Have a picnic on a river island at Thorntree River Lodge. © African Bush Camps

Thorntree River Lodge | Livingstone Luxury Zambia Safari Lodge

There’s something immensely calming about spending time in a luxury Zambia safari lodge that has water flowing past it, especially when – as in the case of Thorntree River Lodge – the water in question is the Zambezi River. Sweeping views that are both soothing and inspiring plus warm Zambian hospitality equal perfection.

The place

Just 20 minutes’ upstream of Victoria Falls, Thorntree River Lodge is a world away from the adrenaline-fuelled surroundings of the cascades. It’s clear that this luxury Zambia safari lodge has been carefully sited and designed to maximise the impact and benefits of its superb location on the banks of one of Africa’s mightiest rivers. As we look around us, we can see how the ever-changing nature of the river must have been the inspiration for the blend of contemporary and rustic elements. In the same way that the river is a continuous presence, a strong current of authentic local culture runs through the lodge and helps us avoid any sense of simply being carried along. The enormity of the river and the sky – which seem in many places to be one and the same – provide the perfect canvas on which to paint our safari dreams. Every now and then, we’ll be called back to the present by the cry of a bird, or a momentary eddy forming in the water.

Just 20 minutes’ upstream of Victoria Falls, Thorntree River Lodge is a world away from the adrenaline-fuelled surroundings of the cascades. It’s clear that this luxury Zambia safari lodge has been carefully sited and designed to maximise the impact and benefits of its superb location on the banks of one of Africa’s mightiest rivers.

As we look around us, we can see how the ever-changing nature of the river must have been the inspiration for the blend of contemporary and rustic elements. In the same way that the river is a continuous presence, a strong current of authentic local culture runs through the lodge and helps us avoid any sense of simply being carried along.

The enormity of the river and the sky – which seem in many places to be one and the same – provide the perfect canvas on which to paint our safari dreams. Every now and then, we’ll be called back to the present by the cry of a bird, or a momentary eddy forming in the water.

The room

Appropriately enough, the wooden panelling in our room brings to mind a boat… the rustic, unembellished fittings in the bathroom add an elemental feel, and I can easily picture myself reclining in a bath full of bubbles watching the world – and the river – go by. Thorntree River Lodge is a luxury Zambia River lodge that wears its opulence lightly. The indulgence here is as much about the location as the amenities, but that said, our suite is supremely comfortable. The angles of the canvas roof jut out proudly like the prow of a vessel, and I love the fact that just a few steps take us down to the water’s edge, where who knows what adventures we might embark on. When we arrive, we find that our suite has been opened up entirely to the vista. I drink it all in, while my partner dips a toe in our own private body of water: the inviting plunge pool adjoining our viewing deck. Tall trees screen us off from the rest of the world, meaning that we can enjoy this paradise in perfect seclusion.

Appropriately enough, the wooden panelling in our room brings to mind a boat… the rustic, unembellished fittings in the bathroom add an elemental feel, and I can easily picture myself reclining in a bath full of bubbles watching the world – and the river – go by.

Thorntree River Lodge is a luxury Zambia River lodge that wears its opulence lightly. The indulgence here is as much about the location as the amenities, but that said, our suite is supremely comfortable. The angles of the canvas roof jut out proudly like the prow of a vessel, and I love the fact that just a few steps take us down to the water’s edge, where who knows what adventures we might embark on.

When we arrive, we find that our suite has been opened up entirely to the vista. I drink it all in, while my partner dips a toe in our own private body of water: the inviting plunge pool adjoining our viewing deck. Tall trees screen us off from the rest of the world, meaning that we can enjoy this paradise in perfect seclusion.

What sets it apart

We both find it hard to put our fingers on exactly what sets this luxury Zambia safari lodge apart, and then it dawns on us: Thorntree River Lodge is a masterpiece in serenity. It washes over us like, ahem, a river, and it’s a wonderful feeling! Water is of course a constant theme, and we both appreciate the way aqueous experiences are woven into the very fabric of the lodge, from the outdoor shower just metres from the river to the way our room has been cleverly orientated to maximise the swathe of the Zambezi that we can watch over without even getting out of bed. Being within the national park contributes to the tranquillity – the only sounds we hear are entirely natural, and we instinctively feel we’ve found the perfect haven to return to after a day at the falls.

We both find it hard to put our fingers on exactly what sets this luxury Zambia safari lodge apart, and then it dawns on us: Thorntree River Lodge is a masterpiece in serenity. It washes over us like, ahem, a river, and it’s a wonderful feeling!

Water is of course a constant theme, and we both appreciate the way aqueous experiences are woven into the very fabric of the lodge, from the outdoor shower just metres from the river to the way our room has been cleverly orientated to maximise the swathe of the Zambezi that we can watch over without even getting out of bed.

Being within the national park contributes to the tranquillity – the only sounds we hear are entirely natural, and we instinctively feel we’ve found the perfect haven to return to after a day at the falls.

At a glance

  • Thorntree River Lodge consists of just 12 luxury suites, each with outdoor shower, private viewing deck and plunge pool. They’re lined up along the banks of the Zambezi River, and give onto almost endless views. There’s also a gym and a spa.
  • Self-contained suites, private vehicles available (additional cost), private activities available (additional cost) and private dining available.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, rhino tracking, bird watching, canoeing, boat cruises, sunset river cruises, catch-and-release fishing (seasonal), microlighting and other Victoria Falls activities (additional cost) and cultural visits.
  • Children of all ages are welcome, and four of the suites can be used as family suites with interleading walkways. Fun, educational kids’ activities are offered by the Ngwana Club, however some have minimum ages.

  • Thorntree River Lodge consists of just 12 luxury suites, each with outdoor shower, private viewing deck and plunge pool. They’re lined up along the banks of the Zambezi River, and give onto almost endless views. There’s also a gym and a spa.
  • Self-contained suites, private vehicles available (additional cost), private activities available (additional cost) and private dining available.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, rhino tracking, bird watching, canoeing, boat cruises, sunset river cruises, catch-and-release fishing (seasonal), microlighting and other Victoria Falls activities (additional cost) and cultural visits.
  • Children of all ages are welcome, and four of the suites can be used as family suites with interleading walkways. Fun, educational kids’ activities are offered by the Ngwana Club, however some have minimum ages.

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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