It’s tempting to sum up the variations between Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and Livingstone, Zambia, with just a few cliches. It’s typically stated that Victoria Falls is extra touristy and Livingstone is extra genuine. However after I visited, I discovered communities that had been desirous to defy expectations. In “touristy” Victoria Falls, locals sang about politics within the cafes and chatted about financial coverage on the drive to the sport park. In “genuine” Livingstone, everybody was desirous to showcase their subtle museums and internationally impressed delicacies. Guests eager to look past the stereotypes will uncover heat, welcoming locations with their very own character and many to supply.
Listed below are 5 key variations between Victoria Falls and Livingstone.
1. The Victoria Falls Expertise
First issues first: Which nation is healthier for experiencing Victoria Falls? It’s difficult. However the quick reply is that the Zimbabwean facet, whereas farther from the falls, affords significantly better views. In Zambia, you’ll be a lot nearer to the falls — in some circumstances, you possibly can even stand within the water! — however the views are restricted.
Between February and June, the waterfalls run at full drive, and guests ought to put on rain jackets. Between July and September, you’ll have the perfect views, because the water remains to be robust however not practically as misty. And when the dry season comes within the fall, the views are nice and there’s ample alternative for various water actions.
In Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, the Victoria Falls World Heritage Nationwide Monument Website presents a number of paths for exploring the falls. One in every of these is the Jap Cataract, a stroll throughout a footbridge by means of the mist of the falls. And, for these with loads of moxie, there’s additionally the Satan’s Pool — you possibly can learn all about it later on this piece. To see the falls, that are about 7 miles from the city heart, you’ll must catch a taxi. You might also want a information, relying on what you wish to see.
On the Zimbabwean facet, Victoria Falls National Park has a present store, a wonderful cafe, native handicrafts, plenty of informational panels, and simple strolling paths that provide excellent views of the falls from all angles. I personally wish to arrive early within the morning and stroll when issues are quiet and the baboons outnumber the guests. Later within the day, the cafe is the proper place to chill off and chill out earlier than revisiting your favourite path. The park is situated within the coronary heart of Victoria Falls and is ready up in an effort to simply discover by yourself and not using a information. Be aware that in the event you’re staying exterior the principle a part of city, you would possibly want a taxi to get there.
Regardless of which facet you’re on, in the event you’re visiting the realm throughout the full moon (or simply earlier than or after), ask your lodge a few lunar go to to the falls. It’s an expertise you don’t wish to miss!
2. The Tradition
In Victoria Falls, the tiny Jafuta Heritage Centre throughout the Elephant’s Stroll procuring plaza chronicles the cultural heritage of the Zimbabwean individuals. It showcases jewellery, conventional costumes, and different artifacts. A plus: It’s situated subsequent door to Dean’s Cafe, which makes use of native espresso beans and is effectively value a go to.
Boma in Victoria Falls supplies glorious delicacies along with a novel cultural expertise. You’ll have loads of alternatives to strive native meals (together with impala, guinea fowl stew, and crunchy roasted mopane worms) as you benefit from the skills of drummers and dancers.
In Zambia, vacationers can go to the Livingstone Museum, the biggest and oldest museum within the nation. Highlights of its assortment embody gadgets from the lifetime of David Livingstone, displays on modern-day Zambia, a mannequin of an African village, and far more. Admission to this wheelchair-friendly museum prices simply $5, an excellent deal.
Livingstone can also be house to the Railway & Gateway Jewish Museum. This hybrid museum chronicles the historical past of Zambia’s locomotive age in addition to the event of Livingstone’s Jewish neighborhood. The neighborhood traveled to Livingstone within the late 1800s to flee spiritual persecution of their native Lithuania. They’re additional remembered within the small Jewish cemetery and synagogue (now a Church of Christ).
3. The Artwork
Victoria Falls is likely one of the greatest locations for artwork, handicrafts, and carvings in all of southern Africa. There are gallery-style retailers all through the Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist Village and a big curio market out again. Whether or not you’re in search of a tiny stone hippo that matches within the palm of your hand or an 8-foot picket giraffe, you’ll discover it right here.
