Victoria Falls is the natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is also one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and my Victoria Falls travel guide will show you how to make the most of your visit.

The falls are neither the highest, nor the widest, but they are the largest due to the sheer volume of water, estimated at around 500 million litres of water a minute, that comes crashing over the precipice. It is twice as high as Niagara Falls and around 1 and a half times as wide. The spray can be seen from up to 70 km (43 miles) away and hence the apt name of the Smoke That Thunders.

Standing near the edge, in rainy season, the noise is deafening and the spray soaks you in seconds so come prepared with either a raincoat or an umbrella. If you’re brave, take the 73 steps down into the gorge at the Cataract Viewpoint , but be careful as it is very slippery. The thundering water cascading over the cliff face is an awesome sight.

Don’t be pressured into using a guide as it is quite easy to visit on your own.

Current entrance fees : Approx $ 20.00 (USD)

 

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and Zambia
Victoria Falls

 

Victoria Falls Travel Guide

 

The Bridge

 

The bridge was designed in England by Sir Ralph Freeman who would later go on to design the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The contract was awarded in 1903 at a cost of  £72,000. which was a huge amount of money then. For a more detailed account of the building of the bridge this site is a wealth of information. If you do decide to walk across it remember to take your passport with you.

 

 

Bridge at Victoria Falls between Zimbabwe and Zambia
Bridge at Victoria Falls

 

Best time to visit

 

The falls are spectacular to visit at any time of the year and each month has a different kind of beauty.

  • The summer months (November to March) are hot and humid
  • Peak season when there are the most visitors is from May to November
  • The water is at its highest and most powerful March – May
  • The rapids are best for white water rafting between August and early January when the water is at its lowest levels.
  • Around New Year the town comes alive with a carnival like atmosphere with bands and entertainment all over town. If you want to party then this is the best time to visit.

 

Rainbow over Victoria Falls
Rainbow over Victoria Falls

 

 

Victoria Falls travel guide : Where to stay

 

There is a huge variety of accommodation available on both sides of the falls suitable for all budgets. I have stayed at a number of different hotels over the years, but these two are my favourites.

 

Zimbabwe

 

The accommodation at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is swish and luxurious. The breakfast area upstairs has a fabulous view of the water hole. It is rather special to be having a gourmet breakfast while you watch the coming and goings of the animals on the plain below. There is also a wrap around veranda to have a sundowner and watch a big, bold African sunset .

 

Pool at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Pool at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

 

Vulture conservation project

 

A highlight of our stay  at the hotel was the Vulture Culture  experience. It is a supplementary feeding program that helps with the survival of endangered birds. It is a fascinating educational experience that you should not miss. There is information available at the reception so be sure to ask about it when you check in.

 

Vulture feeding station Victoria Falls
Vulture feeding station

 

Zambia

 

If you are on the Zambian side then I recommend the David Livingston Safari Lodge  on the banks of the Zambezi River. They offer a range of activities, including helicopter flights, rafting and sunset cruises. The Zambian side of the falls has a totally different feel to it because most of the hotels have the river running through the properties. It is a matter of preference as to what you want as an experience, but the best views of the falls are from the Zimbabwean side.

 

David Livingston Safari Lodge
David Livingstone Safari Lodge

 

Eat & Drink

 

You obviously have the option of eating at your hotel, but there are a variety of other spots  available to tickle the taste buds.

The Lookout Cafe is located on the gorge overlooking the bridge and the high wire activities. It’s a casual spot for a lazy breakfast, lunch or even a cocktail or two. From the craft market at the Falls, head back towards town and look for the sign pointing down to the railway line. Don’t miss stopping by or you will regret it!

Living in Africa one can become a bit jaded with the “African Experience” normally laid on for tourists. I was hesitant when I heard about the Boma being an authentic African evening, but oh boy was I glad that my husband dragged me to dinner.

The meal is a barbecue buffet. The choice is astounding. There really is something for everyone, including an opportunity to try a mopani worm. In fact this is not a worm at all but a caterpillar larvae of the Emperor Moth. You can find these treats in markets throughout Southern Africa and it really is not as bad as it sounds. If anyone offers you African popcorn there is a good chance it will be mopani worms.

