About this Quick Guide

Are you planning a visit to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe? Avoid any surprises. This free Travel Guide to Victoria Falls is jam-packed with information and answers to some of the frequently asked questions from visitors to Zambezi Crescent Collection’s flagship property – Victoria Falls River Lodge.

Whether you are about to set off, or still in the planning stages of going to Victoria Falls, this guide will help you navigate your way to having the best time at Victoria Falls River Lodge and /or the surrounding area.

In this guide you will discover some must know things that will go a long way to ensuring you an unforgettable stay, including;

  • Where things are
  • How things work
  • What to pack when visiting Victoria Falls Zimbabwe
  • What’s good to try
  • What you simply have to try out on your visit to the Victoria Falls area
  • Important health and safety information
  • And much much more..

Please refer to the table of contents above, to find sections that are of most interest to you.

The aim of this guide on Victoria Falls, and Zambezi Crescent’s offering in the area is meant to help you as much as possible when planning for your holiday.

  • Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to enquire here

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A little about Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in Southern Africa known for its magnificent natural beauty and diverse wildlife, much of it protected in parks, reserves and safari areas.

Zimbabwe’s capital is Harare and although, like most African countries, its economic and political challenges are well-documented, the warm and friendly character of Zimbabwean people is one of this beautiful country’s unique assets.

Tourism in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe received close to two and a half million tourist arrivals in 2017, which grew by 12% compared to statistics available for the previous year (2016). The growth in arrivals was driven by most major tourist markets – including Europe, North America and Asia.

Tourism is a critical contributor to the country’s economy: tourism revenue to Zimbabwe was valued at $917 million in 2017.  Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls enjoy the largest tourist room- and bed-capacity in the country. Read more here:

Victoria Falls Town

The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is situated less than one kilometre away from the Victoria Falls.

With a population of just over 30 000 people, this little village is steeped in history and, other than being the gateway to its namesake – the Victoria Falls – it is a great place to explore.

The town has many quaint restaurants and cafes where light meals, fine dining or a drink can be enjoyed. You can also take time out to do curio shopping, where local traders at the vibrant markets sell a wide range of beautiful arts and crafts to take home and remember your holiday by.

A gift shop, conveniently located in Victoria Falls River Lodge, also stocks a variety of unique souvenirs.  A percentage of all the profits of the gift shop is donated to the non-profit organisation Jafuta Foundation to assist in the continuation of their work in the local community.

More about the Zambezi and Victoria Falls National Parks

Victoria Falls Zambezi National Park Elephants Tour

The Zambezi National Park together with the Victoria Falls National Park cover an area of 56,000 hectares. The northern border of the Park is formed by the great Zambezi River which also forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia for much of its length.

Interesting facts about the Parks

  • The Zambezi National Park was split off from Victoria Falls National Park in 1979 so that Victoria Falls town could be extended to the river.
  • The main road to Kazungula runs through the park, dividing it into two sections – the Riverine side and the Chamabonda Vlei section.
  • Almost the entire stretch of river from Victoria Falls to Kazangula +/- 80 kms is pristine National Park filled with protected wildlife.
  • The National Park comprises of 40km of Zambezi River frontage and a spread of wildlife-rich mopane (woodland) and savannah

Development on the banks of the Zambezi River, upstream of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, has been carefully controlled.

Read more about the Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls National Park, which are managed by Zimparks along with 13% of Zimbabwe’s total land area, here: http://zimparks.org/parks/national-parks/

Wildlife in Victoria Falls

The Zambezi National Park is best known for its herds of sable, elephant, giraffe, zebra and buffalo. A wide variety of larger mammals may be found within the Zambezi National Park and surrounding private land including elephant, lion, buffalo, and leopard.

Game Viewing in Zambezi National Park

The Park has two main game-viewing sections:

  1. The Zambezi River Game Drive, with an extensive network of roads along the river accessed through the main gate of the Park
  2. The 25km Chamabondo Game Drive in the southern part of the Park, which begins about 5kms outside of Victoria Falls town – just off the main road to Bulawayo.

