An Essential Guide To Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

** We visited Victoria Falls in January 2015. This post was updated in October 2019 to reflect accurate information. 

It might seem a little confusing, but not only is Victoria Falls the name of some of the world’s best waterfalls, it’s also the name of the small country town that sits alongside those waterfalls.

If you’re planning a visit to the area, the village of Victoria Falls is without a doubt the best place to stay. It’s the closest town to the falls, putting you in walking distance of everything you might need and surrounded by trees, bushland and cute little monkeys.

The whole town consists of two tiny streets that were lined with cafes, souvenir shops and tourist information. There was also a supermarket around the back of the main streets if you wanted to grab some food.

It was also giving us all those authentic African vibes that you imagine before you arrive. With all types of monkeys and baboons just freely running around the village and near by hotels, it just smacks you in the face. You’re definitely in Africa now.

victoria falls street sign

About Victoria Falls

Located in North-West Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls sits along the boarder of Zambia and is part of the Matabeleland North Province. The town itself is quite small, only about 31 square kilometres, but it is home to more than 35,000 people.

Although Victoria Falls is becoming increasingly more popular to tourists wanting to visit the falls, it’s important to remember that Zimbabwe can at times often be a volatile and uneasy country. Before you go it’s important to be up to date with the latest news and travel information to avoid any issues.

africa stamp

Some of the important things to be aware of (as of October 2019) include –

Visa Requirements for Zimbabwe

Visitors from most countries will need a Visa to enter Zimbabwe.

Travelling on an Australian passport you can apply for a tourism visa on arrival that will be valid for 30 days.

Apply for a KAZA UniVisa so that you can travel freely between Zimbabwe and Zambia during your stay. This will allow you to see the falls from both sides and check out all the top experiences at Victoria Falls. It is available at Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls airports and at the land border at Victoria Falls (Zambia border) and Kazlunga (Botswana border).

UniVisa holders can visit Zambia and Zimbabwe multiple times within the 30-day validity period, as well as Botswana on a day trip. The UniVisa is not extendable. The availability of the KAZA Univisa can change at short notice.

Currency in Zimbabwe

As of June 2019 Zimbabwe has stopped running a multi-currency system and instead you can only use Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWL) around the country. Due to the currencies initial fall about 10 years ago, US dollars and South African Rand were widely accepted until this year, but not anymore.

It’s a confusing time at the moment, with different information being shared all the time. A good way to deal with the situation is to bring an international credit or debit card with you (just not AMEX) as you will be able to use it in most places.

If you want to carry USD on you, you will need to take that out before you arrive as it will no longer be available in ATMs or from the bank. Book as much of your travel as you can in advance to avoid any issues.

Before you travel to Zimbabwe make sure you always check the latest travel advice from Smartraveller.

victoria falls airport

Getting to Victoria Falls

For such a small town, Victoria Falls actually has it’s own international airport. Although it is about the size of a normal family sized house in Australia and is definitely lacking in creature comforts if you have to stay there for a few hours!

Search for flights to Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) when you’re planning your trip. There are about 20 flights into the airport each week, with direct flights from Harare, Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as a few other towns around Africa.

Book now: Find the cheapest flights for your trip

The airport is very small and often you will be the only flight landing at Victoria Falls for a few hours. It’s very important to organise your transport before you arrive to avoid being stranded when you get there.

Check with your hotel to see if they can organise a transfer for you when you arrive to pick you up and take you back to the hotel. Alternatively, you can organise a transfer shuttle to pick you up for as little as $25 AUD.

victoria falls bus stop

Getting Around Victoria Falls

Once in Victoria Falls you should be able to walk pretty much anywhere you need to go. You can even walk to a new country and cross the boarder into Zambia if you would like!

Taxis are readily available and generally cost about $5 USD to take you anywhere you want around town, or about $30 – $40 USD if you need a lift to the airport.

