated pool was a bit chill to what we expected but still did a short swim haha!
Rooms at Taj Cape Town
Spread across two heritage buildings, The Taj Cape Town has 176 rooms and suites with either a spectacular city view or Table Mountain view. There is also a Presidential Suite and the Taj Club Rooms and lounge, where we were directed to lounge until our room was ready. During our stay, we were situated in the Luxury Heritage Room with a Table Mountain View. From our room, we had our own balcony and was able to see the mighty new 7 Natural Wonder of the World Table Mountain soar over us. It also gave us a unique opportunity to watch the weather roll in over the mountain which is very temperamental. Our room was large and we were able to spread all our bags over the room.
When it comes to comfort and luxury, you really only have two options when you are coming to see the Victoria Falls, known to locals as “Mosi-oa-Tunya”. This roughly translates in English to “The Smoke that Thunders”. These two options are The Royal Livingstone by Anantara or AVANI Victoria Falls.
Become immersed in this hotel as you chill on the sundeck named Kubu watching the sunset over the Zambezi River as the mist from Victoria Falls sprays a rainbow in the sky. For the active, enjoy a walk around the property and share the footpath with dozens of zebra and giraffes. For the adventurous, the Victoria Falls bridge is home to one of the worlds biggest bungee jumping platforms and an absolute must.
Where is The Royal Livingstone by Anantara Located
The Royal Livingstone is a few hundred metres from the massive drop of the mighty Victoria Falls. From its backyard, you can see the mist of the powerful falls. Did you know that the Victoria Falls are part of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world?
As you walk in the Royal Livingstone Anantara, you will either get treated by Zambian musicians singing or the lovely Edward Minyoyi, the Guest Relations Officer but also is the insider for local knowledge and personal tales. Edward is known to plunge guests into the colours, customs and majesty of Zambia through the age-old art of storytelling. In a country where tribal stories and traditional practices are passed down from one generation to another, storytelling is an intrinsic part of Zambian daily life, and Edward is a proud narrator you must find to spend some time with during your stay.
How to get around the hotel
The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara and neighbouring AVANI Victoria Falls Resort are the only hotels on the Zambian side of the Falls to offer luxury water taxi arrival transfers along the Zambezi River, treating travellers to exceptional photographic opportunities, even before the real adventures begin.
Everything is accessible by walk and buggies are available if you desire a transfer around the property for quicker access to your destination.
From the airport, you can request the hotel to arrange your transfer to the hotel. If you have your own car, there is parking for free. We drove from Namibia, you can read here our day to day drive itinerary and also read about the information for the border crossing from Namibia to Zambia by car.
Dining at The Royal Livingstone by Anantara
Breakfast and Dinner are mainly served at The Royal Livingstone Dining Room, You can choose to sit inside the dining room or outside on the terrace, which we strongly recommend for a first-class view to the river but also the wildlife passing by. The breakfast is rich in choices with also a healthy corner with gluten-free offerings as well. There is a large range of cold cuts and cheese for those who like it for breakfast but, most importantly, the hashbrowns are extremely crispy.
During dinner, often, musicians play while guests savour appetizers. The mains are a mix of European classics, Zambian specialities and Indian influences, giving you plenty of choices. We absolutely enjoyed our dinner here. For appetizers, the seafood chowder, the Kudu carpaccio and Slow cooked crocodile tail served with mango salad with balsamic dressing and delicious avocado puree. For mains, we ordered slow cooked braised lamb shoulder and pan seared blue cheese and butternut squash gnocchi. For dessert, we shared a delicious Mundambi Panna served with tamarind sorbet before going back to bed and pass out.
At Kubu (hippo), guests can relax on platforms on the bank of the Zambezi to drink in the sights and sounds of river life and the musicians playing some great instrumentals in the background.
Come earlier at around 5 PM to find yourself a cushy chair and perfect view for sundowners. Throughout the day, this waterfront haven refreshes with chilled beverages. It is the perfect place for a light lunch or dinner. We made sure to have lunch but also experience dinner there with the same menu where you kind of order many dishes to share. For lunch, we had the cheese platter with biltong and crocodile rolls. For lunch, we had to test the Vietnamese spring rolls, pork belly and lamb croquettes. We absolutely loved the refreshers to accompany our meals.
