The Two Faces of Victoria Falls

Both sides of Victoria Falls
Many visitors to Victoria Falls do not realise that you will have a vastly different view of the Falls depending on which country you view them from. This article aims to highlight some of the differences - our advice however is to visit both sides of the Victoria Falls.
Photo: Michael English
The Victoria Falls is considered to be one of the world's natural wonders and is a not-to-be-missed item on any safari in the region. The Victoria Falls lie between two countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia and many people are not sure which side of the Falls to visit. The answer to that question will depend on what you are looking for.

If you are hoping to get the best view of the Victoria Falls then you should visit the Zimbabwean side. This is because 80% of the water goes over the abyss opposite the Zimbabwean side, and the view of the cascade is best from this side. The water plunges over the edge of the gorge forming great billowing clouds of spray that the Falls are named after in the local language - Mosi-oa-tunya meaning "the smoke that thunders".

There are also more viewpoints and you can walk through the beautiful tropical forest which is created by the spray. Between April and July the view from the Zambian side is mostly obscured by the spray and from November till May there is very little water to be seen from the Zambian side and all you see is bare cliff faces with a small spray of water over towards the Zimbabwean side.

In the last decade the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls has developed and expanded as tourists have opted to stay in Livingstone due to the political situation in Zimbabwe. However the town of Victoria Falls is as safe as Livingstone, and there are many great accommodation options available.

The Zambian side of the Victoria Falls has a wonderful craft market where you can bargain for trinkets. Many of the stalls have beautiful items - some have similar curios for sale and you can trade for a bargain.

The border between the two countries at Victoria Falls is easily negotiated, and you can get day passes to visit the other side of the Victoria Falls. You can walk across the bridge (be warned this is at least a kilometre walk) and view the falls from the other side. It is our recommendation that you visit both sides of the Victoria Falls so you can see the contrast between the two experiences as each has something to offer.

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