Known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke Which Thunders – Victoria Falls is a natural waterfall of such epic proportion and magnitude that the question is not whether to visit but rather on which side to stay: Zambian or Zimbabwean. The experiences are very different and so much depends on your personal preferences and how your visit sits within your overall itinerary design.
Victoria Falls town and airport are on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls. Compared to Livingstone on the Zambian side, it is much more developed and sophisticated with large hotels, including the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel, and a choice of restaurants and a selection of shops. The smart new international airport has rapidly become an important hub for southern Africa. Victoria Falls is bursting at its seams with visitors; it has never been busier and hotels are expanding to keep up with the increasing influx of tourists.
Livingstone town and airport are on the Zambian side of the Falls. Much less developed in comparison, Livingstone has a really good daily market which is fabulous for textiles as well as the Livingstone museum. Upstream from Livingstone there is a selection of exquisite small lodges dotted along the banks of the Zambezi and some of the best lodges in Africa. They are situated well away from the hullabaloo of the immediate area around the Falls. Instead, here you enjoy tranquil riverside settings, staying in attractive cottage accommodation in beautiful gardens with expansive lawns where hippo like to graze by night.
Depending on your preferences, another option is to see the Falls from both sides. The Zambezi River starts in Zambia, flows through Angola and 850 miles downstream from its source, crashing over the mile wide Victoria Falls, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The border posts are at either end of the famous Victoria Falls Bridge over the gorge and it is a straight forward road transfer or walk over the bridge between countries. In fact, on entry into Zambia or Zimbabwe you can ask for a Kaza uni-visa allowing unlimited travel between the two countries and so irrespective of where you are staying, it is easy to view the Falls from both sides.
One factor which may affect your decision is the time of year you chose to visit. Towards the end of the dry season, from around October, the Zambian side of the Falls usually dries up before the rains begin at the end of the year, whereas the Zimbabwean side flows year round. It is therefore important to speak to an experienced safari agent who will advise on all aspects of your stay and the best option to visit Victoria Falls within your itinerary.
The Victoria Falls are a must see and we usually recommend a one or two night stay.