Hotel Of The Week: Toka Leya Camp, Zambia

If you look on Toka Leya’s website, the lodge comes across as a typical high-class safari bush camp. But this tells you only half the story.

toka leya

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Yes, Toka Leya does have all the essentials of a top-end bush camp: the romantic riverside setting, the perfect service, tented rooms of leather, wood and art, elegance, and yes, it is located inside a national park (Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park). However, what the website won’t tell you is that despite the national park location, the camp isn’t really in the wild at all. It’s just a few kilometres outside of Livingstone, the busy tourist town on the Zambian side of the world famous Victoria Falls, and just several hundred metres from the main road. And though Mosi-oa-Tunya itself might have the full complement of large mammals, it does rather pale when compared to nearby parks.

So, why choose to stay at Toka Leya? Well, for all the above reasons. This is a sublime camp which has all the benefits and romance of a safari camp, but its location means it also has all the pluses of an urban hotel: Wi-Fi and phone signals, nights on the town and the option to eat somewhere other than the lodge restaurant (though quite why you would chose to do this is beyond us because the food here is fantastic). In fact, it’s almost the perfect melding of city and beach. You can be woken with ‘bed tea’ at dawn and go on an elephant watching safari with excellent guides, eat lunch in any one of dozens of town centre restaurants, try bungee jumping in the afternoon (on second thoughts better do that before lunch!) and then watch the sunset over a certain mesmerizing waterfall before returning to the tranquility of camp via an exciting, white-water-fighting boat ride.

All in, Toka Leya has taken the best of the bush and the city and combined it into a hard-to-beat package.

A warning: a hydro-electric project means that the Zambian side of the falls are often dry and you might need to cross into Zimbabwe (easily done) to properly see Vic Falls.

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