Planning a Visit to Victoria Falls National Park


June 13, 2024

Planning a Visit to Victoria Falls National Park

From activities around the mighty Victoria Falls to getaways for lazy days, these are the best things to do on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls.

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I finally traveled to both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides of Victoria Falls. It was something I had wanted to do for a while, but unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions in 2021, it was impossible to accomplish while visiting Zambia.

Now, with an extra itinerary planned for Zimbabwe, I was able to fully explore Victoria Falls on this side and prepare a comprehensive guide on everything you can do here, which activities are more worthwhile, and the best ways to spend your time in this part of Zimbabwe.

From activities related to the falls, like rafting and the famous gorge swing, to cultural experiences such as market visits and where to find traditional food, I tried most of the things possible to do at Victoria Falls. Here are my favorite ones and what, in my opinion, are the best things you can do on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls.

Views of the river cruise over the Zambezi River
Views of the river cruise over the Zambezi River

Activities Surrounding Victoria Falls

Going to Victoria Falls and not engaging in any activities related to the falls is a missed opportunity. You need to undertake at least one activity to truly understand what makes Victoria Falls so special. Whether you choose to explore Victoria Falls National Park on foot or take it to the skies with a helicopter flight around the falls (my personal favorite activity—more on that later), I’m confident you’ll have a fantastic time and won’t regret it.

Visit Victoria Falls National Park

Known to be more picturesque than the Zambian side—an observation I can now personally confirm—a visit to Victoria Falls National Park is undeniably worthwhile. The 45-minute walk constitutes one of the most beautiful and easy hiking trails in the world. As you stroll through the rainforest created by the falls, witness colorful rainbows and enjoy outstanding views of the falls.

For a more personalized experience, guided tours to the falls start at 24 USD (excluding the 50 USD entry fee), or you can opt for a bike tour of the falls for 47 USD, although it might take away a bit of the magic from this place.

INSIDER TIP: The Victoria Falls National Park opens at 6:00. Be among the first to enter and have the entire park to yourself. Additionally, as a nice bonus, you’ll get to experience the beautiful morning light and catch a few extra rainbows along the way.

  • Duration: 45 – 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: 2/10
  • Price: 50 USD entry fee (24 USD for a tour/47 USD for a bike tour)
Morning view at the Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side
Morning view at the Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

Adrenaline Activities at Victoria Falls

Adrenaline and Victoria Falls are a perfect match. From the bucket list activity of Devil’s Pool on the Zambian side to the highest bungee jumping in Africa, Victoria Falls can be as adventurous as you want it to be. But don’t worry; you don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to make the most of these activities. Less extreme adventures could include the zip line across the falls, rappelling one of the sides of the Victoria Falls gorge, or trying the flying fox, which is essentially a zip line in a horizontal position.

While the two most famous extreme activities are on the Zambian side (bungee jumping and Devil’s Pool), the gorge swing or rafting will undoubtedly give you a good adrenaline shot.

Here is the list of all the adrenaline activities and their prices:

  • Water Rafting: 120 USD + Park Fees (10 USD).
  • Gorge Swing: 105 USD + Park Fees (3 USD).
  • Tandem Gorge Swing (2 people jumping together – great for couples): 158 USD + Park Fees (6 USD).
  • Zip Line: 84 USD + Park Fees (3 USD).
  • Tandem Zip Line: 127 USD + Park Fees (6 USD).
  • Flying Fox: 53 USD + Park Fees (3 USD).
  • Canopy Tour: 64 USD + Park Fees (3 USD).
  • Highwire Pass: 163 USD + Park Fees (3 USD).
  • Rafting and Gorge Swing: 215 USD + Park Fees (13 USD).

What would I do? If I had the chance to travel to Victoria Falls again and choose a few adrenaline activities, I would probably go for the Gorge Swing and Water Rafting. Activities like the Zip Line or the Canopy Tour are relatively expensive, considering they are more common in other parts of the world for a lower price.

Read more: Choosing Safaris: Private Conservancies Or National Parks?

