Last updated on December 20th, 2020
Mosi-oa-Tunya, or Vic Falls, is a World Heritage Site and one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. Visiting Victoria Falls National Park was at the top of my list of things to do in Zimbabwe and Zambia, and it’s the main attraction that brings thousands of tourists to these countries every year.
So how exactly do you prepare for your visit to Victoria Falls?
Below I’ve covered all the most important information including the best time to visit Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls National Park entrance fee.
Psst… Planning your trip to Victoria Falls National Park? Check out my other posts!
- Top 14 Victoria Falls Activities
- Zambezi River Cruise
- Crossing From Zambia To Zimbabwe At Victoria Falls Bridge
Where is Victoria Falls National Park
Victoria Falls National Park is located on the Zambezi River which forms a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia in Africa. The falls can be seen from either Livingstone in Zambia or Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe.
There are international airports in both Livingstone and Victoria Falls. South African Airways and British Airways offer daily flights to both destinations from Johannesburg.
How to get to Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls National Park entrance is about a 10-minute walk from Victoria Falls town. It is located opposite the crafts market where you can buy many memorabilia. Keep your eyes open as you may see elephants roaming around the open fields next to the market.
If you’re staying in Livingstone on the Zambian side, I suggest you take a taxi to the park entrance as it’s a bit too far too walk.
There are many taxis in both Livingstone and Vic Falls, so getting around won’t be a problem. Crossing the Victoria Falls bridge from Zambia to Zimbabwe is also very simple and I recommend taking a walk to this bridge for additional views of the falls.
Victoria Falls Entrance Fee
The standard Victoria Falls entrance fee is $30 for all tourists on both the Zambia and Zimbabwean side.
SADC passport holders pay a reduced rate of $20. Just make sure you have your passport, ID or driver’s license on you to qualify for the discount.
Best time to visit Victoria Falls National park
Victoria Falls can be seen throughout the year, but the different seasons bring with them completely different experiences.
- July – December is the dry season and the falls gradually empty out from July and are at their lowest in October/November. Although you may not view the falls in all their might at this time, you are able to visit Devil’s Pool as well as experience the water rafting, which is closed during the rainy season.
- January – June is the wet season and is also one of the best times to visit Victoria Falls as the falls begin to fill up. There is a lot of spray and mist which may hamper your views of the falls. However, you can feel the power and might of this beautiful part of nature, and it’s incredible. We were unable to do the rafting or visit Devil’s Pool at this time due to the high water levels which made these activities more dangerous. If you visit Victoria Falls during these months, you should do a sunset cruise along the Zambezi river.
- Victoria Falls in May: We visited Vic Falls in May and they were at their fullest. It was a spectacular sight but beware, you will get drenched!
Which is the best side to see Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe vs Zambia?
Vic Falls from the Zimbabwe side
It’s no doubt that Zimbabwe has the lion’s share of viewpoints, with 75% of the total area being in the county. The breathtaking walk along the cliffs lead to many of these viewpoints, with some of the best photo opportunities in Victoria Falls. Many people agree that the best side to see Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe, whilst Zambia offers a completely different, and unique experience.
Vic Falls from the Zambia side
The Zambian side of Victoria Falls may not have as many viewpoints as it’s neighbor but the hiking routes offer similar breathtaking views. Whilst these aren’t “full-views” of the falls, you can feel the spray as you are closer to the falls than you would be on the Zimbabwean side.
Visiting Victoria Falls National Park: Tips
- Don’t miss the best spot for a picturesque photo opportunity. As you enter Victoria Falls, keep going straight and walk toward the David Livingstone statue. (I nearly missed it as I took a right after entering and headed straight toward the center of the falls).
- Protect your phone and electronic equipment as it will get wet! A waterproof pouch is the best option if you want to take pictures with your phone. Do not put it in a plastic bag – it will get damaged. Trust me, it happened to us!
- Make sure you have a copy of your passport or ID if you want to qualify for the discount (SADC countries only).
- You will get drenched if you visit the falls in May, so perhaps bring a raincoat or umbrella. However, it probably won’t help! It’s so much fun running through the spray, so just relax and enjoy the moment.
- The paths are easy to follow and you don’t need a guide – unless you want a personal photographer or are looking for more in-depth information on Victoria Falls.
- Follow all the paths to the end as there are many beautiful rainbows formed from the spray.
Victoria Falls Visa
SADC Passport holders
Finally, the “Green Mamba” (South African passport) came in handy! South Africa is part of the SADC, and so if you’re from one of these countries you do not need a visa to enter either Zimbabwe or Zambia.
Other international tourists
Most tourists from outside the SADC are able to get a visa upon arrival after landing at either Livingstone or Victoria Falls airport.
If you want to travel between Zambia and Zimbabwe you will need to get a multiple-entry visa (KASA UniVisa) when you arrive. This visa costs $50 and allows you to cross the border as many times as you like, given that you stay within Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls Malaria and other vaccinations
Do I need to take any Malaria tablets for Victoria Falls?
Mosquitoes are more prevalent during the rainy season (December to April) and although Malaria tablets aren’t required, they are recommended.
However, I traveled to Victoria Falls in May (beginning of Winter) and didn’t take any medication.