The Zambezi River is also home to over 75 species of fish and is famous for its bream and fighting tiger fish.

The best way to experience the Zambezi National Park is on a Victoria Falls River Lodge game drive, which are launched within the park.

The game drives in the park follow extensive networks of roads along the river. These roads are accessible and controlled through the main gate of the Park.

There are also several picnic sites along the Zambezi River which guests can fish from. The riverine area is excellent for bird watching.

More about the Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe side of The Falls never dries up. Image Credit: Melinda Cousins

Victoria Falls Facts

  • 75% of The Falls is seen from the Zimbabwean side, with 16 viewpoints within the Rainforest from which to view it.
  • Roughly one million people visit Victoria Falls each year.
  • It is one of the seven wonders of the world
  • It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The falls is 108 metres high and two kilometres wide
  • The Falls has a recorded a flow of 12,800 cubic meters per second – double that of North America’s Niagara Falls highest flow
  • Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls and famous for the sheer volume of water falling into the Zambezi River.
  • The spray from The Falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres, sometimes even twice as high.
  • The spray is visible up to 48km away.

In Zimbabwe, the Falls never dry up. Even at the height of the dry season the Main Falls and Devil’s Cataract will still have impressive water flow.  Read more here.

What is the best season to visit Victoria Falls?

There is no easy answer to what the best time to visit the magnificent Victoria Falls River Lodge would be. Planning your trip would depend on what you would like to see during your stay, and what Mother Nature has in store for the mighty Zambezi River.

November – early April (Rainy season) February to May, peaking in April (Flood Season)
  • Zambezi River fills up to dramatic levels
  • spectacular views of the Victoria Falls
  • thick mist-spray that rises high into the sky and may be seen from kilometers away
  • The water level of the Zambezi River is at its highest
  • Highest and the largest volume of water
  • More water than any other waterfall in the world
May to September (The Dry Season) October to November (The Hot Season)
  • Best for game viewing
  • The days are mild and sunny (Around 20°C)
  • wildlife can be more easily spotted as they congregate around waterholes
  • Daytime temperatures in excess of 30°C
  • the perfect time enjoy game viewing during the cooler hours of dawn and dusk
  • The Falls have less spray
  • A clearer view of its staggeringly high rockfaces which are often obscured from view by the mist

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What will the weather be like at Victoria Falls River Lodge?

Zimbabwe weather sees rain falling primarily during December, January, February and March. By April and May most of the rain is gone. The night-time temperatures start to drop in late March.

Nights in June, July and August become much cooler, so guests are advised to bring some warmer clothing.

The days are clear, warm and often cloudless and game sightings improve continually. Average high temperatures in Winter (June – August) are about 25-27°C (77-81°F) and average lows between 7-10°C (45-50°F).

During September and October, the temperatures rise once again, and guests can expect to see some fantastic game, as Zimbabwe’s wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources.

November, although hot and dry, can also experience the season’s first rainfall. Average high during Summer (December – February) are between 32-34°C (90-93°F) and average lows between 15-19°C (59-66°F).

What To Pack

While on Safari in Zimbabwe, it is wise to choose clothing in neutral colours – such as brown, khaki, stone or beige which attract less attention thus enabling one to get closer to the wildlife. It is advisable to layer your clothing as this provides more warmth when necessary and allows you to remove clothing during the hottest period of the day.

Packing Essentials For Victoria Falls Zimbabwe:

  • Neutral-coloured clothing
  • Protective hat or cap
  • Warm sweater or jacket for cooler evenings
  • Light-weight rain jacket
  • Swimwear
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Comfortable shorts & T-shirts (day time)
  • Long sleeved shirts and trousers (night time)
  • Insect repellent
  • Suitable Sunblock (SPF 15+) and after-sun lotion
  • Moisturizer, lip balm
  • UV Protection sunglasses plus protective case
  • Camera, film or memory card and spare batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Reading and writing material (journal)

For more information on what to pack, see our Victoria Falls Zimbabwe packing guide:

Do I need to take any special medical precautions?

