3 Days in Victoria Falls – Trip Planning

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3 Days in Victoria Falls – Trip Planning

Getting to know

Victoria Falls is the second largest waterfall and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, perfect reasons for me to visit that far from home. The falls stands in border between Zimbabwe and Zamia, and each side has it’s own charms. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. 

Moving from the Zambia side to the Zimbabwe side of the falls can be achieved by taking a taxi to the border post, or by simply walking across the bridge on foot and hiring a taxi into town on the Zimbabwe side. The closest town in Zimbabwe is called Victoria Falls and in Zambian Side called Livingstone and they functions more as a typical African town than a tourist destination. Both side of the border town has it’s own international airport makes it easy for tourists around the world. 

With a width of 5540 ft (1688 m) and height of 355 ft. (108 m), in it’s high season millions of cubic feet of water plunging over the edge each minute with sprays visible for miles reaching up to 1300 ft (400 m) or higher creates a spectacular view. No wonder why it is often called ‘the smoke that thunders’. 

While visiting on Zambian side of the falls you need to walk along the cliff opposite the waterfalls and can get completely soaked. The views of the waterfalls is little different on the Zimbabwe side than Zambian side, since you could see the front of the falls from a distance without getting soaked.

Best Time to Visit

If you want to enjoy the world’s largest sheet of falling water plunging at it’s greatest volume then February to May, right after the region’s summer rains would be ideal time to visit.

I am visiting in the month of October knowing that the falls is less attractive but I have no choice. October through November at the end of the dry winter period – the water level is lowest and the weather is very hot and humid. Advantage is that low water levels guarantee you’ll have panoramic views without mist on both sides of the Falls, but the Zambian side may dry up and you may end up seeing bare rock face. Water flow on the Zimbabwean side is permanent but recedes in volume with the seasons.

In October – November:

October average temperature in Livingstone is hot about 79 ºF (26 °C). 
Afternoons can be very hot with average high temperatures reaching above 93º F (34°C ). 
Overnight temperatures are generally somewhat warm with an average low of  65ºf (18 °C).

In February – May

February average temperature in Livingstone is fairly hot about 74 ºF (23 °C). 
Afternoons can be very hot with average high temperatures reaching above 85º F (23°C ). 
Overnight temperatures are generally somewhat warm with an average low of  65ºf (189°C).

How to Get There

By Air:

There are daily flights from cities like Harare (HRE), Zimbabwe or Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa to below airports which are very close to Victoria falls. 

Livingstone Airport (LVI), Zambia 

Victoria Falls Airport (VFA), Zimbabwe

Visa – No Visa Required

Zambia Visa:

For US Passport holders, a single-entry visa, valid for up to 90 days, may be obtained at a port of entry. Day visitors from neighboring countries can obtain day-trip visas at the border.

Visitors can apply visa on arrival or at your Zambian embassy or you can also apply e-Visa online or click here to see if your nationality require visa.

Day tripper visa; US$ 20, Transit or Single entry visa; US$50; double or multiple entry visa; US$80

Zimbabwe Visa:

If you are traveling to Zimbabwe for tourism, business, or transit, you may obtain a visa at the airports or other border ports-of-entry. There is currently no option of getting a Zimbabwean tourist visa in advance through the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington. You can expect to pay 30 USD for a 30-day/single-entry visa or 60 USD for a 60-day/multiple entry visa. Check visa requirements for your nationality here.

3 Days in Victoria Falls – Top Things To Do

Johannesburg –> Livingstone, Zambia –> Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe –> Johannesburg

Day 1: Friday October 13, 2017

Arriving at Livingstone Airport (LVI), Zambia at 12:20 pm, applying for multiple entry visa on arrival. My hotel is located in city center only 3 miles away from the airport. We will be taking hotel’s airport shuttle service, available 24 hours with a charge of US$10 per vehicle (one way). After check in I plan to couple of activities:

Visit Victoria Falls

A taxi to Victoria Falls from Livingstone town costs around $10, also good idea check with the hotel if they provide a free shuttle bus. 

The cost of entry is $20 in Zambia. Guide is usually $20, but exploring on your own is easy so you don’t really need a guide. 

Devil’s Pool

Victoria Falls is well known around the world so, of course, it was at the very tippy top of my list. However, seeing as there are so many different ways to experience the beauty and power of the falls, I decided that the best way was sitting directly on the edge, in Devil’s Pool. Devil’s Pool is located on the Zambian side of the falls and is truly as must-do activity. If you’re like me and enjoy a good adrenaline rush and some very worthy pictures for friends and family, then this will be perfect for you. After swimming in the pool, an added bonus is the eggs benedict breakfast you’ll get to enjoy afterwards on Livingstone Island, a truly delicious way to top off the adventure.

Zambezi River Sunset – Victoria Falls – Livingstone

The Zambezi River Boat Cruise at Victoria Falls in Zambia is a great way to experience the most amazing sunsets in victory falls. The 2½ hours cruise circles along the river boundary of Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Parkcircling along the river boundary of the nearby Islands and returning to the pier. On the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls sightings of elephant, giraffe, buffalo and waterbucks coming down to the river to drink are common. There are also abundant hippos, crocodiles and birdlife for viewing on the relaxing evening. The cruise starts around 4.00 PM. Check with Wild Side Tours and Safaris for reservation.

