Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe or Zambia
When in Africa the Victoria Falls is a ‘MUST SEE’. This 1.7 kilometer width of river plunges down 100m into a narrow chasm which zig zags through a series of eight steep gorges.
The Zambezi River forms the boundary between Zimbabwe and Zambia and both countries have spectacular views of these majestic falls. The Victoria Falls Bridge spans the falls with a churning chasm of boiling water below. In the middle of the bridge you can stand with one foot in each country and look down at the pounding, awesome sight of 700,000 cubic meters of water crashing down between two parallel cliffs of granite. Astounding, breathtaking sight!!
Zimbabwe Has a Lot Going For It!!
- 75% of the falls are seen from the Zimbabwean side with 16 view points in a rainforest created by the spray from the falls, and a network of paths along the facing cliff at eye level with the falls.
- Hotels and activities are lower priced than Zambia due to lower government taxes and levies.
- A true rainforest which never dies up, created by these powerful falls.
- Even in the dry season in October and November, Zimbabwe side has an impressive water flow over Main Falls and Devils Cataract.
- Most of the popular activities can be done in either country; however, Microlight Flights, Devils Swim and Livingstone Island Tour can only be done in Zambia. Game Viewing opportunities are better in Zimbabwe.
- The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is situated less than one kilometre from the Falls. Many of the Hotels and Lodges are within close striking distance of the Falls. Victoria Falls is a much smaller, pretty, little tourist town than Livingstone in Zambia, and everything is more convenient and accessible.
- The negative exposure over the last decade has not stopped millions of tourists from enjoying this wonderous destination.
Zambia Has Some Niche Advantages!!
In spite of having only 25% view of the Falls, of prices being higher than in Zimbabwe, the flow of the Falls in the dry season being very low and Livingstone being 10 kilometres from the falls, there are many great reasons to stay on the Zambian side of the Falls.
- There is an adequate network of paths and viewpoints that give a very different experience of the Falls.
- You can look right down the length of the Falls at Sunset and yet be close enough to exit the gate before they close them.
- There are two hotels close to the entrance of the Victoria Falls, The Royal Livingstone Hotel and the Avani Resort. Residents at these two hotels are entitled to Free entrance to the Zambian section of the Falls via their own entrance gate. This is a huge advantage and big money saver.
- Livingston Island Tours are only available from the Zambian side. This is highly recommended activity as you get to see the Falls from above the and exactly where David Livingston saw it for the first time. A huge adrenaline rush as swirling, rushing waters surround you and careen over the edge of the precipice.
- Microlight Flights are only done in Zambia.
- Swimming in Devils Pool right on the edge of the Falls can only be done from Zambia. This is really an amazing thing to do. The pool is a calm body of water with a ledge between you and rushing, gushing water plunging down 100m of the granite cliff rim. This activity can only be enjoyed from mid-August to mid-January when the waters are lower.
- At other times of the year you can swim in Angel’s Pool which is a natural infinity pool 1.5 meters from the edge. A wow experience!!
The ideal is to see the Falls from both sides. But if you are only able to visit one country I would have to recommend Zimbabwe as it has a superior section of the Falls, better locality and wildlife opportunities. If you end up going to Zambia at the height of the dry season all you will see is an impressive but dry rock face and I feel you will be slightly disappointed.
By crossing the bridge between the two countries you can get to see the best of both. You will need a visa. A good one to purchase is the New Univisa which will cost you US$50 and give you access to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. Depending on what you plan to do check if it would be less expensive to buy a single-entry visa.
Exciting stuff on both sides!!