The majestic Victoria Falls lie on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The falls are reputed to be the largest in the world after the Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil and the Niagra Falls in the USA/Canada, although they are neither the world’s highest, widest or have the largest volume. The falls are in a long gorge carved by the mighty Zambezi river.
There is much debate about which side is the better for viewing the falls. I went to both sides and can say both are worthwhile. The Zimbabwe stretch is longer, but you get closer to the falls (and wetter) on the Zambia side. The Zambia side has the famous “Devil’s pool” in which you can (relatively) safely sit on the edge and look down over the falls. The pool was closed when we visited due to high water levels. On the Zimbabwe side you pay slightly more for entrance than the Zambia side ($30 as opposed to $20 at the time of writing). Expect all activities to be a drain on your bank balance.
The town on the Zimbabwe side is called Victoria Falls and is a more pleasant place to stay than Livingstone. It is walking distance to the Falls and has many good eating options, which are fewer and further between in Livingstone. It is also a major adventure sports capital, with bungy, white water rafting and various tours available. We opted for the canopy tour. It is not a cheap place – it is a boom town and prices are considerably higher than anywhere else in Zimbabwe. Note, that there is a shortage of cash in the ATMs, meaning you have to bring $US for your entire stay or pay for everything by credit card.
On our final night, we went to the Boma dinner and drum show. I was expecting a cheesy tourist show and while it was certainly touristy, it was a load of fun! They gave everyone a drum and had a massive drum off, finishing with huge dance with everyone joining in!
With great sadness and regret I said farewell to Anita, my travelling companion for the last month in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. I carried on alone by walking over the bridge to the Zambia side of the border. Livingstone is named after the famous Scottish missionary and explorer, David Livingstone, who was the first European to explore the area. It’s located about 6km from the falls, which means you have to take a taxi costing around $10 one way, which can become a bit of a pain.
After visiting the falls again on the Zambia side, I walked to the Royal Livingstone Hotel, set in a national park, right by the falls on the Zambezi river. It’s a magnificent hotel, where you can enjoy a drink and watch the sunset over the river on a special purpose deck. It’s not a cheap place – expect to pay over $20 for a sandwich in the snack bar.
I rounded off the trip to Victoria Falls with a game drive, specifically to see rhinos, the only of the Big Five I had not seen on a previous trip to Tanzania, 10 years previously. It was an awesome drive, meandering along the banks of the Zambezi river in the shade. We saw, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes and various monkey and gazelles. The rhinos were a little distance away and are guarded from poachers by the military, so the location is known, guaranteeing a sighting. You must leave your vehicle and approach the rhinos on foot, as they get easily disturbed by the noise of the vehicle.