To get from other parts of the world to the Victoria Falls, one option is to travel first to Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka. From Lusaka, we can opt for traveling by bus, self-drive, train or plane to Livingstone.
A one-way bus journey takes around 6.5 hours at a cost of US$25. A train ride on The Zambezi Express from Livingstone to Lusaka can take up to a staggering 18 hours at a low cost of US$10 (source: Zambia Tourism). Of these possible options, Mummy chose to travel by plane to reduce time taken for the journey. Though this is the most expensive option, flight time is only around 1 hour 10mins per way.
My return Proflight Zambia ticket from Lusaka to Livingstone cost US$425 inclusive of tax and surcharges. Though cost of flying is high, it certainly helps if you have time constraint.
Image courtesy of Proflight Zambia website
Proflight Zambia operates daily flights between Lusaka and Livingstone. We boarded the British Aerospace Jetstream 41 airplane, a turbo propeller feed-liner, for both flights. The aircraft has a capacity of 29 passengers and a cabin crew (10 rows of 3 seats each with exception of Row 1).
As this is a domestic flight, check-in was fast but do check the luggage limit on your ticket. For the cheapest firecracker price, only one check-in luggage of 15kg is allowed, while carry-on luggage is limited to 5kg. With no overhead luggage compartment, the only space to store it is in front of your seat.
I was pleasantly surprised that they had their very own inflight magazine, Nkwazi, and inflight refreshments. On both flights to and from Livingstone, we were offered a pack of potato chips and choice of drink (bottled water, pack of juice, canned soft drinks or even beer). Both flights were smooth throughout. With the plane cruising at 18,000 ft, we could often catch sight of the land below. In comparison, bigger commercial aircraft usually attains height of above 30,000ft.
Upon landing in Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (formerly Livingstone Airport), walk to the far right for entrance to the arrival hall. There is a small duty-free store in the airport selling liquor, perfume and tobacco. Luggage arrived as soon as we stepped into the hall as the plane was a small one.
The airport is located around 10mins drive from the city centre. As a guide on the transport cost, my travel companions and I booked cab rides at US$10 per way to the city centre where our accommodation was.
On our return flight to Lusaka in the evening, there were only 9 passengers out of a possible 29. The aircraft even took off 20mins ahead of schedule. With the low occupancy, it felt almost like a chartered flight. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for the steep airfare.
A little tip: choose a seat on the left once you get into the plane. By doing so, I got a glimpse of the Victoria Falls during take-off as the plane ascended into the air heading towards Lusaka.
Overall a great flight experience. I’m glad i chose to fly instead of traveling over land.