Victoria Falls is a small town on the southern bank of the Zambezi River. The town is located west of the infamous Victoria Falls, one of the most popular attractions in all of Africa.
The falls were originally called Mosikalamosikala, which means 'The Smoke That Thunders'. Seeing the Victoria Falls for yourself is an unforgettable experience and staying in the nearby city is also a great way to discover Zimbabwe and its culture.
Victoria Falls has been developing at a fast pace to accommodate the many tourists who travel to the area. Beyond the falls, there are many activities, including sightseeing and exploring the wilderness in the nearby national parks.
The falls are more than 300 feet high and almost 150,000 gallons of water go over the cliffs each minute. You can see the falls from the nearby bridge, take a helicopter tour, or get closer to them in a ferry.
You can visit Livingstone Island and see the falls from where David Livingstone first laid eyes on them. If you are interested in history, take a tour of the Victoria Falls Bridge to learn more about its construction and ride in an old tram carriage.
There are several companies that offer activity and adventure packages in the area. You can see the falls from a helicopter, go rafting or canoeing on the Zambezi River, or bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge if you are an adventurer at heart.
The nearby Victoria Falls National Park and Zambezi National Park are ideal destinations if you want to see African wildlife up close. There are several safari experiences available in the area, including an original safari on horseback.
There are many luxury restaurants and African buffets where you can try traditional dishes. You can also shop for art and crafts or spend an evening at the casino that can be found inside of the Kingdom Hotel.
The falls look more impressive between the rainy season, which lasts from December to March. The downside of seeing the Falls during the rainy season is that you won't be able to get too close because of the spray. The dry season lasts from April to October, which means the water volume will be a lot lower. Seeing the falls in November is ideal if you want to see water volume and still be able to see the rocky ledge of the falls.
The Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) is 11 miles south of the city and the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) is located three miles north of the city across the border with Zambia. If you land at the Victoria Falls Airport, you can get to town by taking a shuttle or a taxi. A shuttle should cost US$24 and taxi fare should cost between US$30 and US$40. If you land at the Livingstone Airport in Zambia, you will have to take a taxi to the border for US$25, clear customs, and catch another taxi to town for US$5. A shuttle or private transport from the Livingstone Airport should cost US$15.
There is an overnight train between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. A first-class ticket costs US$12, and you ride in British coaches from the 1950s through breathtaking scenery.
Victoria Falls is 68 miles away from Hwange and 270 miles away from Bulawayo, and the roads are not well maintained. If you decide to rent a car at Livingstone Airport to drive to Victoria Falls, keep in mind that you will have to pay taxes and insurance at the border as well as obtain a temporary import permit for the car.
The Pathfinder Bus Company can take you from Harare to Victoria Falls for US$35 but keep in mind that the trip lasts for 12 hours since the bus stops in several smaller towns. Extracity Luxury is a more direct option that costs US$30.
There are many hotels, B&Bs and safari lodges in Victoria Falls. The Rainbow Hotel and the Kingdom Hotel are ideal choices if you want comfortable accommodation not far from the falls. If you are more interested in a B&B experience, consider staying at Lorries Bed and Breakfast or the Bayete Guest Lodge. You can also stay a little further away from the falls and choose a place with a safari package, such as the Elephant Camp or the Gorges Lodge.
Victoria Falls North - the northern portion of Victoria Falls is where you will find most of the hotels and safari lodges. Most of the souvenir shops and other tourist attractions can be found in the northeast of the city near the falls.
Chinotimba - this is the residential area located in the southern portion of Victoria Falls. There are a few hotels, lodges, and restaurants and taking a walk through the streets of Chinotimba is a fun way to discover the city and meet the locals.
The Falls - this is obviously the main attraction of the area. You can see the falls from the nearby Victoria Falls Bridge, get on a ferry, or see them from Livingstone Island.
Most lodges and hotels have their own shuttle that will take you to the falls. There is also a free shuttle service that runs hourly. This free shuttle service stops at most hotels and lodges and will take you to the town center.
You can call a taxi or go to the downtown area to find one. The fare is typically between US$5 and US$10 for anywhere within Victoria Falls and should be agreed upon in advance.
You will find a Europcar location at the Victoria Falls Airport and can rent a car for US$60 a day. You can also rent a bicycle for US$20 a day, which is a more affordable and convenient way to get around town.
Some of the hotels have small stores that sell souvenirs and luxury goods. Elephant's Walk is the best place to shop for souvenirs, where you will find a music store, several souvenir and art stores, and a taxidermy shop. The Curio Market is right next to Elephant's Walk and is definitely a fun experience, with lot of artists selling wood carvings. If you want to shop for clothes, head to the Phumula Center.
You can purchase groceries from the OK Supermarket at the Phumula Center on Park Way. You should be able to purchase a pound of ground beef for US$3, a dozen eggs for US$2, while a loaf of bread should cost US$1.
The High Tea salon located inside of the Victoria Falls Hotel is the best place to enjoy a breathtaking view of the falls. If you want to eat where the locals go, try the Africa Cafe or the Mama Africa Eating House, which has excellent stew and also serves grilled meats. The Samukele Restaurant inside the Elephant Hills Hotel and the White Water Restaurant at the Kingdom Hotel are ideal choices if you want a more upscale experience and want to watch a show or listen to live music while you eat. Don't leave Victoria Falls without trying some of the local fast food at the Chicken Inn or Pizza Inn. A fast food meal should only cost US$10 and you should expect to spend US$25 for a mid-range meal. Eating at an African buffet should cost US$35 but you will definitely get your money's worth.