A delightful review of the "magical" Royal Livingstone Express

Malcolm M Mitchell recently got on board the Royal Livingstone Express. His experience on the steam train left him singing praises on TripAdvisor. We've shared his review on our blog so that you can read his fond memories.

Tami Walker Photography

"We stayed in the amazing Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia, within sight of the Victoria Falls. One of the many experiences the Hotel offers is a trip on the Royal Livingstone Express.

This is a beautifully and lovingly restored steam train, in the style of the Orient Express, but more intimate and less pretentious! We travelled the ten minutes by luxury coach to Livingstone Station and after receiving our welcome drink, boarded the train.

Our stay on the train was hosted by Peter Jones, Chairman of the Zambian Tourist Board and owner of lodges under the banner of The River Club. Peter is a wonderful, larger than life character with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the country and the the surrounding area and he kept us royally entertained for the duration of our stay on the train.

After an amusing introduction, the train set off and we finished on the Victoria Falls Bridge. There is a line in the middle and we were able to stand with one foot in Zimbabwe and one foot in Zambia!

After a photo opportunity of the Falls from the Bridge, the train headed back to Livingstone, where we parked up for a five course dinner. I have to say it was on of the finest dinners I have ever had. Beautiful food, creatively presented, served by delightful staff and all of us enjoying the amazing ambience of this historic train.

Banda was the Manager of the train, Sydney was the Chef, ably assisted by Given as Sous Chef and Angela was also helping in the kitchen. Our waiter was Derick and Joseph and Humphrey were in the bar keeping all the drinks flowing. Needless to say, the ubiquitous Prakash, Food and Beverage Manager popped up to oversee the meal and he should be very pleased with the way his team delivered an outstanding gastronomic experience.

One of the guests was celebrating a birthday that day and all the staff serenaded him, which was a lovely touch. We had made friends with the Culverhouses from London and their company and wit added to our dining experience.

Dinner consisted of The Royal Gazpacho to start, chilled cucumber soup with smoked salmon and was followed by chicken and ham hock terrine. Then came a butternut squash creme brûlée with rocket pesto and carrot crisps. Then came the main course of slow roasted beef fillet with cauliflower puree, oyster mushroom and pan juices. A triumph! Last course was a vanilla and coconut panna cotta with spiced pineapple compote.

How on earth did Sydney conjure this magical food out of such a small galley. He must be a magician! To accompany the meal, we were offered The Royal Livingstone Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and The Royal Livingstone Collection Cape Blend 2012, both delicious. If you are ever in the vicinity of Livingstone, you must experience this wonderful excursion!"

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