“There is too much butter on those trays” – Basil Fawlty (John Cleese).
“No, Mr. Fawlty it’s uno dos tres!” – Manuel (Andrew Sachs).
My recent Africa trip threw up a load of quirky new and exciting dwelling places for the nights. As well as sleeping in a local estate in Luanda, Angola, a crocodile farm in Botswana, a countryside guest house in Namibia, and numerous textbook backpacker hostels, we had the pleasure of staying two nights in the worst ever hotel in Torquay, on England’s south coast!!The only thing is… this Fawlty Towers is actually a decent place to stay!! And it is in Zambia!!
Forget rude war gestures, rats in your food, broken radios, hotel inspectors and useless Spanish waiters, this is a quirky place and THE place to stay when you visit Livingstone in Victoria Falls region of Zambia. Welcome to Fawlty Towers in the year 2020!!
The manager, Mike even drops by for a chat so I get to meet the 2020 Zambian equivalent of “Basil Fawlty”. Mike is a larger than life welcoming host, a far cry from the lavish rudeness of John Cleese’s dream, General Manager Basil Fawlty. He is a nice bloke, welcomes me with a smile and treats his staff and customers well!!
I attempt to draw parallels with the TV show I so loved as a child, but I cannot. This place has more nooks, crannies, twists, turns, shocks than I imagined.
What do you expect out of a Zambian hostel dorm room window?
Sydney Opera House perhaps?
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon?
Herds of wildebeests galloping majestically?
Torquay sea front? No… This was my bedroom view from our 8 bed dorm in Fawlty Towers Backpackers Hostel in Livingstone, Zambia…
So, if you didn’t already know, Fawlty Towers was a highly popular and hilarious BBC Television Situation Comedy in the 1970s. The show was the brainchild of John Cleese, who played the role of Basil Fawlty, the WORST hotel manager of all time.
This quirky accommodation option in Livingstone, Zambia is modelled on that exact theme. When I heard this place existed, I had to book it. Why you need to stay here…
Fawlty Towers in shock horror!! The staff here are friendly! From a smooth check in, to Gladys the enthusiastic chef to the welcoming security staff to the travel agent staff to the boss himself…
This is a far cry from the worst hotel in Torquay!!
2.Free Pancakes Daily
Don’t miss the 3 pm Daily Special – fresh pancakes!! I only stayed here at Fawlty Towers for two days but both days I devoured the 3 pm pancake and coffee freebie.
Through all the hostels I have slept in(hundreds), this was the first time I experienced a free afternoon pancake session. I love hostels with a bit of variety and Fawlty Towers has it. Perhaps Basil, Polly and Manuel were on the rip the night before with Major and couldn’t get up to cook breakfast?! 😂 Even if true, it fits fine with me.
3.A Clean Swimming Pool
Barely even a dirty fly, no floaters, just a clean outdoor pool to swim in.
$12 didn’t break your backpacking budget. We were in an 8 bed upstairs dorm room. I stayed two nights. For those on a higher budget, there are private rooms and suites available but I stuck to backpacking loyal to maintain my niche here. I was in Amanza room.
5.Spacious Rooms and Gardens
Forget the dingy wet gardens of Torquay and the infamous Gleneagles Hotel. Welcome to greenery and spaciousness.
6.Tour Booking Office
We booked the excellent Rhino walking safari here at Fawlty Towers very own tourist centre. You can book safaris, hikes and all kinds of touristic things here. Simple to organise.
As well as all of this, there are two bars (one called Basil’s Cafe) , a pool table, photos of Basil Fawlty on the walls, it is well located on the main street in Livingstone. I simply loved it!
There also is a free daily shuttle bus to Victoria Falls.
However in true Basil Fawlty Towers style, there is an electricity down time of four hours daily and the WiFi is excruciatingly slow!! There just had to be some negatives in any real life depiction of Fawlty Towers! I actually wish they didn’t have Wifi at all. It would totally fit with the ethos of the classic BBC Television Situation Comedy. Yet, each time I had a shower, there was hot water!! There are some amusing signs around too…
I liked the idea of no topless bathing but I could go bottomless!
Stay here, even just to say you have stayed here! Here are some more photos from this crazy adventure…
Here are the details for booking a room at Fawlty Towers hostel in Livingstone, Zambia:
Here are some videos from my stay at Fawlty Towers hostel in Livingstone, Zambia:
Here are some classic Fawlty Towers BBC TV show moments: