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Victoria Falls, ''the town'', is in the western portion of [[Zimbabwe]], across the border from [[Livingstone]], [[Zambia]], and near [[Botswana]].   The town lies immediately next to the falls, and they are the major drawcard, but this popular tourist destination offers both adventure seekers and sightseers plenty of opportunities for a longer stay.
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:''The article deals with the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls. For information on the Zambian side, see [[Livingstone]].''
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'''Victoria Falls''' is a town in the western portion of [[Zimbabwe]], across the border from [[Livingstone]], [[Zambia]], and near [[Botswana]]. The town lies immediately next to the falls, and they are the major attraction, but this popular tourist destination offers both adventure seekers and sightseers plenty of opportunities for a longer stay
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After the quiet 2006-2010 years tourist numbers are now back to historical levels, with many package tour operators adding Vic Falls back to their itineraries, and this is easily Zimbabwe's busiest tourist destination. In response there appears a high level of cartelisation and price fixing, with prices for accommodation and activities suspiciously high, even though the hotels are not full and activity operators not operating at full capacity. Hence Vic Falls is considerably more expensive than other destinations in Zimbabwe.
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==Understand==
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No doubt about it, ''Mosi-oa-Tunya'' (meaning "The Smoke That Thunders") -- but more commonly known as '''Victoria Falls''' -- is one of the most amazing sights in the world. The Falls are twice as tall as [[Niagara Falls]], and several times longer.  Although not the highest, widest or greatest volume of water, they have the largest sheet of water for any fall in the world, and are a sight not to be missed.
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===History===
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It took thousands of years of erosion for Victoria Falls to appear as and where it does now. Mosi-oa-Tunya, or "the smoke that thunders” only became known to the western world as Victoria Falls after David Livingstone first set eyes on this astonishing natural wonder in 1855, a heartbeat ago in geological time.
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==== How the Falls Were Formed ====
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During the Jurassic Period (150-200 million years ago) volcanic activity resulted in thick basalt deposits covering large parts of Southern Africa. As the lava cooled and solidified, cracks appeared in the hard basalt crust, which were filled with clay and lime. Erosion and the course of the mighty Zambezi River cut through these softer materials, forming the first of a series of waterfalls. Over at least 2,000 years, the Falls have receded 8km upstream, as the Zambezi carved its way through seven gorges. This geological history can be seen in the dark basalt in the series of rocky gorges below the Falls. It is guessed that the Devil's Cataract, which is presently the lowest point of Victoria Falls, will eventually become the next gorge as the river continues to cut its way back upstream.
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Essentially the river falls into a gorge directly in front of the falls, and then flows through a narrow cutting.  You can view the falls straight on from across the gorge.
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====Dr. David Livingstone, I presume?====
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Scottish missionary David Livingstone first heard about Victoria Falls, known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, a full four years before he arrived there. The area was a sacred site for the Batoka and other local tribes. On the 17th of November 1855 Chief Sekeletu of the Makololo paddled Livingstone to an island in the Zambezi, known as Goat Island. Although the water was low at the time, it's little wonder that he felt a "tremor of fear" as he approached the wall of spray.
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Gazing down into the churning chasm below must have been a heart-stopping experience (you can still make your way out to the island  - now called Livingstone Island - from the [[Livingstone|Zambian Side]] during the dry season). Rumors abound that a Portuguese man beat him to it, but the evidence for this is scarce.  The first official description of the Falls, as penned by Livingstone, was
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'''''"No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."'''''
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=== Zambian side compared with Zimbabwean side===
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The big question is which side to visit - Zambia or Zimbabwe?  There are two things to consider, views of the falls and cost.
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Two thirds of the actual Falls lies within Zambian territory, as does Livingstone Island, from where David Livingstone first famously set eyes on the Falls.
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The water from Victoria Falls dives into a narrow gorge running parallel to the face of the falls, with the spray going high into the air, causing permanent rain, rainbows and the famous "smoke" which is visible from a distance.  So, much of the time when you are viewing the falls you are actually facing them.  The gorge where the water exits is the limit on how far you can walk from either side.  There is no crossing there.  This limits your visibility from the Zambian side, as you can only walk about a quarter of the distance of the face of the falls.  Although the view and the waterflow is impressive, you simply can't get a perspective on the full width of the falls from the Zambian side.
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The walk down to below the falls is closed on the Zimbabwean side.  You can only walk down on the Zambian side.  The footbridge on the Zambian side gives a unique experience, with a permanent torrential rain from the wet season through to August. 
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Travelers will have an assortment of visa charges involved in seeing both sides of the falls.  The variables include your nationality, single or multiple entry, and whether you will stay longer than 24 hours.
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To cross the border from Zambia to see the falls on the Zimbabwe side you will need to pay at least US$30 for a Zimbabwe single entry visa (depending on nationality), and if you want to return the Zambian side you will need to pay an extra US$20 for a multiple entry Zambian visa.  To cross the border from the Zimbabwean side to the Zambian side you will need to pay an at least US$20 for a single day Zambian visa, and at least an extra US$15 for a multiple entry Zimbabwean visa.  Don't forget you will need to decide whether you are getting a single or multiple entry visa when you first apply for it.  If you are flying from South Africa just to see the falls, consider if it is worthwhile arriving on the Zimbabwean side and leaving from the Zambian, as you will minimise your visa costs this way (but may pay more for airfares).  Flying to the Zambian side usually costs less than flying into the Zimbabwe side. 
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Still, for less than US$100 you can do both sides.
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Victoria Falls is cash only. ATMs are available in both Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls town.
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==== When to visit ====
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[[Image:Victoria_Falls_Panorama.jpg|thumb|450px|Victoria Falls]]
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The park is open year-round, but you will get a much different experience depending on the season in which you visit. 
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*In the rainy season (December to March), the water volume will be higher and the Falls will be more dramatic.  You are guaranteed to get wet if you cross the bridge or walk along the trails winding near the Falls.  On the other hand, it is precisely ''because'' the volume of water is so high that your viewing of the actual Falls will be obscured -- by all the spray!
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*In the dry season, (April to October), the water volume will be lower, and by October Victoria Falls might just be a trickle.  You will get a clearer view of the rocky ledge beneath the Falls (as of 2012 this is blocked off), which is pretty spectacular unto itself, but "the Falls" might be somewhat underwhelming.
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
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=== By plane ===
 
=== By plane ===
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British Airways [http://www.britishairways.com] and South African Airways [http://www.flysaa.com] offer daily flights between [[Johannesburg]] (JNB) and Victoria Falls Airport (VFA). Air Zimbabwe also offers flights between Victoria Falls Airport and other destinations within [[Zimbabwe]] - NB please check whether Air Zimbabwe is operating at the time of your visit, as recently their schedule has not been reliable, and they ceased operations for a period of time. Cheaper flights from [[South Africa]] are often available to neighbouring [[Livingstone]].
  