Our favourite block in the hotel. The explorer’s gallery of noble décor defines The Royal Livingstone Lounge where guests are directed at arrival to check-in and go through the Anantara welcome ritual. Open 24-hours, comfortable elegance pays tribute to the famous explorer Sir David Livingstone after which the hotel is named. You will be surrounded by antique wooden chests, rugs and ambient lighting (if arriving at night), the perfect setting to enjoy a whiskey or two.
Early risers enjoy speciality teas and coffees in preparation for audacious outings and can map out their next quests inspired by Livingstone’s paintings, vintage artefacts and travel books. Snacks and light meals propose casual daytime dining. Evening nightcaps can be indulgently relaxed in this atmospheric lounge.
Connected to the latter is The Travellers Bar which exudes an old world charm and is also open round the clock. Sinking into armchairs, it is also the perfect setting for an afternoon tea, a recommended journey when staying at this African Anantara property. Try teas from around the world, or sparkling wine with capsicum, bacon and cheddar scones with whipped cream and homemade preserves, Mediterranean quiches, classic English sandwiches and a vast array of splendid cakes. Tall leather stools nestle the bar, where bartenders concoct each guest’s pleasure. Sophisticated evenings flow over a gin and tonic, old and new world wines, along with fine whisky and gin selections, as a pianist tinkles the ivories.
Boma is an experience to not miss when staying at this property. It is offered on Tuesdays and Fridays, located at the traditional village on the property of the AVANI Victoria Falls. Go enjoy anytime from 6:30 PM to 10 PM traditional dance, music and African cuisines, including delicious game meat like crocodile, impala, etc. You can read more about the experience in our review of the AVANI Hotel Victoria Falls.
The Royal Livingstone Express Dinner experience
For an authentic experience of vintage travel, The Royal Livingstone Express steam locomotive combines the luxury of the Royal Livingstone Hotel with Victorian elegance and exquisite fine dining. Trundling through the picturesque Zambezi Valley, guests relive a bygone era as they relax in lovingly restored Pullman-style coaches. Crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge, sunset beside the world’s largest waterfall is toasted with sparkling wine or a cocktail, followed by a gourmet dinner. In addition to the Bridge Route, the Mulobezi Route passes through the heart of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, providing up-close wildlife encounters.
Activities at The Royal Livingstone by Anantara
The Victoria Falls are home to many adventures. A range of thrilling water, land and sky adventures which are available only on the Zambian side of the Falls.
Think of doing, for example, the Devil’s pool if the water levels are right (unfortunately for us, it was too high, it can only be visited between mid-August and mid-January, before the summer rains swell the river) or even going for an adrenaline high bungee jumping session on the Victoria Falls Bridge. You can also do a swing or a biplane (zipline) if you don’t feel as adventurous.
You can also enjoy an adventure flight in a Huey helicopter, flown with doors open at a lower level, skimming over the African bush, deep down into the dramatic Batoka Gorge and over the Falls. Note that there is a helipad on-site so you won’t be going too far!
The microlight flight flying adventure is another great flying experience above the Victoria Falls and continues upstream over Long Island, Palm Island, Kakunka and Kandahar Islands and finally onto the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park for a bird’s eye view of the awesome spectacle.
If you fancy more being on the water, safari boats and other cruises are available. We personally did the safari boat tour to spot birds and hippos. These safari boats have the unique ability to traverse the rapids safely and comfortably and can even cruise in shallow water. You can enjoy all you can drink bar including wines, gin and tonic, Mozi local beers and other soft drinks. The rushing rapids of the Batoka Gorge offer white water river rafting and jet-boat thrills as well.
A full-day outing into the nearby Chobe National Park in Botswana is a must-do if you are an animal lover. Day trips are offered and you will be back on time for a delicious dinner.
Many options of things to do eh? Hope you choose wisely or stay longer to be able to them all!
Unlimited access to Victoria Falls at The Royal Livingstone by Anantara
One of the many perks, a stay at the hotel grants you unlimited complimentary access to Victoria Falls, with just a 10-minute walk away with its own private entrance. If you don’t fancy walking, you may call a buggy that will drop you to that private entrance within minutes. You can access it at any time from 6 AM to 6 PM, the opening hours of the park.
The hotel is beautifully structured with 17 riverbank residences housing a total of 169 rooms and four spacious suites. They all have a balcony or veranda with a table and chairs, facing the river and gardens frequented by free-roaming zebras, impalas, giraffes and monkeys. Rooms all have marble bathrooms with both rain showers and a tub which you get sea salts provided in the room to prepare your rewarding bath at the end of the day.