You can rappel the 110 meter wall of the Victoria Falls
You can rappel the 110-meter wall of the Victoria Falls

Air Activities

While Victoria Falls is incredibly impressive on its own, the views from the air are simply majestic. There is no other way to fully comprehend the size of the falls, and this would be by far my top recommendation to do in Victoria Falls.

Depending on which side of the border you are on, you have a different activity to choose from. On the Zambian side, you can take a microlight flight (some kind of flying bicycle), while on the Zimbabwean side, you can take the helicopter flight.

Both flights can last either 12 or 25 minutes, and they both offer a unique kind of experience. The helicopter flight is fast and is excellent for taking incredible photos or videos of the Victoria Falls. The microlight is more for those who want to experience adventure from the air and do not care much about comfort.

If you feel comfortable at high altitudes, the microlight might be the best option. If you prefer just to relax, sit down, and enjoy the ride, the helicopter is perfect. In both cases, they are a full winner.

The microlight is only for one passenger, while the helicopter flight can accommodate up to 5 people. Hate the middle seat? Don’t worry. For the helicopter flight, you can always get a window seat.

Infos and Prices

  • 12/13 min helicopter flight: 150 USD + Park Fees (25 USD).
  • 25 min helicopter flight: 284 USD + Park Fees (30 USD).
  • 12/15 min microlight flight: 179 USD + Park Fees (6 USD) – You need to cross the border.
  • 25/30 min microlight flight: 360 USD + Park Fees (6 USD) – You need to cross the border.

INSIDER TIP: When doing the helicopter flight, take the seat in the front. It not only has the best view of the ride but also is the only seat with a little window, where you can take videos and photos without any reflection.

This was the view from my helicopter flight over Victoria Falls
This was the view from my helicopter flight over Victoria Falls

Independent Travel or Tour Operator?

As you can see, traveling in Victoria Falls is not cheap at all. Three or four activities, and you’ve already spent 500 USD. I checked all prices independently and found out that by booking a tour with an operator, you can get a better deal in general. I booked my trip with Off2Africa and added a last-minute helicopter flight to my itinerary. They cut the park fees and gave me an additional 5% discount. I saved way more money than planning everything independently.

However, not in all cases is a tour operator useful. If you plan to spend only one night at Victoria Falls and just do one of the big activities, you might end up getting a better price by negotiating that activity once you are there.

Fortunately, Off2Africa took care of everything. From the hotel booking to all transfers or additional information. I was able to follow the itinerary they planned for me but also do some activities and visits independently—you don’t need a guide to walk along the markets of Victoria Falls.

River Activities at Victoria Falls

River activities at Victoria Falls should be a must for everyone. No matter if you do them on the Zambian or Zimbabwean side (the route is more or less the same), this is one of the most relaxing and at the same time rewarding activities in this part of the world. There is nothing better than watching elephant herds while having a drink when the sun sets.

This is one of my favorite activities, and even though I’ve done it several times already, I would not mind doing it more times. You can either select if you want a simpler cruise with basic drinks or a fancier version with local cocktails and delicious bites.

There is also a dinner option if you are traveling with someone special.

  • Sundowner Cruise: 40 USD + Park Fees (10 USD)
  • Luxury Royal Cruise: 74 USD + Park Fees (10 USD)
  • Dinner Cruise: 75 USD + Park Fees (10 USD)
I took a boat tour with Wild Horizons. They operate most activities at Victoria Falls
I took a boat tour with Wild Horizons. They operate most activities at Victoria Falls

Safari Activities at Victoria Falls

Even though Victoria Falls is not the best place for a safari, some operators offer various safari activities at the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe or the Mosi O Tunya National Park in Zambia. Don’t expect too much if you have done a safari before. However, after two days of activities at the falls, this is not a bad option for you to relax.

Elephants, buffalos, and hippos are some of the highlights when visiting these parks. However, as I mentioned, if you plan to visit Chobe National Park in Botswana or Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, save the money and use it at any of these two locations.