*'''British Airways''' and '''South African Airways''' all offer daily flights between [[Johannesburg]] (JNB) and Victoria Falls Airport (VFA). Air Zim also offers flights between Victoria  Falls Airport and other destinations within [[Zimbabwe]].
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=== By train ===
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[[Image:Vic falls train station.jpg|thumb|200px|The Victoria Falls station with train headed for Bulawayo.]]
  
Cheaper flights from [[South Africa]] are often available to neighbouring [[Livingstone]]
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The classic way of reaching Victoria Falls is by the overnight train from Bulawayo, now back to running daily again. This train still uses lovely but somewhat downtrodden British 1950s coaches. First class tickets are $12 while second class goes for $8, no bed linen included. With old coaches and bad maintenace, do not except everything to work fine or sleep to well. However the scenery ''is'' fantastic and during the last few hours before reaching Victoria Falls you're garanted to see alot of wildlife. Depature from Bulawayo is at 7:30PM, arriving the next morning at 9AM, altough delays are rather the norm then the exception.
  
=== By road ===
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Trains from Zambia across the spectacular Zambesi bridge have been suspended for a few years time now, however catching  a train to Livingstone and then continue by taxi is a possibility.
  
*The '''roads''' within Zimbabwe are relatively good.  The most direct way to Victoria Falls overland is from [[Bulawayo]].   
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=== By car ===
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The roads within Zimbabwe are not very good, with potholes commonplace.  The most direct way to Victoria Falls overland is from [[Bulawayo]].  There is a good road network from the South African border at Beit Bridge right through to the Falls.
  
*It's possible to '''drive''' in through [[Livingstone]]. Crossing an international border with a vehicle, however, will incur extra costs like carbon tax and insurance. Very annoying is the time consuming and disorganised procedure of obtaining a 'temporary import permit' for the car at the Zambian boarder posts. Once at the Zimbabwe boarder post the whole procedure is to be repeated, though a bit faster but also expensive,
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It's possible to drive in through Livingstone. Crossing an international border with a vehicle, however, will incur extra costs like carbon tax and insurance. Very annoying is the time consuming and disorganised procedure of obtaining a 'temporary import permit' for the car at the Zambian border post. Once at the Zimbabwe border post, the whole procedure is to be repeated, though it is a bit faster but also expensive.
*If travelling from [[Namibia]] or [[Botswana]] the best road is from [[Kasane]] in Botswana using the Kazungula border post. Distance to Vic Falls is 70 kilometers.
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[[Image:Vic falls train station.jpg|thumb|left|The Vic Falls train station. This is the train headed to [[Bulawayo]].]]
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Coming from [[Namibia]] or [[Botswana]]. the best road is from [[Kasane]] in Botswana using the Kazungula border post. Distance to Vic Falls is 70 km.
=== By train ===
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*There is a direct train route, running every night [Note: fuel shortages puportedly have reduced runs], between Vic Falls and [[Bulawayo]]. The cost for a first class ticket is negligible -- about US$ 6.00; but don't expect first class first world standards.  (Second-class tickets are available, as well, but why bother?)  This is a memorable way to travel -- the cars were built in the '50's in England -- although sleeping on the train does not lend itself to a deep, restful sleep.  On the other hand, arriving in [[Bulawayo]] or [[Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)|Victoria Falls]] in the morning, with the day ahead of you, is a real treat. (A tip to make the ride more pleasant: buy a bottle of wine in the local grocery store and enjoy it as you view the countryside.)
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=== By bus ===
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Buses operated by Intercape [http://www.intercape.co.za] plys the route between [[Windhoek]] in [[Namibia]] to Victoria Falls three times a week. Notice that the bus stops on the Zambian side, you have to cross the border by foot. A journey takes just over 14 hours and costs from R460.
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
If you stay in the swanky hotels downtown -- or even some of the budget accommodation options just outside the downtown area -- walking is manageable. Most of places are between one to three kilometers away from the Victoria Falls.  
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If you stay in the swanky hotels downtown, or even some of the budget accommodation options just outside the downtown area, walking is manageable. Most of places are no more than 3 km away from Victoria Falls.
Some of the hotels in Vic Falls are not really ''in'' Vic Falls, but most of these have their own transfer services.
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Some of the hotels in Victoria Falls are not really ''in'' Vic Falls, but most of these have their own transfer services.
  
Cabs are plentiful, and should not cost more than US$6.00 for a ride; you should bargain.
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Cabs are plentiful, and should not cost more than $6 for a ride.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
  
* Perhaps you have seen postcards, holiday snaps, or film footage of the seventh wonder of the world, '''Victoria Falls'''. But have you actually been fortunate enough to stand beside the ‘smoke that thunders’? Watching and listening as the roar of 546 million cubic meters of water, minute by minute, plunge down into a 100-metre deep gorge below.  
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* Perhaps you have seen postcards, holiday snaps, or film footage of the seventh wonder of the world, '''Victoria Falls'''. But have you actually been fortunate enough to stand beside the ‘smoke that thunders’? Watching and listening as the roar of 546 of water, minute by minute, plunge down into a 100 m deep gorge below.  
  
* Do not miss the '''Zambezi River''', which is beautiful above the falls. Best seen on a cruise, especially at sunset.
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Besides the falls themselves there are numerous land and water based activities to keep you busy for a day or two. There are several tour operators in town, who all take bookings for various activities, all are on commission, and you can only seemingly haggle over the size of the commission rather than cost of the activity.  [http://www.wildhorizons.co.za Wild Horizons] offer many of the activities, so it may be better to negotiate direct with them rather than with a tout / agency.  Alternatively, you can use sites such as [http://www.zimshack.com ZimShack.com] to compare prices of activities between tour operators, book and pay securely online before you travel to Zimbabwe.
  
For a memorable afternoon tea pop in to the Victoria Falls Hotel for a 3 tiered sandwich platter and cup of tea - expect to pay US$ 30 for the experience. A first class hotel still seemingly untouched by the country's woes though having lost the shine.
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'''Water based'''
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* '''Canoeing''' - on the river above the Falls - a nice way to see some wildlife and relax - canoeing is best described as 'drifting' at walking pace with the flow of the river. If you want to cover some distance and do the paddling yourself make this clear when you book.
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* '''White water rafting''' - on the river below the falls - spectacular and quite hair raising. Whitewater rafting day trips sell for about $110. The price includes a full day of shooting some of the best rapids in the world (including some Class V rapids!); lunch, eaten ''on the water and all the beer you can chug after the climb out.  Note that it is a tough decent on foot down the gorge to the launch point so don't wear flip flops.
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* '''Sunset cruises''' on the Zambezi River, which is beautiful above the falls. A few drinks tend to be included.  "Sunset cruise" is a bit of a misnomer as all boats have to be off the river by Sunset.  You will see most of the Sunset after you are back in the dock.
  
White-water rafting day trips sell for about $110.  The price includes a full day of shooting some of the best rapids in the world (including some Class V rapids!); lunch, eaten ''on the water and all the beer you can chug after the climb out.
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'''Victoria Falls Bridge based'''
*Visit the grand Victoria Falls Hotel for '''high tea'''. For about $30, you get tea, scones, and a magnificent view of the Falls.
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* '''Bungee-jumping / bungee swing''' - fling yourself off, either solo or tandum
*From wherever you stay you can easily arrange for a '''safari''' (prices vary), a '''sunset cruise''' (around $45), or a '''helicopter ride''' (for about $115 plus $5 National Park fee, well worth the price) over the falls.
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* '''Gorge-swing''' - a huge swing over the gorge
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* '''Flying fox / cable slide''' - described as 'mildly adventurous' this is the cheapest activity that involves jumping in to the gorge
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* '''Abseiling / rappelling''' - descend in to the gorge and climb back out.
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* '''Vic Falls Tram / Bridge tour''' [http://www.steamtraincompany.com/] - an old tram carriage from Cape Town has been brought back to life to give tourists a slow trundle down to the bridge where you get a tour and a glimpse back at the history of the construction. The steam train is also a possibility but wasn't running in November 2012.
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'''Air based'''
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* '''Helicopter ride''' - 15 minutes in a chopper - seems very popular, a downside of which is the constant noise. 
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* '''Microlight flights''' over the gorge. At present, this is only possible from the Zambia side.  Zimbabwe side operator is currently not active.  It is unclear if there is a chance for resumption of service.  The cost is roughly $140 for the 15 minute tour and $280 for the 30 minute tour.
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'''Land based'''
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*Visit the grand Victoria Falls Hotel for '''high tea'''. For about $30, you get tea, scones, a 3 tiered sandwich platter, and a magnificent view of the Victoria Falls Bridge and gorge.
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*From wherever you stay you can easily arrange for a '''safari''' (prices vary), a '''sunset cruise''' (around $45), or a '''helicopter ride''' (for about $130) over the falls.
 
*The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has a no '''knock-out casino''' on site.
 
*The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has a no '''knock-out casino''' on site.
 
*For a casino, The Kingdom Hotel does have something to offer.   
 
*For a casino, The Kingdom Hotel does have something to offer.   
Line 40: Line 112:
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
There is substantial opportunity to shop in Victoria Falls, and it's possible to find a good deal. The curio markets are just behind the post office and has dozens of tourist shops from which you may select wood and stone carvings, jewelry, t-shirts, curios, books, postcards, artwork, etc. (For fun, see if you can find the shop with the pictures of Senator and Chelsea Clinton, from their visit.)
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There is substantial opportunity to shop in Victoria Falls, and you can find a good deal. The curio markets are just behind the post office and has dozens of tourist shops from which you may select wood and stone carvings, jewelry, t-shirts, curios, books, postcards, artwork, etc. (For fun, see if you can find the shop with the pictures of Senator and Chelsea Clinton, from their visit.)
  
The hawkers sell everything from carvings to fabrics to pottery to jewelry to . . .  "Looking is free," as you will learn, and that's a good thing -- there's lots to see.  The salespeople can be aggressive; don't be afraid to say no.
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Traders in the sculpture markets are prepared to barter trade: hats, your shoes, T-shirts, pens, batteries are in demand. But think twice before you reduce people to the level of beggars. Just negotiate what you think is a fair price.
 
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Traders in the sculpture markets are prepared to barter trade - hats, your shoes, t-shirts, pens, batteries are in demand. But think twice before you reduce people to the level of beggars! Just negotiate what you think is a fair price.
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==Eat==
 
==Eat==
The downtown area features a few coffee shops, sandwich shops, and fast food options.  For a few US Dollars, you can feed an entire family.
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Vic Falls has a sprinkling of top class restaurants, several African buffets often included in package tours, and a few coffee shops, sandwich shops, and fast food options.  The price / quality ratio is pretty good and for 20 US dollars, you can feed an entire family.
  
All of the hotels have restaurants, and it is common to sample a new one each night.  One place not to miss for a sundowner: '''The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge''' offers a la carte dinner, The Boma offers a buffet 'eat as much as you can' buffet dinner with authentic African dancing. The ''Ilala Lodge'' has a nice a la carte restaurant (a bit overpriced for the portions served; and the ''In-da-Belly'' Restaurant located in the camp site is a nice place to have simple meal and hang out at the pool and meet overland travellers from around the world.
 
  
There is a Spar and Seven-Eleven'''grocery store''' in town, too.  Drinks and Food, snacks, camping supplies, have just started trickling in again at almost acceptable prices now that businesses are allowed to charge in US Dollars.
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'''Budget'''
  
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*<eat name="In Da Belly" alt="" address="" directions="in the Vic Falls rest camp / camp site)" phone="+263 13 40509/11" url="http://www.vicfallsrestcamp.com/" hours="breakfast, lunch & dinner" price="mains $6-$10" lat="" long="">In spite of the rather low brow name, the place serves up a solid menu under a thatched roof overlooking the pool and railway line. Warthog and crocodile on the menu together with more standard fare. A nice place to have simple meal and hang out at the pool and meet overland travellers from around the world. Good value also.</eat>
  
* The Boma – Place of Eating
 
* Makuwa-Kuwa at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
 
* Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge
 
* Livingstone Room at the Victoria Falls Hotel
 
* Jungle Junction at the Victoria Falls Hotel
 
 
* The Blue Baboon - Great pizzas (when they have cheese ) at Shoestring Backpackers Lodge
 
* The Blue Baboon - Great pizzas (when they have cheese ) at Shoestring Backpackers Lodge
* The restaurant at the Camp Site serves Crocodile burgers and Warthog steak!
 
  
There is '''no food available within the park'''--bring it in yourself if you need something. Also, the monkeys within Victoria Falls will try to snatch your food if you are not paying attention to it.
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There are a Spar and a Seven-Eleven'''grocery store''' in town. Drinks and Food, snacks, camping supplies, are available.
  
==Drink==
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'''Mid-range'''
Vic Falls is not known anymore for its tremendous night-life.  There are a few small bars near the downtown area, but they are not well-lit.  It might be fun to stop in, but be careful.
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Alternatively, all the hotels feature huge, well-stocked barsHowever, the prices will be higher, and you might not feel like you're in Africa anymore.
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*<eat name="The Livingstone Room" alt="" address="" directions="in the Victoria Falls hotel" phone="" url="http://www.africansunhotels.com/Index.cfm?fuseaction=hotels.info&name=the_victoria_falls_hotel&page=dining" hours="closed Sundays" price="Mains $15-25" lat="" long="">Elegant dining in elegant surroundingsThey have relaxed the dress code so you no longer need a jacket and tie, but don't rock up in your bermudas and sandels. If you only have one night in Vic Falls, this is the place to eat.</eat>
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*<eat name="Palm Restaurant" alt="" address="" directions="in the Ilala Lodge, next to the railway station" phone="+263 (13) 44737/8/9" url="http://www.ilalalodge.com/restaurant.html" hours="lunch & dinner" price="Mains around $20" lat="" long="">Lovely terrace & garden setting where you can here teh falls and see the spray. Decent (border on fine dining) menu, with attentive service and tasteful surrounds. If you only have 2 nights in Vic Falls, eat here second (Vic Falls hotel should come first).</eat>
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* '''Makuwa-Kuwa''' [http://www.victoria-falls-safari-lodge.com/makuwakuwa.html] ''(also in the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge)'' offers a reasonable al a carte menu with a great view over a waterhole.
  
==Sleep==
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'''Splurge'''
  
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* '''The Boma''' [http://www.thebomarestaurant.com/] ''(in the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge)'' offers a gluttonous 'eat as much as you can' buffet dinner with, ahem, 'authentic' African dancing. As with all tourist traps do expect a few coach parties to be there and don't expect top quality food, although the range is wide (Kudu, crocodile, impala, guinea fowl, mopani worms). Lots of add-ons and upselling (the "boma" cocktail made with the "boma" stick, the medicine man who will throw the bones for you - for a price etc. etc.). You have been warned. $40-$60 or so for an evening meal.
  
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There is '''no food available within the park''' so bring it in yourself if you need something. Also, the monkeys within Victoria Falls will try to snatch your food if you are not paying attention to it.
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==Drink==
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Victoria Falls is not known anymore for its tremendous nightlife. There are a few small bars near the downtown area, but they are not well-lit.  It might be fun to stop in, but be careful.
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Alternatively, all the hotels feature huge, well-stocked bars.  However, the prices will be higher, and you might not feel that you are in Africa anymore.
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==Sleep==
  
  
'''Note that price ranges quoted are in US dollar. '''
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'''Note that price ranges quoted are in US dollars. '''
 
{{sleeppricerange|under US$10|US$10 to US$200|more than US$200}}
 
{{sleeppricerange|under US$10|US$10 to US$200|more than US$200}}
  
There are many types of accommodation in Victoria Falls.  You can certainly find what you are looking for. Some of the accommodation options are not really ''in'' Vic Falls -- they're a few kilometers out -- so be careful, if booking in advance.
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There are many types of accommodation in Victoria Falls.  You can certainly find what you are looking for. Some of the accommodation options are not really ''in'' Victoria  Falls so be careful, if booking in advance.
  
 
===Budget===  
 
===Budget===  
*'''Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge has a great atmosphere with friendly staff and a selfcatering kitchen, cafe as well for when you're too tired'''
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*'''Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge''' has a great atmosphere with friendly staff and a self-catering kitchen, cafe as well for when you are too tired.
*'''Victoria Falls Backpackers''' offers budget prices.
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*'''Victoria Falls Backpackers''' offers budget prices but is further outside of town.
 
*'''Reynard Cottages''', owned by a Zimbabwean, provides very simple rooms at affordable prices.
 
*'''Reynard Cottages''', owned by a Zimbabwean, provides very simple rooms at affordable prices.
*'''Lorrie's B&B'''owned by a Zimbabwean, run by single mom and her sidekick "George." Most rooms are ensuite and meals are quite affordable. Most rooms are about U$50 a night depending on season. Lovely pool and gardens with nice "sports bar" on site.
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*'''Lorrie's B&B'''owned by a Zimbabwean, run by single mom and her sidekick "George." Most rooms are ensuite and meals are quite affordable. Most rooms are about $50 a night depending on season. Lovely pool and gardens with nice "sports bar" on site.
*'''Savanna Lodge''' offers dorms and private rooms for under US$30/night.
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*'''Savanna Lodge''' offers dorms and private rooms for under $30/night.
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*'''Fawlty Tours''' offers dorms and private rooms for under $20/night. It's in a great location about 5km from the falls. Great place!
  
 
===Mid-range===
 
===Mid-range===
*'''Amadeus Garden''' owner managed lodging B&B style two kilometers from the Victoria Falls. Eleven en-suite rooms, pool and cool garden to relax. Rates per person sharing around $ 50 to 70 per night incl breakfast depending on season.
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*'''Amadeus Garden''' owner managed lodging B&B style two kilometers from the Victoria Falls. Eleven en-suite rooms, pool and cool garden to relax. Rates per person sharing around $70 per night incl breakfast depending on season.
*'''Teak Lodge''' located within the residential area of Vic Falls less than three kilometers to the Victoria Falls. Prices at between $30 and $50/person a night, coupled with impeccable service and completely furnished in teak wood.  
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*'''Teak Lodge''' located within the residential area of Vic Falls less than three kilometers to the Victoria Falls. Prices at $30-50/person per night, coupled with impeccable service and completely furnished in teak wood.  
 
