Victoria Falls is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, and at over 1700 km wide it is the largest sheet of falling water in the world! Visible from both Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe and from Livingstone, Zambia, choosing which side to visit can be a challenging decision for many visitors to this spectacular place.
Image: panoramic view of the falls taken by FCG Photographer
Time of Year
One of the first things to consider when choosing which side to visit is the season you are travelling, as this determines the water level of the falls. The Zambezi’s annual flood season is between February and May, with the highest levels of water seen in April. During this time the spray from the falls can be visible from many miles away, and you can expect to get very wet during your walk along the fall side due to the constant mist and shower! Visibility during this time is challenging and you will be unlikely to see the entire cliff-face, but for the full, dramatic experience it is very impressive.
After June, the dry season sets in and slowly the levels of water start to reduce. The lowest water levels will be seen around October and November – while still an impressive sight to see the water levels are only about a tenth of that in April.
The Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls has 75% more viewing points, and gives an overall better perspective of the falls. In all seasons it is a great view, but if you are travelling at the end of Dry season then the Zimbabwean side is the side to pick since Zambia’s views are particularly minimal.
The Zambian side of Victoria Falls has a dramatic knife edge which juts out in to the falls, allowing perspective of about 25% of the falls. While the overall view is much less than on the Zimbabwean side, the spectacular knife edge allows guests to get very close to the cascade of water. Of course the famous Devil’s Pool is also located on the Zambian side. The Zambian side of the falls is less impressive in dry season/ low flood season (most particularly in October and November) as you are likely to view very little water and not get the same dramatic experience as on the Zimbabwean side. But at other times of year it is a beautiful sight. At all times of year, guests can easily arrange a daytrip from one side of the falls to the other – the best of both worlds!
Image: Aerial view of Victoria Falls – Credit: Lynn Yeh
The Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe has fast become a bustling town and tourism hub following some years of political challenges. Home to some iconic hotels including The Victoria Falls Hotel, the town offers guests a touristy experience in a busy town featured with curio markets, shopping malls and restaurants. For those looking to extend their bush experience, there are a variety of lodges located just outside of the town including the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and The Elephant Camp.
Livingstone, Zambia on the contrary, hosts a number of beautiful hotels situated along the riverfront of the Zambezi. When choosing which side to visit, this is often a deciding factor for many guests. Top end lodges such as Tongabezi and Baines River Camp offer the falls experience, combined with panoramic views of the river and an overall more relaxed “retreat style” accommodation.
While the choice is challenging, both sides of the falls have their unique advantages and your choice will depend on your interests and requirements as well as the time of year you decide to visit. We always recommend combining a visit to Victoria Falls either before or after a Botswana Safari due to its convenient location just 2 hours across the border from Kasane. Whether you choose to unwind riverside or experience the energy of a vibrant town, it is the ideal start or finale to a safari.
Image: Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe