Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

One of the world’s most majestic water spectacles

Zambia or Zimbabwe

The first big question that confronts many people when considering a visit to Victoria Falls is “which country should I go to, Zambia or Zimbabwe?”

For those of you who are not familiar with the geography here; the Zambezi River which creates the magnificent Victoria Falls is the border between these two countries. It is therefore possible to see the Falls from either country but deciding on which one can hugely impact your experience and your wallet.

 

Historically, Zimbabwe was considered the best country to view The Victoria Falls, its infrastructure and the town’s locality to the Falls made it more suitable. However in the last decade due to the political turmoil in Zimbabwe, Zambia has established itself firmly as a tourist destination.

They have injected a lot of money into their infrastructure and new hotels and tour operators have sprung up everywhere. Today it enjoys a large slice of the market share. However we would just like to highlight a few fundamental differences between the two so you can make your own decision…

    • 75% of the Falls are seen from the Zimbabwean side, with a variety of 16 viewpoints bisecting the rainforest. A network of paths allows you to thoroughly see the Falls from every angle.
    • A true rainforest, where it rains 24hrs, 365 days of the year, from the falling spray created by these powerful Falls.

  • In Zimbabwe the Falls never dry up even at the height of the dry season in October and November, Main Falls and Devils cataract will still have impressive water flow.
  • Prices for accommodation and activities are lower than Zambia due to lower government taxes and levies.
  • Most of the popular activities can be done in either country; however Microlight flights, Devils swim and Livingstone Island tour can only be done in Zambia. Game viewing opportunities are better in Zimbabwe
  • Development on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe has been carefully controlled. Almost the entire stretch of river from Victoria Falls to Kazangula +/- 80 kms is pristine National Park filled with wildlife.
  • The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is situated less than one kilometer away from the Falls. This means that many of the Hotels and Lodges are within close striking distance of the Falls. Victoria Falls is a much smaller town than Livingstone, Zambia and everything seems to be more convenient and accessible.

 

  • Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe is a pretty little tourist town with vibrant cafes and curio shops all conveniently located within no more than a square kilometre of each other and has a wonderful atmosphere. Livingstone on the other hand is a sprawling industrial town with a population estimated to be 5 times that of Victoria Falls. Everything is spread out and it’s quite difficult just to wonderer around the town and enjoy yourself.
  • Zimbabwe has had very negative exposure in the last decade which has portrayed it as an unsafe tourist destination. I would like to allay these fears and assure you that it is a totally safe destination. This is corroborated by the millions of tourists who do venture there.

  • Zambia has only a 25% view of the Falls – the eastern cataract. There is a reasonable network of paths and several viewpoints covering this small section. One of the advantages is that you can look right down the length of the Falls at Sunset and yet be close enough to the exit gate to get out quickly before they close them.
  • No true rainforest on this side as there are times of the year when the water flow is very low or has completely stopped.
  • At the height of the dry season the Zambian Section the eastern cataract dries up completely leaving just a rock face.
  • Prices for accommodation and activities are higher than Zimbabwe due to higher government taxes and levies.
  • Development on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria Falls over the years has had less control than Zimbabwe and many farms and developments exist.
  • There are only two hotels close to the entrance of Victoria Falls, the Royal Livingstone Hotel and the Avani Resort. Residents at these two hotels are entitled to Free entrance to the Zambian section of the Falls via their own entrance gate. This is a huge advantage and a big money saver.
  • The town of Livingstone is situated about 10 kms from the entrance to the Falls, if you are staying in a Lodge or Hotel in Livingstone you will incur extra costs in getting to the various activities or to see the Falls.
  • Livingstone island tours are only available from the Zambian side, this is a highly recommended activity as you get to see the Falls from a completely different angle, right on the edge exactly where David Livingstone saw it for the first time.
  • Most of the popular activities can be done in either country, however Microlight flights, Devils swim and Livingstone Island tour can only be done in Zambia. Game viewing opportunities are better in Zimbabwe
  • Zambia has a hydroelectric station which draws water from the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls. At low water levels when this is switched on the eastern cataract can suddenly dry up.
+ Zimbabwe Pros and Cons
    • 75% of the Falls are seen from the Zimbabwean side, with a variety of 16 viewpoints bisecting the rainforest. A network of paths allows you to thoroughly see the Falls from every angle.
    • A true rainforest, where it rains 24hrs, 365 days of the year, from the falling spray created by these powerful Falls.

  • In Zimbabwe the Falls never dry up even at the height of the dry season in October and November, Main Falls and Devils cataract will still have impressive water flow.
  • Prices for accommodation and activities are lower than Zambia due to lower government taxes and levies.
  • Most of the popular activities can be done in either country; however Microlight flights, Devils swim and Livingstone Island tour can only be done in Zambia. Game viewing opportunities are better in Zimbabwe
  • Development on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe has been carefully controlled. Almost the entire stretch of river from Victoria Falls to Kazangula +/- 80 kms is pristine National Park filled with wildlife.
  • The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is situated less than one kilometer away from the Falls. This means that many of the Hotels and Lodges are within close striking distance of the Falls. Victoria Falls is a much smaller town than Livingstone, Zambia and everything seems to be more convenient and accessible.

 

  • Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe is a pretty little tourist town with vibrant cafes and curio shops all conveniently located within no more than a square kilometre of each other and has a wonderful atmosphere. Livingstone on the other hand is a sprawling industrial town with a population estimated to be 5 times that of Victoria Falls. Everything is spread out and it’s quite difficult just to wonderer around the town and enjoy yourself.
  • Zimbabwe has had very negative exposure in the last decade which has portrayed it as an unsafe tourist destination. I would like to allay these fears and assure you that it is a totally safe destination. This is corroborated by the millions of tourists who do venture there.
+ Zambia Pros and Cons

  • Zambia has only a 25% view of the Falls – the eastern cataract. There is a reasonable network of paths and several viewpoints covering this small section. One of the advantages is that you can look right down the length of the Falls at Sunset and yet be close enough to the exit gate to get out quickly before they close them.
  • No true rainforest on this side as there are times of the year when the water flow is very low or has completely stopped.
  • At the height of the dry season the Zambian Section the eastern cataract dries up completely leaving just a rock face.
  • Prices for accommodation and activities are higher than Zimbabwe due to higher government taxes and levies.
  • Development on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria Falls over the years has had less control than Zimbabwe and many farms and developments exist.
  • There are only two hotels close to the entrance of Victoria Falls, the Royal Livingstone Hotel and the Avani Resort. Residents at these two hotels are entitled to Free entrance to the Zambian section of the Falls via their own entrance gate. This is a huge advantage and a big money saver.
  • The town of Livingstone is situated about 10 kms from the entrance to the Falls, if you are staying in a Lodge or Hotel in Livingstone you will incur extra costs in getting to the various activities or to see the Falls.
  • Livingstone island tours are only available from the Zambian side, this is a highly recommended activity as you get to see the Falls from a completely different angle, right on the edge exactly where David Livingstone saw it for the first time.
  • Most of the popular activities can be done in either country, however Microlight flights, Devils swim and Livingstone Island tour can only be done in Zambia. Game viewing opportunities are better in Zimbabwe
  • Zambia has a hydroelectric station which draws water from the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls. At low water levels when this is switched on the eastern cataract can suddenly dry up.

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