The Natural Wonder of Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, situated on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, is neither the highest or widest waterfall in the world, but it is the worlds’ largest in total surface. We spent the morning enjoying breathtaking views from the Zimbabwean side, before walking across the Victoria Falls Bridge to Zambia to inspect the falls from close by.

Tourists visiting the Victoria Falls can choose to stay at either the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, or Livingstone in Zambia. We opted for Victoria Falls, as the falls are within walking distance of the town, whereas Livingston is a 20-minute taxi ride away. Apart from the waterfalls, the wildlife in the nearby Zambezi and Hwange National Parks are a major tourist attraction.

Do bring cash though, as the safaris are quite expensive: a night game drive will set you back at least $100, mostly due to the safaris taking place in private reserves requiring exorbitant entrance fees. And if you plan on eating out, restaurants are expensive (30$ for a basic lunch), and food mediocre. Luckily, most places accept credit cards, which is a lifesaver as ATMs often run out of money due to the unstable Zimbabwean economy.

After obtaining a visa at the border (50$ for the KAZA UniVisa which allows entry into both Zimbabwe and Zambia), and paying 30$ to enter the Victoria Falls National Park, you are finally within reach of the falls. The Victoria Falls were discovered by the explorer David Livingstone, the first European to travel through central Africa, back in 1852.

• Livingstone Statue.

There is only one trail in the Victoria Falls National Park, that will lead you from viewpoint to viewpoint. One of the best views is just behind the Livingstone Statue, where you can see the Devil’s Cataract and Cataract Island.

• Devil’s Cataract.

Further down the trail you will have great views over the main falls and Livingstone Island. Depending on the weather, the sun and gushing water can temporarily obstruct the view. At certain points along the walkway you might get (very) wet, so we recommend brining a rain jacket or buying a poncho (1$).

• Main Falls.

It takes about an hour to walk the entire trail along the falls. Afterwards, you might opt to watch the many baboons, get lunch at the nearby cafe, or walk across the border to Zambia. We had a quick lunch at The Lookout Cafe, which offers great views over the gorge, before crossing the border on foot. The walk across the border takes a good 30 minutes, with the Victoria Falls Bridge marking the actual border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

• Victoria Falls Bridge.

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia charges a 20$ (or 190 Kwacha) entrance fee (cash only), and allows you to experience the falls from close by. You can walk down to the base of the waterfalls, or cross the misty Knife-Edge Bridge towards Danger Point. Here, we definitely recommend a poncho, as even getting close the bridge will get you soaked.

• Knife-Edge Bridge (right) and Danger Point (left).

Part of the trail leads 300 meters upstream, where you can see the fast flowing river just before the water tumbles down 108 meters. Strangely, the sound of the falls is barely audible from here. The water looks strangely peaceful, swimmable almost, although multiple signs warn you not to. During dry season, you are allowed to get in the water at the famous Devil’s Pool, located on Livingston Island in the middle of the main falls.

Our visit to Zambia only lasted for an hour or so, and we walked the same 30 minutes back to Zimbabwe, crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge one more time. We found one day was sufficient to see this Natural Wonder of the World, especially given the exorbitant prices around town.

• The river upstream.

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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