Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Livingstone is located on the Zambia side and it’s easy to spend 3 days at Victoria Falls!
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 and 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 Zambian school. I had more time, but travel in Zambia is not cheap, and so I was a bit 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 cost over $100 and every meal over $10. On many of my trips, I am able to find good deals, and 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 some 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 reasonably 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 do 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. When we arrived, there were zebras, giraffes, monkeys, and other animals all around. We had an excellent buffet breakfast each morning. They have a huge pool, great 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 shops within walking distance for you to try. Stay in town or at a resort for options. It is not a place I recommend exploring 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 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 walking around the falls and taking in all the different views because there are so many! I definitely recommend devoting a few hours to this so you can 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 Pot 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 designated path 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 right to 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 great 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, explore the falls, and then eat. They offer raincoats and keep your things dry for you. One guide also held our camera and took photos for us. We felt very safe the whole time. Follow all instructions, seriously.
Pro-tip: Breakfast is $40 cheaper and offers the exact same things as the other two meals. Plus, breakfast starts at 11 am, so it.s 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 to support 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, I would pick something up, and they would say $30.
Also, things were overpriced here—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 said 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 river cruise that we took along the Zambezi. They picked us up right from the hotel. The service was excellent, and drinks were served the whole cruise. The food was really hit or miss and just small plates. We saw elephants, hippos, crocodiles, tons of birds, and an awesome sunset. They also did a great job keeping us entertained with commentary and music. We met some really fun people on the cruise and spent the last half hour dancing and singing 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 am. We chose to go to Chobe National Park because it is known for its 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 was disappointing.
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 that 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, so three days there meant we were packing in tons of fun things. Have you been to Livingstone?