The Victoria Falls Photo Credit: Paul Balfe

Victoria Falls, a resort town close to the gigantic waterfall

Overview

Victoria Falls is a resort town in western Zimbabwe, located on the southern banks of the Zambezi River close to the gigantic waterfall of the same name.

The Victoria Falls Alessandro Licence: CC

Getting there

Visitors can land at the Victoria Falls Airport which is about 22 km out of town and there one can rent a vehicle or hire one of the taxis around. There are also tour operators like Shearwater and Wild horizons, which do airport transfers.

From Livingstone Airport to Victoria Falls Town, there are airport transfers offered by several companies like Adventure zone and Falcon Safaris tours. Three taxis are required from Livingstone as there is a border in between and the taxis do not have the required permission to cross.

One can also access Victoria Falls by road from Harare, Bulawayo or Gweru or from Lusaka via Mazabuka. Luxury coaches also carry visitors to Victoria Falls from most cities as does the basic buses and commuter omnibuses.

One of the luxury buses that carries visitors to Victoria Falls vcp.de Licence: CC

Getting around

In town,  walking is the best way of getting around and for places where walking is impossible, there is a shuttle service that runs hourly from most hotels and lodges to the center of the town. Taxis are also available to get visitors to and from their destinations. The Wild Horizons booking office on Park Way has bicycles available for hire in the town centre.

Accommodation

Victoria Falls boasts of excellent accommodation with facilities that cater to every traveller’s preferences. The Elephant Camp is located within a private concession 10km from Victoria Falls and from here; the spray of the Falls is visible as are the regular elephants. The Camp has 16 comfortable, air-conditioned tents with beautiful views of the gorge. The beautifully decorated tents have bathtubs, indoor and outdoor showers and open onto viewing decks with concealed plunge pools. The laid back dining area serves a fresh and ingenious blend of locally and internationally inspired cuisine.

The Victoria Falls Hotel, so close to Victoria Falls, one can hear the water roar, offers three restaurants, the Jungle Junction Summerhouse for a relaxed dining experience with buffet meals, the Livingstone Room, for an evening of regal grace and Stanley’s Terrace for ideal sunset views while enjoying snacks and cocktails. There also is a tennis court, a swimming pool and a spa for relaxing massages.

The Victoria Falls Hotel Meraj Chhaya Licence: CC

Matetsi River Lodge, located on a private game reserve, offers the visitor a genuine yet deluxe safari experience. This is an ideal spot for total serenity, gorgeous views and great game viewing opportunities. The Lodge has various dining areas, both indoors and out, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and high tea. There is also a beautiful wine cellar with a supply of carefully picked vintage wines from South Africa and overseas.

Other accommodation options include Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge, located 80 km from Victoria Falls on a private concession , a  fantastic place for birding, game-viewing, walking and fishing;  the Victoria Falls River Lodge set on a curve in the Zambezi River with 13 large, contemporary, tent-under thatched suites; the Zambezi Sands River Camp, with 8 comfortable fitted Bedouin-style tents built into raised wooden platforms, each with its own splash pool and the Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge.

Food

Visitors have access to restaurants in the hotels or lodges they would be staying in. They also have the option to try out other restaurants dotted around the tourism town.

Food served at a restaurant in Victoria Falls Ana Raquel S. Hernandes Licence: CC

The Three Monkeys Restaurant and Bar is open seven days a week from 12 pm till late. It serves starters from croc skewers, kudu Carpaccio, Cajun chicken and Greek salads, crumbled chicken and roast vegetable wraps, Panini, burgers, pizzas and more.

‘Little Monkey’ On the Go is the Three Monkeys’ sister takeaway situated in the heart of Victoria Falls town, serving fresh, flavourful and healthy food at affordable prices.

The Africa Café is a meeting place for locals and visitors alike, a colourful mixture of cultures and tastes, from Zanzibar to the Zambezi. The place serves freshly brewed Zimbabwean tea and coffee taken with delectable treats.

Other eateries include the Bridge Cafe Restaurant, Lola’s Tapas and Bar, The Lookout Cafe Zambezi River Gorges, Mama Africa Eating House, Nam Took Thai Restaurant, the Rainforest Cafe, Shearwater Cafe, Shoestrings Cafe, Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge, Pariah State , Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn and Creamy Inn.

Shearwater cafe in Victoria Falls Fabio Achilli Licence: CC

Shopping

Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist Village has some of the best specialty shops and studios in Zimbabwe and has something for everyone. The shops and studios here include African Heritage, with Jewelry, clothing, exotic leather goods, masks, sculptures, artifacts, batik, bone and fabrics; Chitenge Tenga, offering unique and beautiful fabrics and beadwork jewelry made entirely by the human hand and Cultural Music Vibes, a music shop where most musical needs are met.

There is also Wild Memories, The Book Shop, Instant Cater Quip, Southern Treasures, Prime Art Gallery, Matsimela Home Spa, Pischem Prime Art Gallery, Pearls Gallery And Tours, Suntime Curios, Wire Working Table, Open Air Market, Ronald & TNTt Bead and Batik Shed, Frank Mahore Carver and Papa Victor’s.

For those who need to carry away with them beautiful African clothes, there is a shop where they are made and sold in the Landela Complex on Lawley Road. There are also curio shops found around the town selling various collectibles.

A man selling some curios in Victoria Falls abi.bhattachan Licence: CC

Activities

There are loads of activities to engage in Victoria Falls to keep the visitor busy and excited. Viewing the World Heritage Site “Mosi-oa-Tunya” Falls is usually the main thing everyone who has been to the falls does.  Daredevils are open to bungee jumping, raft the wild white waters or canoe the rapids above the Falls.

Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls Tee La Rosa Licence: CC

Those wanting to be in touch with the wild could visit the Zambezi National Park close by to view game and watch birds.

Other places to visit include the Victoria Falls National Park, the Jafuta Heritage Centre, the Snake Pit and the Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve.

Activities to engage in include the Steam Train Dinner, Devil’s Pool Swim, the Livingstone Island Morning Breezer , the Livingstone Island Lunch, the Livingstone Island High Tea, Zambezi River Cruises, Game Drives, Bridge Slides, Helicopter Flight plus Sunset Cruise as well as the Boma Dinner and  Drum Show.

Helicopter flights at Victoria Falls Andrés Moreno Licence: CC

Weather/Climate

Victoria Falls enjoys hot and rainy summers from mid-November to mid-March and mild and dry winters with cold nights in the months between mid-May and mid-August. Temperatures are high from September to November, sometimes going beyond 40 degrees Celsius, with October the hottest month.

Best times to visit

The best time to visit Victoria Falls is from February to May, after the summer rains where the volumes of water are large. November is also a good period to visit as vegetation would be green and lush, providing beautiful scenery.

The green and lush vegetation at Mosi-oa-Tunya Victoria Falls Meraj Chhaya Licence: CC
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