WHY VISIT ZAMBIA SIDE OF THE VICTORIA FALLS?
Choosing which side to stay on is often the initial challenge for visitors. The good news is, no matter which side you stay on, you can easily cross the border to explore the entirety of the Falls. On the Zambia side, walk along the paved paths on the edge of the Falls ...
and cross the heart-racing Knife-Edge Bridge during High Water Season – an exhilarating (and soaking!) walk along the edge of the precipice, about 100m / 328ft above the gorge. A truly unforgettable experience! Head down the footpath that leads to the Boiling Pot – a massive whirlpool at the base of the waterfall. Look up and marvel at the sheer magnitude of this natural wonder.
Exceptionally close-up waterfall viewing
Swim in the Devil's Pool during low-water season
Visit Livingstone Island when water levels permit
Romantic riverside lodges and historic hotels with traditional high tea in the afternoon
Go game viewing in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
Livingstone is more of a ‘business town’ and home to the Livingstone Museum
The Falls can be approached from the town of Livingstone by traveling south on Mosi-oa-Tunya Road for some 11 kilometers. Just before the border, there is a turning to the right which leads to a parking area. Walks all around the Falls are accessible from this point. If approaching from Zimbabwe, cross the border at the town of Victoria Falls and watch for the left turning just after the Zambian customs post....
the silhouettes of jagged Zimbabwean peaks far across its shimmering waters. For those who make it here, this remoteness is the very attraction. Get ready to have an amazing time.
Getting There on Your Own
Probably the fastest way of getting around Livingstone is by taxi. They are easy to spot and you will see them all over the town, the majority are a light blue in colour. The taxis are generally not metered, but it will cost about K100 (approx. $10).
Transfers between hotels and lodges in Livingstone, and activities or the airport can be arranged. If you are staying at Avani or the Royal Livingstone Hotel, you have free access to the Victoria Falls and it is an easy walk through their own exit gate which is right by the verification gate to the Falls. Guests at David Livingstone Safari Lodge, Tongabezi Lodge or some of the lodges in Livingstone town can use the shuttle service provided by the hotel.
The entrance to the Zambian side of the Falls is about 50m before the immigration post, if coming from Livingstone and is a small building (pictured above) where you pay the entrance fee and get your tickets. As with the Zimbabwe park, your entrance fee will afford you only one entry, so if you exit the park, you will have to pay again for re-entry. The road bears to the right and in about 50m you will see a large curio market selling Zambian souvenirs. Raincoats/poncho's are also available for hire here. There is also a lack lustre cafe for a snack and refreshments. Another small gate, where you show your tickets, allows you entry to the Park itself.
Flying into Livingstone
Flights from Lusaka to Livingstone
Proflight Zambia is the only airline to operate scheduled flights on this route, see their website to check flights and make a reservation. There have been concerns about the baggage allowance on these flights, again see their website for the correct details Baggage allowance.
Flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone
The Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport / Livingstone International Airport, is no more than a 15 minute drive from the centre of Livingstone town. You can fly into Livingstone by connecting from centres such as Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lusaka. It is also possible to fly to Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe which is less than an hours' drive from Livingstone town but there is a border crossing involved which can cause delays if travelling during the peak season. Airlines that fly from Johannesburg to Livingstone include Kulula air (British Airways), Luftansa, South African Airways.
Flights From Windhoek and Maun to Livingstone
There are no direct flight from Windhoek (Namibia) to Livingstone. One would have to take the direct Air Namibia flight to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), and then transfer by road to Livingstone. The flights from Windhoek run on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. These flights go via Maun in Botswana for passengers wanting to connect from there. For more detail information on flight schedules, visit this Livingstone Flight schedule page.
Travelling by Road
Travelling to Livingstone by road is also an option. Fuel is now pretty much freely available, however some garages do run out so always make sure you have enough to get to the next fuel point. The price does fluctuate as with fuel prices around the world. Don't forget to take cash with as they will not accept credit or debit cards. Good tar roads access Livingstone from Lusaka, Kazungula in Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The Victoria Falls Bridge border post with Zimbabwe opens from 06h00 to 22h00. When you enter Zambia with your vehicle, you will need to purchase a temporary import permit (TIP), at the border, or depending on the country origin, a carnet de passage (a customs document that identifies a traveller's motor vehicle or other valuable equipment or baggage). If you are not the owner of the vehicle that you are driving into Zambia, you will need to hold a letter from the owner or rental company, giving you authority to use the vehicle in Zambia. Of-course if you are passing through Botswana or Zimbabwe, you will need to produce this document as well. Bus Services Between Lilongwe (Malawi) and Lusaka, Kobs Coach Service travels twice a week. Mazhandu Bus Company makes several trips to and from Lusaka on a daily basis. They can be found at the InterCity Bus Terminus in Lusaka, and the local bus terminus in Livingstone.