*'''The Sprayview Hotel''' motel like accommodation is only 2 km from the Falls for about US$100/night.
 
*'''The Sprayview Hotel''' motel like accommodation is only 2 km from the Falls for about US$100/night.
* '''The Kingdom Hotel Victoria Falls'''.  This resort is constructed in Disney-esque jungle style. Four-star themed resort, swimming pool, close to falls, from US$150/pp. Family rooms available.
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* '''The Kingdom Hotel Victoria Falls'''.  This resort is constructed in Disney-esque jungle style. Four-star themed resort, swimming pool, close to falls, from US$150/pp. Family rooms available.
* '''Drifter Inn Victoria Falls''' [http://www.safarinow.com/go/DriftersInnVictoriaFalls/?a=10986] - only 20 minutes by foot from the falls, this simple but quiet inn offers rooms from US$50 p.p.
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* '''Drifter Inn Victoria Falls''' [http://www.safarinow.com/go/DriftersInnVictoriaFalls/?a=10986] - only 20 min by foot from the falls, this simple but quiet inn offers rooms from $50.
  
 
===Splurge===  
 
===Splurge===  
*'''Ilala Lodge''' offers quiet elegance close in to town and the Falls. Adjoins national park.  Colonial veranda for dining.
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* <sleep name="Azambezi River Lodge" alt="" address="308 Parkway Drive" directions="" phone="+1-888-790-5264" email="" fax="" url="http://www.azambeziriverlodge.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="">A full-featured resort a few kilometers away from the central town. Located right next to the Zambezi river, it's also a departure point for river cruises. Shuttle service available to the falls.</sleep>
*'''Victoria Falls Hotel''', where the Queen Mother stayed when she visited, is one of the most romantic places in Africa. 
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*'''Victoria Falls Safari Lodge''' [http://safarinow.com/go/VictoriaFallsSafariLodge/?a=10986], located very close to the Falls, offers safari-themed elegance, a great casino, and an excellent (and reasonably-priced) buffet dinner.
+
  
=== Further afield ===
+
* <sleep name="Ilala Lodge" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+27(0)21-683-6576" email="info@ilalalodge.com" fax="" url="http://www.ilalalodge.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="">Quiet elegance with a beutiful colonial veranda for dining. A bit closer to town.</sleep>
  
* '''Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge''' is carefully situated on a riverside fringe of the mighty Zambezi River where Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia converge. Located 80 kilometers west of Victoria Falls, access is by transfer from Victoria Falls, Livingstone or Kasane. Imbabala offers not only the chance to unwind but also some of the most amazing game viewing and bird watching in the region, in the seclusion of a private National Parks concession. The 5,000 acre concession has 14 kilometers of private Zambezi river frontage and borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive Elephant population. Herds of up to 1500 elephants have been seen on the floodplains below the Lodge!
+
* <sleep name="Victoria Falls Hotel" alt="" address="2 Mallett Drive" directions="" phone="+263 13 44751" email="pacro@africansunhotels.com" fax="" url="http://www.africansunhotels.com/victoriafallshotel" checkin="" checkout="" price="">Built in 1904, this is one of the most romantic hotels in Africa with a faded grand old feeling to it.  The Queen Mother herself stayed here when she visited.  Views from the manicured lawns out to the railway bridge with the mist from the falls in the distance is surreal.</sleep>
 +
 
 +
* <sleep name="Victoria Falls Safari Lodge" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+263 13 43211-20" email="saflodge@saflodge.co.zw" fax="" url="http://www.victoria-falls-safari-lodge.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="">Located close to the falls and offers safari-themed elegance, a great casino and an excellent, reasonably-priced, buffet dinner.</sleep>
 +
 
 +
=== Farther afield ===
 +
* '''Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge''' is carefully situated on a riverside fringe of the mighty Zambezi River where Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia converge. Located 80 km west of Victoria Falls, access is by transfer from Victoria Falls, Livingstone or Kasane. Imbabala offers not only the chance to unwind but also some of the most amazing game viewing and bird watching in the region, in the seclusion of a private National Parks concession. The 12,000 ha concession has 14 km of private Zambezi river frontage and borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive Elephant population. Herds of up to 1500 elephants have been seen on the floodplains below the Lodge.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
The local currency Zim Dollar is no longer in circulation; since March 2009 a multi currency system has been officially introduced by a new unity government as it is called. No more black-market money-changers, if you meet one it's a cheat trying to rip you off. You can use CASH - US Dollars, South African Rand, Botswana Pula and Euro to pay; credit cards are still not accepted widely, but you can pay for some activities like rafting and elephant back safaris using Visa or Mastercard, more commonly Visa. Major hotels like the Kingdom or Victoria Falls Safari Lodge accept payment with credit card.
 
  
Be careful walking around at night, especially if you've been drinking.
+
You can expect to be met by tourist police on your arrival in Victoria Falls.  They are plentiful around the town and the falls and can be trusted. You can identify them by their yellow vests.  Zimbabwe is very keen to keep tourists safe following a period of instability which saw visitors at risk, and tourist on the Zimbabwean side drop dramatically.  Sometimes it feels there are more tourist police than tourists.
 +
 
 +
If you are staying at one of the resorts, it is likely that the guards at the resorts will keep an eye on you on the paths to the falls until you are within site of the tourist police.
 +
 
 +
Touts are aggressive and desperate and best avoided.  They keep a distance from the tourist police and guards.  The markets are safe, and the traders there are very polite and keen for your trade.
 +
 
 +
The path along the side of the river to the Victoria Falls hotel from the falls is not safe to walk after dark.
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
  
Victoria Falls is located within 100km of the four corners of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia and thus provides access to all of the countries.  Despite this the only point of any note within a reasonable distance to the park is [[Chobe National Park]] in [[Botswana]]. It is a common destination and most hotels will be able to book journey on a one or two day safari.  
+
Victoria Falls is located within 100 km of the four corners of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia and thus provides access to all of the countries, but the only point of any note within a reasonable distance to the park is [[Chobe National Park]] in [[Botswana]]. It is a common destination, and most hotels will be able to book journey on a day safari of one or two days.
  
