Your Next Big Trip

How to Get the Best Views of Victoria Falls

Mosi oa Tunya: The Smoke That Thunders

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Awe inspiring nature at Victoria Falls

Visiting Victoria Falls, Zambia was my first really awe inspiring travel moment. While the best view of Victoria Falls is from above, I will never forget my first glimpse of them. I had been volunteering in MazabukaΒ and this was our one trip before heading back to Ireland.

We visited in June so the water was high. This meant that walking across the knife edge bridge felt like being in the Falls. We went at sunset, got soaked and saw triple rainbows. It was an amazing experience.

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I will never forget that first moment where I caught a glimpse of the Falls through the trees. What struck me more than that was the sound of water roaring in the silence of the park at sunset. After that moment I vowed to find as many places I could that took my breath away. I’ve had many, but none that replace that first moment of pure awe.

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Retracing steps

This year we visited in July around midday. The park was busy and the baboons aggressive. We ended up getting so stressed out by the baboons that we barely looked at the Falls. It was still cool but just wasn’t the same experience as before. We weren’t trying to recreate 3 years ago but we knew there must be a way to experience that ‘wow’ feeling again.

Visiting Zimbabwe for another point of view.

It turned out to be just one of those days. We got to immigration and realised the visa for Irish citizens cost $55, not $30 as we thought. We almost got turned away until we managed to come to an agreement involving us paying way too much for a 3 minute taxi to an atm in Victoria Falls town. While the baboons were unexpected, this could have been avoided with some more forward planning.

Here are some things I wish I had known before visiting Victoria Falls:

Choose your side for the best view of Victoria Falls.

Everyone has a preference but to me they are totally different experiences. You can research it before you go but the summary of what you will find is this- if you want to get a picture of the Falls as a whole and appreciate their size, go to Zimbabwe. If you want to get as close as possible, go to Zambia. If you have the time and the money, do both πŸ™‚

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Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

Victoria Falls Bridge- A Well Kept Secret

Separate to the Knife Edge Bridge in Victoria Falls National Park on the Zambian side, the Victoria Falls Bridge is in no man’s land, between Zambia and Zimbabwe. We were told a gate pass to the bridge would be $30 but ended up not being charged. I’m not sure if this was a stroke of luck or perhaps something we were exempt from (Irish passport holders don’t need a visa for Zambia). The bridge offers another viewpoint to the Falls, particularly if you can catch the Livingstone Express pulling in at sunset.

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Visa requirements can affect your best view of Victoria Falls.

At the time of our visit, Irish passport holders did not need a visa for Zambia. This means you can exit and reenter the country without paying any fees. If you are from a country that requires a visa, make sure you get a multiple entry visa if you plan on visiting Zimbabwe. The same goes in reverse. (Note: Irish passport holders do need a visa for Zimbabwe. It costs $55 at the moment but of course is subject to change.)

While Zimbabwe was spectacular, I got some of the best views of Victoria Falls by doing activities on the Zambian side. We saw the full length of the falls from a microlight plane. We even got right to the edge of the falls when we had breakfast on Livingstone Island. Everyone will tell you the activities are more expensive on the Zambian side, but when you add in the cost of the visa it might balance out.

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Sunset over Victoria Falls from a microlight

 

Preparing for your visit: what to bring.

You will get wet at most times of the year so bring a rain jacket or you can rent one there inexpensively.

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Walking to the Falls’ edge from Livingstone Island. This is a separate trip that allows you to have breakfast at the top of the falls. Amazing!

Entrance on both sides is $30. You can pay with card but power cuts are frequent so bring cash to be safe.

Don’t bringΒ any food! Seriously, you will get attacked by a baboon. Avoid even bringing a bag if you can. If you must bring one make sure it’s a cross body strap.

Wear decent footwear. The surface on the Zambian side is particularly slippy and uneven. But wear something you don’t mind getting wet.

Lastly, bring your camera. Once you find the best view of the falls you will get amazing photos. Make sure you bring a plastic bag or something waterproof to put your camera/ phone inside.

Victoria Falls truly is a wonder of the world.

 

It is one of those places that will stop you in your tracks, take your breath away, lift your spirits and remind you why you travel in the first place.

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Any questions, send me a message. I am more that happy to help! πŸ™‚Β 

16 thoughts on “How to Get the Best Views of Victoria Falls

  1. Punita

    Victoria Falls has been on my wish-list for a long time, but somehow, Europe always tempts me more each time we freeze our travel plans. πŸ™‚ Great planning tips and suggestions in your post, though. Should bookmark it for future reference.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      That’s so funny because I’m the opposite. Living in Ireland so Europe is my obvious easy option to explore but each time I consider going there, Africa calls me back!
      Cliodhna

  2. kathy

    Wow, I really must go. It is definitely on my hit list. Thanks for putting all the information in one place. You have saved me hours of researching πŸ™‚

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Glad you found it helpful. These are all the things I wish I’d know the first time. Believe it or not I hadn’t even heard of Vic Falls the first time I went. I only went along because the people I was staying with said they’d bring me. Such a stroke of luck!
      Cliodhna

  3. blondemoments

    My brother just went recently and he absolutely loved it. I only did the Niagra Falls and thought those were amazing but apparently the Victoria waterfall is even more impressive. I real need to go and see it for myself

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      My friend has been to both and said the same thing, she wishes she had visited Niagra first as it was a let down after Victoria Falls. At least you’ll be doing it the right way round πŸ˜‰
      Cliodhna

  4. Christina from Happy to Wander

    Oh my goodness that microlight plane ride looks absolutely incredible. I’ve wanted to do that ever since I saw a photo of it once on another blog! And also your rainbow pics are to die for. I haven’t made it to this part of Africa yet but I am so excited to see this natural wonder for myself one day! I’ll keep your tips in mind for when that time comes πŸ™‚

  5. Allison

    I love a waterfall and always try to seek them out when I travel. They are not usually as spectacular as Victoria falls though. Sounds like an amazing experience.

  6. Rirhandzu

    I have been to Vic Falls twice. The first time I stay in Livingston, Zambia, the second, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. You are right, you have to figure out what you want to experience at the falls. I personally like both side of the falls :)… Looks like you had a great time

  7. Diana - MVMT Blog

    I had no idea about the prevalence of baboons there – thanks for the tip about not bringing food and watching out for them in general. Your photos of the falls are spectacular. I have never been to Africa but hoping to do that soon!

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