The iconic Victoria Falls, also known as the Smoke That Thunders, is a must see for all South Africans and can be viewed from both Zambia and Zimbabwe, both easily accessible from South Africa. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe have their merits as holiday destinations, but the side you choose can significantly influence your Vic Falls experience. Take a look at the information below to help you find your ideal match.
Whilst Zambia has the smaller share of the Falls, there are various footpaths and steps that allow you to get closer to cascades. The Knife-Edge bridge and footpath to the Boiling Pot, both firm favourites, are in Zambia. You can also go further upstream and see the mighty Zambezi rumbling along before taking the plunge.
If you visit during dry winter (October to November) you won’t find any mayor falls on the Zambian side, but the end of the dry season is the perfect time to dive into the Devil’s Pool, adjacent to Livingston Island. During the rest of the year the Devil’s Pool is off limits.
Most of the accommodation options in Zambia are located further up the Zambezi river and might require you to take a bus transfer to the Falls. The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa is quite close to the falls and located right on the Zambezi river. There you’ll find beautiful views of the river from the manicured gardens or take a short bus trip to the Falls.
Other things to do:
Zambia is the best option for those wanting to combine a visit to the Falls with a safari. The all-time favourite Chobe National Park is situated in northern Botswana and is an easy day’s drive from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Alternatively you can also take a look at the great parks within Zambia’s borders where you can see everything from elephants to zebra.
Whilst yellow fever isn’t really a problem any more, most countries expect you to get a yellow fever vaccination certificate for Zambia. South African’s can enter Zambia Visa free.
Looking for flights and accommodation in Zambia? Check out our package here.
About three quarters of the Falls are located within Zimbabwe’s borders. From the Victoria Falls National Park it is just a short walk in the rain forest to get to the cliff to the iconic view.
You’ll be able to see the Main Falls right through the year, even during dry season. Bring your waterproof clothes along as the spray is just as strong all year long.
There are plenty accommodation options close by the falls. Most of the hotels lie on the outskirts and hills of the Victoria Falls Town, with the Victoria Falls only a short walk away. The Ilala Lodge is located only 10 minutes away from the Vic Falls and is reachable by footpath through the forest. It is also a great place to view wildlife right from the verandah.
Other things to do:
In addition to the Chobe National Park you’ll also be able to take advantage of the markets in town where you’ll find plenty of wooden carvings and soapstone animals. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe and Lake Kariba are also worth a visit.
South Africans are granted Visas at the port of entry, usually free of charge.
Looking for flights and accommodation in Zimbabwe? Check out our package here.
In summary Zimbabwe is the place to visit if you’re looking for the iconic view year round and Zambia is better if you want to add on a safari or take a dip in the pools.