Remember to pack a good mosquito repellent as there may not be malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but there are hundreds of mosquitoes in the area.
Do I need to have a yellow fever vaccination?
Zimbabwe and Zambia don’t fall under the yellow fever zone and so it is not necessary to have the injection. I read a lot of mixed advice online, as it was previously a requirement, however, this was lifted in 2015. So no, you do not need a yellow fever vaccination when entering Zambia or Zimbabwe.
How long should you stay in Victoria Falls?
Victoria Falls has so many activities on offer, however, these can be quite costly. Check out this post I wrote with all the things to do in Victoria Falls that won’t break the bank!
If you’d like to see both the Zimbabwean and Zambian side, I would recommend 3 nights in Victoria Falls and 2 nights in Livingstone.
If you chose to only visit Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side, then 4 nights is enough time to see everything, yet still have enough downtime. Any longer will leave you broke (and slightly bored)!
Victoria Falls Currency: Cash vs Card
The Zambian Kwacha is the currency used in Livingstone, Zambia but US Dollars are also accepted.
The Zim Dollar is the currency used in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, but it can be difficult to get your hands on this currency! US Dollars, along with the Zambian Kwacha and SA Rand are accepted in Victoria Falls town.
Ensure you have local currency or US Dollars on you before you visit Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe is experiencing a financial crisis, and the banks have put restrictions on withdrawals from ATMs. I was unable to withdraw cash from any banks in Victoria Falls, and had a few issues in Livingstone as well.
Credit or debit cards are accepted at better lodges and restaurants. But, don’t expect to use them at local shops or bars as none of their card facilities work. I discovered this the hard way and it nearly ruined my holiday as I had no local currency on hand.
Budget accommodation in Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls has an array of accommodation options ranging from luxurious resorts to budget backpackers.
Before you start looking for a place to stay, you need to consider whether you want to base yourself in Livingstone (Zambia side) or Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe side).
Considering the tight budget I was on, my accommodation choices were easy on the pocket yet centrally located and great value for money.
I spent a few days in both Zambia and Zimbabwe, but preferred Zimbabwe.
Where I stayed
On the Zimbabwea side, I stayed at Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge. If you’re looking for a cheap, basic stay, with a relaxed atmosphere and social vibe, then I highly recommend you stay here. Here’s my blog post on the place!
On the Zambia side, I stayed at Victoria Falls Backpackers Zambia. This place was pretty awesome! It had a great pool, plenty of festive social areas and all other facilities were good.
Here are a few other options that may better suit your budget!
Where to stay in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe Side)
- Budget: Pennywise Cottages is conveniently located a short walk from Victoria Falls National Pack. Traveling couples or families looking for a budget place to stay will love this place!
- Backpackers: Victoria Falls Backpackers Lodge is a great alternative to Shoestrings Backpackers. It’s a great place to meet other travelers and this hostel is fitted with both private rooms and shared dorms.
- Mid-Range: The White House of Victoria Falls offers a quiet and comfortable stay in Zimbabwe.
- Luxury: Victoria Falls River Lodge is the ultimate place to stay if your budget allows for it. Just a stones throw away from the Zambezi River, this river lodge is incredible! The pictures speak for themselves.
Where to stay in Victoria Falls (Zambia Side)
- Budget: Gloria’s Bed & Breakfast is a great option if you’re traveling on a budget and looking for an affordable option. The hospitality of the owner is one of the best things about this spot!
- Backpackers: Fawlty Towers Backpackers is another budget option for solo travelers and tourists looking to stay in a friendly, social environment. They even offer a free shuttle to Victoria Falls National Park.
- Mid-Range: Ngoma Zanga Lodge offers unique, spacious rooms that are ideal for a comfortable stay in Livingstone.
- Luxury: For this one, I have to mention two luxurious places to stay near Vic Falls! First is The David Livingstone Safari Lodge. This is arguably one of the most popular spots near Victoria Falls and is situated just outside of Livingstone, right on the Zambezi River. The rooms are elegant and the service is out of this world! If you’re looking for a more secluded option, Taita Falcon Lodge is exactly what you need for a remote getaway. Situated on the Zambezi River, this luxury option is best suited for travelers looking for a true African experience and a remote getaway.
TIA – This is Africa
Africa is beautiful, the sights are incredible, the locals are friendly, the beer is good. However, everything and everyone operates at a slightly slower pace than you may be used to. And so should you. This is a great opportunity to unwind, and switch off from the stresses and routine of your life back home.
When planning your trip to Victoria Falls, don’t jam-pack your itinerary with activities. This will leave you with little time to relax and really embrace the beauty Victoria Falls has to offer.
Practical information for Victoria Falls National Park
- Victoria Falls entry fee: International tourists $30; SADC passport holders $20
- Victoria Falls opening hours: 6am-6pm
- What to expect: 2 hours of exploring Victoria Falls National Park with few other tourists
- Bring: Mosquito spray and cash
Looking for more Africa travel information? Check out my other posts!
- 14 Top Victoria Falls Activities
- 10 Things You Need To Know For Your Kilimanjaro Trek
- Victoria Falls Township Tour
- Zambezi Sunset Cruise
- Shoestring Backpackers in Vic Falls