Top 10 Things to Do in Victoria Falls, Zambia
Of the 54 countries in Africa, the border crossing between Zimbabwe and Zambia is the best border crossing of the lot! Victoria Falls separates Zimbabwe and Zambia, and when you visit either country, it’s the main attraction. It’s completely understandable too when there are so many amazing things to do in Victoria Falls. So whether you’re visiting Zimbabwe, or Zambia, you’ll end up visiting Victoria Falls, and once there it’s tough to work out what things you should do, and what things you should skip. I’ve created a list of the best 10 things to do in Victoria Falls, ranked in order of how awesome they are, I hope it helps. Check it out below.
Top 10 Things to do in Victoria Falls
Remember, this is the top 10 things to do in Victoria Falls WATERFALL, not the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls, so here we go:
Visit The Waterfalls!
First one is simple, visit the falls. But it’s not THAT simple. You want to visit on both the Zimbabwe side, and the Zambia side (so pay the $30 fee twice, boooo). The falls are a UNESCO world heritage site, and one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. You enter the park, pay your ticket (hire wet-water gear if you want), then follow the paths and bridges. The Zambia side is much more organised, but the Zimbabwe side shows more impressive views, so like I say, visit both sides. Personally, I recommend you do both sides on Day 1, before you get stuck in to the adventure activities!
Bungee Jump of the Bridge
The most famous activity at Victoria Falls is the bungee jump right off the middle of the Victoria Falls bridge. 111m, one of the highest in the world, and the only one in the middle of a world wonder. Probably the coolest bungee jump in the world.
Swim in the Devil’s Pool
Have you seen the photos of crazy people at the edge of a waterfall? THIS IS THAT PLACE! You have to be in the right season, but swimming in the Devil’s Pool is maybe the most epic thing to do in Victoria Falls (it was the wrong season when I went, boooo!). The best way to organise it is via a tour, to keep it safe, this one includes Livingstone island too (number 8).
WHEN CAN YOU SWIM IN THE DEVIL’S POOL AT VICTORIA FALLS? Dry season. So mid-August to mid-January, Oh, and it’s on the Zambia side, not the Zimbabwe side.
Microlight or Helicopter Scenic Flight
When I visited Victoria Falls, my blog hadn’t taken off, and I was still broke, so I had to skip the scenic flight. It’s a huge regret, and one I will 100% rectify when I return. Victoria Falls is spectacular from the ground level, I can’t imagine what it must be like to experience it from the sky, to see the true size and scale of it all. If you can afford it, don’t miss out like me!
Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi
Traveling in East Africa is tiring. And intense. Take a break and enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi, perhaps on your last night. The cruises are normally 2 hours, around sunset time, including cocktails and snacks, on a traditional boat. Pure paradise, and a chance to soak up just exactly where you are in the world. It’s $75 well spent!
Victoria Falls hotel high tea
This one is on the Zimbabwe side. The famous Victoria Falls Hotel may be overpriced, but High Tea is an experience not to be missed. For about $30, you get tea, scones, a three-tiered sandwich platter, and a magnificent view of the Victoria Falls Bridge and gorge. BOOK IN ADVANCE!
Chobe National Park Day Trip to Botswana
Visiting Chobe National Park is something truly special, and normally requires a separate holiday to Botswana. But, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself visiting Victoria Falls, and you have factored in enough time, then you can absolutely visit Chobe National Park from here, including transfers to and from your hotel.
A place with serious cultural significance. This is the spot where David Livingstone first set eyes on the Victoria Falls. It’s found on the Zambia side, the Zambezi river. The way to access it is through Royal Livingstone Hotel and it’s just shy of $100 with brekkie.
If the bungee jump is a step too far for you, or alternatively, you’re an animal and need all the adrenaline in the world, then the gorge swing is the next stop for you. On the Zambia side, it’s called the Zambezi Swing, and on the Zimbabwe side, it’s called the Gorge Swing (through the Victoria Falls hotel). Zambia side is better to be honest.