Zimbabwe has been identified as a country affected by Malaria. The good news is that it is preventable. So, if you are prepared, there is no reason why you should not have a healthy and happy trip to Victoria Falls.

You will need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent Malaria.

It is recommended that you visit your doctor, pharmacist or travel clinic – ideally 2-6 weeks before travelling – and advise them that you are travelling to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia. They can help you decide which medicine is right for you, and also talk to you about other steps you can take to prevent Malaria.

As Victoria Falls River Lodge has access to professional medical facilities within half an hour’s drive, no other special medical precaution is required, and guests need only bring their personal medical requirements.

Traveling To Victoria Falls

By Plane

Victoria Falls Town (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone town (Zambia) both have international airports. These are serviced by several flights a day from various destinations.

Victoria Falls International Airport welcomes daily flights from OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airport. The flight from Johannesburg is about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flights from Cape Town to Victoria Falls are approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes in duration. Some major airlines that offer flights to Victoria Falls include: British Airways, South African Airways, Kulula.com and Air Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls Airport is just 20km south-east of Victoria Falls Town. Transfers to Victoria Falls River Lodge from the airport can be booked at reservations@zambezicrescent.com

Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone Airport, is an international airport on the northern edge of Livingstone in Zambia. The airport receives flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nelspruit (all South African cities) as well as Nairobi (Kenya) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). The flight from Johannesburg is about 1 hour and 40 minutes. The flight from Cape Town is around 2 hours and 50 minutes. Some major airlines that offer flights include: British Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways. The Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport is just 30km from Victoria Falls Town. Transfers to Victoria Falls River Lodge can be booked at reservations@zambezicrescent.com

Some of our guests also fly via Kasane International Airport – an airport serving Kasane, a town in the North-West District of Botswana. We can arrange transfers to and from Kasane at an additional cost (roughly US$60 per person).  The transfer takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. To book, contact reservations@zambezicrescent.com

Please note, a Visa will be required for Zambia should you choose to fly into Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (formerly Livingstone International). If you fly in via Victoria Falls International Airport or travel by car, you will need a Visa for Zimbabwe. Similarly, visa requirements for Botswana apply if you make use of Kasane International Airport.

By Train

Another way of travelling to the Victoria Falls is by train, or better yet – the Rolls Royce of trains… the Rovos Rail. The luxury train trip guarantees a travelling journey as spectacular as its final destination, travelling through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Southern Africa.

The three-night adventure begins in South Africa with the train’s departure from Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. It then winds its way north through Warmbaths, so named for its hot springs, and Nylstroom, named after the Nile River. The train then crosses the Tropic of Capricorn en-route to the border with Zimbabwe. The next morning, the train travels towards Bulawayo, a major city of Zimbabwe. The following day sees the train travelling along one of the world’s longest stretches of straight railway line – 114kms – before reaching Hwange National Park, a diverse wildlife sanctuary where animals can be spotted from the train. The trip ends the following day when it reaches its destination at Victoria Falls. For more information, visit https://www.rovos.com/journeys/victoria-falls

By Car

People often self-drive to Victoria Falls River Lodge. We offer safe parking at our transfer office – affectionately referred to as Chalet 20.

The distance from Johannesburg via Botswana is 1 201km and the distance from Johannesburg via Zimbabwe is 1 300km. Travelling time is estimated at over 17 hours, so make sure to plan a stop along the way.

Several rental companies offer hire cars to travel to Victoria Falls. Please also note there will be cross-border documentation required, as well as border fees, for both routes via Botswana and/ or Zimbabwe. Also, be sure to confirm the visa requirements of the countries you are travelling through.

Entry Visas

KAZA Visa

We recommend that Victoria Falls River Lodge guests obtain a Univisa – which is a dual visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia known as the KAZA Visa – in order to freely move between the two countries. We recommend this visa especially for those guests who want to do some activities on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls e.g. a swim in Devil’s Pool or book a flip in the microlights (operated only on from the Zambian side).

