Where is the best place to see Victoria Falls – Zambia or Zimbabwe?
When planning a trip to Victoria Falls, there is one major question to address. It’s the Great Victoria Falls debate; where is the best place to see Victoria Falls, the Zambian or Zimbabwean side?
Forming the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the world’s largest waterfalls (due to its 1 708 metre width). Also laying claim to being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, it is a truly awe-inspiring sight and demonstrates the might of nature in spectacular fashion! Known as ‘Mosi-Oa-Tunya’ (the smoke that thunders) by the local Kalolo people, there are a number of features worth visiting on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides. The only thing left to do is decide which suits your travel desires best.
The Zimbabwean side: Things to do, the best times to go & accommodation options
The Zimbabwean side of the falls has 70% of the viewpoints and the water here flows 365 days of the year, which means that you can still enjoy the views in the dry season. The Zimbabwean side is considered to have the best vantage points, while during flood season – April to May – you’ll be treated to dramatic spraying mists and rainbows!
Visitors can access the falls via the Victoria Falls Rainforest, where you’ll pay your entrance fees. Here you can also browse a curio shop, information centre and enjoy refreshments at the restaurant. A network of paved footpaths takes you to the various viewpoints at the edge of the gorge with views out over the majestic, roaring waters. These paths also have the advantage of being wheelchair friendly, while the Zambian side has a lot of steps.
Zimbabwe also offers a larger choice of accommodation, easy access to nearby safari destinations, greater access to adventure pursuits, and good value for money.
The Zambian side: Things to do, the best times to go & accommodation options
On the Zambian side, visitors have a good vantage point from Knife Edge Bridge, which takes you down to the Boiling Pot – a colossal whirlpool at the bottom of the falls. The Zambian side is also home to the legendary Devil’s Pool – a natural pool that forms between September and January (approximately), where you can swim (safely) to the very edge of the falls and which offers bragging rights and an impressive bucket-list tick!
The best time to see the falls from the Zambian side is during July and August when the water level has begun to drop. Any later and the waterfalls dry up completely, while earlier (March to June) the spray is so active that it renders visibility to almost zero. The Zambian side boasts Livingstone Island, from which you have a great vantage point of the falls, It is situated next to the main falls, opposite some of Zimbabwe’s best viewpoints, but it falls within Zambia and can be reached for most of the year (with the exception of peak high water season). A visit to Livingstone Island is highly recommended.
The Zambian side is home to a number of fantastic lodges and hotels that are built right on the edge of the Zambezi River, upstream from the falls.
Zambia vs Zimbabwe: Which side comes out on top?
This all depends on the time of year, your budget as well as your interests. Each side can claim certain advantages – overall the views are best from the Zimbabwean side, especially during the low-water season. But this is also the best time to visit Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool, which you can only do from the Zambian side.
For the budget-conscious, Zimbabwe has more variety in terms of affordable accommodation (and visa fees are lower) while the Zambian side has better accommodation options for clientele seeking a more luxurious experience.
Logistically, both sides are well served by international airports, but depending on flight availability this may swing your choice (especially if you are connecting to other smaller airports in Kruger National Park or onwards to Kenya). Your dedicated Safari365 consultant will be able to assist with these considerations.
SAFARI TIP: If you do plan on visiting both sides – which is an option – be sure to obtain a double-entry or multiple entry visa from your point of entry. This costs less than getting two single-entry visas.
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