Here are five key differences between Victoria Falls and Livingstone.
1. The Victoria Falls experience
First of all: which country is the best to discover Victoria Falls? It is complicated. But the short answer is that the Zimbabwean part, although further away from the falls, offers a much better view. In Zambia you will be much closer to the falls – in some cases you can even stand in the water! – but views are limited.
Between February and June, the waterfalls are in full swing and visitors are required to wear rain jackets. Between July and September you will have the best views, as the water is still strong but not as hazy. And when the dry season arrives in the fall, the views are great and there are plenty of possibilities for different water activities.
In Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, the Victoria Falls World Heritage National Monument site offers several paths to explore the falls. One of them is the Eastern Cataract, a walk on a walkway through the mist of the falls. And, for those with a lot of moxie, there’s the Devil’s Pool too – you can read all about that later in this article. To see the falls, which is about 7 miles from the city center, you will need to take a taxi. You may also need a guide, depending on what you want to see.
On the Zimbabwean side, Victoria Falls National Park has a gift shop, great coffee, local crafts, plenty of information signs, and easy hiking trails that offer exceptional views of the falls from all angles. . Personally, I like to arrive early in the morning and take a walk when things are calm and baboons outnumber visitors. Later in the day, the cafe is the perfect place to cool off and relax before heading back to your favorite trail. The park is located in the heart of Victoria Falls and is laid out in such a way that you can easily explore on your own without a guide. Note that if you are staying outside the main part of town, you may need a taxi to get there.
It doesn’t matter which side you are on, if you are visiting the area during a full moon (or just before or after), ask your hotel for a lunar visit to the falls. It is an experience not to be missed!
In Victoria Falls, the tiny Jafuta Heritage Center, located in the Elephant’s Walk Mall, chronicles the cultural heritage of the Zimbabwean people. It features jewelry, traditional costumes and other artifacts. A plus: it’s located next to Dean’s Cafe, which uses local coffee beans and is well worth a visit.
Boma in Victoria Falls offers great food in addition to a unique cultural experience. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to try local dishes (including impala, guinea fowl stew, and crunchy roasted mopane worms) while enjoying the skills of the drummers and dancers.
In Zambia, travelers can visit the Livingstone Museum, the largest and oldest museum in the country. Highlights of his collection include objects from the life of David Livingstone, exhibits on modern Zambia, a model African village, and much more. Entrance to this wheelchair-friendly museum is just $ 5, a great deal.
Livingstone is also home to the Railway & Gateway Jewish Museum. This hybrid museum tells the story of Zambia’s locomotive age as well as the development of the Livingstone Jewish community. The community traveled to Livingstone in the late 1800s to escape religious persecution in their native Lithuania. They are also remembered in the small Jewish cemetery and the synagogue (now a Church of Christ).
Victoria Falls is one of the best destinations for arts, crafts and sculpture in all of Southern Africa. There are gallery style shops in the Elephant’s Walk boutique and artist village and a large curiosity market to the rear. Whether you are looking for a small stone hippo that fits in the palm of your hand or an 8ft wooden giraffe, you will find it here.
While Livingstone doesn’t quite have the same art scene, there is still a lot to see. For example, I found some pretty baskets for sale while dining at Golden Leaf (which serves delicious Indian food). You never know where to find a part you like. And if you cross the border on foot (which I did four times during my visit!), You will meet some craft vendors set up along the way. If you have an assortment of currency from Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, these border sellers will gladly accept it.
It’s virtually impossible to visit Victoria Falls and Livingstone Falls without having a great time viewing wildlife.
On the Zambian side, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is home to white rhinos. A waking safari through Mosi-oa-Tunya is an exciting opportunity to observe these highly endangered animals in the wild.
In Zimbabwe, the Zambezi National Park and Hwange National Park are home to many species that you can enjoy on a day safari. Although there are no rhinos, you will see some of the largest populations of African elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, birds, antelopes, and maybe even big cats.
One of the most popular ways to view the region’s wildlife is by visiting another country. Botswana’s Chobe National Park is just an hour away. Trips typically cost less than $ 200 and include a breakfast boat ride, Chobe safari, lunch, and more. You will see lions, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, and even cheetahs on a typical trip.
5. Adventure opportunities
If you are a thrill seeker, you will find plenty of adventures on both sides of the border.
Those who enjoy whitewater rafting will not be able to resist a descent of the Zambezi River, which forms the border between the two countries. Tours to explore the Class V rapids depart from the Lookout Cafe in Victoria Falls. There are options for those who want to be active participants as well as for those who prefer to be passengers, clinging to the adventure of a lifetime!
The Lookout Cafe is also home to the headquarters of Wild Horizon, and in many ways it’s the base for all kinds of adventure in the area. From the cafe itself you can zip line. The line runs 1,394 feet through the gorge above the Zambezi, and you can expect speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. There are also flying fox cable slides (imagine running up the side of a cliff and hovering over the gorge like, well, a flying fox) and a gorge swing (a freefall of 230 feet before rocking back and forth under a 300 foot camber).
By the way, the Lookout Cafe has some great breakfast options and makes some pretty lattes which is exactly the kind of thrill I was looking for during my stay. Watching everyone on the ziplines was about as many thrilling adventures as I could handle!
Despite these incredible adventures on the Zimbabwean side, Zambia might just be the most adventurous destination of all. This is because Livingstone is the starting point for a trip to Devil’s Pool. The ominously named attraction is a natural infinity pool right at the edge of the waterfall, and it’s only accessible from the Zambian side. Between August and January, when water levels are low, experienced guides can take you through the rocks to the pool. You can swim to the edge and look over to see the cascading sheet of water falling several hundred feet towards the Zambezi below. If your stomach is a little wavering at the very thought of doing this, know that you are not alone. It is definitely not your daily travel activity!
Pro tip: If you think it is even possible that you are visiting both Zambia and Zimbabwe, you should apply for a KAZA visa upon arrival. This visa allows multiple entries into both countries, which is perfect if you want to cross the Victoria Falls Bridge or take a day trip. The KAZA visa also allows day trips to Botswana, which is ideal for a short visit to Chobe National Park.