 
{{outline}}
 
{{outline}}

Revision as of 21:12, 16 January 2013

The article deals with the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls. For information on the Zambian side, see Livingstone.

Victoria Falls is a town in the western portion of Zimbabwe, across the border from Livingstone, Zambia, and near Botswana. The town lies immediately next to the falls, and they are the major attraction, but this popular tourist destination offers both adventure seekers and sightseers plenty of opportunities for a longer stay.

After the quiet 2006-2010 years tourist numbers are now back to historical levels, with many package tour operators adding Vic Falls back to their itineraries, and this is easily Zimbabwe's busiest tourist destination. In response there appears a high level of cartelisation and price fixing, with prices for accommodation and activities suspiciously high, even though the hotels are not full and activity operators not operating at full capacity. Hence Vic Falls is considerably more expensive than other destinations in Zimbabwe.

Contents

Understand

No doubt about it, Mosi-oa-Tunya (meaning "The Smoke That Thunders") -- but more commonly known as Victoria Falls -- is one of the most amazing sights in the world. The Falls are twice as tall as Niagara Falls, and several times longer. Although not the highest, widest or greatest volume of water, they have the largest sheet of water for any fall in the world, and are a sight not to be missed.


History

It took thousands of years of erosion for Victoria Falls to appear as and where it does now. Mosi-oa-Tunya, or "the smoke that thunders” only became known to the western world as Victoria Falls after David Livingstone first set eyes on this astonishing natural wonder in 1855, a heartbeat ago in geological time.


How the Falls Were Formed

During the Jurassic Period (150-200 million years ago) volcanic activity resulted in thick basalt deposits covering large parts of Southern Africa. As the lava cooled and solidified, cracks appeared in the hard basalt crust, which were filled with clay and lime. Erosion and the course of the mighty Zambezi River cut through these softer materials, forming the first of a series of waterfalls. Over at least 2,000 years, the Falls have receded 8km upstream, as the Zambezi carved its way through seven gorges. This geological history can be seen in the dark basalt in the series of rocky gorges below the Falls. It is guessed that the Devil's Cataract, which is presently the lowest point of Victoria Falls, will eventually become the next gorge as the river continues to cut its way back upstream.

Essentially the river falls into a gorge directly in front of the falls, and then flows through a narrow cutting. You can view the falls straight on from across the gorge.

Dr. David Livingstone, I presume?

Scottish missionary David Livingstone first heard about Victoria Falls, known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, a full four years before he arrived there. The area was a sacred site for the Batoka and other local tribes. On the 17th of November 1855 Chief Sekeletu of the Makololo paddled Livingstone to an island in the Zambezi, known as Goat Island. Although the water was low at the time, it's little wonder that he felt a "tremor of fear" as he approached the wall of spray.

Gazing down into the churning chasm below must have been a heart-stopping experience (you can still make your way out to the island - now called Livingstone Island - from the Zambian Side during the dry season). Rumors abound that a Portuguese man beat him to it, but the evidence for this is scarce. The first official description of the Falls, as penned by Livingstone, was "No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."

Zambian side compared with Zimbabwean side

The big question is which side to visit - Zambia or Zimbabwe? There are two things to consider, views of the falls and cost.

Two thirds of the actual Falls lies within Zambian territory, as does Livingstone Island, from where David Livingstone first famously set eyes on the Falls.

The water from Victoria Falls dives into a narrow gorge running parallel to the face of the falls, with the spray going high into the air, causing permanent rain, rainbows and the famous "smoke" which is visible from a distance. So, much of the time when you are viewing the falls you are actually facing them. The gorge where the water exits is the limit on how far you can walk from either side. There is no crossing there. This limits your visibility from the Zambian side, as you can only walk about a quarter of the distance of the face of the falls. Although the view and the waterflow is impressive, you simply can't get a perspective on the full width of the falls from the Zambian side.


The walk down to below the falls is closed on the Zimbabwean side. You can only walk down on the Zambian side. The footbridge on the Zambian side gives a unique experience, with a permanent torrential rain from the wet season through to August.


Travelers will have an assortment of visa charges involved in seeing both sides of the falls. The variables include your nationality, single or multiple entry, and whether you will stay longer than 24 hours.

To cross the border from Zambia to see the falls on the Zimbabwe side you will need to pay at least US$30 for a Zimbabwe single entry visa (depending on nationality), and if you want to return the Zambian side you will need to pay an extra US$20 for a multiple entry Zambian visa. To cross the border from the Zimbabwean side to the Zambian side you will need to pay an at least US$20 for a single day Zambian visa, and at least an extra US$15 for a multiple entry Zimbabwean visa. Don't forget you will need to decide whether you are getting a single or multiple entry visa when you first apply for it. If you are flying from South Africa just to see the falls, consider if it is worthwhile arriving on the Zimbabwean side and leaving from the Zambian, as you will minimise your visa costs this way (but may pay more for airfares). Flying to the Zambian side usually costs less than flying into the Zimbabwe side.

Still, for less than US$100 you can do both sides.

Victoria Falls is cash only. ATMs are available in both Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls town.

When to visit

Victoria Falls

The park is open year-round, but you will get a much different experience depending on the season in which you visit.

  • In the rainy season (December to March), the water volume will be higher and the Falls will be more dramatic. You are guaranteed to get wet if you cross the bridge or walk along the trails winding near the Falls. On the other hand, it is precisely because the volume of water is so high that your viewing of the actual Falls will be obscured -- by all the spray!
  • In the dry season, (April to October), the water volume will be lower, and by October Victoria Falls might just be a trickle. You will get a clearer view of the rocky ledge beneath the Falls (as of 2012 this is blocked off), which is pretty spectacular unto itself, but "the Falls" might be somewhat underwhelming.

Get in

By plane

British Airways [1] and South African Airways [2] offer daily flights between Johannesburg (JNB) and Victoria Falls Airport (VFA). Air Zimbabwe also offers flights between Victoria Falls Airport and other destinations within Zimbabwe - NB please check whether Air Zimbabwe is operating at the time of your visit, as recently their schedule has not been reliable, and they ceased operations for a period of time. Cheaper flights from South Africa are often available to neighbouring Livingstone.

