Most people visit the small town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to see the famous Victoria Falls. Located between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls is considered to be one of the world’s largest waterfalls and one of the seven natural wonders of the world !
This natural beauty has transformed the small town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia into big tourist hubs. We had the chance to live for a few weeks nearby Victoria Falls, and we also stayed for a few days in the city centre. It is an interesting place and there is definitely more to do than just seeing the falls.
It was the case because, during our world tour, we worked as volunteers for the Nakavango wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls town is full of incredible activities to do, especially high adrenaline or impressive ones such as helicopter tours, dinner cruise on the river, rafting or bungee jumping. However, as we were on a backpacking / world tour budget, we have more looked into the more affordable ones !
Here is our top 10 things to do in Victoria Falls :
1. The unmissable one is, obviously, to check out the Victoria Falls !
Victoria Falls, also known as “Mosi oa-Tunya” (“the smoke that thunders”), is positioned almost exactly half way along the Zambezi River’s 2700 km journey from it’s source to the sea. The Victoria Falls is the biggest curtain of falling water in the world. It is approximately 1700 m wide, and varies in height from 80-108 meters. Around mid-April is when peak flood waters occur. During this time, roughly 625 million litres of water flow over the edge per minute.
The entrance ticket costs $30, we advice you to time your visit in the afternoon to get to see the beautiful rainbows over the falls.
Moreover, during the 3 days of full moon every month you can visit the falls at night and see a moonbow, a lunar rainbow ! Check beforehand because this is not possible all year round and it is weather dependant. Come early because it is not possible to book in advance, the ticket is $40. We have done it and even though the phenomenon is very interesting it is also faint and you won’t see the falls very well.
2. Check out and shop in the markets
There is the classy Elephant Walk, the open air Sinathakawu Curio Market with the more talkative vendors or the Falls Craft Village. You can also barter with the locals
3. Walk over the gorge on the Victoria Falls Bridge
On the other side you will be in Zambia, so you need to first get a paper stamped at the border to cross and come back. The view is beautiful and there is a possibility of bungee jumping.
Adrenaline activities and animals involved
In Victoria Falls you can try a lot of different activities such as rafting, gorge swing, bungee jumping, helicopter tour or ziplining. We haven’t tried any because they were out of budget for us. Be careful which tour company you are booking with and make sure you are correctly insured and covered.
We strongly hope you will decline any activities involving animal suffering or just animals in captivity. There are lots of terrible companies offering such activities in Victoria Falls, some even pretending to be friendly and helpful to the animals. Be particularly aware of activities involving elephants and lions. We also personally disagree with any activities disrupting for the wildlife such as diving with crocodiles…
4. Eat local at Mama Cafe Africa
The decor is beautiful and the atmosphere very nice. Also, the prices are very reasonable. We had a delicious peanut sauce rice and a potato and rice curry.
5. Watch vulture from up close and enjoy the astonishing view over the wildlife at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Check on their website for the time, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge let you in to watch the vulture being fed. You will learn a lot about those wonderful animals ! Plus, this activity is ethical and the project important for their conservation.
Even if you are not interested in vultures, you should check out this gorgeous hotel and its magnificent view on the wildlife coming to the waterhole. It is perfect for a drink at sunset (the prices are not too bad), and you could easily spend a few hours there. We saw elephants, zebras, warthogs and giraffes just seating at the bar area.
6. Stay in the wild just outside of town
At the Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel and from there go for a safari in the Nakavango Reserve. This very special and amazing reserve is where we worked on our amazing volunteer program. It is a truly beautiful and quiet place and you won’t see many other tourists on the safari.
7. Go out and enjoy the nightlife
For a quiet night you can try great beers and cocktails while enjoying great live music at the River Brew Co.
For a night of party you can start at the 3 Monkeys with dinner and drinks. After this you can head to the Shoestring for a fun place with very cheap drinks (though we wouldn’t recommend staying there to sleep seeing how it is at night). You can finish your wild night with local music at the Comfort.
8. Volunteer in a reserve to support black rhinoceros conservation
Volunteering at the Nakavango Conservation Program, just outside of town, was one of the best thing we ever did ! It is a minimum of two weeks to live and work on the reserve among elephants, giraffes, rhinoceros, lions, zebras… Your work will be meaningful and your contribution very important, in particular to help the effort for black rhinoceros conservation.
9. Have a dinner and show experience at the Boma Dinner & Drum Show
The buffet is amazing and offers a lot of different specialities, though the experience is very much tailored for tourists.
10. Take a trip to Chobe in Botswana
We haven’t had the chance to try this one out but we know many companies offer short safari trips to Chobe in Bostwana from Victora Falls. We have heard the landscape are gorgeous and the wildlife incredible !
Where to sleep in Victoria Falls?
We stayed at the Victoria Falls Backpackers. We had a private room and our friend was in the dorm. The rooms were fine and the shared bathrooms nice. The atmosphere is lovely, we truly enjoyed the swimming pool, the games and the beautiful garden to relax in. There is even a terrace and a fish spa ! It is a perfect place to meet other travellers but it was also quiet at night.
It is walking distance to town or at night you can get back for $5 in a taxi. For $20 you can get to the airport and the transport can be arranged with the reception. Our only recommendation would be do not get a haircut from them (if you have been following our Instagram account you might remember how Nicolas basically turned bold) !
If you are looking for something high-end to stay in town and have a larger budget, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge seemed amazing to us. The incredible view on the wildlife and the luxury swimming pool are very attractive.