Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

Victoria Falls

The Zambezi River cascading into the gorge to form Victoria Falls.

We just returned from our second trip to the famous Victoria Falls which is formed as the Zambezi River drops into the gorge that separates Zambia and Zimbabwe. During our January visit, we did several short hikes on the Zambia side and swam out to Devil’s Pool at the top of the falls next to Livingstone Island. Now that it is near the end of the rainy season, the water volume is much greater, and the roar of the falls and the spray is even more impressive. After a couple of days relaxing in Livingstone, we met our friends Christine and Mike on the Zimbabwe side. We had a great time hearing about the start of their trip in South Africa touring some private game reserves near Kruger National Park. The next day, we took a walking tour of the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls where we got soaked from mist and the localized rainfall caused by the falls themselves.

Lisa at Victoria Falls

Lisa during the walking tour of the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls.

We then took a helicopter tour over the falls themselves which was a great way to really appreciate their scope.

Victoria Falls from the air

Zimbabwe is the peninsula of land with the road leading to the town of Victoria Falls in the foreground. The bridge leading to Zambia is visible on the right.

Both Zambia and Zimbabwe have protected much of the land near Victoria Falls from development and numerous animal and bird species are thriving including kudu, zebra, giraffes and elephants.

Elephants at the lodge

Elephants at the watering hole visible from Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

The town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe is within walking distance of the falls themselves. It is a compact little tourist town, the English language skills of the residents are great, and the national currency of Zimbabwe is the USD so it is very easy to figure out the prices. Overall it did seem more expensive than the town of Livingstone in Zambia, but we found a great deal on lodging and camped at Shoestrings Backpackers for US$8 per person per night.

Shoestrings Backpackers

The colorful, relaxing atmosphere of Shoestrings Backpackers.

Besides the expense, the only negative to the town is the number of very persistent vendors who try to sell tourists the old valueless Zimbabwe currency with bills printed in the billions of dollars from the time when hyperinflation occurred in the country. In July 2008, inflation was estimated at 231,150,888.87% and it got worse from there. Here is a short Economist article on the changeover to the USD.

Zimbabwe currency

The famous one hundred billion note! These can be fun souvenirs and are much cheaper to purchase on the Zim side. A US$5 will get you a stack of various denominations, and you can probably haggle down to cheaper prices since the currency is worthless except as an interesting historical item.

Our friends also booked a visit to a nearby village which we probably wouldn’t have thought to do, but it was a very educational experience to see the differences between Kavango and Zimbabwe rural life.

mpisi village sign

You know you are doing well when there is such a nice sign for your village!

The village headman, Mpisi (meaning Hyena) is a very charismatic and energetic person who explained his role as village consensus builder and took us on a tour of his homestead.

Mpisi village tour

Mpisi showing off an award he won for his innovations in promoting the use of natural products made from native trees and other plants to our friends Christine and Mike.

When Mpisi found out Lisa was a teacher, he told us that his daughter was also named Lisa and is a teacher at the local village school. He introduced us to her and then she took over the rest of the tour. The two Lisas discussed their schools and challenges, and it was a great experience for both to learn firsthand about education in another Southern African country.

Lisa and Lisa

Lisa with our new friend Lisa and her son. The cooking hut for the homestead is in the background.

hut with solar panel

The huts in the homestead were all very nicely built and maintained. This one even had a solar panel. on the roof. Was this a SolarCity install?

Zambezi River hippos

We ended the day with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River upstream from Victoria Falls. Our friends had been on safari drives not close to major rivers previously, so they were glad to see numerous hippos from the boat.



Filed under Peace Corps Namibia Blog

4 responses to “Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

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  4. vuyisele Otukile

    thank you. Great article gave me a feel of the place. Will get the helicopter next time, i missed that last

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