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victoria falls

Travel Guide: Victoria Falls

To the point Everything you need to know about travelling to Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls, along with Niagara Falls and Iguaçu Falls, are among the most majestic and spectacular waterfalls in the world because of their size and unparalleled flow. They are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

victoria falls
victoria falls

Planning

Located in the heart of Africa, the Zambezi River flows through a 1,700m wide fissure giving us a captivating spectacle. This river is a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zambezi River
Zambezi River

You can access it from two airports, but the city of interest is Livingstone in Zambia. I recommend that you stay there. There were many more activities available in Livingstone than in Zimbabwe.

However, it’s worth taking a trip across the border for different and much more beautiful views.

Victoria Falls

Before David Livingstone discovered the falls and named them in honour of Queen Victoria, they were known as Mosi-ao-Tunya, which means “smoke that roars”.

The fog sprayed by the falls rises up to 400 meters high and is visible up to 40 km away in the rainy season.

rumbling
rumbling
tropical microclimate
tropical microclimate

The best views of the waterfalls are from the Zimbabwe side as we face the falls. So we have a more global view. There is a unique trail to follow to view the falls. We spent half a day there and that was enough in my opinion.

Zimbabwe side
Zimbabwe side

To get a better idea of their scale, you can get close to them on the Zambian side. This is also the most developed and most touristic side. That’s where you can find operators to book activities.

zambia side
zambia side

I also recommend a helicopter ride to see the entire Zambezi River as it flows by. It’s massive in terms of surface area!

Activities

Victoria Falls always has something to offer visitors no matter the season. There is no consensus on the best time to go.

Although it may seem illogical to go see the waterfalls at a time when they would be at their driest, the activities that allow us to fully enjoy the falls are only available when the water levels are lower.

zambezi river in dry season
zambezi river in dry season
dry season
dry season
  • January to March: rainy season.
  • February to May: the falls are at their heaviest flow following the rainy season.
  • October to December: dry season is the best time to do activities.

So there is no bad weather to visit Livingstone, it depends on what you would like to do.

There were a range of activities available in Livingstone, the most popular are:

  • whiteriver rafting,
  • bungee jump (from the bridge linking the two countries),
  • Devil’s Pool,
  • canoe on the Zambezi.

I recommend you, without hesitation, to take a dip in Devil’s pool! Only between October and December when the water level allows it of course.

During the low flow season, the falls are sometimes reduced to only a few cascades, apart from each other. So there are paths to get there.

Devils Pool
Devils Pool

In my experience, Devil’s Pool is still a safe activity, but it’s not completely risk-free either. You have to go with guides from a reputable company.

This was the highlight of my trip to Zambia, but I must admit that I never dared to show these pictures to my parents…

on the edge of the pool
on the edge of the pool
.On the Edge
.On the Edge

At the limit of this natural pool, there is a 1.5m wide edge that prevents us from being swept away by the current. When I was in the pool and leaning against that low wall, I felt very safe, but when we took turns standing on the edge, I have to admit that the view in front of me was pretty scary.

The guides make sure that we are secure and they take care of the photos to prevent us from stumbling on unknown terrain.

Tribute to David Livingstone
Tribute to David Livingstone

Getting to and staying in Victoria Falls

There are several direct flights to Livingstone Airport and Victoria Falls Airport from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Addis Ababa. There are plenty of taxis that can take you from one side of the border to the other so choose the airport that suits you.

In my case, my visit to Victoria Falls was an extension of my trip to South Africa and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. So to get there and make the most of your trip, it is very easy to combine this little detour with a trip to South Africa.

With the new Aeroplan program, flight reward tickets start at 50,000 points in economy class and 80,000 points in business class for a one-way trip from Montreal.

Then, a short-haul flight on South African Airways will only cost you 7,500 Aeroplan points since the distance is only 574 miles (JNB-VFA). Check out this page for the best Aeroplan credit card offers.

I loved my stay in Livingstone in The Zambezi Waterfront.

It is a rather young place where you can sleep in your own tent, a permanent tent or small cottages. The facilities were super clean and there was a common area with a very good restaurant. Youth hostel vibes, after all! I will definitely go back!

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Important notes

Visas are available on arrival in Zambia and Zimbabwe for Canadians. As for credit cards, they are accepted almost everywhere in Livingstone. Remember to bring a credit card with no foreign currency conversion fees.

Like the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® for example.

To follow my adventures on my Instagram account @wanderingaline, it’s this way!

Also, feel free to check out my latest articles!

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