We are often asked if we would recommend the Zambian side or the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls. In our experience, both sides are safe and worth visiting.
About two-thirds of the Victoria Falls can be viewed from the Zimbabwean side. From the Zambian side, you can see about one-third of the falls and this section dries up during October and November. High water is from December to July and in general, the views from the Zimbabwean side are more spectacular.
On the Zimbabwean side, access to the falls is wheelchair-friendly. On the Zambian side, you can visit Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool (in low-water season).
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A large choice of accommodation options is available in both Livingstone and in Victoria Falls, to suit a wide range of budgets. Most hotels in Victoria Falls are booked on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
We would recommend a minimum stay of two nights and an ideal stay of three nights. If you want to experience everything this location has to offer and take part in various activities, you may even want to stay four nights or longer.
This destination can be combined with the Chobe National Park in Botswana, which is about an hour away by road. Chobe is one of Botswana’s top safari destinations and we can highly recommend combining your trip to Victoria Falls with a few nights at the Chobe National Park. Alternatively, you can combine it with a safari in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, about two hours from Victoria Falls.
The falls can be visited all year round, but the most popular time is from June to September when the temperatures are mild, the risk of malaria is lower and the water levels are dropping, which means reduced spray and better visibility.
Once the water drops below a certain level, the famous Livingstone Island on the edge of the Falls is open to visitors from the Zambian side (the spot from where David Livingstone first viewed the falls). Here’s where you’ll find the famous “Devil’s Pool”, where you can swim and look over the lip of the Falls into the gorge many meters below.
The rafting season also opens around this time (usually in July). In low-water season, the Zambian side of the Falls dries up completely (October to November). In high-water season, the spray can be so tremendous that you get soaked and have limited visibility of the actual falls (March to May).
The accepted currency in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) is the US Dollar. Bring USD with you in cash, preferably in recent, small denominations; $1 and $5 especially. Avoid $100 bills because you can’t get change. There is often a shortage of cash and credit cards (particularly Visa) are accepted at most hotels and restaurants. South African Rand (ZAR) is also widely accepted.
On the Zambian side, you’ll need Zambian Kwacha although US Dollars are usually accepted. Money can be changed at the airport.
Street vendors in Zambia will try to sell you their curios and will not easily take no for an answer. At the markets, you can barter for curios with your socks, shoes, T-shirts and even underwear! Often they won’t have any change so low-denomination US Dollars are very handy here.
Be aware of visa costs for entering and Zambia. Please ask us for details as these costs often change at short notice. Visa costs vary considerably, depending on your country of origin and can be paid in USD at the border. Check whether you’ll need a multiple-entry visa, especially if you’ll be visiting any of Zambia neighboring countries..
The new Kaza Univisa is a good option but stickers aren’t always available.
The towns of Victoria Falls and Livingstone are both a two-hour flight from Johannesburg. The flights only depart in the morning, so if you arrive in Johannesburg during the afternoon from another destination (like the Kruger Park), you will need to spend one night in Johannesburg before flying to Vic Falls.
Victoria Falls is a must-visit destination on a longer itinerary in Africa. We have personally visited most of the lodges and hotels in the Victoria Falls area and are able to offer you first-hand advice. Aim to spend at least two nights at Victoria Falls. Please contact us to request a competitive Victoria Falls safari package, with your choice of accommodation and activities included.