Victoria Falls in Zambia is one of the seven natural wonders in the world. Although I mentioned its location as Zambia, it actually does not own only by Zambia. Because the creator of this amazing waterfall, Zambezi River, is located between Zambia and Zimbabwe’s borders. Due to Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis since 2000, Zambia got more attraction to visit Victoria Falls.
This heavenly fall was first discovered by David Livingstone (an European) in 1855. Currently, this is one of the most popular destinations in Africa. So, here’s the ultimate travel guide to Victoria Falls in Zambia.
Victoria Falls in Zambia
Is Victoria falls in Zimbabwe or Zambia?
This is one of the top questions asked by many travelers. So, here’s the answer to that. As I mentioned in the introduction, Zambezi River is the creator of this amazing waterfall. And it is located between these two countries (Zimbabwe and Zambia). That means you can enjoy the fall by visiting any country since it exists in both countries.
The two places offer you two different unbeatable views with some other pros and cons of each. Read further to discover more.
The fall exists through 354 feet in height and 5604 feet in width. With numbers and the pictures, you may think this is the widest or tallest waterfall in the world. No, it is neither the tallest nor the widest waterfall in the world. But, yes, it is the largest waterfall in the world when you calculate the total land area.
During the peak season, Victoria falls over 500 millions of water per minute. Just imagine what will happen when that kind of huge water volume falls. Yes, it creates a huge water smoke spreads around 30 miles. Therefore, it has got a name from the locals called Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means the “smoke which thunders.” (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Is Victoria falls in South Africa?
Since most of the travelers have googled this question, I thought to answer. No, it is not located in South Africa. As you can see on the map above, it is located in the Southern African region (on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe), but not in South Africa.
Two national parks of two counties protect the waterfall. They are Victoria Falls National Park from the Zimbabwe side and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park From the Zambia side. Since these are UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites, the waterfall is more protected.
Which side is the best? Zambia or Zimbabwe?
Well, I will answer this question as follows. I will present to you all the plus and negative points each country relevant to visiting Victoria Falls. Then you can decide which side to travel. Because some can say the Zambian side is the best, while others say Zimbabwe side is the best. Whatever the side, you will get one of the best waterfall experiences in the world. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Victoria Falls in Zambia side
When we take the whole waterfall, Zambia owns only 25% of it. And that water amount is get dried completely during the dry season (from October to November). Because the water sources on the Zambian side are very poor and having a lack of true rainforests. Therefore, most of the time in the year, the water amount is very low or zero.
There’s an advantage for the visitors as well. They can observe right down the length of the falls in the evening (at sunset). But, keep in mind to be closer to the exit gate. Otherwise, the authority will close the gate before you exit.
Although the water amount is less, it offers you several amazing viewpoints and experiences as well. The two hotels (Royal Livingstone Hotel and Avani Resort) are very close to the waterfall and offer you free entrance to the waterfall through their own entrance gates. It is a very profitable and easy way which is available on the Zambian side. And in the case of crossing the Victoria falls border bridge, the Zambian side makes it easier. It also offers you a real closeup of the waterfall. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
With the huge development of the Zambezi River banks’ town without any control in Zambia, the travel charges have risen up. (compared with Zimbabwe). But Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park visiting charges are very less (around $15) compared with Zimbabwe.
Livingstone Island, Devil’s Pool, Microlights flights are the most highlighted experiences on the Zambian side. By considering Zimbabwe’s political crisis, most of the travelers attract to Zambia for visiting Victoria Falls.
Suggested Reading: Wadi Rum Jordan
Victoria Falls Zimbabwe side
Owning 75% of Victoria Waterfall, Zimbabwe offers you great experiences with a variety of 16 viewpoints. On the other hand, the Zimbabwe side has huge water content, and it falls throughout the year. Because it has a true rainforest source, it doesn’t get dried up even in the dry season (from October to November).
Due to having more viewpoints and having lower charges compared with Zambia, Zimbabwe has more advantages. One of the most highlighted experiences is Game Viewing opportunities. It is more frequent compared with Zambia. Because the Zimbabwe government has carefully controlled the Zambezi River banks’ development processes, they have carefully preserved wildlife. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
There are many hotels and lodges near the Victoria waterfall. So, no need to worry about the facilities. Due to the popularity of political crisis and the country’s safety issues, people tend to visit Zambia than Zimbabwe.
Discover both sides at the same time
But for me, I don’t think there’s any difference between the beauty of both sides. Nature is always wonderful everywhere. Now, you can read the facts and decide where to go. If you are a traveler like me who needs to simultaneously discover both sides, then here’s the solution. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
It is KAZA Uni-Visa. KAZA Uni-Visa is a kind of visa that allows you to travel between several countries. They are Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. There are several ports where you can purchase this visa on arrival. And this visa project aims to facilitate the easy movement of tourists between those countries. For more details, refer to the above link.
Suggested Reading: Costa Rican Capital San Jose
Hotels Near Victoria Falls in Zambia
Here are the best hotels you can find near Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Just zoom the map and search for the ideal place that matches your budget.
Best time to travel to Victoria Falls?
Now I’m going to explain to you about the seasonal changes in Victoria Falls.
Seasonal Changes in Victoria Falls
The summer is from November to April. And it has a hot but rainy climate. And the water level is rising from December to January. Since that, you can do water activities like White water rafting, swimming in Devil’s Pool and, touring Livingstone Island.
And the water level gets higher from February to April. Then, you can observe the best views of the waterfall with heavy rainfalls. Because of the rain, you can see lunar rainbows as well. But on the other hand, it is not good timing for a safari due to rain. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
The Autumn/Fall is a warm and dry season that starts from May to June. This is optimum for safari tours. Due to the heavy rains got in previous seasons, the water sources get rich. And therefore still you can see a spectacular view with a heavy waterfall.
