Vic Falls: Zimbabwe or Zambia?
Zimbabwe is arguably the better side of Victoria Falls. Zambia offers great close-ups and some spectacular vantage points. But Zimbabwe has the greater share of Falls frontage, picturesque views and year-round flow.
Don’t be misled by that statement though: the Zambian side is truly spectacular in the high water season as well so here is our low-down on which side of Victoria Falls to choose.
Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe
Look at any pictures of Victoria Falls. As a rule of thumb, if the water is to the left of the picture and land to the right, you’re looking at Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe. The reverse is true of Zambia: water on the right, land to the left. Most of those pictures are taken from the Zimbabwean side.
About two thirds of the Victoria Falls frontage is on the Zimbabwean side and most of the Falls plunges down this section with the Main Falls and Devils Cataract being the deepest channels in the Zambezi River.
And with so much frontage on the Zimbabwean side, the views are that much more picturesque and the rain forest opposite is dense from the constant spray.
Another plus is the town of Victoria Falls and many of the hotels on the Zimbabwean side are a short walk from the entrance to the falls giving you much more freedom to explore the area at your leisure and to join activities easily.
Victoria Falls from Zambia
With great close-ups, interesting angles, the footbridge and knife-edge, Rainbow Falls and a chance to swim above the falls in Devils Pools, the Zambian side of Victoria Falls has its fair share of amazing experiences.
All those pictures you've seen of people swimming at the edge of the falls, dive-bombing with gay abandon and generally making everyone's toes curl in fear: they are taken at Devil's Pools on the Zambian side and there are many more thrilling photo ops besides.
While The Zambezi Sun and the Royal Livingstone are about as close as you can to the Falls without actually being in the water, the rest of the lodges and hotels are a long way upstream and beyond walking distance of the falls. All the lodges do offer regular and frequent shuttle services so you are not entirely isolated from the action.
One important consideration is the time of year. The dry months from about October to December leave the Zambian side of Victoria Falls completely dry while the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls reduces to a relatively demure and picturesque cascade.
For convenience and the best views, we recommend staying on the Zimbabwean side. If you’re concerned about safety - though there is no reason to be - you can just as easily stay on the Zambian side and day-pass through to the Zimbabwean side. Of course, you must then have a look from the Zambian side for some great angles, close-up shots and interesting perspectives.
If the quality and value of your accommodation is a consideration we believe both sides offer equal numbers of luxury and affordable options and the same activities are available. Both sides of Victoria Falls are easily incorporated into your itinerary whether you are coming from South Africa , Botswana or one of the other regional destinations such as Namibia , Zimbabwe or Zambia .
Our final recommendation is always: though we recommend Zimbabwe over Zambia it doesn’t really matter what side you choose to stay just make sure you visit the falls from both sides and, mandatory in our opinion, from the air with the amazing, incredible, mind-bogglingly beautiful Flight of Angels.
When is the best time to visit Victoria Falls?
The best time of year to visit Victoria Falls is between May and September. However a lot depends on the rest of your holiday. Are you coming to Africa on a safari? A beach-and-bush honeymoon? A friend’s wedding? To see the dunes in Sossusvlei or go white water rafting on the Zambezi? These and many other factors will affect your travel plans so we’ve compiled a graph and detailed description of the Zambezi's water levels to help you decide which are the best months to visit Victoria Falls on your African safari holiday.
Do you want visit Victoria Falls?
We arrange all accommodation, transfers, activities and your full holiday itinerary along with add-on safaris, beach holidays and more. Whatever you want to do, we can arrange it for you at the most competitive rates and reliable travel advice. Have a look at some of our popular Victoria Falls safari holidays or contact us right now for a free quote.
More In Victoria Falls
Look. There. Miles in the distance. What is that? It sure ain’t no fire burning. No smoke on the water. It’s mist. Deep, deep, misty mist. With the river running through it. But it’s no babbling brook. No siree. It’s so noisy the Kololo called it Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’. Sheesh, what a racket.
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