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Sunset, Safari & High Tea at The Royal Livingstone

The British love afternoon tea, and I am no exception. In fact, we love it so much we even have an official Afternoon Tea Week. Not a day, an entire week dedicated to this very British pastime.

Which is why it might surprise you that my favourite place to sample delicious sandwiches, scones, cakes and a nice pot of tea in a china cup is not in The Ritz or The Savoy in London or a quaint Devonshire tea shop (although this would come a close second). It’s actually in Africa. Zambia to be exact.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

The Royal Livingstone lies on the banks of the Zambezi River, a few kilometres outside of Livingstone town, and close to the spectacular Victoria Falls. Each day at 3pm they serve Afternoon Tea (or as they call it here, High Tea) with all the trimmings. I’m lucky to say that I’ve been to the Royal Livingstone no less than 5 times, and it never fails to impress. I’d say it is a must-do on your trip to Zambia.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia   High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea ZambiaPulling into the drive way, do not be surprised if you come across a giraffe munching on the trees, or a zebra or two having an afternoon snack on the grass. Of course I had to step out and take a couple of quick pictures, however I didn’t linger long. I had a date with some scrumptious cakes and perhaps a cheeky cocktail or two.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

The hotel itself is everything you would expect from a 5* property. The doormen give you a friendly smile as they welcome you in. Fans hang from the high beamed ceilings, creating a welcome breeze. The decor is white and pristine, a stark contract to the earthy oranges and greens of the surrounding landscape. Hand drawn maps and paintings of David Livingstone adorn the walls. The furniture is quintessentially British with an Zambian twist and you’re instantly transported to a by gone era. Zambia, formerly known as Northern Rhodesia, was a British colony and many of the British traditions are still celebrated there today.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

After checking in, you will be shown to your table, either in the lounge, on the patio or down on the sundeck, next to the river. I suggest you choose a spot in close proximity to the cakes, the patio area overlooking the pool is my choice. Shortly afterwards, your Afternoon Tea will be served to you in beautiful Royal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China cups. My mum has the exact tea set and she always says that tea tastes better in a china cup and I’m inclined to agree.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

Then it’s time to help yourself to food. And… enjoy! You’ll definitely be back for seconds and thirds. Just be careful not to leave your food unattended. Cheeky Ververt Monkeys lurk, ready to help you clean your plates, whether you want them to or not.

High Tea at the Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea ZambiaHigh Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia   High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea ZambiaHigh Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea ZambiaOnce you have satisfied your appetite,  explore the grounds, before making your way down to the deck by the river for sundowners. The drinks list includes appropriately named cocktails like an ‘Out of Africa’, ‘Dr.Livingstone I Presume’ and ‘Stanley’s Revenge’. The westerly facing deck is the perfect place to watch the changing colours of the setting sun and the spray from Victoria Falls rising to your left.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

Whilst you sip your drinks, a flautist plays a hypnotic melody, and if you’re lucky you might see an elephant or hippo in the river, or at least hear them. Bliss.

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Teat at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Teat at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

High Tea at The Royal Livingstone Afternoon Tea Zambia

As the sun disappears behind the horizon and the temperature drops, head inside and curl up by the fire with a little nightcap, as the sounds of the Grand Piano drift through the bar.

Essential Info

  • High tea at The Royal Livingstone is approximately $25, which includes your tea/coffee and your food. Cocktails and other drinks are extra. The view, priceless.
  • Dress code is very relaxed for high tea. You’ll see guests in shorts and t-shirts, but my advice is to put on your finest and enjoy the opportunity to dress up like a real lady or gent.
  • High tea is served between 3pm and 5pm every day.
  • Take something warm to put on, the temperature really drops when the sun sets.

Do you fancy High Tea at the Royal Livingstone?

About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!

10 Comments

  • Colleen Brynn
    August 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I love how integral the animals seem to be to this experience. Amazing.
    Your long print skirt is beautiful!!
    I bet i would love this, and I love the idea of tea tasting better out of a china cup.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted…The Indian Curse? *Part One*My Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      August 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks Colleen. I just bought the material at a local market and took it to a tailor called Emmah’s Wear in Livingstone! I’ve had so much stuff made there! 🙂

      My mum swears by it (and so did my grandmother)!

      The animals are everywhere, you’re bound to always see something when you go!

      Reply
  • Brenna
    August 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I wish I had known about this when I was in Livingstone!

    Reply
    • Helen
      August 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      Aw, I think you would have liked this!!! I think we should go back together!!! 🙂

      Reply
  • Jo
    August 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Now that is a truly gorgeous sunset! Zambia is creeping up my travel wishlist every time I read something about it on your blog!

    And wow, that skirt is beautiful! I bought so many textiles in Central and South America, looks like it’ll be the same story when I make it to Africa.
    Jo recently posted…Who wants to be a Guatemalan millionaire? An insight into life in a wealthy Guatemalan familyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      August 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Yeah! Go to Zambia! 🙂 It’s amazing! Thanks for the skirt compliments! I had it made there, modelled on a skirt I had made in Vietnam! So much cool material to buy. Buy the ticker stuff as it makes better clothes! 🙂

      Reply
  • rebecca
    August 22, 2014 at 2:03 am

    wow! this is awesome! is it expensive? I love the idea of sipping tea whilst zebras casually march past you. I would love to do this! it throws all other high teas right out the window! awesome pics at the end by the way
    rebecca recently posted…I was a little disappointed by WarsawMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 18, 2015 at 1:08 am

      Hi Rebecca, It’s $25 or it was when I was last there. It is pretty cool. Just watch out for the pesky monkeys! 🙂

      Reply
  • Laura
    August 27, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Looks like such fun and makes me miss Zambia! I wish we had had the chance to try tea while we were there, but it’s always good to have things on the “to do” list for when we go back.

    Reply
    • Helen
      August 31, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Aw, I love it here! Yes, next time you go, head over!! I think you’d really enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply

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