The Winter is not typically cold and freezy here. It has a warm and dry climate by offering the best safari tours. The season starts from July to August. And July offers high water content in Victoria waterfall with spectacular views and lunar rainbows. And it gradually declines to a lower water level when it comes to August. Then you can enjoy White water rafting, swimming in Devil’s Pool, and visiting Livingstone Island.
The Spring is also hot and dry. And it starts from September to October. This season offers you the lowest water content in the fall. But still, there is a small number of water activities. But for safaris, this time is just awesome. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Suggested Reading: Best Beaches in Mexico
Summary of seasonal details
High water season: From February to July. Rainy and has the most spectacular views.
Low water season: From August to January. Best for swimming in Devil’s Pool and water rafting.
Peak Safari season: From June to October. Ideal for a combined visit of safari and waterfall visit.
Best time to visit to see spectacular views: March to August
The worst time to visit only the falls: October to November (Especially, Zambian side is completely get dried)
Suggested Reading: Gobi Desert in Asia
What to Expect at Victoria Falls?
Here are the best things that you can do in Victoria Falls. Whether you are on the Zambia side or Zimbabwe side, the followings are the experiences that you can get.
The first thing to do is view the waterfall and feel the natural beauty of the waterfall. And also, the unique and rare lunar rainbows or moonbows color the picture in a great way. The total scenery reminds us that we are in a fairy tale. Not in the real world. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Victoria Falls Devil’s Pool
Devil’s pool is the most extreme natural infinity pool in the world. And it is situated at the very edge of Victoria Falls. People are spending more money to experience the Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool in Singapore. But, for me, this one is unbeatable compared with artificial things.
But, you can only enjoy this pool when there’s a minimum amount of water. So, as mentioned earlier, August to December is the best time to get this experience. This is completely an adventure experience to swim through slippery rocks until the pool’s edge, which falls thundering water for around 350 feet.
It would be best if you surely came from the Zambian side to get this experience. As mentioned earlier, Royal Livingstone Hotel, Zambia offers you boat rides to the Devil’s Pool in the Zambezi River through the Livingstone Island. Then the guides will guide you on how to swim in the river as well. Please follow the safety guidelines since you are going to the edge of one of the world’s highest waterfalls. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
The Royals and Avani, and some other hotels organize boat tours to the Devil’s Pool. Ex: The River Club Zambia
Bungee Jump off Victoria Falls Bridge
Victoria Falls Bridge is the connecting line between the two countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. And also, it is one of the greatest places to view the waterfall as well. Most importantly, it offers you a more adventurous experience. It is bungee jumping from the world’s one of the most scenic bungee jumping bridges. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Don’t worry; if you are scared to do that, then you go for a bridge swing or bridge slide. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to bring your passport since you will cross a border.
Visit Livingstone Island
This is the place where David Livingstone saw this waterfall for the first time. You can enjoy the island and go for a swim in Devil’s Pool.
White water rafting: Victoria Falls in Zambia
There are many river adventures in the Zambezi River. Like: Whitewater Rafting, jetboat rides, and sunset boat cruise.
Whitewater rafting trips are running through high octane rapids of the Batoka Gorge (Hydroelectric power station). The best time is between August to September.
Jetboat rides are taking you to the Boiling Pot of the Victoria Falls at the bottom of the fall in the Zambia side at high speed.
Going for a sunset boat cruise on Africa’s fourth-largest river (Zambezi) is just amazing. It is a great way of relaxing under the African sky. And you may see baboons, monkeys, birds, elephants, hippos crossing the river, crocodiles, and several animals.
View the Falls from the Air
David Livingstone’s famous saying about Victoria Falls tells you how beautiful this place is. It is: “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flights.” So, the view from the air must be more spectacular. Many companies offer helicopter tours to see Victoria Falls and the wildlife of national parks from the air. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Zimbabwe’s side is always better for wildlife watching. But yet Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park also offers you many chances. Actually, both national parks in the two countries are home to many wildlife. Lions, leopards, baboons, zebras, giraffes, and many more. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Zipline tour in Victoria Falls
Zipline over the Zambezi River is the longest zipline in the world. It has a 425m length and 120m above the river and runs through the waterfall’s famous gorges. So, this is exclusively for adventure travelers.
Victoria Falls Facts
Now you already know about this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Victoria Fall was recognized as a UNESCO site in 1989 and considered one of the seven natural wonders globally. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
How was Victoria Falls formed?
Victoria Falls or the “smoke that thunders” result from soft sandstone that fills huge cracks in the plateau’s basalt rock. In ancient times, when the upper Zambezi River was flowing across the plateau and found cracks. And then, eventually created the amazing gorges by wearing away more soft rock.
When the rock wore away, the cataract followed these gigantic cracks and moved it further upriver across the plateau. Then the rivers started zigzagging when they passed all the six gorges. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)
Is Victoria Falls Zambia the World’s biggest waterfall?
Yes, it is. As I mentioned above, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world. When we calculate the total land area, we get the highest number we can ever have for a waterfall in the world. The numbers are 354 feet in height and 5604 feet in width. (Especially due to its huge width)
Is the Victoria Falls dried up?
It is unfortunate to say that this spectacular waterfall is running dry due to severe climate changes. We compared the photographs of past years, and now, we realized that the water content had reduced severely past decades.
In 2019, the Sothern African region faced a long drought period. So, Victoria Falls was also affected and dried up. It really hit the tourism industry, hydroelectric power generation project, and the basic needs of people.
The sad truth is that this waterfall is shrinking with time and climate changes. (Victoria Falls in Zambia)