Victoria Falls is one of Africa's top tourist destinations, with several hundred thousand travellers visiting this natural wonder each year. Vic Falls is geared towards tourism and continuing to develop as tourist numbers are projected to soar to more than a million over the next decade. Vic Falls is easily accessible with good connecting routes by road, rail and air.
There are two main options for flying to Victoria Falls - Livingstone Airport (Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport) in Zambia, or the Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe. These international airports are serviced by several international flights per day, connecting Vic Falls with a few destinations like Windhoek, Cape Town, Harare and Johannesburg.
The Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Zambia lies some 16km from the Victoria Falls waterfall (15 minute drive). The Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) lies some 18 km south of Victoria Falls town (about a 25 minute drive) in Zimbabwe. Within Zimbabwe there are daily flights between Victoria Falls and Harare (Zimbabwe). Within Southern Africa there are several flights a week between Victoria Falls and Windhoek (Namibia), via Maun (Botswana) and between Livingstone and Lusaka (Zambia). There are also direct flights from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Victoria Falls Airport and Livingstone Airport, and from Cape Town via Johannesburg, Maun or Windhoek.
Flying to Livingstone (Zambia) is sometimes cheaper than flying to Victoria Falls Airport (Zimbabwe), but staying on the Zambian side is often more expensive in terms of accommodation and activities. You can fly into Zimbabwe and then cross the border into Zambia for your stay, this will however involve extra transfer costs and visa expenses, as well as adding to your travel time. Some nationalities don't need visas for travel to either country, such as South African passport holders; which reduces the extra costs. When crossing to Zambia from Zimbabwe all travellers need a yellow fever vaccination (about R500). The transfer will cost you extra and the border formalities can take half a day (depending on the season), which eats into your leisure time.
There are trains running from Botswana to Victoria Falls, travelling from Gaborone via Bulawayo. Rail is an affordable option, costing about USD10 for a first class ticket overnight from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls. Trains run from Johannesburg to Vic Falls, one of which is the luxurious Rovos Rail and the other is the Shongololo Expressa taking a longer trip (over two weeks) via several travel destinations. If you're up for an epic journey and looking to keep the budget as low as possible, then you can catch a bus from Johannesburg to Harare or Bulawayo and transfer to another bus to get from either Botswana city to Victoria Falls. There are private transfers running between Livingstone and Kasane in Botswana, which will cost in the region of USD50 per person one way. You can catch international and domestic flights to Kasane Airport and it takes about an hour from there to Vic Falls by road, excluding border formalities and the Kazengula Ferry crossing. Daily buses run from Livingstone to Lusaka and there also trains connecting the two Zambian destinations, as well as daily flights. You can also catch a luxury bus to Victoria Falls from Windhoek in Namibia.
Day passes are available from both Zambia and Zimbabwe, which means you can cross over to the opposite side, obtaining a permit at the border posts. The permit costs between USD45 to USD80 per trip, but be sure to check before your trip as the cost fluctuates. When staying in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) several lodges are located within walking distance of Vic Falls so its easier and cheaper from this side. On the Zambian side you need to take a taxi (about USD10) or shuttle service to reach Vic Falls waterfall, as Livingstone lies about 11km north of the waterfall. Most hotels and lodges offer shuttle services to Vic Falls, some of them free of charge.
Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) is located about 19 km (12mi) from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and about 20 minutes drive from Victoria Falls Town.
There are daily flights from Johannesburg in South Africa, taking about 90 minutes. Travellers often spend the night before their flight in Johannesburg as most flights to Victoria Falls depart early in the morning. There are about 50 flights operating at Victoria Falls Airport per week, both domestic and international.
It takes about an hour to fly from Harare directly to Victoria Falls, with daily flights, but this is not your cheapest option. From Windhoek in Namibia there are flights to the Victoria Falls Airport, travelling via Johannesburg or Maun and Gaborone in Botswana and then Johannesburg.
The closest airport to Vic Falls, the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport is located only 15 minutes drive from the Victoria Falls waterfall. Originally called the Livingstone Airport the airport was renamed after leader of the African National Congress in Zambia - Harry Mwanga Nkumbula.
British Airways and South African Airways operate scheduled flights between OR Tambo in Johannesburg and Livingstone Airport, which take under 2 hours. You can also fly to to Livingstone Airport from the Kruger Mpumulanga International Airport, close to Kruger National Park. Livingstone Airport also handles flights from and to Lusaka in Zambia (just over an hour) and Nairobi in Kenya (over 3 hours). Most international travellers visiting Vic Falls usually fly into Livingstone aiport and either stay on the Zambian side or take a short transfer by road to Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe.
This modern and well-equipped features a variety of facilities, from amenities for disabled passengers and a medical station to shops and eateries.
Dive 111 meters off the Victoria Falls Bridge, spanning the Batoka Gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
This bungee jump is considered one of the top five adrenalin experiences in the world, with the mighty Zambezi River flowing far below and Victoria Falls as the backdrop - close enough to feel the spray as you jump when water levels are high.