Deluxe Rooms offer 30 square metres of space with a host of modern comforts, from a king size bed or twin singles dressed in fine white linen, to air conditioning, a desk and WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar and satellite television, enhanced by a butler, laundry and valet services.
Hate mosquitos? No worries, not only you get bug cream, there is are repellent devices inside and a spray for outdoors to insects away!
We stayed in a Deluxe Corner Room, embellished by an enclosed glass-walled patio with a sliding door and refined mosquito netting, a wicker sofa and ceiling fan, providing a nice setting for us to settle and work to the Zambezi River views. We were lucky to be right by the main blocks, the Traveller’s bar and reception. Initially worried about the noise and foot traffic, our concerns were quickly eradicated as there was barely any people walking past which allowed us to relax in peace. Needless to say, we had many visits of the impalas and zebras while working in the comfort of our patio.
Spa & Wellness at The Royal Livingstone by Anantara
Marrying world-class wellness expertise of Anantara Spas with indigenous wellness culture and breathtaking scenery of the treatment rooms by the Zambezi river, you get unique African treatments when booking a spa session whilst staying at the property. There are four luxury treatment rooms for individuals and couples, even a beauty salon if you choose to get a facial or revitalizing eye treatment, manicure, pedicure and even waxing. The spa is open at 8 AM to 7 PM and is extremely accommodating and professional to find ways to arrange the schedule to fit all considering many go on excursions. We absolutely loved our 60-minutes signature full body massage which started with a Safari Foot Treat using a chocolate smell scrub. Travellers may also opt for a poolside spa experience, with expert therapists reviving tired soles after national park adventures with the rejuvenating Safari Foot Treat.
The property is full of lush green grass where you can do your own bodyweight workout overlooking the Zambezi River. If you prefer a gym, it is there for you to use with 24h access. If you feel more adventurous and want to have some fun, you can go to the AVANI and enjoy the adventure and fitness trail.
Sustainability at The Royal Livingstone by Anantara
Water bottles: Room water is bottled in glass. Although at the restaurants, when water or sparkling water is ordered, it is unfortunately still being served in plastic bottles that they recycle after use. Tap water in the room is filtered and totally drinkable.
Animal protection: Staying within the national park amongst the wildlife, it is strictly not allowed to touch or feed the animals. It is recommended to stay a few meters away from them unless indicated by the people that feed them when you can be close for photo opportunities.
Social responsibility: The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara is empowering women through collaborations with three nearby communities to provide skill development and health support. Anantara guests benefit with opportunities to enjoy the artisanal handmade products created by these projects, providing an authentic, memorable taste of Zambia. The project includes the Libuyu Women’s Peanut Butter Project, Nsongwe Women’s Farm and Maramba Women’s Mushroom Farm project.
Anantara constantly reinforces its commitment towards environmental, social and cultural conservation. Around the world, the group works in partnership with local communities and often promote cultural awareness amongst guests by integrating indigenous culture into everyday experiences. Special consideration is given to employing and empowering communities, and wherever possible, sustainable products and services are sourced locally.
Save water: Like many hotels, they encourage you to keep your towels and linen unless you really need a rotation to be able to save water. This is a behaviour we encourage all vacationers to be sensitive towards.
Our experience at The Royal Livingstone by Anantara
Staying at the Royal Livingstone by Anantara but also at the Avani Victoria Falls is a fun adventure. You get up close and personal with zebras, impalas, giraffes and monkeys meandering freely about the resort grounds. On arrival, we were greeted by lovely Cornelia which walked through the whole check-in process and briefing us of all services and surroundings. While she talked to us, on top of the delicious welcome drink..
If you are in for driving from South Africa to Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, you will need to know how to cross the eventual border of Namibia to Zambia. It will also most likely mean that you have driven through the famous Caprivi region in Namibia, and have plenty of more adventures to come!
In regards to the border crossing, the process on the Zambian side can be quite confusing as you will be doing some office hopping around to get all the things done right!
Zambia Border Crossing Step by Step Process
Health Check: As you enter the Arrival Hall, turn left for a health scan. The staff will give you a tiny piece of cardboard paper written « screening » on it if you are cleared.
