Victoria Falls, the World Wonder of Zimbabwe and Zambia

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Victoria Falls is one of the Natural Wonders of the World and is a must-see on any South African safari itinerary. But once you’ve made the decision to go, you have to choose which side to take: Zambia or Zimbabwe?

Zambia

  • Drinks on deck at The Royal Livingstone
  • Swimming in Devil’s Pool (dry season only)
  • Exciting close-up of the Knife-Edge Bridge
  • Romantic cottages along the river
  • Good dinner aboard the Livingstone Express steam train

Zimbabwe

  • The official currency is the US dollar
  • Never dry (even in October and November)
  • Several vantage points, including stunning views of Main Falls
  • In front of a path parallel to the waterfalls
  • Larger choices for shopping and dining
  • No yellow fever certificate required

Victoria Falls is located on the mighty Zambezi River, which forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

View of the Waterfalls

Image Source: Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Victoria Falls consists of a number of waterfalls. The Zimbabwe side certainly has wider views and many other vantage points, including the iconic Main Falls and Rainbow Falls.

But if you visit Zambia’s waterfalls, you can get closer to the water. In high season you don’t want to miss crossing the Knife Edge Bridge! And if the water level is a bit lower, take the beautiful Boiling Pot trail at the base of the falls. The path is steep but worth it. But timing is everything.

Accommodation

Image Source: Kanhema, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is right by the falls, so there is a wide choice of accommodation within walking distance. However, many of travelers choose to stay a little further upstream, away from the crowds around the falls. Tucked away among the trees on the banks of the Zambezi River, luxury cottages offer a peaceful retreat after a busy day at the falls.

When to visit?

Image Source: Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wherever you stay, we recommend that you visit the other side of the falls as well. Multiple entry visa allows you to travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia as often as you like within a period of 30 days.

When it comes to the best time to visit, Victoria Falls are most impressive between February and June, when the water level in the Zambezi River is at its peak. That said, July and August are arguably our favorite times of the year as there’s a little less spray to hide the view.

Around October to early December, parts of the Zambian side of the falls dry out completely, leaving you looking down into a deep, rocky abyss. At low water levels, parts of the Zambian side can dry out completely.

Activities and Events

Whether you prefer adrenaline-fuelled adventures (helicopter jumps, microlight flights, rope jumping, rafting) or something a little more relaxed (sunset river cruises, fishing), you can do all these activities and more in Zambia or Zimbabwe.

However, some popular activities are limited to the Zambian side of the falls, the first of which is a trip to Livingstone Island. Livingstone Island is on the edge of Victoria Falls and this is where Dr. David Livingsone first saw the falls – an experience he described as “such adorable scenes must have been seen by angels on the run”.

Swim in Devil’s Pool on the Zambian Side of the Falls

The views of the island are breathtaking, but to really live on the outskirts, take a dip in Devil’s Pool! If you have time, you can of course take a day trip to Chobe (available in Zambia or Zimbabwe). Animal safaris in Chobe National Park are notoriously good.

What to eat and buy?

With the city of Victoria Falls right there, Zimbabwe is the best choice for souvenir shopping. Try Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist’s Village, which has shops selling luxury jewelry, sculptures, clothing and leather goods, the prices are fixed. Bring extra money to shop at Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist’s Village in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe certainly has the largest selection of eateries as well. There are fewer options in Zambia, but some really stand out.

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