Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe v Zambia
Victoria Falls is a powerful waterfall on the Zambezi River which creates a natural border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It’s technically the largest waterfall in the world, forming the greatest curtain of water of any falls. David Livingstone, the first European to see the Falls, named it for Queen Victoria in 1855, a name fitting the majesty of the Falls. However, Mosi-oa-Tunya, the local name for the Falls, and official name in Zimbabwe, refers to the sheer power of the Falls, meaning ‘The smoke that thunders’.
Victoria Falls is one of the most iconic destinations in Africa. Visitors to Africa have been drawn to the Falls since the beginning of the twentieth century, and the awe it inspires ensures that it remains a firm favourite for visitors today. As well as the spectacular beauty, Victoria Falls is also incredibly popular with thrill seekers. Offering bungee jumping, white water rafting and the chance to sit on the edge of the Falls at Devil’s Pool, it is an ideal destination for those in search of an adrenaline rush.
The Falls can be visited from both Zimbabwe and Zambia. But the question is, which side it best?
Zimbabwe offers greater views with 75% of the Falls visible from the Zimbabwean side. A path snakes through a lush rainforest showcasing 16 stunning viewpoints of the Falls, offering a variety of angles from which to view them. Additionally the Falls visible from the Zimbabwean side do not dry up at any point throughout the year, even during the dry season in October and November. In fact, the Main Falls, and Devil’s Cataract, maintain an impressive water flow year round.
The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is a lot smaller than Livingstone in Zambia. Depending on your preference this may be a positive or negative. Victoria Falls town is easier to navigate and everything is convenient and accessible. However, as it is smaller, there are fewer museums and activities. Victoria Falls is just a kilometre away compared to its Zambia counterpart which is 10 kilometres away, and many of the hotels are within walking distance of the Falls. Zimbabwe also has lower government taxes and levies, making accommodation and activities more affordable than in Zambia.
Bungee jumping, white water rafting and many of the popular activates are available in Zimbabwe, but Zambia is the only country where you can sit in Devil’s Pool and peep over the edge! In fact, Zambia offers a really up-close experience of the Falls with two of the hotels positioned very close to the entrance of the Falls, the Royal Livingstone Hotel and the Zambezi Sun. Residents at these two hotels are entitled to free entrance to the Zambian section of the Falls via their own entrance gate. This is a huge advantage and a big money saver.
Zambia has a more limited view of the Falls than Zimbabwe, with only 25% visible. The portion of the Falls visible is known as the Eastern Cataract, and in the dry season, this can dry up completely, leaving only rock face visible.
Which side would you choose?
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