Immigration & Visa (payment): On the opposite of the Health office is the Immigration office. Hand in your health check in the tiny box and your passport. You can get a single entry for 40$US or double entry 80$US (haha you got it right, there’s no deal to buy a double entry right away). If you need a KAZA visa that is eligible for Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, you, unfortunately, can’t get it issued at this border crossing. (They only issue this in Livingstone, the closest main airport)
Car paperwork certification: Go to the Asycuda Hall, on the right when you leave the arrival building to get your car papers and documentation verified and certified (they will give you another stamped papers)
Car Customs Fee (payment): When you get back in the immigration hall, to the far corner left to customs, give all the documentation and pay 200 Zambian Kwacha. It must be cash and in Zambian dollars. There is a bank around so you are fine to go exchange. The staff will scan your passport while you have to fill up a registry book, then they will fill up their forms on their side on their system.
Road Tolls(payment): It’s not done yet! Then go straight across to the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), hand in the driver’s passport and all car paperwork and pay 20$US tolls. You only can pay cash in USD, not Euro, not pounds, not Zambian Dollar! There is a credit card terminal but that is for trucks only. We asked all the questions: you pay this fee here.
Zambian Mandatory Insurance (payment): Cross again to the Insurance counter and pay cash only 522 Zambian Dollar for this require sticker that is the Zambian Insurance for driving your car in Zambia. The sticker is valid for three months.
1500 is the fine if you get caught driving without the insurance by the police officers.
Council Tax (payment): You drive off to the 1st exit gate, pass it, park to pay a counsel fee of 30Z, again, have the cash with you!
Paperwork Final Check: Drive 50 meters down to the next final gate where officers will go through all of your papers making sure you have everything, they may ask you to pop your trunk just as a formality.
Fees for Crossing to Zambia Border by Car
In a nutshell, here are the fees you should be expecting to pay and in which currency so you get everything ready. Note that this information is updated from May 2019. If you have new information, please contribute by letting us know about new fees in the comment section below. You can comment as a guest.
Immigration & Visa (payment): single entry for 50$US or double entry 80$US
Car Customs Fee (payment): 200 Zambian Kwacha – about 11$US
Road Tolls(payment): 20$US
Zambian Mandatory Insurance (payment): 522K – about 32$US
Council Tax (payment): 30K – about 1$US
For a juicy total of 224$US for Mitch & I, considering we took 2 double entry visas.
How long does it take to Cross the Zambian Border by Car
Considering we did not go early and still had no one in front of us in lines, it took us almost two full hours to get through the whole process. This is considering we went twice to the bank to break our USD. Lucky for us, that day they did not exchange money because their “exchange machine” didn’t work. Lucky for us, the ATM just beside was very much operational to get some Zambian Kwacha out to pay the fees that were mandatory to be paid in USD.
Zambian Border Opening Times
The Zambian border crossing at the Zambezi river is open from 6 AM to 6 PM. The longer you wait, the more people you get. We got there around 8:45 AM but the lines were never long. Everyone seems to take their sweet time going to each process. Even though it seems like there were at least 50 cars and hundreds of trucks, it never felt like there were that many people at all at each counter we had to go through.
Road conditions from the Zambian Border Zambezi to Livingstone
After the crossing, you will eventually be driving slowly through a town, the road will then be at a beautiful 100 km/h speed limit road. NOT. The road will have tons of potholes so your GPS is wrong saying that it will take you less than 2 hours to get to Livingstone. Give yourself a 3-hour drive minimum to go through all the potholes.
Have a great journey and safe drive in the journey and don’t forget to read our day to day guide of travelling by car from South Africa to Zambia and Botswana. In this guide, you can read our exact path and journey in addition to all the important information about sights you need to see, where to stay, etc.
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Have you visited before? Would you do a road trip like this?
During our stay in Cape Town, we chose to spend a couple of days in Century City, slightly out of town to be able to attend a few meetings and be secluded from city centre distractions to get things done. Even though it isn’t in the centre of town, it has an incredible overall view of Cape Town’s Table Mountain and surrounding hills. A beautiful place to be for sunset and sunrise.
The pool can be quite cold during the winter time! Yes, April gets chilly in Cape Town!
From the Marriott Crystal Towers, you are approximately 15 minutes to the centre of the city of Cape Town with no traffic. It is 20 kilometres from Cape Town International Airport and it takes about 20 minutes to get there with no traffic. It is located in a suburb of Cape Town at Century City with many big companies having offices there, including a huge shopping centre Century Mall, one of the largest shopping areas in the southern hemisphere. Century City is also a residential area with some restaurant and bars.
