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Victoria Falls

When visiting Victoria Falls, is it recommended to stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Posted by
1388 posts

It depends.

Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) is very close to the falls and the bridge separating the two countries. You can actually walk to the falls (I did) though be careful, we came across 2 full grown elephants who were on the other side of the road from us. Yes, there is a fair bit of wildlife in the town itself so be especially careful if you are about in the evening (i.e. visiting a restaurant for dinner, etc.) especially since lots of streets are unlit. Carry a flashlight/torch.

On the Zambia side, the nearest town is Livingstone which is 10-12 kim away and other than some fancy resorts on the Zambezi, I don't think there is much else close to the falls.

Note - trying to visit both sides of the falls (which is recommended) will require two visas - one for each country.

When we were there (about 2.5 years ago), we first stayed in Vic Falls and visited the Zimbabwe side on one day. Since our travel was continuing into Zambia, the next day we crossed the border/bridge (you can walk or take a taxi for the short ride if you have luggage), walked to the Zambian park entrance, left our luggage with the park employees and proceeded to spend the next 2-3 hours seeing the falls. After we were done, we caught a cab to get to Livingstone.

Overall, I enjoyed the Zambian side more - but you will find lots who prefer the Zimbabwe side. On the Zambian side, you can hike (<1 km) to the bottom of the falls which was definitely worth it for me.

Lastly, like the previous poster noted, the activities etc. offered at the falls and nearby are v v expensive (e.g. $150+ for a bungee jump or ziplining, or the walk with the lions, etc.)

Posted by
29 posts

Howzit gsmalchow and my fellow travelers,

As far as visiting the actual Falls themselves, this is our spiel that we offer our travelers:

The Victoria Falls lie between two countries – Zambia and Zimbabwe – and vastly different views are on offer depending on which country you view them from. Whether you stay in Zambia or Zimbabwe, we recommend seeing both sides of the Falls if possible. Crossing between countries takes you over the Victoria Falls Bridge, which can be walked across even though it is in “No Man’s Land” and offers glorious views of the Falls. 1,700 meters (5,600ft.) wide and 111 meters (364ft.) high, columns of spray can be seen from far away as millions of cubic feet of water plummet every minute over the edge. The broad basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. The flow, and hence the spray, is greatest just after the end of the rainy season – around March or April, depending upon the rains. It then decreases gradually until about December, when the rains in western Zambia will start to replenish the river. During low water, a light raincoat (available for rent on site) is very useful for wandering between the viewpoints on the Zimbabwean side, though it’s not usually necessary in Zambia. In high water a raincoat is practically a necessity on both sides, as the spray blows all around and can soak you in seconds. In the driest months (October and November) the falls on the Zambian side dry up completely, and you could find yourself staring at a rocky wall. This doesn’t happen on the Zimbabwe side, where the Main Falls flow all year round. Around two thirds of the Victoria Falls lie in Zimbabwe and subsequently this side offers the better year-round views. Facing the falls on the Zimbabwean side is a mist-soaked rainforest, located within the compact Victoria Falls National Park and with neatly laid out paths opening onto over 15 viewpoints of the Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls and well-named Rainbow Falls. At the entrance to the national park is an informative visitor center, well-stocked souvenir shop and a very good café-restaurant. The Zambian side offers fewer viewpoints but does include the exciting Knife-Edge Bridge, within the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park and offering the closest view of the Falls. On the Zambian side you can also sit on the river bank above the Falls and even walk across (and right next to the edge) a section when the river is low. This is also when it’s possible to visit Goat (now Livingstone) Island and brave a dip in the Devil’s Pool directly on the lip of the Falls. At the entrance to Mosi Oa Tunya National Park is a popular curio (souvenir) market and a few ramshackle cafés.

Accommodations are available close to the Falls (on the Zim side) and literally on the Falls (on the Zambian side). We prefer to accommodate our travelers on the Zim side in the town of Victoria Falls, simply because there's more to do/see/experience while still being close to the Falls themselves.

I'll make another post regarding the current visa situation.

Hope this helps, and happy safari planning.
Darren Humphrys

Posted by
3460 posts

I bumped into this thread quite by accident , but for anyone here with an interest , watch this marvelous travelogue ( and history lesson ) first shown in 1978 - 1980 . You won't be sorry ! -