WHEN TO VISIT THE VICTORIA FALLS
The Falls never seem the same twice, so try to visit several times, under different light conditions - including by moonlight, when the waters seem to blend into one smooth mass that appears frozen over the rocks. Different times of the year will provide completely different experiences when visiting the falls. Peak flood season is around March and April when the full power of the Falls can be experienced in all its glory. Due to the masses of spray rising from the fallen water,
the full width of the Falls cannot be seen on foot. The aerial view at this time is spectacular, with clouds of spray rising high into the sky.As the floods abate the view of the Falls gets better and better through the year, but at it’s lowest, around November and December the Falls become little rivulets running over the edge and in some places along the 1,7km width, no water falls at all. The delight of visiting the Falls in this season is the view of the impressive cliffs that form the Falls wall, and the magnitude of the abyss can be fully appreciated. Sobek and Safari Par Excellence do trips by raft to the base of the Falls in low season called ‘the float of angels". During low water, a light raincoat (available for rent on site) is very useful for wandering between the viewpoints on the Zimbabwean side, though it’s not necessary in Zambia. However, in high water a raincoat is largely ineffective as the spray blows all around and soaks you in seconds.
The Zambian and Zimbabwean sides offer very different views of the falls, so if you have time it’s well worth visiting both sides to fully appreciate the whole waterfall.
The reintroduction of the KAZA visa allows visitors to both Zambia and Zimbabwe to obtain one combination visa, making it easier to take advantage of both sides of the Falls without the cost or inconvenience of having to get a second visa (the border crossing is also much more streamlined). During the drier season, from September to December, whilst you’ll be able to better appreciate the usually obscured geology of the Falls from Zambia, there’s usually more water flowing over the Zimbabwe side, so a trip across is worthwhile.
Summer: November to April
Average daytime temperature: 30°C / 86°F
Expect dramatic and short afternoon thunderstorms, hot and humid weather conditions, and spectacular sunsets. The Zambezi River is usually low during December, rising steadily as the rain water starts to arrive from the Angolan highlands. The rainy Green Season revitalises Southern Africa between December and April.
Winter: July to August
Average daytime temperature: 25-28°C / 77-82°F
The moderate winter months in Southern Africa are sunny and dry, and a great time to combine your tour to Victoria Falls with a wildlife safari in the superb national parks of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana or South Africa. TIP October is the hottest month of the year in Vic Falls (around 34°C / 93°F), and one of the very best months for safari. The animals don’t stray far from the little remaining water, but the Falls are at their very lowest and the Zambian side will the completely dry. Be sure to choose which is most important to you – game viewing or the Falls - if you’re travelling around this time.
Between February and July, the mighty Zambezi River is in full flood and the Falls are at its most thunderous – usually peaking between March and April. Dazzling clouds of mist can float 1 312ft (400m) above the Falls! Expect to get drenched by spray at most of the vantage points on the Zim and Zambia sides.
The Zambezi River is fed by water that flows down from wetlands in northern Zambia on the border with the Angolan Highlands. As the early summer rains arrive in about November, so the current gains momentum and the water surges. This reaches a pinnacle between about February and May, when the Falls are at their heaviest.
The height of the spray and width of the Falls will be at their maximum: both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides will be at their fullest, and the noise can be deafening.
If you choose to visit when the area is at its hottest and wettest, from about November to March, consult your doctor about adequate anti-malaria precautions.
High-water levels mean the current is too fast for water-based activities like swimming in Devil’s Pool or rafting. This means that seeing the Falls in full flood is not the time to go if you want to partake in these activities.
The Zambezi’s water levels are low from August to January, and at its lowest from October until the rains start again.
By mid-year, the current is slowing and the spray is not as high as the rains stop for winter.
The water levels of the Falls visible on the Zambian side differ radically throughout the year – if you’re visiting at the end of the dry season in October, you’ll be left wondering what all the fuss is about as you gaze upon a mere trickle or even bare rock. However, you get to see the exact rock formation, structures that have formed the falls over millions of years.
Low-water season runs from about September or October to about January when levels drop over the dry winter. This overlaps with peak safari season, which runs from about August to October until spring rains arrive in about November.