How to get around Marriott Crystal Towers?
Cape Town is quite a large and expansive city so car transport is vital to see the best things in the city. Taxis and Uber’s are readily available in Cape Town and are relatively cheap so that is the way to go. Public transport is present but we have been recommended by several locals to not bother with that. An Uber from this Marriott Crystal Towers to the Centre of Cape Town is around R100-125 (8.50$US).
Dining at Marriott Crystal Towers
The main dining facility is on the ground floor and serves a traditional buffet breakfast, with the option of additional a la carte dishes at your own cost. Dinner at the same place can be quite a fine dining experience with three-course meal dinners if you chose to. Just by the restaurant is The Greatroom and Deli open 24 hours and serves a selection of deserts, light bites, deli sandwiches, and fresh pastries.
Also on the ground floor, Orah Bar & Lounge opens in the late afternoon/evening for crafted cocktails and many options of single malt whiskeys. Orah has a room dedicated to South African artists David Kramer (singer) and Kingsley Holgate (explorer, humanitarian and author), as they both donated the decorations to form the space. Other than that, you can also get served at the Acara Poolbar and restaurant on the 4th floor.
If you feel like walking around, there are also plenty of places within a few minutes walk from the hotel. Knife Meathouse is a steakhouse attached to the hotel and is a great place to have local and international meats.
Facilities at Marriott Crystal Towers
There is an outdoor swimming pool overlooking the surrounding area and a small far view of Table Mountain. It is a nice way to relax and take it easy. It is not a heated pool, so be ready for some cool South African waters if you are there during the winter. Life Day Spa is a third party spa if you need treatments during your stay.
There are work stations located all over the first floor, so if you are here for a business meeting, you will have plenty of spots to get your work done in peace and comfort. As you enter Marriott Crystal Towers, there is also a coffee shop, which is the perfect location to get a quick cup on the way out. If you are a fitness buff, there is a gym here to get a good workout in.
As a business hotel, Crystal Towers has a fully equipped space for meetings and functions. Conference floor has three rooms to be used separately or together to host about 350 people. The mezzanine floor has nine meeting rooms and the lobby space or Orah Lounge both can be set up for smaller functions.
Rooms at Marriott Crystal Towers
Marriott Crystal Towers is a business hotel but also offers some leisure for its guests with its spa and pool facilities. It has 180 rooms split over 8 floors. Being on the 7th floor, we had a beautiful view looking out to the canals.
We stayed in a Larger Guest Room overlooking the Century Mall. The room is very spacious and easily fit two people in here, each with large luggage. The king size bed was a marvel to wake up to. It felt amazing to leave the blind open and wake up to the beautiful sun rays. Our bathroom was in a semi-open area and the shower is in a large cylinder in the middle of the space which we really liked the design. At least, the toilet itself is in a separate closing door room.
Convenient and needed for business, it has a big glass work desk with plugs conveniently there to charge up all of our technology. At the end of our bed is a big TV stand with our TV but the view of the mountains (and Table Mountain!) behind are way more attractive! Then, of course, free Wi-Fi, a must for any good hotel.
Sun hits hard in the room if you have a corner room as we did, so better keep blinds shut!
Sustainability at Marriott Crystal Towers
The movement towards sustainability in hospitality is popular. You can replace shampoo bottles by soap dispensers, etc but most hotels are not there yet. The Marriott Crystal Towers still distribute soaps in disposable containers but other than that, the property has no straws distributed unless you demand it and no plastic bottles. Water in the room is in glass bottles which is great and the optional Linen change option is available to save water. Plastic coffee lids are still distributed for your coffee to go.
Our Experience at Marriott Crystal Towers
It was a great stay for us to attend meetings. In our short time here, it was also great to be able to be secluded from city distractions to accomplish the maximum work we could before jumping into our road trip From Cape Town To Johannesburg Passing Through Nambia, Zambia And Botswana. We recommend people to stay here if you want high-quality facilities with a slight discount considering it is not in the city centre. If you have your own car, this is perfect with the free valet parking for your rental. If you like being in the middle of the city, you might have to reconsider other accommodation options. In general, we really enjoyed our stay, the service was up to our expectations for a Marriott International property. The staff was really accommodating with our guests that pass by to say hello and also the warm welcome we received made it all even better!