Victoria Falls is the awe-inspiring waterfalls that straddle the international border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. If you’re on an once-in-a-lifetime trip in Africa, and you have very limited time, then our guide might help you. With careful planning and prioritizing, you will be able to maximize your time and see some of the major attractions. This 3-day suggested itinerary is for those who are short on time, but still want to get a good taste of what Victoria Falls has to offer.
Things to consider before traveling to Victoria Falls:
Which side of the falls (Zimbabwe or Zambia) – When deciding which side of the falls between the Zambian and the Zimbabwean, you have to consider the time of your visit, the view you would like to see, accommodation options and other activities you would like to do. If you visit during the dry season (April to October), you won’t be able to witness the raging torrent at the Zambian Side. You would, however, witness the majestic water fall all year round in the Zimbabwean side. You can choose the Zimbabwean side, and then cross the borders to get to the Zambian side for the Devil’s Pool.
Recommended vaccinations – If you are arriving from a yellow-fever endemic area, you are required to get vaccinations four to six weeks prior to your arrival in Zambia or Zimbabwe and a proof of yellow fever vaccination needs to be presented. Hepatitis B vaccines are required for children 0 to 12 years old who have not yet completed series of vaccinations during infancy. Anti-Malaria prescription medicine is highly advised if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Vaccines for Hepatitis A and Typhoid are also recommended.
Safety and security – There is currently no nationwide security advisory in effect for Zimbabwe or Zambia. Check your country’s travel advisory website to get the most up-to-date information for your personal safety abroad. Keep your guard up at all times and avoid any streets that are not crowded. Although most visits are trouble free, remain vigilant because petty crimes like pick pocketing and theft do occur. If you are renting out a car, always keep the car locked and don’t leave valuables. Do not stop for any hitch hiker or person in trouble on the open road. When visiting parks or nature reserves, observe regulations as wild animals can pose risks.
Where to stay – Zimbabwe and Zambia have a wide range of accommodation options, with something for every level of comfort and budget. Find a hotel or hostel with good reviews and book well in advance. There are several accommodations in the heart of the protected natural reserve where you can practically see the falls from your bedroom window and within easy walking distance from the falls. If you want to stay right at the water’s edge, the Zambian side has at least two hotels, which provide access to all activities in the falls.
Getting around – Getting around Victoria Falls and the town is very easy as most attractions are within easy walking distance. You may also take a taxi or the complimentary shuttle service provided by most hotels to get to your destination. There are also plenty of tour operators in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which offers prearranged transfers anywhere. If you plan to rent a car and drive on your own, do not stop for any hitch hiker or person in trouble on the open road. Avoid night time driving, especially outside urban centers, as there were instances of robberies.
Detailed itinerary: 3 days to fall in love with Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world
Today starts your adventure in Victoria Falls! We suggest staying in the Zambian side as this is where most of the adventure activities take place. Check into your chosen accommodation where you will be staying for three nights. Get settled and spend the morning in your hotel to rest a little. Then, set out this morning to see Victoria Falls while crossing the Knife-Edge Bridge, which can make your heart race if you are afraid of heights. Getting close to the falls will make you understand why people who lived in this area since time immemorial treat Victoria Falls with deep spiritual respect.
Where to stay on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls:
Another sight you have to see is the Boiling Pot, which is a massive whirlpool at the base of the falls. A walk down to this attraction provides great viewing opportunities as well as a unique perspective of Victoria Falls from its base. Make sure to put your gadgets in a waterproof bag as you will surely get drenched by the spray of the falls.
If you still have time, take a dip in the Devil’s Pool, which is formed at the fringes of Victoria Falls. During the dry season, visitors can literally swim at the edge of one of the world’s largest waterfalls. It’s also one of the best viewpoints of Victoria Falls. Although you can do this tour on your own, we suggest hiring one of the local guides to ensure your safety.
On day 2, after having a filling breakfast set out this morning for the impressive Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls. The opportunity for incredible photographs is endless, so frequent stops are expected for visitors to enjoy the landscape. You will wind your way through different stations depending on the types of activities you want to be involved in. You’ll walk along well maintained footpaths and get an up-close glimpse of the fall from a number of perfectly perched view decks. Unless you want to splash out on a helicopter ride, go back to the Zambian side.
Your final day can be spent on last-minute shopping and seeing those Victoria Falls attractions that you haven’t yet had time for. If you’re done seeing the attractions in both the Zambian and Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls, you may start early and include a game drive on your Victoria Falls vacation. Join a game drive to the wildlife section of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which is a an UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the upper Zambezi River. Although you can’t expect to see the Big Five in the park, it is virtually assured you’ll see elephants, rhinos, zebras, and giraffes wandering the woodlands and grasslands.
A lizard buzzard (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) sitting on the branch of a dead tree in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Simon Greig / Shutterstock.com)
Burchell’s Zebra (Equus quagga burchelli) in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park (littlewormy / Shutterstock.com)
Have you been to Victoria Falls? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Victoria Falls (Tamer Desouky / Shutterstock.com)