My dream has come true! To see Victoria Falls (waterfalls) – done! I visited them in Zambia in August 2023 🙂
Victoria Falls is a MUST-SEE in Africa. They are the only waterfalls with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than a hundred meters. This combination makes it the LARGEST waterfall in the world! 🙂
Let me tell you everything important in this article about them and what you should know as a tourist 🙂
P.S. Please note, I’m kind of a backpacker, so I try to travel low-cost 🙂
They are situated along the Zambezi River, between Zambia and Zimbabwe. You must decide whether to stay on the Zambian or Zimbabwean side of the river. But it’s easy to cross the bridge, enter another country, and spend a day on the other side (BUT you need a visa to Zimbabwe. A single-entry visa costs 30 dollars. Zambia is a visa-free country)
I decided to stay on the Zambian side in the city Livingstone 10 km far from VF. The people are nice and friendly. There’s everything you need. The city is pretty cheap. I must say Livingstone is my most favorite city in Africa now! 🙂
Where to stay
I recommend Fawlty Towers. They offer private (even luxurious) rooms as well as dormitory rooms (12 dollars). There’s a large garden, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. They also organize tours (although a bit pricey). The staff is amazing! Very friendly and helpful! 🙂
TIPS! There’s drinking tap water in the kitchen, so you can even save some money. You can get 2 pancakes for free every day at about 3 p.m. There’s a small shopping mall (with a supermarket, pharmacy, an ATM) just opposite.
How to get to Victoria Falls from Livingstone
The cheapest way – go to the MINIBUS (not big bus) station at the central market and take a direct minibus to the falls. It takes about 10 minutes and costs only 10 Kwacha. Drivers wait until the minibus is full but it’s a busy route, so the waiting time is short.
The middle way – take a shared taxi (more people inside) from the minibus station. It costs 20 Kwacha. Drivers usually wait until the car is full.
The expensive way – take a private taxi wherever in the city. They charge 100 Kwacha to the falls.
To get back? The same way 🙂
When to visit Victoria Falls
The worst months are October and November. It’s the peak of the driest season. The rainy season starts mostly in December. The best time is sometime from December to May. April and May are the best months for the greatest volume of water.
BUT it’s not allowed to visit Devil’s Pool (see later) in the rainy season because it’s dangerous because of the volume. Moreover, the water spray of the falls might be annoying for you to move around. It can also be hard to take a nice photo because of the spray (but it’s said there are still places where you can). It can also be a hard vacation for you because it often rains in the rainy season, and when it doesn’t, it’s hot because it’s also the summer season.
I visited Victoria Falls in August, and they were fine (see the photo). There was no spray. But honestly, to see the falls in the rainy season must be a different story.
What to do in Victoria Falls or Livingstone
Victoria Falls in Zambia – The entrance fee is 20 Dollars (in Zimbabwe 50 dollars + single entry visa 30 dollars).
You can walk around, and see the falls from the top and also from the bottom (hard hike). I spent there 3 hours. I didn’t go to the bottom part because it was hot. You can see the trails, where you can walk on this map:
Safari for free at Royal Hotel – do you want to watch zebras, antelopes, and giraffes for free? It’s possible! Next to Victoria Falls, there is an entrance to a hotel complex where these animals hang around!
Livingstone Museum – very informative. If you like reading, you can spend there the whole day. I skipped some parts and visited the section about David Livingstone and the history of Zambia. It costs 100 Kwacha.
Big tree – baobab near Victoria Falls. The location can be found on Google maps.
These other activities I haven’t tried but are recommended by tourists whom I met:
Devil’s Pool – There’s a small pool that’s protected from currents, enabling you to literally be on the edge of the falls, looking down the veil of water. It’s pricey. It costs 120 dollars (you spend 20 minutes on the edge). But no tourists have ever told me it was a waste of money because it’s a unique experience which you can’t experience anywhere else in the world!
Rhino walk – you walk with a guide in a nearby safari park to meet rhinos. It costs 150 dollars. But again, tourists don’t regret the money.
Bike tour – It costs 30 dollars. You ride a bike with a guide who shows you around the city of Livingstone and the surroundings including VF. Entrances aren’t included. Tourists love this tour.
P.S. I can’t recommend visiting Railway Museum. It’s expensive – 15 dollars and it’s said it’s not worth the money. Also Reptile Park (15 dollars), crocodiles are closed and not in good condition. It’s said. Also Mukuni village (50 dollars). It’s a rip-off. Go to another village. Make friends and see how they live for free.
Is it possible to see Victoria Falls for free?
Yes! If you’re really on a budget, there’s a high bridge where you can get some nice views of the falls for free! You can do it while crossing to Zimbabwe or tell the Zambian border officers you want to see the bridge. They give a small piece of gate paper (no passport stamp). You cross the border, see the bridge, and then go back to Zambia without crossing the border to Zim. The Zim border is behind the bridge.
Where to go shopping
There’s a small shopping mall just opposite Fawlty Towers with a Shoprite supermarket, a pharmacy, fast food restaurants, and so on. There’s also a local market and souvenir market in the city. There are also plenty of (fast-food) restaurants.
Where to buy souvenirs
You can buy souvenirs at the entrance to the falls. There are a lot of stalls. Or you can buy them in Mukuni park in Livingstone.
How to travel around the city
It’s possible to just walk around the city center. If you want to get farther, there are shared taxis (taxi cars, no minibusses) which take you around. One way is 15 Kwacha for one zone. The city is divided into zones. How to catch them? Just wait at the main road in the right direction. Shared taxis hoot when passing and stop if you indicate. There are also private taxi drivers who will stop you in the city all the time (they’re very annoying), and offer you their service. Be very careful! They often overcharge tourists. The fair price is about 40-50 Kwacha around the city during the day.
Where to eat traditional food
The restaurant Da Canton – you should definitely try Kapenta (small fish with Shima (maize meal), and African spinach), fish, and village chicken.
Spar and Shoprite supermarkets – they sell cooked food there. You easily recognice unusual/traditional food there.
Livingstone museum restaurant – a pretty expensive one
What to do in the evening
The nightlife – there are 2 favorite clubs in LV, one is Vix, and the most famous one is Limpos, both just a minute from Fawlty Towers. They are open every night. You can taste their national beer (Lite), dance, listen to local music (Limpos, Wednesday – Friday), sing karaoke (Vix, Thursdays), and meet easily a lot of locals.
….that’s all from me. So would you like to visit the falls? You should! 🙂
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