Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is set on the Zambezi River. © Sanctuary Retreats

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma | Livingstone Luxury Zambia Safari Lodge

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma takes its name from David Livingstone’s two most trusted companions, and this luxury Zambia safari lodge remains faithful to the spirit of pioneering exploration that these three men espoused. It’s also a wonderfully indulgent base from which to experience Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi River.

The place

We experience an involuntary intake of breath as we arrive at Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma, a luxury Zambia safari lodge with a spectacular setting under spreading trees on the banks of the Zambezi. Seeing this watercourse at such close quarters gives us a sense of just how immense it is; looking each way we can see the river bends gradually away from us in. Although we’re just 12km from the tremendous tumult of Victoria Falls, the river is a very different beast here. Passing branches – and at one point, an entire palm tree – give us a sense of how rapidly the river is moving.We marvel at the shifting patterns of light and shadow on its surface. A low V of egrets contrasts with the metallic sheen of the water, and we’re certain that we hear the grunt of a hippo. An African fish eagle chooses this moment to unleash its distinctive call, and then launches itself from a tree on the far bank.

We experience an involuntary intake of breath as we arrive at Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma, a luxury Zambia safari lodge with a spectacular setting under spreading trees on the banks of the Zambezi.

Seeing this watercourse at such close quarters gives us a sense of just how immense it is; looking each way we can see the river bends gradually away from us in. Although we’re just 12km from the tremendous tumult of Victoria Falls, the river is a very different beast here. Passing branches – and at one point, an entire palm tree – give us a sense of how rapidly the river is moving.

We marvel at the shifting patterns of light and shadow on its surface. A low V of egrets contrasts with the metallic sheen of the water, and we’re certain that we hear the grunt of a hippo. An African fish eagle chooses this moment to unleash its distinctive call, and then launches itself from a tree on the far bank.

The room

We’ve chosen one of the 12 Sussi treehouses and we both love the perspective it gives us as we look out from under the canopy of an African ebony tree. We reach our room by walking along a raised wooden walkway, so that we already feel we are exploring the riverbank. We’ve read that there are also two Chuma houses at this luxury Zambia safari lodge, but as we’ve left our children with my partner’s parents for this trip, we opted for a treehouse designed for two rather than a family accommodation option. The private viewing deck is my favourite feature, but it’s far from being the only thing to love about our room. I see that there’s an air-con unit, but for now I’m happy to let the riverine breeze ripple the white mosquito net. As though in mute acknowledgement that the river is the star here, the colours of the decor are almost muted, but as I sit down, I’m grateful for the tactile luxury of the fabrics. While showing us around our room, the manager mentions that private dinners on our deck can be arranged. Naturally, we request one!

We’ve chosen one of the 12 Sussi treehouses and we both love the perspective it gives us as we look out from under the canopy of an African ebony tree. We reach our room by walking along a raised wooden walkway, so that we already feel we are exploring the riverbank.

We’ve read that there are also two Chuma houses at this luxury Zambia safari lodge, but as we’ve left our children with my partner’s parents for this trip, we opted for a treehouse designed for two rather than a family accommodation option.

The private viewing deck is my favourite feature, but it’s far from being the only thing to love about our room. I see that there’s an air-con unit, but for now I’m happy to let the riverine breeze ripple the white mosquito net.

As though in mute acknowledgement that the river is the star here, the colours of the decor are almost muted, but as I sit down, I’m grateful for the tactile luxury of the fabrics. While showing us around our room, the manager mentions that private dinners on our deck can be arranged. Naturally, we request one!

What sets it apart

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma offers the best of both worlds: it’s close enough to the falls that we fancy we hear their precipitous rumble in quiet moments yet set just far away that we feel as though we could be the first people to discover them. As we get better acquainted with the Zambezi, we realise that we’re overlooking a particularly fast-flowing section, which adds a wonderfully dynamic energy to the experience. Having unfettered river views is wonderfully romantic: we wonder aloud about all the wonders this water must have flowed past on its journey, and if the river suspects what lies just a little further downstream. We’re both keen on guided walking safaris; the fact that Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is the only luxury Zambia safari lodge in the area to offer them, is one of the reasons we’re here.

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma offers the best of both worlds: it’s close enough to the falls that we fancy we hear their precipitous rumble in quiet moments yet set just far away that we feel as though we could be the first people to discover them.

As we get better acquainted with the Zambezi, we realise that we’re overlooking a particularly fast-flowing section, which adds a wonderfully dynamic energy to the experience. Having unfettered river views is wonderfully romantic: we wonder aloud about all the wonders this water must have flowed past on its journey, and if the river suspects what lies just a little further downstream.

We’re both keen on guided walking safaris; the fact that Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is the only luxury Zambia safari lodge in the area to offer them, is one of the reasons we’re here.

At a glance

  • The 12 Sussi treehouses and two Chuma family houses that make up the accommodation here are ranged along the banks of the Zambezi, beneath immense riverine trees and within a stone’s throw of the river itself. Each treehouse has air-con while the houses have private plunge pools.
  • Secluded riverside setting, private activities available (additional cost), private dining available and the only lodge in the area to offer walking safaris.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, sunset river cruises, white-water rafting, canoeing, catch-and-release fishing (seasonal), Livingstone Island visits (seasonal, additional cost), Victoria Falls tours, microlighting and other Victoria Falls activities (additional cost) and cultural visits.
  • Children of all ages are welcome and the two, two-bedroom Chuma houses are specially designed for families. Child-friendly menu options and earlier dining times, plus kids’ activity programme including interacting with local children. Minimum ages apply to certain wildlife activities.

  • The 12 Sussi treehouses and two Chuma family houses that make up the accommodation here are ranged along the banks of the Zambezi, beneath immense riverine trees and within a stone’s throw of the river itself. Each treehouse has air-con while the houses have private plunge pools.
  • Secluded riverside setting, private activities available (additional cost), private dining available and the only lodge in the area to offer walking safaris.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, sunset river cruises, white-water rafting, canoeing, catch-and-release fishing (seasonal), Livingstone Island visits (seasonal, additional cost), Victoria Falls tours, microlighting and other Victoria Falls activities (additional cost) and cultural visits.
  • Children of all ages are welcome and the two, two-bedroom Chuma houses are specially designed for families. Child-friendly menu options and earlier dining times, plus kids’ activity programme including interacting with local children. Minimum ages apply to certain wildlife activities.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

As the dry season advances, the volume of water falling into the Batoka Gorge decreases. Victoria Falls separates into a number of discrete streams, and it’s easier to appreciate the magnitude of the topography. Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool become accessible as water levels drop; equally, the relative scarcity of water across Southern Africa makes this peak safari season in Botswana and Zimbabwe, as well as Zambia. If you’re looking to combine your Livingstone safari with more wildlife experiences, winter is in many ways the ideal season.

The summer rains swell the Zambezi River now and Victoria Falls becomes one contiguous sheet of water. It’s during this season that its alternative name, the ‘Smoke that Thunders’, makes the most sense. The noise and the sheer volume of spray are immensely impressive, especially from the Knife Edge Bridge (come prepared for a soaking!) Zambia’s national parks are at their lushest and greenest during the summer, with generally more availability in luxury lodges, creating wonderful opportunities for a Zambia safari. Some activities, which depend on lower waters, won’t be on offer.

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