Victoria Falls is a wonder in every sense of the word. Twice as high as Niagara Falls at 354 feet and few times longer at 5,604 feet, it is the highest and widest curtain of falling water in the world.
Victoria Falls is a transboundary waterfall on the Zambezi River located at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘The Smoke that Thunders’, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989. In addition, it was named by CNN as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, alongside the Grand Canyon, Paricutin Volcano, Harbour of Rio de Janeiro, Aurora Borealis, Great Barrier Reef and Mount Everest.
Courtesy of a fellow tripper who took these shots from a Victoria Falls helicopter tour
Since we’re already in Zambia, the Victoria Falls was a must visit. From Lusaka, my fellow trippers and I took a domestic flight to Livingstone where we stationed ourselves for 4D 3N to explore the Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Read about our experience on Proflight Zambia here.
Prior to setting off, we pre-booked a tour beforehand to the Falls on the Zimbabwean side at US$70. But it really wasn’t difficult to get to the Falls if you are in either town. As a quick gauge, we took a cab from Victoria Falls on Zambia side back to Livingstone for US$7. Admission fees on the Zimbabwean side is US$30 for foreign nationals and US$20 on the Zambian side.
At the entrance to the Falls on the Zimbabwe side.
The footpaths in the Victoria Falls national Parks on both Zambian and Zimbabwean side are easy to navigate. With markers along the way, I don’t think it is easy to lose the way around.
The question that is always asked is which side offers a better view. Would it be on the Zambia side or Zimbabwe side? Well, if you are visiting the Falls, why not see it from both sides?
The Falls on the Zimbabwean side
About three quarters of the Victoria Falls lies within Zimbabwe and hence it has the lion’s share of the viewpoints. The viewpoint of the Main Falls also lies along the trail on the Zimbabwean side.
Statue of David Livingstone in Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe.
Here’s a snippet of what i saw on the Zimbabwe side before the splashes became heavier and I had to keep my camera safe under my poncho.
Caught a glimpse of the Victoria Falls Bridge towards the end of our walk along the trail. A truly amazing 2-hr walk along the trail.
The Falls on the Zambian side
Here’s a snippet of what i saw on the Zambian side before reaching Knife Edge. Just listen to the pounding sound of the water during a high water month (June).
The main attraction on the Zambia side is arguably the Knife Edge. Walking across the Knife Edge Bridge was really an experience. I chickened out on my first attempt and u-turned back mid-way across the bridge. Having mentally prepared myself, I managed to cross it on my second try. This was the wet season so the waters belting down on the bridge was like a torrential downpour. Poor visibility coupled with a slippery bridge, I had to grip on tightly to the railings while taking baby steps across. But yeah, I made it! Yes, it’s definitely worth the walk.
For the physically fit, a 20mins walk down slope to the Boiling Pot and another 20mins up will reward you with a view as beautiful as this. The slope is not easy though.
Some interesting facts on the Falls: (from the information boards at the Zimbabwe side)
1. The average depth of the Zambezi River above the Falls varies between 3-5m while in the Batoka Gorge below the Falls, it fluctuates between 30-50m.
2. During peak flood (April/May), the annual water consumption of the city New York goes over Victoria Falls in just 3.5 days!
Some factors which may be useful:
During the dry season (August to December), the water level in the Zambezi River drops sharply. It becomes possible to walk through some parts of the Falls which are otherwise closed during the wet season (February to June). Some activities such as rafting also closes during peak flood period.
A raincoat is a must-have regardless of which side of the Falls you’re visiting. That is all the more important if you are visiting during the wet season. We got our hair, pants, shoes and socks all soaked even with a rain coat on. A set of dry clothing for change would be really useful. You have been warned. 🙂
Photo-taking was not easy due to the constant splashes. I ended up with very few photos as a result. How i wish I had brought along a waterproof camera instead.
US dollars are widely used in these two towns. This provides convenience for travelers crossing the borders, without the burden of carrying different currencies. Most prices are quoted in US dollars. For use of local currency, we checked with the vendor for their exchange rates. This helped us to determine whether to use US dollars or kwacha. Do be alert when quoted prices in different currencies. At the Zambian side of the Falls, a fellow tripper wanted to rent a rain coat. The price quoted was US$3. But when she asked about using kwacha, she was quoted 50kwacha, which was around US$5. Thankfully we avoided overpaying by being more alert.