Protea Livingstone, Zambia: Free-er than Free


The Protea Zambia Hotel Review is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.

An Instagram follower (of which I have inexplicably so few) asked if my trip were sponsored by Protea. Initially, I did not get the joke until he explained that there is an abundance of these category 1 Marriott hotels all over Africa that provide great value for next to nothing. When I was making my cursory plans to visit Victoria Falls, I only looked for hotels in‎ Zimbabwe, of which, as I wrote, there are not any chain hotels. Unfamiliar with geography, it did not occur to me to search for hotels in neighboring Zambia. Headed to my second night in isolation, I looked for Protea Zambia and found a gem of a hotel that retails for $200 a night or 7,500 points. That’s a steal. I already had 6k Marriott points and transferred the remaining from my SPG account at the 3x rate. The next day, after a memorable stop at the Devil’s Pool, I checked into the Protea hotel.

The Room
It was a standard hotel room which had staples needed for a restful stay i.e., CNN International and a powerful A/C.

The Welcome Gift
The welcome gift was a single beer, a plate of fruit, and cheese and crackers.

The Bathroom
The circular shower had plenty of hot water and great pressure. The issue with the design was the inability to escape the water. This water boarding experience was far from ideal.

The Mosquito Netting
I did not like the netting because it blocked the view of Anderson Cooper and made me feel trapped again. The torture chamber feeling was a developing theme between the shower and the bed. Still, with the risk of contracting malaria, it is advisable to sleep under the netting. 

The Staff
The staff was super nice. They recommended places to eat, arranged transport (albeit it for slightly higher rates than off the street), and set up my tour to Chobe National Park in Botswana.

Guests who book with points are not given breakfast. I just wanted coffee before my tour and was told I could treat myself to the whole buffet as well. That was nice of them. The omelette was top notch as was the minced meat.

The Bar
After a long day in Botswana, I went to the bar for a few drinks. The prices were reasonable and the atmosphere was relaxed.  

The Location
The hotel is near great restaurants, the Beehive Bar across the street, Victoria Falls, and the Zimbabwe border. The ride to the border is $10 and then it is another $20 to get the Zimbabwe airport.

I’m glad I stayed two nights in Zimbabawe but would recommend the Zambian side to avoid the price gouging and to enjoy the Marriott hospitality.



  1. To get the true waterboard experience in that shower you would need to be doing handstands with a hand towel over your face. And you would need a gunny sergeant yelling at you demanding to know where your copilot is hidden. (don’t ask me how I know)

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