Visiting a UNESCO Heritage Site is usually a highlight for me when exploring a new place. And Mosi-Oa-Tunya aka Victoria Falls was no different. To get a full appreciation of this natural wonder of the world, I decided to make it a priority to visit both sides: one side in Zambia and the other in Zimbabwe. To do so, this required a bit of pre-planning. First, I had to secure the appropriate visa upon landing in Zambia (the Kaza visa – this allows a visit Botswana on a day trip as well). I also made sure to plan my time in Livingstone in such a way that I had a full day for the falls. Read on to find out how I spent about six hours admiring one waterfall!
In planning my trip to Livingstone, I decided to stay at Avani Resort because of its proximity to Victoria Falls. As much as resorts aren’t my thing, I was glad to have done so because it allowed me to visit the Zambian side of the waterfalls on two different days!
On my first visit, it was a very cloudy. It was still worth it as the weather made for a moody atmosphere. I arrived right before opening time which meant as I moved along the path in the park’s grounds, I pretty much had it to myself in most spots! Of course, it also helped that my visit was in April, the shoulder season.
April is at the end of the rainy season. The day was dry but because the river and waterfalls just had months of rain, walking through the park meant it felt like monsoon season as the falls were at peak volume – the sheer amount of falling water meant a lot of kick back. Like a lot. A poncho is highly recommended – and a must if you’re walking around with a proper camera in addition to your waterproof phone like I did. You can buy a poncho at the site, but I brought my own heavy duty one (with a hood). I also wore quick dry pants and waterproof sandals. The second time I visited the Zambian side of the falls, it was a beautiful sunny morning. Along with the blue sky, a sunny day meant rainbows! So many rainbows! It was also still so very wet, haha.
Zambia Side – Tip
If you’re a nature junkie and/or photographer like me, expect to spend one to three hours here. Don’t forget to wander the paths into the woods, check out the viewpoint on the bridge to Zimbabwe, and the walk path that takes you a little way up the Zambezi River.
What to expect when crossing the bridge
While you can take a cab to the Zimbabwe border, why not walk? It is an interesting trip, and it really isn’t that far!
Once you’ve stamped out of Zambia, you’ll cross “no man’s land” and a bridge over the gorge. When I went in April, it wasn’t very busy which had its pros and cons. The pro was that there were no lines at immigration. The con was that there weren’t many other tourists to distract the touts, so it was a little annoying having to keep turning them down. The other con were the baboons – I stayed far away from them as possible, but they are there so it is important to not flash any food in this area.
Once you reach the other side of the bridge, you will stamp into Zimbabwe. Once you’re clear, a little further down the road on the right-hand side is the entrance to the national park. From one immigration office to the other, the whole process took about 45 minutes. Signage is adequate so you won’t get lost.
It was cloudy the afternoon I made my visit to Zimbabwe’s half of Victoria Falls so there were no rainbows on that day. But again, it was still lovely! The grounds were more open on this side, so I had a greater appreciation for the sheer scale of Victoria Falls. The kickback from the water was still immense so my sturdy poncho came in handy again. All in all, I spent a couple hours at the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls. As usual when visiting sites such as this, I came away in awe at Mother Nature’s beauty and power. There really is a reason why Mosi-oa-Tunya aka Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage site!
While in Zambia or Zimbabwe, you will inevitably be asked which country had the better side of Victoria Falls. Choose your answer carefully, lol. As for me, I personally cannot choose and yes, that is my final answer!
What else to do along the Zambezi River