Highlights included fireside chats with other guests and Songwe staff, discussions of village life, village dances in which we all participated, and samplings of genuine Zambian dishes (including the famous Mopane worms, which everyone in our group was brave enough to taste).

Unfortunately, Songwe Village was destroyed in a fire and there are currently no plans to rebuild.

Overall Impression Our visit in Songwe Village was unlike any other luxury property stay during our five-week trip. It was down to earth, literally and figuratively, with stunning gorge views and native style huts that simulated village life. The Songe staff were warm, friendly, welcoming, and accommodating. They generously shared of their time to allow us insights into Zambian village life.

Our Village was near the real Songwe village (Songwe means abundance in Leya and Toka, languages of Zambia) on a hill overlooking two of the rivers that fed the famous Victoria Falls , located on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia . We enjoyed striking star gazing. Songwe was memorable thanks to the intimacy the village concept provided. Highlights included fireside chats with other guests and Songwe staff, discussions of village life, village dances in which we all participated, and samplings of genuine Zambian dishes (including the famous Mopane worms, which everyone in our group was brave enough to taste).

Camp Managers Dorothy and Emmanuel Shinga

Handicapped Access Limited as the ground was uneven and it was dark at night

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location An hour’s drive from Victoria Falls , 400 feet above the Zambezi Gorge

Owned Kwando Safaris

Size Eight huts; maximum of 16 guests

Utilities Songwe Village operated on generators, which ran during the day. At night they were shut down so we could enjoy the quiet Zambia evenings. The staff heated bathing water in individual wood heaters adjacent to each hut, including the shared bath huts with the scenic views. Electric power for lights, cooking and to charge any electronics was produced by the daytime generator. We received flashlights so we could see where we walked in the Village at night.

Year Opened-Renovated 1998; redesigned and updated in 2003

Common Areas Zambian village design and artifacts from Zambia and other parts of Africa. There were authentic reed baskets, calabashes, clay pots and curios, which are the cultural heritage of Toka-leya tribes. There were also weapons which were used during tribal wars in the early eighteen hundreds (1800’s).

Bathroom In the back of the hut, there was a western style toilet, a shower including hot water, a small mirror, a sink with a pitcher of water. A kind soul brought us hot water in the cold mornings and evenings.

Room Our air ventilated “hut” offered all the basic comforts including a large queen bed with mosquito netting, a night table and battery charged lamp on either side of the bed, and a trunk where the blankets were kept. After we mentioned we were cold during the winter night, the staff offered hot water bottles, which helped warm up our bed.

Food We were able to taste Zambian dishes including Mopane worms, and more traditional grilled foods including home made grilled bread. There was no dessert.

Amenities Kwando Safari travel size toiletries including foam bath, soap, body lotion, and shower caps.

Facilities A dining hut, fireside area with marvelous wraparound views of the water and three shared bathtub/shower huts, which offered striking views of the gorge and river.

Pool No

Other There were eleven undeveloped archaeological sites dating back two million years (early, middle and late Stone Age periods) on the 300-acre Songwe property. Temperatures varied widely from the evening when conditions ranged from cool to cold and the day, when it was warm and sunny. This meant we would usually shower in the afternoon when it was warm and sunny and there were no activities or meals scheduled.

There were collapsible chairs in the common open area beyond the dining/common room where guests could spend quiet time. During the day, we enjoyed the magnificent view visible from there; at night it was the ideal location for after dinner drinks and fireside conversation

The staff shared some of the village customs and told us about their lifestyle. We spent the evenings listening to them and watching their demonstrations, singing and dancing. One local young woman who led the singing stood out for her staccato clear voice. Though we could not understand the words, the staff described the theme of each song and the significance of the dance. For a few minutes all of us, staff and guests joined together, like an African village singing and dancing. It was a memorable evening with quiet serious moments, laughter and interesting fireside chats for some.

Check-In-Check-Out Process Ease Since everything was prepaid, there was no check-in or check-out to speak of. We were welcomed warmly at the airport. Departure was a solemn moment with many hand shakes, good byes and wishes for health and a good life.

Cleanliness Excellent. It seemed someone cleaned our hut everytime we left it because when we returned it was free of the dust we might have left during our last visit.

Date Of Last Visit May 2004

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photographs by Chester Godsy and Joni Johnson-Godsy

Would You Stay Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Livingstone, Zambia
  • Phone:
    • (26311) 231 383/4
  • Email:
  • Owner:
    • Kwando Safaris
    • (267) 686-1449
    • Fax (267) 686-1457