Guests will also save time and money by purchasing a KAZA Visa, because they only have to obtain one visa to visit both countries (Zambia and Zimbabwe). The cost of the visa is US$50, and it lasts up to 30 days – as long as you remain within Zambia and Zimbabwe. The visa can be purchased at the border posts and airports in both Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Citizens of 65 countries are eligible for the KAZA Visa. To find out more about the visa, visit: http://www.kazavisa.info/

Zimbabwe Visa Requirements

Zimbabwe uses a three-tier visa model, classified into Categories A, B and C. Category A is for visitors from countries whose nationals do NOT require a Visa. No action is required, you will be granted easy entry at any border post.

Category B is for visitors from countries whose nationals are granted a Zimbabwe visa at port of entry on payment of requisite visa fees (Cash Only). These visas are easily obtained on your arrival at the airport or border post. (The UniVisa, KAZA Visa, mentioned above is now available for most Category B countries.)

Category C is for visitors from countries that are required to apply for and obtain a Zimbabwean Visa prior to travelling. This may be done through an agency or the Zimbabwe High Commission in your home country.

In order to determine your country’s Visa category and for more information – Zimbabwe offers an eVisa website for your convenience:

https://www.evisa.gov.zw/#/Home

Zambia Visa Requirements

Zambia also has three Visa categories for visitors to the country, similar to Zimbabwe. The First Category is for visitors who do not require a Visa to enter Zambia. No action or fee is required, except that the visitor produces a valid passport.

The Second Category requires visitors to purchase a Visa on arrival at the airport or border post.

The Third Category is for visitors who are required to purchase a Visa before travelling to Zambia. It is issued at missions abroad in visitors’ home countries, or in a neighbouring country.

In order to determine your country’s Visa category and for more information – Zambia offers an eVisa website for your convenience:

https://eservices.zambiaimmigration.gov.zm/#/home

Botswana Visa Requirements

Visitors to Botswana require a Visa, unless they come from a Visa exempt country (this includes all Commonwealth countries, with a few exceptions).

For a full list of the eligible countries, visit: http://www.gov.bw/Ministries–Authorities/Ministries/Ministry-of-Labour–Home-Affairs-MLHA/Tools–Services/Services–Forms/Requirements-for-VISA-application/

For the Non-Visa Category, no action or fee is required. The stamp is valid for 30 days, but can be extended.

For the Visa Category, applications should be made before travelling. For more information, visit: http://www.gov.bw/en/Ministries–Authorities/Ministries/Ministry-of-Labour–Home-Affairs-MLHA/Tools–Services/Services–Forms/APPLICATION-FOR-VISA—/

Important Times

Victoria Falls Bridge border post: Opens 06h00 – Closes 22h00

Kazangula border post: Opens 06h00 – Closes 20h00

National Park Hours

Victoria Falls National Park: (Summer 15th August to 14th May; Opens 06h00 – Closes 18h00) (Winter 15th May to 14th August; Opens 06h30 – Closes 18h00)

Zambezi National Park: Upper Zambezi (Summer: Opens 06h00 – Closes 18h00) (Winter: Opens 06h30 – Closes 18h00)

Important Contact Numbers

The Health Bridge Medical Centre: +(263) (213) 2846635

Victoria Falls Pharmacy: +(263) (213) 2844403

Police Emergency/Enquiries: +(263) (213) 2842206 C.I.D +(263) (213) 2844201

Victoria Falls International Airport 2841576 or +(263) (213) 2844255 or +(263) (213) 2844428 or: +(263) (213) 2844554

Zambezi National Park Entrance Gate: +(263) (213) 2842294 or +(263) (213) 2844566

Victoria Falls National Park Entrance Gate: +(263) (213) 2842204

Customs and Immigration (Victoria Falls Bridge): +(263) (213) 2845876 or +(263) (213) 2844235

Victoria Falls International access code: +(263) (213) (followed by the number)