You guys – Victoria Falls is AMAZING! If it’s not on your bucket list, add it now because this part of the world is incredibly beautiful, unique, and adventurous. Take my advice, GO! I spent three days in Livingstone, Zambia right at the foot of Victoria Falls and I just cannot recommend it enough. I’m so excited to share how I spent time here. I sadly, only had the budget and time to spend three days there. I visited after spending a week volunteering my time coaching and mentoring teachers in a classroom in Zambia. I had more time, but travel in Zambia is not cheap and so my time was limited.
Here is my other biggest piece of advice – save, save, save. This was not a cheap trip. I don’t just mean the hotel either. Every activity was over $100 and every meal was over $10. On many of my trips I am able to find good deals, a good deal on a safari in this area is less than $200 for the day. Seriously! So, take my advice and save up, suck it up, and spend the money because you will not regret it.
Here’s how I spent three days in Victoria Falls, Livingstone Zambia.
There are many places to stay in Livingstone that are fairly close to the falls. Many of these are very cheap and it’s possible to stay there for less than $50 a day without a problem. However, these places to not have access to the falls, include food, or include transportation.
We stayed at the Avani Victoria Falls and it was AMAZING! I loved it there. Seriously an awesome hotel. We arrived and there were zebras, giraffes, monkeys, and other animals all around. We had an awesome buffet breakfast each morning. They have a huge pool, awesome service, and unlimited access to the falls. I mean seriously, what more could you want! Such a great place to stay.
Livingstone is a tourist town so the dress is less conservative and people are used to seeing tourists. With this, come some added safety tips. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and carrying things with you carefully. I was also advised to make sure I was never out alone after dark.
I did not explore Livingstone itself, however, my cousin who lives there has. There are many Western style restaurants and places within walking distance for you to try. Stay in town or at a resort for options. It is not a place I recommend to explore by yourself after dark. Stay aware and be careful.
If you don’t stay at the Avani, then you will need to buy a pass to get into the Falls each time you enter. A pass is $20 and will last you the day. Each time you enter you need to pay again. This is part of why staying at the Avani was so great – unlimited free access to the falls!
Hike around Victoria Falls Free
There are tons of trails to take and all of them offer a different view. The first thing we did when we arrived was just walk around the falls and take in all the different views because there are so many! I definitely recommend devoting a few hours to this so you van just find your favorite view.
Sunset on the Zambezi $12 for drinks
The Royal Livingstone has a deck on their hotel with a perfect view of the sunset. We sat down with drinks and watched the sun go down while listening to the hippos and watching the sun hangs colors. It was a wonderful and relaxing end to a great day.
Hike to the Boiling Pot
This hike leads to a gorgeous view that will not disappoint! We thought it would be a long hike, but it really only took us about 45 minutes so it was a great start to the day. You are hiking down to the bottom of Victoria Falls so be prepared for lots of stairs. The Boiling Point is a great place to see the falls and how gorgeous they really are. The hike also has a great view of Victoria Bridge.
Pro-tip: The day after we visited, someone went off the trail here and got swept into the falls, they were never found. This is not a place to play around and go off the trail onto the rocks. Signs clearly mark where the trail ends. Be careful!
Relax by the Pool Free
Even in the winter (our summer here in the States) it’s warm enough to relax by the pool and take in the view. Again, staying at the Avani, there was an incredible pool where you would just be relaxing and suddenly see a zebra or a monkey! It was so cool and seriously an amazing experience!
Angel’s Pool $100
So if this isn’t on your bucket list, put it there now! It was incredible to go on the edge of Victoria Falls. Many people think that Devil’s Pool is the only place to get to the edge of Victoria Falls, but in the winter when the falls are too high to get to Devil’s Pool, Angel’s Pool is a second option. It was still a huge rush and offered incredible views.
There is only one company that offers to take you to the edge of Victoria Falls that is licensed (that I could find anyway). They offer three different options to go to the edge of the Falls a day – breakfast, lunch, and high tea. They all start at the Royal Livingstone Hotel and take you to Livingstone Island. After getting to the island on a boat, you hike to the edge, get into the falls, and then eat. They offer raincoats and keep your things dry for you. One guide also took our camera and took photos for us. We felt very safe the whole time and follows all instructions seriously.
Pro-tip: Breakfast is $40 cheaper and offers the exact same things as the other two. Plus breakfast starts at 11 am so it is late enough that you can actually count it as lunch and was delicious!
Livingstone Curio Market about $20 for souvenirs
Right next to the falls is a market that has lots of souvenirs for travelers. I will warn you that they are very pushy in the market and may try to manipulate you. We had people tell us they had sisters back in the village and they would be willing to trade goods for things but then you would offer to trade and they would ask for money. I also had someone tell me anything on this shelf is 20 and then I would pick something up and they would say 30. Also, things were overpriced here and we had to bargain hard to get a fair price. Go for half of what they say in this market.
Pro-tip: My cousin lives in Lusaka and things are much much cheaper there. If you can wait until you are there, do it!
Zambezi Sunset Cruise $80
This was a three hour cruise we took along the Zambezi. They picked us up right from the hotel. The service was great and drinks were served the whole cruise. The food was really hit or miss and was just small plates. We saw elephants, hippos, crocodiles, tons of birds, and an awesome sunset. They also did a great job keeping us entertained too with commentary and music. We met some really fun people on the cruise and spent the last half hour dancing and singling along to songs. It was so much fun!
Pro-tip: Be careful when booking your cruise because some will say food included but actually mean small bites. The drinks were pretty good and I didn’t leave hungry, but read the fine print before you book!
Safari to Chobe National Park in Botswana $195
This was an all day affair! We got up at 6 am and were on the bus to Botswana by 7. We chose to go to Chobe National Park because it is known for it’s elephant population (they have the most elephants of any region on the whole continent of Africa!). It did not disappoint! We saw over 20 different animals. The company we booked with, Bush Tracks, was very professional and took care of everything for us.
The full day safari included a morning game drive in a truck, lunch at a resort, and an afternoon boat safari. The afternoon on the boat was disappointing. We ended up with 40 people on our boat and were unable to get close like other small boats and our small car in the morning. So the overall experience was awesome, but the afternoon disappointed.
Pro-tip: Buy a double entry visa if you plan on leaving Zambia when you first arrive. Getting back in after a day or two is much more time consuming without a double entry visa and you will have to purchase another visa to get back in.
If you have the time before your flight, check out the sunrise from the falls too. We had an awesome time walking across the bridge and seeing the Victoria Falls Bridge when no one was there. Again, it pays to wake up early!
Pro-tip: We went right when the falls opened and NO ONE was there. Seriously – we were the only ones and it led to gorgeous views we got to enjoy on our own. It pays to wake up early!
Victoria Falls was just amazing and I know that if you go, you won’t be disappointed. There’s so much to do and three days there meant we were packing in tons of fun things. Have you been to Livingstone?