Apart from an amazing selection of food, the highlight of the evening was learning to play an African style drum. We drummed until our hands ached.

Shearwarer Cafe is a perfect place to sit and have a cappuccino , freshly squeezed juice, or even a cold local beer. It is in the main street and is a cool, chic spot. I loved the  jazzy laidback music.If you are looking for cafe style food then look no further.

Last, but not least, is the Grand Old Lady, the Victoria Falls Hotel  built in 1904. It is one of the oldest hotels in Africa, and a visit is like stepping back in time to a bygone era. The views from the terrace are some of the best around looking towards the bridge. It is not unusual to see warthogs strolling across the lawn or enjoying the sprinkler.

We started the afternoon with a couple of ice cold G & T’s, just to quench our thirst. Then we decided that high tea looked too good to miss. There were generous servings of sandwiches, scones, tarts and cakes all of which were delicious. What a fabulous way to spend a couple of hours.

 

Afternoon tea Victoria Falls Hotel
Afternoon tea Victoria Falls Hotel

 

Activities

 

If you are an adrenaline junkie then Victoria Falls won’t disappoint you.

 

Bungee Jumping

 

How about dropping off the bridge spanning the gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia?  You won’t catch me doing this, but I have been told that it is great fun.

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman ( Long Way Down)  tried it ! This video clip is worth watching.

 

White water rafting

 

Rafting on the Zambezi, racing through the gorge, is claimed to be  the wildest one day run in the world. It is also listed as one of the top 10 rivers in the world by National Geographic for white water rafting.  Bear in mind that there is a steep path out of the gorge and a climb of approx 225 m ( 750 ft) which takes around 20 minutes depending on your level of fitness.

 

Sunset Cruise

 

There are a number of tour operators who offer this cruise, with options of dinner, or just drinks and snacks.  They will collect you from your hotel and drop you off after the cruise. It’s extremely relaxing, with the added advantage of seeing various animals that come to drink at the water’s edge at the end of the day. On our trip we were lucky enough to see elephants, giraffe, hippos, baboons, and a variety of buck, but every day differs. I found it a bit too slow for my liking, but the sunset was magnificent and seen from the water it is rather magical.

 

Sunset on the Zambezi
Sunset on the Zambezi

 

Other Activities

 

  • Zip Line –  the Flying Fox- across a 425m high gorge at over 100km per hour
  • Gorge Swing –  Swing across the gorge
  • Elephant  Back Safari –  Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve, a few kilometres outside of Victoria Falls.
  • There are a number of craft markets in town as well as vendors all over trying to sell you curios. Don’t feel guilty about bargaining as it is expected.

 

Currency

 

Zimbabwe uses the US dollar so all prices are quoted in dollars. You may have some problems with your bank cards drawing money from ATM machines but with a bit of trial and error you will usually find the correct one for your card, then it works.

There is also a local form of currency referred to as bond notes. These come in $2 and $5 denominations and are on a 1:1 ratio with the US dollar. Don’t get caught with any bond notes when you leave as they are useless outside of Zimbabwe.

You can pay for most things with a card, but it is advisable to bring some cash to have available on your arrival.

 

 

Transport

 

Be sure to negotiate with the taxi drivers before starting your journey and agree a price up front. Check an approximate price at your accommodation before you head out to give you an idea of what you should be paying.

 

Visiting Victoria Falls should be on your bucket list. It is not the easiest place to get to, but it is definitely worth the effort.

 

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The Complete Travel Guide to Victoria Falls
The Complete Travel Guide to Victoria Falls

 

Victoria Falls Travel Guide
Victoria Falls Travel Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Hi…Janine…Thanks for the beautifully articulated topic….planning to visit in Sep end…how will be the weather there…also how if I add Hawange National Park with Victoria….

    • Glad you liked the post. Adding Hwange is a great option. The weather in September should be great for game viewing as it will be the end of the dry season. The rainy season usually starts in October, but that is unpredictable. The nights could be around 13 degrees with the temperature reaching the early 30s during the day. Another option to consider that is much closer is the Okavango Delta (Chobe) in Botswana. I love Chobe. It is a fabulous experience. There are day trips from Vic Falls to Chobe that you can do. I hope that this helps.

