Make the Most of Your Visit to Victoria Falls

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Thanks to a Travelzoo deal, I was able to visit Southern Africa recently. My trip, which included Cape Town, the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park in Botswana, and Victoria Falls, offered culture, history, natural beauty and incredibly scenic landscape.

For Victoria Falls, I offer these following tips:

1. Unless you are okay with tipping with $5 and $10 bills, bring a wad of $1 bills. (Zimbabwe no longer uses its own currency and instead uses the U.S. dollar). I found it difficult to change larger bills into $1 bills.

2. Prepare to get drenched at Victoria Falls! I highly recommend bringing a raincoat (you may be able to borrow one from the stalls that are directly across the street from the entrance to Victoria Falls; my guide picked up raincoats for us there, and I saw many hung out to try there). Having sandals or another set of shoes is advisable to as my “waterproof” shoes were completely soaked inside and out. Also consider carrying your camera in a Ziploc bag or some other waterproof case.

3. To see more rainbows, visit in the afternoon. I was told this was the case, and I found it to be true after having visited Victoria Falls first in the afternoon and also the next morning.

4. I didn’t have my passport with me and so I was unable to do this myself, but I was told by my guide that if you want to see Victoria Falls from Victoria Falls Bridge (the bridge that connects Zimbabwe and Zambia), you can ask the immigration officials on the Zimbabwean side for permission to walk across the bridge and back without getting an exit stamp on your passport (if you get an exit stamp and only have a single-entry visa, you will need to pay for another visa at the border).

5. You should only visit the Zambian side if you have documentation showing that you have been vaccinated for yellow fever. Multiple countries, including Zimbabwe and South Africa, reportedly require proof that you have been vaccinated for yellow fever if you recently visited Zambia or other countries with yellow fever. The majority of the falls can be viewed on the Zimbabwean side.

6. The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge feeds vultures at 1PM every day, and so if you’d like to see hundreds of vultures descend, stop by the lodge before then. The lodge also has great views of a watering hole and the surrounding plains from its two restaurants; expect New York City pricing for meals there (e.g., $15 for a burger). If you are interested in trying something you don’t typically taste, their dinner menu includes crocodile and warthog.

7. Check the weather before taking a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. I regret saying this, but I had a too close for comfort call while on the river. Fellow passengers and I were caught in a storm in which the crew said was nothing like they had ever seen.

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