At the moment Zimbabwe has been going through a but of a petrol crisis, with little fuel available around the country and petrol stations often being completely dry. To avoid any stressful or dangerous situations, don’t plan on getting a rental car for your trip.

READ MORE:
Which Country Should You Stay In To Visit Victoria Falls?

main street of victoria falls

Best time to visit Victoria Falls

The best time to visit Victoria Falls will probably depend on the main reason for your visit. Generally, May to November is considered the best time for most visitors.

If you’re hoping to see the actual waterfalls themselves in full force, the best time to visit is between March and May, while there’s still plenty of water smashing over the edges.

READ MORE:
Exploring The Epic Victoria Falls

For anyone coming to Zimbabwe for a safari the best time to visit is between May and October, when the vegetation in low and there is an abundance of animal sightings.

If you’re planning to visit for white-water rafting, visit between August and early January, when the rapids are at their best.

For anyone planning a swim in the Devils Pool, visit between September and December to guarantee your visit. The Devils Pool is generally open between mid-August and mid-January, but it depends on the water currents and conditions, so seasons can change each year.

victoria falls rainbow hotel

Where to stay in Victoria Falls

Our choice: Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel

During our visit to Victoria Falls we checked in to the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel, which was absolutely fantastic. The location is absolutely perfect. Just at the end of the main street in town, it was only about a 5 minute walk to anything we needed.

You can even walk to Victoria Falls from the hotel in about 20 minutes, or a taxi ride was just $5 USD to take you anywhere you needed to go. The hotel grounds were just beautiful. There was a pool in the middle of the grounds, with a swim-up bar and spa as well.

Be sure to listen to the staff when they tell you not to leave your belongings unattended, especially around the pool, because the monkeys on site are super cheeky and quick to steal things while you’re not looking!

On our first trip down to the pool we were very entertained to watch a cheeky monkey sneak down from a tree and over to a guests sunbed, who had gone to get a drink. The monkey climbed down slowly, and after having a nibble of the lady’s book, he grabbed her sunscreen and ran off. We couldn’t believe how confident they were!

Check out all the best deals for accommodation in Victoria Falls

victoria falls rainbow hotel

We were on a bit of a budget during our visit to Victoria Falls, but if you’ve got a little bit to splurge there are some absolutely incredible resorts and places to stay around Victoria Falls.

Many of them overlook the Zambezi River and in some places you might even be lucky enough to spot a couple of the Big 5 right from your room!

Some of the most amazing places to stay in Victoria Falls include –

READ MORE:
Experiencing Africa: A Sundowner Cruise On The Zambezi

zambezi river cruise

Can’t miss experiences in Victoria Falls

To really make the most out of your time in Victoria Falls make sure you check out the following bucket list worthy activities –

Visit the falls – as one of the seven wonders of the world, you’re sure to be in awe of these dramatic natural wonders.

Swim in the Devils Pool – one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in Africa, the Devils Pool literally sits on the edge of one of the world’s most incredible waterfalls and you can actually go for a swim there! It’s something that definitely has to be seen to be believed.

Go bungee jumping – jump head first from the Victoria Falls Bridge, before free falling straight to the Zambezi River. It’s definitely too scary for us, but it’s meant to be one of the best places to bungee jump in the world.

Take a sunset cruise – watch the sunset over the Zambezi River with a sundowner cruise, as you spot hippos enjoying the golden hour around you. It’s a wonderful wildlife experience.

Try white water rafting – if you want more of an adrenaline fix after bungee jumping, why not try white water rafting amongst the crocodiles and hippos. My oh my.

Book now: Check out all the experiences you can have in Victoria Falls

READ MORE:
Swimming On The Edge Of A Waterfall In The Devils Pool

Explore more of our adventures around Africa

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an essential guide to victoria falls    an essential guide to victoria falls

Happy travels,



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Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started Explore Shaw to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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Just two twenty-something married Aussies, visiting as many places as we can in between normal life, and hoping to inspire and offer advice for your travel planning.

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