  2. Wow, this all looks amazing! I’m sure I’ve seen photos of this before, but never with this much detail about the whole area. Thank you for sharing!

    • The area is a treasure trove and it can keep you busy for quite a while. It is also really easy to do great day trips into the Okavango Delta from Victoria Falls as well.

  3. I seriously can’t wait until we are able to visit Victoria falls – it is definitely on our must see list!! Hoping either in our next two trips overseas!

  4. I love your gorgeous photos and all the info you provide! Sounds like an incredible place to come visit. I appreciate all your tips too. THanks!

  5. the Victoria Falls looks stunning… I would LOVE to see this in person! I can’t believe how much water volume there is, that’s amazing!
    I will put this on my bucket list for sure! (although I’ll probably skip the bungie jumping ; ) )

  6. I have always wanted to visit Victoria Falls. I grew up in Kenya but never made the trip to the falls. I hope to go back one day and check out the falls!

  7. Those falls do look awesome. And I can imagine needing the umbrella when you are in the right location. I also love the bridge that they made out there. It all looks like a place I would love to visit.

  8. I love how thorough this post is – from costs to time to visit to places to eat (and enjoy a few libations ;P)! My family and I have been wanting to visit Victoria Falls. This would definitely help with the planning.

    • I am glad that you found it useful. I hope that you have an opportunity to visit as it is a very special place.

    • I am not into the adrenaline junkie activities either. The scenery on the cruise is quite spectacular.

  9. Wow! The Victoria Falls look so beautiful! We’ve never traveled to this part of the world, but would love to go there someday. We wouldn’t do the zipline or bungee jumping, but the the sunset cruise sounds interesting! We’ve never been on a cruise from which we could see elephants, giraffes, hippos, baboons, etc. So cool!

    • It is an amazing experience to be part of the day to day life of the animals without being intrusive. It is fabulous to watch them as they are not in the least bit scared because they are used to the boats on the water.

  10. Wow, I did not know this is one of the 7 natural world wonders. I wonder if the Iguazu falls are also on it, seem to be even bigger than Victoria.
    I really like the level of details in this post, I did not know there are so many cool activities possible 🙂 We hope to make it to Africa anytime soon.

    • I was not sure of the answer so I did some research. Iguazu is wider with 275 falls cascading over three kilometres of river. However it is Victoria that is home to the largest curtain of falling water in the world. I would love to visit Iguazu as well.

  11. What a great recap. $20 in US dollars is cheap for views like this. Ziplining interests me, but the bungee jumping in the area can be experienced by others.

  12. I always love seeing photos of Victoria Falls—it’s such an amazing waterfall! That’s nice to know you don’t have to use a guide. We always enjoy going at our own pace, so we would definitely want to go without a guide. And good tip about remembering your passport for crossing the bridge! We almost forgot ours when we crossed the bridge at Niagara Falls, lol! Would be fun to eat at Lookout Café and catch the views of the falls and high wire activities!

  13. I hope to organize a family trip to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls is at the top of the list. I didn’t realize that the water flow as so immense – 500 million litres of water a minute is crazy! We will definitely stay near Victoria Falls, hopefully at the Safari Lodge 🙂 Thank you for the detailed itinerary.

  14. I didn’t realize Victoria Falls had so much to offer, in my head it was just the falls but your guide proves me wrong. That sunset cruise looks beautiful! Definitely on my bucket list since its one of the Natural Wonders of the World and overall stunning. Curios as to how many Natural Wonders of the World you’ve been to?

  15. Oh, that looks wonderful! I always wanted to try the devil’s pool on the top of the waterfalls. But very interesting fact about the bridge! And the white water rafting must be a lot of fun too!

  16. I went white water rafting for the first time ever in Nepal earlier this year. It was so much fun that I definitely want to do it again and Victoria Falls sounds like one of the must white water raft destinations. Would you recommend staying on the Zambia or Zimbabwe side?

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