Additionally, and in order to attract more tourists, local operators are also organizing activities such as the Bush Dinner, horseback safari, or the elephant interaction tour. Still, if it were up to me, I would prefer to spend that money on other national parks or at Victoria Falls.

These are some of the safari activities you can do at Victoria Falls:

  • Elephant encounter: 126 USD + Park Fees (10 USD)
  • Game Drives at Zambezi National Park: 71 USD + Park Fees (15 USD)
  • Game Drives at a private reserve: 116 USD + Park Fees (5 USD)
  • Night drives at a private reserve: 158 USD + Park Fees (5 USD)
  • Horseback Safari: 95 USD + Park Fees (15 USD)
  • Crocodile Cage Dive: 70 USD

Read more: How to plan a trip to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

elephants are quite common during the dry months at Zambezi National Park
Elephants are quite common during the dry months at Zambezi National Park

Can you visit Zambia or Botswana for a day?

Yes, you can. Additionally, some Zimbabwean operators offer day trips to Chobe National Park, Mosi O Tunya National Park, or the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. However, keep in mind that you require to stamp out of the country and have the necessary documents to enter Zambia or Botswana. At the same time, in case you need a visa to enter Zimbabwe, you would have to apply for a double entry in advance.

Best things to do in the city of Victoria Falls

In comparison to Livingstone in Zambia, Victoria Falls feels more like a small village. It is very small and feels in some way specially made for tourism. While this takes a bit of the authenticity of being in southern Africa, it makes the experience a bit more charming. Victoria Falls feels like a breath of fresh air and a nice place to spend checking out restaurants, cafes, and bars.

From the Lookout Café competing with the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge on which of them has the best sunset spot (I stick to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge), to the several markets where you can find local products and some of the weirdest things you can imagine.

Read more: Everything you need to know before traveling to Victoria Falls (Zambia Side)

Sunset view from the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Sunset view from the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (even though we got no sunset that day, it was totally worth the visit)

Additionally, the craft beer tastings or wine tastings at Elephant Walk are great for a calm night out. But also, the Township Food Experience or the BOMA Dinner are great options for trying something new to eat. Don’t forget that at The River Brewing Company, you can find live music on Fridays.

Everyone who also researched Victoria Falls will find some information about the High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel. I went there to find out about the whole hype around it, and I have to confess that it is totally worth it. Not only does the architecture of the Victoria Falls Hotel make the visit worthwhile, but the experience itself has good value.

What to Bring from Victoria Falls? If you can only bring one souvenir back from Victoria Falls, I think the 10 Trillion Dollar bill is a good call. You will find it everywhere around Vic Falls markets and can get it for as low as 5 USD if you are a good negotiator.

I got a full set of bills from Zimbabwe
I got a full set of bills from Zimbabwe. I can now say I became a trillionaire.

How many days do I need at Victoria Falls?

While most travelers come here to see the falls and leave the next day, I felt this town was a good place to recover some energy. I liked it way more than Harare or Livingstone, and I think slow travelers can easily spend 6-7 nights here if they find a good hotel deal (hotels are super expensive), and quick travelers can do 2 or 3 full days to get a good idea of what Victoria Falls is about.

I think Victoria Falls is a great place to either start or end your trip in southern Africa, as it offers a good introduction to this amazing part of the world, but also a nice place to get a proper farewell at the end of your journey.

What is the best e-SIM when traveling to Zimbabwe

I decided to use an e-SIM from Airalo in Zimbabwe and don’t worrying about the logistics of getting a physical SIM card on arrival. This was a great decision.

Airalo offers plans for very low prices and even though Zimbabwe is known for having bad connection outside cities, Airalo was able to change signal to the provider that had the best connection in every region I visited.

Read more: A complete guide for e-SIM cards when traveling around the world

Finishing your stay at Victoria Falls with a dinner at BOMA
Finishing your stay at Victoria Falls with a dinner at BOMA is one of the most popular activities to do.

Read more: How to travel around Zimbabwe




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