The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (The non-colonial name) is one of the most impressive sites I have ever seen with my own eyes. Words and pictures just do not do the falls justice, although I will try my best in this post. This post is a quick guide on everything you need to know ahead of your visit to the Victoria Falls.
How to get to Victoria Falls
There are three main ways to get to Victoria Falls:
- Take the train from Bulawayo to Victoria falls station. This is in my opinion the best way to see the Falls. Travelling in a 1950s old British train. Is there a better way to travel? I have written a dedicated post about all things train travel in Zimbabwe here.
- Fly directly to Victoria Falls airport. Air Zimbabwe (Which is actually a very decent airline) and other airlines fly to the airport very frequently.
- Bus from Harare, Bulawayo or from Johannesburg in South Africa (Via Bulawayo)
When is the best time to see the Falls?
This depends on what you want to see in the Victoria Falls area. If you want to see the waterfall with the greatest amount of water then February to May but if you want to see the Victoria Falls (with a very decent amount of water) and also visit nearby Botswana for Game Safari then I would recommend June to August. I have written a post all about Chobe National Park in Botswana here. I would not advise to visit the area from October to November as the water level in the Zambezi river will be at its lowest and the impact of the falls will not be that great.
Insider Tip: When at the actual Falls go very early and at opening times of 6am or 6:30am (depending on season) for a chance to see the sun rise over the waterfalls and you may also have the park to yourselves like we did. You can see my time-lapse here. Hang around until 1-2pm to see the “rainbow falls” which is not to be missed.
Should I Visit the Zambian Side?
80% of the falls are viewed from the Zimbabwean side and if you are going to visit one country to see the falls then it really has to be Zimbabwe. When you arrive in Zimbabwe make sure you buy a double entry visa which enables you to visit one other surrounding country and come back into Zimbabwe if this is something you plan on doing.
We did not visit the Zambian side because we wanted to visit Chobe National Park in Botswana instead. So my advice is if you only want to visit the falls then you can visit the Zambian Side too (though it won’t give you more than what you’ve seen in Zimbabwe) but if you want vary it up and see some game then I would visit Botswana with your double entry visa.
What to do in the Victoria Falls Area?
There really is something for everyone at the falls. These include:
- See the falls, obviously
- Helicopter ride over the falls – Absolutely amazing experience and a must. Check out our video here
- Numerous amounts of water sports
- Numerous amounts of adventure sports
- Visit Chobe National Park in nearby Botswana. See my post here
- Try and find the elusive white Rhino
- Afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel. See our blog post on this here
The town is filled with plenty of local tour operators so there is no need to book in advance. Prices are fairly consistent but do haggle as they will drop the prices slightly. However, please haggle fairly and agree on a fair price for both parties rather than get aggravated over $5.
What are the Food Options in Victoria Falls?
There are plenty of awesome food places around the area to suit various budgets and dietary requirements. Our personal recommendations are:
- Victoria Falls Hotel: for afternoon tea or fine dining you should plan a visit to the historic Victoria Falls Hotel. You can see our post about afternoon tea at the hotel here.
- Shearwater Cafe: located in town and with their own tour agency, this smart and modern eatery serves up breakfast and food all day. We had some great prawn pasta here. Food is not cheap here however.
- Rainforest Cafe: from the same people behind Shearwater, it is located in the Victoria Falls park itself and a good place to grab some food when visiting the falls.
- Lookout Cafe: boasting great views over the Zambezi River and the bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia, this cafe has great, locally sourced food that we kept going back to.
- Nam Took: Thai restaurant located near the elephants walk market which was surprisingly good! We returned twice and they served up some great local prawn dishes amidst an extensive menu
- Chicken Inn a local cheap fast food joint located near Shearwater Cafe in town. Good pizza and amazing chips
Where to Stay?
We stayed at the N1 hotel which we thought was a very good semi budget option. Room sizes were very generous, very clean hotel and a great location. It is within walking distance of pretty much everything. However, there are loads of hotels in the area to suit every budget.
When researching I found this website very helpful.
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