Here is a compiled list of some of the critical things you need to need to know if you are planning a trip to Victoria Falls in Zambia.
This article will cover some of the frequently asked questions by tourists.
- How do I get to the Victoria Falls?
- Will I need Travel insurance?
- What is the best time to visit?
- Will I need a Yellow fever vaccination?
- Do I need to take Malaria tablets?
- Which side is better to view the Victoria Falls? Zambia or Zimbabwe?
- What Currency is used in Zambia?
- Can I find budget accommodation in Livingstone Town?
- What will I eat at the Victoria Falls?
- What mode of transport is used in Livingstone town?
How do I get to the Victoria Falls?
To begin with, you can look for flights on Skyscanner depending on where you are coming from. The nearest airports in Zambia are Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone town and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka City.
If you are coming through Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, you can use the local buses that connect from Lusaka to Livingstone. These can be found at Intercity Bus Terminus. It is a trip of about 7-8 hours (486 km). The best and most reliable ones to use are the local coach buses such as Mazhandu Family Bus services, Shalom and the PowerTools buses.
Be careful not to board just any buses going to Livingstone as some may take hours in the bus terminus before they can take off. It is also important to book in person. If you are travelling early in the morning, you can book in advance the day before and take note of the boarding time.
If you are already in Africa, there are Intercape buses that connect other cities in Southern Africa to Lusaka and Livingstone.
Both Zambia and Zimbabwe require a visa to enter the country for most nationalities. Most tourists are able to get a visa upon arrival after landing at either Livingstone or Victoria Falls airport. If you want to travel between the two countries you will need to get a multiple-entry visa (KASA UniVisa) when you arrive. For Zambia Visa information, please click here.
Will I need Travel insurance?
Travel insurance is important when planning any trip. If you are planning on taking part in any extreme activities in Victoria Falls, you also need it. Potential problems could arise that need cover such as lost or damaged luggage and, or activities that may require emergency medical cover.
What is the best time to visit?
You can visit the Victoria Falls in Zambia at any time of the year. If you want to see the magnificence of the falls (the smoke that thunders), you have to visit immediately after the rainy months, that is March to June.
The experience is exhilarating. There is a lot of spray and mist which may hamper your views of the falls, but you can feel the mightiness of this beautiful natural wonder.
It is rather difficult to take a picture up-close because of the smoke-like splashing water. You will definitely get soaked but it is worth it. I took this video below from a distance as I did not have a waterproof phone
November to March are the summer months where it is hot and humid, and May to July are the cool, dry winter months.
The driest months (August to October) are the ideal time to visit if you are targeting the Victoria Falls Devils Pool and water rafting. The pool is closed from February to June when the rains cause higher water levels that make swimming in the Zambezi unsafe.
Will I need a Yellow fever vaccination?
Zambia does not fall under the yellow fever zone and so do not need the injection. There are exceptions to this however and more information can be obtained here
Do I need to take Malaria tablets?
Malaria tablets are necessary. Mosquitoes are more prevalent during the rainy season in Zambia (December to April). Even though these may not necessarily cause malaria, it’s better to be safe. You can carry a mosquito repellent especially if you are going to be outdoors in the evening.
Which side is better to view the Victoria Falls? Zambia or Zimbabwe?
Victoria Falls are also located on the border of two countries – Zambia and Zimbabwe. And this is one of the big questions many people ask when planning their trip to Victoria Falls.
Zambia or Zimbabwe side?
I personally feel it is better to visit both countries to decide which one you prefer. Both offer exquisite views of the falls, however, some tourists have said that Zimbabwe more clear views.
A lot of activities are offered from both sides. You can easily cross the border between the two countries, especially if you have the KAZA visa.
What Currency is used at Victoria Falls in Zambia?
The currency used in Zambia is the Kwacha. Ensure to change your cash into kwacha before your visit to Victoria Falls.
Some hotels and high-end lodges may accept Credit or debit cards. However, you need to use cash to purchase from local shops and curio traders.
I would recommend to have local currency cash for all your purchase as sometimes card facilities tend to fail.
Can I find budget accommodation in Livingstone Town?
Victoria Falls accommodation prices are dependent on what you may be looking for according to your budget. . There are plenty of hotels as well as backpackers in Livingstone town. These range from ultimate luxury to simple budget-friendly accommodation. Even if you have a tight budget, you can still find affordable decent lodges here.
What will I eat at the Victoria Falls?
There is a variety to eat in Livingstone town. The reliable fast food places that are popular are Debonairs Pizza and Steers which are basically situated at the same place. If you want to try out some local foods, you can request at your place of lodging. Hotels and Lodges also have their own restaurants that serve delicious meals.
There are some good and local foods restaurants which serve nshima with an accompanying dish like beef stew, tilapia fish, crocodile meat, T-Bone, rump steak, grilled pork, chicken etc. There are also some that serve traditional authentic Zambian cuisine that you should definitely.
What mode of transport is used in Livingstone town?
The best way to get around in Livingstone town is by cab (taxis) and you need one from the town to the falls. Cabs are much safer and convenient. There are plenty of cabs but the best way to get one is to consult at the place you are lodging for safety reasons.
These are the basic things you need to know when planning a trip to the Victoria Falls. A future article will provide more information on safety and security for travelers.
Photo Credit: Featured Image by @tryzambia