By train

The Victoria Falls station with train headed for Bulawayo.

The classic way of reaching Victoria Falls is by the overnight train from Bulawayo, now back to running daily again. This train still uses lovely but somewhat downtrodden British 1950s coaches. First class tickets are $12 while second class goes for $8, no bed linen included. With old coaches and bad maintenace, do not except everything to work fine or sleep to well. However the scenery is fantastic and during the last few hours before reaching Victoria Falls you're garanted to see alot of wildlife. Depature from Bulawayo is at 7:30PM, arriving the next morning at 9AM, altough delays are rather the norm then the exception.

Trains from Zambia across the spectacular Zambesi bridge have been suspended for a few years time now, however catching a train to Livingstone and then continue by taxi is a possibility.

By car

The roads within Zimbabwe are not very good, with potholes commonplace. The most direct way to Victoria Falls overland is from Bulawayo. There is a good road network from the South African border at Beit Bridge right through to the Falls.

It's possible to drive in through Livingstone. Crossing an international border with a vehicle, however, will incur extra costs like carbon tax and insurance. Very annoying is the time consuming and disorganised procedure of obtaining a 'temporary import permit' for the car at the Zambian border post. Once at the Zimbabwe border post, the whole procedure is to be repeated, though it is a bit faster but also expensive.

Coming from Namibia or Botswana. the best road is from Kasane in Botswana using the Kazungula border post. Distance to Vic Falls is 70 km.

By bus

Buses operated by Intercape [3] plys the route between Windhoek in Namibia to Victoria Falls three times a week. Notice that the bus stops on the Zambian side, you have to cross the border by foot. A journey takes just over 14 hours and costs from R460.

Get around

If you stay in the swanky hotels downtown, or even some of the budget accommodation options just outside the downtown area, walking is manageable. Most of places are no more than 3 km away from Victoria Falls.

Some of the hotels in Victoria Falls are not really in Vic Falls, but most of these have their own transfer services.

Cabs are plentiful, and should not cost more than $6 for a ride.

See

  • Perhaps you have seen postcards, holiday snaps, or film footage of the seventh wonder of the world, Victoria Falls. But have you actually been fortunate enough to stand beside the ‘smoke that thunders’? Watching and listening as the roar of 546 m³ of water, minute by minute, plunge down into a 100 m deep gorge below.

Besides the falls themselves there are numerous land and water based activities to keep you busy for a day or two. There are several tour operators in town, who all take bookings for various activities, all are on commission, and you can only seemingly haggle over the size of the commission rather than cost of the activity. Wild Horizons offer many of the activities, so it may be better to negotiate direct with them rather than with a tout / agency. Alternatively, you can use sites such as ZimShack.com to compare prices of activities between tour operators, book and pay securely online before you travel to Zimbabwe.

Water based

  • Canoeing - on the river above the Falls - a nice way to see some wildlife and relax - canoeing is best described as 'drifting' at walking pace with the flow of the river. If you want to cover some distance and do the paddling yourself make this clear when you book.
  • White water rafting - on the river below the falls - spectacular and quite hair raising. Whitewater rafting day trips sell for about $110. The price includes a full day of shooting some of the best rapids in the world (including some Class V rapids!); lunch, eaten on the water and all the beer you can chug after the climb out. Note that it is a tough decent on foot down the gorge to the launch point so don't wear flip flops.
  • Sunset cruises on the Zambezi River, which is beautiful above the falls. A few drinks tend to be included. "Sunset cruise" is a bit of a misnomer as all boats have to be off the river by Sunset. You will see most of the Sunset after you are back in the dock.

Victoria Falls Bridge based

  • Bungee-jumping / bungee swing - fling yourself off, either solo or tandum
  • Gorge-swing - a huge swing over the gorge
  • Flying fox / cable slide - described as 'mildly adventurous' this is the cheapest activity that involves jumping in to the gorge
  • Abseiling / rappelling - descend in to the gorge and climb back out.
  • Vic Falls Tram / Bridge tour [4] - an old tram carriage from Cape Town has been brought back to life to give tourists a slow trundle down to the bridge where you get a tour and a glimpse back at the history of the construction. The steam train is also a possibility but wasn't running in November 2012.

Air based

  • Helicopter ride - 15 minutes in a chopper - seems very popular, a downside of which is the constant noise.
  • Microlight flights over the gorge. At present, this is only possible from the Zambia side. Zimbabwe side operator is currently not active. It is unclear if there is a chance for resumption of service. The cost is roughly $140 for the 15 minute tour and $280 for the 30 minute tour.

Land based

  • Visit the grand Victoria Falls Hotel for high tea. For about $30, you get tea, scones, a 3 tiered sandwich platter, and a magnificent view of the Victoria Falls Bridge and gorge.
  • From wherever you stay you can easily arrange for a safari (prices vary), a sunset cruise (around $45), or a helicopter ride (for about $130) over the falls.
  • The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has a no knock-out casino on site.
  • For a casino, The Kingdom Hotel does have something to offer.
  • For something different try an elephant ride, or a horse-back safari offered by a variety of tour operators in town.

Buy

There is substantial opportunity to shop in Victoria Falls, and you can find a good deal. The curio markets are just behind the post office and has dozens of tourist shops from which you may select wood and stone carvings, jewelry, t-shirts, curios, books, postcards, artwork, etc. (For fun, see if you can find the shop with the pictures of Senator and Chelsea Clinton, from their visit.)

Traders in the sculpture markets are prepared to barter trade: hats, your shoes, T-shirts, pens, batteries are in demand. But think twice before you reduce people to the level of beggars. Just negotiate what you think is a fair price.

Eat

Vic Falls has a sprinkling of top class restaurants, several African buffets often included in package tours, and a few coffee shops, sandwich shops, and fast food options. The price / quality ratio is pretty good and for 20 US dollars, you can feed an entire family.


Budget

  • In Da Belly, (in the Vic Falls rest camp / camp site)), +263 13 40509/11, [5]. breakfast, lunch & dinner. In spite of the rather low brow name, the place serves up a solid menu under a thatched roof overlooking the pool and railway line. Warthog and crocodile on the menu together with more standard fare. A nice place to have simple meal and hang out at the pool and meet overland travellers from around the world. Good value also. mains $6-$10.
  • The Blue Baboon - Great pizzas (when they have cheese ) at Shoestring Backpackers Lodge

There are a Spar and a Seven-Elevengrocery store in town. Drinks and Food, snacks, camping supplies, are available.