Raft the Zambezi
White water rafting the Zambezi river in East Africa is true bucket list stuff. Between the months of July and February, rafting conditions are PERFECT here, and you can expect gorgeous Class 5 rapids (if you choose, of course, there are gentle courses too if you’d like to relax). The main hop-off point for rafting the Zambezi is from Livingstone town in Southern Zambia (which is the town you’ll be in when you’re accessing Victoria Falls, so that’s perfect). You can either do a day-trip rafting or if you’re up for it, a multi-day rafting experience. Hardcore.
HARD-CORE: 3 days rafting expeditions from Livingstone is $450, with 5 day about $900.
Where is Victoria Falls?
NOTE: Victoria Falls can be confusing. Victoria Falls is the name of the waterfall itself. It’s ALSO the name of the town in Zimbabwe that is closest to Victoria Falls. The closest town to Victoria Falls in Zambia is called Livingstone. So, you can use either Victoria Falls (the town, in Zimbabwe) OR Livingstone (the town in Zambia) as your base to visit the waterfall Victoria Falls. I recommend Livingstone, much safer, much friendlier and much easier to organise everything from. But, the falls are more beautiful on the Zimbabwe side, so you should visit both, but base yourself on the Zambian side.
On the Google Map below, I’ve highlight Livingstone town (Zambia), Victoria Falls town (Zimbabwe) and Victoria Falls (the actual waterfall) in the middle of them both:
How Much Is Victoria Falls Entrance Fee?
It’s $30, and yes you have to pay twice if you visit both the Zimbabwe side, and the Zambia side. Even worse than that, it’s single-day-entry, so each time you return on the same day is the same ticket, but come back the next day, you pay again! If you book tours though, it’s included in the price. Victoria Falls opening hours are:
Winter: 6.30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Summer: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Should I Visit the Zambian or Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls?
Short answer? Both.
Long Answer. The best way is to base yourself in Livingstone, Zambia. One day then, cross the bridge into Zimbabwe (visa on arrival is possible), and spend the day on the Zimbabwe side, and then return to your ‘base’ in Livingstone in the afternoon. Just factor in the visas fees to get into Zimbabwe ($30), and then another visa to come back to Zambia ($30)!
The tourist experiences on the Zambian side are more developed, and the path to the ‘bottom’ of the falls, where you walk close to the water is only possible on the Zambian side
NOTE: The Devil’s Pool, and the Bungee Jump, are both on the Zambian Side!
When Is The Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls?
Rainy Season (Dec to March): The best time to visit, high water, lots of spray, super powerful. Sometimes it can be so powerful, you can’t even see the actual falls.
Dry Season (April to October): Low water, and a little disappointing, especially closer to October BUT you can swim in the Devil’s Pool, so that’s a huge plus!
How To Get to Victoria Falls
You have 2 choices, to access Victoria Falls from Zambia or from Zimbabwe (I recommend Zambia). If via Zimbabwe, you fly to Harare the Capital, and connect to Victoria Falls Airport (you can also fly directly to this airport from Johannesburg). If via Zambia, you fly internationally into Lusaka and then connect domestically yo Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport in Livingstone (you can also fly directly to this airport from Kruger, South Africa).
From Zambia side, you can take a bus from Lusaka directly to Livingstone every morning, takes about 7 hours. Alternatively, from Zimbabwe, the best way is a night train from Bulawayo. From Botswana, it’s just 2 hours from Kasane by bus.
Do you Need a Visa for Victoria Falls?
Yes, for both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zambia offers visa-on-arrival for pretty much all western tourists, as does Zimbabwe at the Victoria Falls Border crossing, Just remember the costs.
If you’re in Zambia, you already paid your visa, then you go cross the bridge at the falls, pay for a Zimbabwe visa for a few hours, then return to Zambia and pay to get a new Zambian visa. Or vice-versa if you’re based on the Zimbabwe side. Either way, do it. For about $100 you can see both sides, which is the ideal situation.
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