We haven’t been to Victoria Falls yet but it is definitely on the list of places we would like to visit. Jennifer of the blog, From Mississippi with Love, recently went and here are her practical tips.
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Though not the highest or widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is considered the largest and therefore one of the most visited sites on the African continent. As an UNESCO Heritage site, it definitely should not be missed if you are in the region! The waterfall straddles the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River.
The easiest and most traveled route to Victoria Falls is by flight. British Airways, South African Airways, and Air Zimbabwe offer flights into Victoria Falls Airport on the Zimbabwe side. On the Zambia side, you can fly into Livingstone Airport on Proflight from Lusaka. Both airports will check for yellow fever vaccination and have counters to change money and ATMs.
For US citizens, the single-entry Zambia visa is $20, and the single-entry Zimbabwe visa is $30. Multiple-entry visas are available as well for an additional charge. If you intend on crossing the bridge multiple times, grab a multiple-entry visa at the airport! Definitely carry cash that you can use to obtain your visa as credit card is not accepted.
Another option of getting into the country is via land. Buses run from Lusaka; however, they take upwards of six hours. Alternatively, it is possible to rent a car and drive from Lusaka, Harare, or neighboring countries Namibia and Botswana. However, be forewarned that many of the roads have potholes and can make for a bumpy ride.
Zambia’s currency is the Zambian Kwacha (~5000 ZMK to 1 USD), and Zimbabwe operates on a dual currency system. Virtually any currency (definitely USD) is accepted.
Given the high number of tourists in the area, most places will accept credit card. However, it is always advised to carry some US dollars on you. In case of emergencies, USD is often accepted, if not preferred.
Once in the Victoria Falls area, it is extremely walkable. Depending on the length of time you have, walking around town is also safe during the day time. Taxis are also readily available.
English is used widely throughout the area, and the tour guides often speak multiple languages.
The available activities at Victoria Falls is highly dependent on the season you visit.
- December to March: Rainy season. The Falls are still dry at the beginning of the season but periodic rains will happen throughout the day.
- February to June: The falls in all its glory, rushing over and cascading down in a white sheet of water with May to June experiencing the highest flows. The large volume of water does create a heavy mist around the area, so visibility is reduced. Additionally, due to the power of the water during this time, many of the activities are unavailable. You are, however, still able to catch glimpses of the Falls via air.
- June to September: Arguably the best months to visit as the Falls are still experiencing somewhat heavy flow but activities may begin to open up.
- October to December: The Falls are much less picture-esque as this is right after dry season, but many of the activities are available.
The following activities are available at Victoria Falls:
- Aerial Tours: Helicopter and micro-light flights are available although quite pricey.
- Sunset Cruises: Two-hour cruises along the Zambezi during sunset. These are usually quite affordable, may offer dinner/open bar options, and provide scenic backdrops/wildlife spottings!
- Bungee Jumping/Gorge Swings/Ziplining: One of the most famous and adrenaline-filled ways of experiencing Victoria Falls is being in it–quite literally. All three activities take place at/near Victoria Falls Bridge, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is undeniably worth the experience as something you’ll definitely be able to write home about!
- Devil’s Pool: A natural swimming pool formed at the edge of the Falls, this is not for the faint of heart. Starting at Livingstone Island, you’ll be guided on a hike through the upper parts of the Falls to reach the swimming hole, and once there, you’re able to swim around, look over, and take pictures on the side of the Falls. Only available during the dry season.
About the Author
Growing up in rural Mississippi, Jennifer always dreamed of exploring the world. Since those days, she’s developed irresistible wanderlust and called a number of places home: US (San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Philadelphia), England, Malawi, Liberia, Israel, and most recently, Kenya. She’s in love with her sports teams (the New Orleans Saints and Manchester City), running (currently training for the Berlin marathon), and adrenaline sports (skydiving, cliff jumping, bungee jumping, sandboarding). One day, she hopes to utilize her love of cooking and sports by opening up her own Southern-style boozy brunch sports pub. Follow her on her blog, From Mississippi with Love or @jennnnnwong on instagram.
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