Mid-range

  • The Livingstone Room, (in the Victoria Falls hotel), [6]. closed Sundays. Elegant dining in elegant surroundings. They have relaxed the dress code so you no longer need a jacket and tie, but don't rock up in your bermudas and sandels. If you only have one night in Vic Falls, this is the place to eat. Mains $15-25.
  • Palm Restaurant, (in the Ilala Lodge, next to the railway station), +263 (13) 44737/8/9, [7]. lunch & dinner. Lovely terrace & garden setting where you can here teh falls and see the spray. Decent (border on fine dining) menu, with attentive service and tasteful surrounds. If you only have 2 nights in Vic Falls, eat here second (Vic Falls hotel should come first). Mains around $20.
  • Makuwa-Kuwa [8] (also in the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge) offers a reasonable al a carte menu with a great view over a waterhole.

Splurge

  • The Boma [9] (in the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge) offers a gluttonous 'eat as much as you can' buffet dinner with, ahem, 'authentic' African dancing. As with all tourist traps do expect a few coach parties to be there and don't expect top quality food, although the range is wide (Kudu, crocodile, impala, guinea fowl, mopani worms). Lots of add-ons and upselling (the "boma" cocktail made with the "boma" stick, the medicine man who will throw the bones for you - for a price etc. etc.). You have been warned. $40-$60 or so for an evening meal.

There is no food available within the park so bring it in yourself if you need something. Also, the monkeys within Victoria Falls will try to snatch your food if you are not paying attention to it.

Drink

Victoria Falls is not known anymore for its tremendous nightlife. There are a few small bars near the downtown area, but they are not well-lit. It might be fun to stop in, but be careful.

Alternatively, all the hotels feature huge, well-stocked bars. However, the prices will be higher, and you might not feel that you are in Africa anymore.

Sleep

Note that price ranges quoted are in US dollars.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under US$10
Mid-range US$10 to US$200
Splurge more than US$200

There are many types of accommodation in Victoria Falls. You can certainly find what you are looking for. Some of the accommodation options are not really in Victoria Falls so be careful, if booking in advance.

Budget

  • Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge has a great atmosphere with friendly staff and a self-catering kitchen, cafe as well for when you are too tired.
  • Victoria Falls Backpackers offers budget prices but is further outside of town.
  • Reynard Cottages, owned by a Zimbabwean, provides very simple rooms at affordable prices.
  • Lorrie's B&Bowned by a Zimbabwean, run by single mom and her sidekick "George." Most rooms are ensuite and meals are quite affordable. Most rooms are about $50 a night depending on season. Lovely pool and gardens with nice "sports bar" on site.
  • Savanna Lodge offers dorms and private rooms for under $30/night.
  • Fawlty Tours offers dorms and private rooms for under $20/night. It's in a great location about 5km from the falls. Great place!

Mid-range

  • Amadeus Garden owner managed lodging B&B style two kilometers from the Victoria Falls. Eleven en-suite rooms, pool and cool garden to relax. Rates per person sharing around $70 per night incl breakfast depending on season.
  • Teak Lodge located within the residential area of Vic Falls less than three kilometers to the Victoria Falls. Prices at $30-50/person per night, coupled with impeccable service and completely furnished in teak wood.
  • The Sprayview Hotel motel like accommodation is only 2 km from the Falls for about US$100/night.
  • The Kingdom Hotel Victoria Falls. This resort is constructed in Disney-esque jungle style. Four-star themed resort, swimming pool, close to falls, from US$150/pp. Family rooms available.
  • Drifter Inn Victoria Falls [10] - only 20 min by foot from the falls, this simple but quiet inn offers rooms from $50.

Splurge

  • Azambezi River Lodge, 308 Parkway Drive, +1-888-790-5264, [11]. A full-featured resort a few kilometers away from the central town. Located right next to the Zambezi river, it's also a departure point for river cruises. Shuttle service available to the falls.
  • Ilala Lodge, +27(0)21-683-6576 (), [12]. Quiet elegance with a beutiful colonial veranda for dining. A bit closer to town.
  • Victoria Falls Hotel, 2 Mallett Drive, +263 13 44751 (), [13]. Built in 1904, this is one of the most romantic hotels in Africa with a faded grand old feeling to it. The Queen Mother herself stayed here when she visited. Views from the manicured lawns out to the railway bridge with the mist from the falls in the distance is surreal.
  • Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, +263 13 43211-20 (), [14]. Located close to the falls and offers safari-themed elegance, a great casino and an excellent, reasonably-priced, buffet dinner.

Farther afield

  • Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is carefully situated on a riverside fringe of the mighty Zambezi River where Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia converge. Located 80 km west of Victoria Falls, access is by transfer from Victoria Falls, Livingstone or Kasane. Imbabala offers not only the chance to unwind but also some of the most amazing game viewing and bird watching in the region, in the seclusion of a private National Parks concession. The 12,000 ha concession has 14 km of private Zambezi river frontage and borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive Elephant population. Herds of up to 1500 elephants have been seen on the floodplains below the Lodge.

Stay safe

You can expect to be met by tourist police on your arrival in Victoria Falls. They are plentiful around the town and the falls and can be trusted. You can identify them by their yellow vests. Zimbabwe is very keen to keep tourists safe following a period of instability which saw visitors at risk, and tourist on the Zimbabwean side drop dramatically. Sometimes it feels there are more tourist police than tourists.

If you are staying at one of the resorts, it is likely that the guards at the resorts will keep an eye on you on the paths to the falls until you are within site of the tourist police.

Touts are aggressive and desperate and best avoided. They keep a distance from the tourist police and guards. The markets are safe, and the traders there are very polite and keen for your trade.

The path along the side of the river to the Victoria Falls hotel from the falls is not safe to walk after dark.

Get out

Victoria Falls is located within 100 km of the four corners of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia and thus provides access to all of the countries, but the only point of any note within a reasonable distance to the park is Chobe National Park in Botswana. It is a common destination, and most hotels will be able to book journey on a day safari of one or two days.

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