Day 2: Saturday October 14, 2017

In the morning my plan is to cross  the border from Zambia to Zimbabwe, obtain single entry visa on arrival and head directly to my hotel. Single entry on arrival visa (for US citizens) will cost US$30.00, double entry US$45.00 and multiple entry US$55.00. Click here for visa requirements of any specific conutry. 

Game Drive in Zambezi National Park, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

You will have the opportunity to see the Big 5 in Victoria Falls. Enjoy a Victoria Falls Game Drive in the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe. Tour starts at 06:00 am and again at 3:00 pm. Cost is about US$ 70.00.

Visit Victoria from from Zimbabwe side

In Zimbabwe, there’s a trail opposite a large stretch of the waterfall that extends for more than one kilometer with a variety of 16 viewpoints. So you will have more complete amazing view of the falls. During peak flow, you can see four of the five different sections of falls on this side: The Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls. 

Day 3: Sunday October 15, 2017

After a over night trip to the town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, I will return back to Livingstone, Zambia. 

Activities For Rest of The Day

Half-Day Nature Walk in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park from Livingstone

Experience the African bush and look for game and birdlife on this 3-hour tour to Musi-oa-Tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage size on the Zambia side of Victoria Falls. With a guide, you’ll take a nature walk to see animals such as giraffes, zebras, warthogs, and the park’s white rhino. In addition, admire the variety of vegetation, including teak and mahogany trees. Light snacks and drinks and hotel transfer from LIvingstone are included. Select a morning or afternoon departure time when booking.

Visit the Local Market

Visiting the market in Livingstone is a great way to enjoy local tradition and culture. Like many developing countries, you will be called constantly to buy products but like locals, enjoy bargaining and make sure to settle for something when you get it at the local price.  

Bungee Jump from Victoria Falls Bridge

Experience Africa’s biggest adrenaline rush with this bungee jumping, bridge swing or biplane adventure at the Victoria Falls Bridge. Take a dive into open air surrounded by epic landscapes, rushing waterfalls and the roaring Zambezi River. It’s the thrill of a lifetime and it only takes place here!

Day 4: Monday October 16, 2017

Returning to Johannesburg 

My South African Airways flight will depart from Livingstone Airport at 1:00 pm, so got plenty of time to discover more of what Victoria falls has to offer. Will reach out to Hotel’s tour desk for different options.  

Other Activities to Consider

Zambezi River white water rafting

Rafting the Zambezi River is truly a blast and an awesome experience. This river is acclaimed as the “wildest one-day whitewater run in the World” highly regarded by white water rafting enthusiasts as one of the top ten paddling rivers on the planet! The one-day low water trip is considered to be the best one-day white water experience available in the world.

The Royal Livingstone Express Steam Train Dinner

Take a trip back in time on this 5.5 hour steam train dinner tour to the Victoria Falls Bridge.  Experience all the luxury and grandeur of a by gone era, as you’ll enjoy 5 star service, while savouring a silver service dinner, marvelling in the surrounding beauty of Victoria Falls at sunset. This is the ultimate Victoria Falls gourmet dinner experience.

How To Get Around

Livingstone, Zambia: 

Getting around Livingstone is quite easy. It’s a small town so very much walkable as long as you can handle the heat.

Taxis are available for a fare of $5 – $10, hotel reception will call them for you or you will find them in and around town. 

Bicycles are also available for hire in the town centre. Those cost $5 for one hour, $10 for half a day or $20 for a full day. 

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe:

If travelling by air, the first thing you need to think about is getting from the Victoria Falls airport to town (a distance of about 22kms). Airport transfers to any of the hotels in town is relatively cheap about US$ 14 per person. If you are in a group then Taxi will a better options as the cost from the airport to hotel may cost you between US$ 25 – 35.

Getting around Victoria Falls town is easy as this is also a small town and relatively easy to cover on foot.  

Local Food & Drink in Livingstone

A great place for having local food is Heritage Site on John Hunt Way between Airport road and Obote Ave.  Little local restaurant in Livingstone for delicious Nshima made from maize flour, fish, meat and local vegetables. 

Are you looking for a cool place to stay in Livingstone, Zambia

Ngoma Zanga Lodge, Livingstone, 963 Kariba Crescent, 217 Area, Livingstone, Zambia

Ngoma Zanga Lodge is a family owned upmarket lodge which brings about a symbiosis of Western and African flares of hospitality. This hotel provide delicious cuisine and safari excursions into the wilderness of Victoria Falls National Park, exploration of the mighty Falls, Mukuni Big Five Zoo

Cresta Sprayview, Victoria Falls, Corner Livingstone Way & Reinhard Rd, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

My Opinion and Tips

Currency Zambia: Zambian Kwacha, in Zimbabwe, 1 US$ = 9.50 ZMW (Zambian Kwacha), ATM is available at Livingstone Airport. 

Capital of Zambia: Lusaka, about 6 – 7  hours drive from Livingstone.

Currency Zimbabwe: Zimbabwean Dollar, 1 US$ = 361.90 ZWD 

Capital of Zimbabwe: Harare

Credit Cards & ATM: Credit cards are widely accepted. There are ATMs at the airport where you can get local currency upon arrival (but you need to notify your bank before your departure so that transactions does not raise any alert).

October Sunrise & Sunset: The sunrise in Livingstone, Zambia at 5:49 and sunset at 6:15pm. Click the link to see current timetable.

Electricity: 220-240 volt– Square 3pin 13 amp plugs – same as the UK. Even you may get lucky to borrow an adaptor from your hotel receptions but it is advisable to carry of your own international adaptor

Have you been to Victoria Falls? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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