Whereas Livingstone doesn’t have fairly the identical artwork scene, there’s nonetheless tons to see. As an illustration, I discovered pretty baskets on the market whereas eating at Golden Leaf (which serves scrumptious Indian meals). You by no means know the place you would possibly discover a piece you like. And in the event you’re crossing the border on foot (one thing I did four times throughout my go to!), you’ll encounter craft distributors arrange alongside the way in which. If in case you have an assortment of change from Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, these border distributors will fortunately settle for it.
4. The Wildlife
It’s all however unimaginable to go to Victoria Falls and Livingstone and never have an excellent time viewing wildlife.
On the Zambian facet, Mosi-oa-Tunya Nationwide Park is house to white rhinoceros. A waking safari by means of Mosi-oa-Tunya is an exhilarating alternative to look at these extremely endangered animals within the wild.
In Zimbabwe, Zambezi National Park and Hwange National Park are house to quite a few species you possibly can admire whereas on a day safari. Whereas there are not any rhinos, you’ll see a number of the largest elephant populations in Africa, giraffes, buffalo, birds, antelope, and perhaps even some massive cats.
Probably the most common methods to see wildlife within the space is to go to a different nation altogether. Chobe National Park in Botswana is simply an hour away. Journeys often price lower than $200 and embody a breakfast boat trip, a sport drive in Chobe, lunch, and extra. You’ll see lions, elephants, buffalo, antelope, and even cheetahs on a typical journey.
5. The Alternatives For Journey
In the event you’re a thrill-seeker at coronary heart, you’ll discover loads of adventures on each side of the border.
Those that love whitewater rafting gained’t give you the chance to withstand a visit down the Zambezi River, which types the border between the 2 international locations. Excursions to discover the Class V rapids depart from The Lookout Cafe in Victoria Falls. There are alternatives for many who wish to be lively members in addition to for many who choose to be passengers, hanging on for pricey life on the journey of a lifetime!
The Lookout Cafe can also be house to the Wild Horizon headquarters, and, in some ways, it’s house base for every kind of journey within the area. From the cafe itself you possibly can go zip-lining. The road stretches 1,394 toes throughout the gorge above the Zambezi, and you’ll anticipate to hit speeds of as much as 65 miles per hour. There are additionally flying fox cable slides (think about operating off the facet of a cliff and hovering over the gorge like, effectively, a flying fox) and a gorge swing (a 230-foot free fall earlier than swaying backwards and forwards beneath a 300-foot arch).
By the way, The Lookout Cafe has nice breakfast choices and makes pretty lattes, which is strictly the form of thrill I used to be in search of whereas I used to be there. Watching everybody else on the zip traces was nearly as a lot heart-pounding journey as I might deal with!
Regardless of these unimaginable adventures on the Zimbabwean facet, Zambia would possibly simply be probably the most adventurous vacation spot of all. That’s as a result of Livingstone is the kickoff level for a visit to Devil’s Pool. The forebodingly named attraction is a pure infinity pool on the very fringe of the waterfall, and it’s accessible solely from the Zambian facet. Between August and January, when water ranges are low, skilled guides can convey you throughout the rocks to the pool. You may swim as much as the sting and peer over to see the cascading sheet of water falling a number of hundred toes to the Zambezi beneath. In case your abdomen is fluttering a bit on the very considered doing this, know that you simply’re not alone. That is undoubtedly not your on a regular basis journey exercise!
Professional Tip: In the event you assume there’s even a chance that you simply’ll go to each Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is best to ask for a KAZA visa while you arrive. This visa permits for a number of entries into each international locations, which is ideal must you wish to stroll throughout the Victoria Falls Bridge or take a day journey. The KAZA visa additionally permits day journeys to Botswana, which is good for a brief go to to Chobe Nationwide Park.