The minimum age is 14 yrs old, minimum weight 40 kg and maximum weight 140 kg to take the plunge. Bungee Jumping is one of the most famous adventure activities at Victoria Falls, a real must-do!
Abseil into Bakota Gorge down some 53 meters of sheer cliff face, in one of the most impressive natural settings on earth. This safe yet thrilling abseil, conducted by qualified instructors, is among the most beautiful in the world.
There is also a Rapp Jump, the reverse of an abseil, where you face the gorge rather than the cliff, as you plummet 120m's down the sheer rock face.
Explore the wilderness areas of Victoria Falls, taking in the scenery and game viewing from the back of an elephant. Elephant back safaris venture into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, private game reserves, the Masuwe River Valley, Victoria Falls National Park and along the banks of the Zambezi River.
Elephant encounters are available for those who opt not to ride the elephants, and time interacting with the elephants is included in the elephant back rides.
Embark on game drives or walking safaris in the private game reserves and national parks around Victoria Falls, including Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls National Park. Top game viewing destinations - Hwange and Chobe Park, also lie within an hours' drive from Victoria Falls.
Explore Zambia's Mosi-Oa-Tunya in search of white rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra and buffalo, among others. Go game viewing in Zambezi National Park, along the Zambezi in Zimbabwe, looking for the Big Five (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino) as well as zebra, giraffe, antelopes and bird life. Take a game walk or drive in Victoria Falls National Park, along the banks of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, home to elephant, cape buffalo, white rhino, hippo and a variety of antelopes.
Experience the thunder and mists of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River from a bird’s eye view on a thrilling helicopter flight. The helicopters fly over Victoria Falls giving all passengers a spectacular view on a thrilling ride known as the Flight of the Angels.
There are also short helicopter flights over Batoka Gorge downstream of Victoria Falls and upstream over Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, ideal for spotting wildlife below.
Walk with African lions in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park on the Zambian side of the Zambezi or interact one-on-one with lion cubs in the wilderness along the Masuwe River in Zimbabwe.
Interact with unrestrained and free roaming African lions, walking with these big cats through the bush. One of the most unique experiences at Victoria Falls, these safe lion interactions are a top favourite activity.
The best commercial white water rafting experience in the world, also known as the wildest one-day whitewater rafting experience. One or many day, adrenalin-filled white water rafting trips are offered on both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides.
White water rafting on the Grade 5 rapids of the Zambezi River is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, widely considered the top activity at Victoria Falls.
A more laid back Victoria Falls activity, canoeing on the tranquil Upper Zambezi River is a relaxed half, full or multi day trip through the Zambezi National Park and up to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia.
Canoeing on the Zambezi above Victoria Falls, with a qualified guide, involves light paddling and gentle drifting with the current. Canoe trips are ideal for taking in the natural surroundings and spotting wildlife, such as elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and antelopes, as well as at least 50 bird species.
Explore the African Bush along the banks of the Zambezi River on an exciting horseback safari, getting up close and personal with wildlife, including duiker, bushbuck, warthog, elephants, hippos and crocodiles, and birds. Admire the spectacular Victoria Falls from horse trails along the Bakota Gorge on horse safaris lasting from a few hours to a few days.
Get a bird’s eye view of Victoria Falls on a exhilarating Microflight over the waterfall and the Zambezi River. The Microlight aircrafts have open cockpits to let the wind blow in your hair. Flights last 15-minute and explore downstream over the Batoka Gorge and upstream over the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, to allow for some airborne game viewing.
The Zipline runs 120m above the Batoka Gorge, spanning 425m from one side of the Zambezi to the other. On the zipline ride, a real adrenaline high, you are harnessed and then launched into the deep gorge, rushing across the scenic chasm at speeds of up to 106 km's on a pulley. This is the longest Zip Line in the world and is suitable for all ages.
Zambezi River sunset cruises are one of the more relaxing activities at Vic Falls, aimed at enjoying the scenic setting and spotting wildlife and birds along the way.
On these leisurely sunset cruises guests sit back and enjoy sundowners and snacks, looking out for crocodiles, hippos, elephants, giraffes, buffalos and even rhinos, along the river banks in the Zambezi National Park (Zimbabwe) and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia). The sunset cruises on the Zambezi offer great photographic opportunities too.
The ultimate spot for River Boarding, which involves riding the rapids of the Zambezi on a body board, in a helmet, wetsuit and flippers with a qualified River Guide.
Learn basic river boarding skills and take to the water, stopping to play and rest in between the thrilling rapids. River Boarding is combined with rafting in half and full day trips, for the adventurous, who can swim and are at least 15 years old.
Take the heart stopping leap into the Batoka Gorge, free falling towards the river and rocks below for almost 70m's before swooping into a 95m pendulum swing. A harness is attached to a rope connected to the middle of a highwire cable spanning the gorge some 120m's above the Zambezi River.