Victoria Falls for independent travellers. Zambia side.

We visited Zambia in January 2015, during a complete trip,
8 months, around Southern and Eastern Africa.

We also wrote another post about Victoria Falls Zimbabwe side and another one talking about if it´s better to visit the falls from Zimbabwe or Zambia side.

In this post, we share specific travel information about Livingstone and Zambia side, for independent low-cost travellers.

   VICTORIA FALLS on ZAMBIA SIDE    

If you are planning a budget independent travel to Victoria Falls, Zambia side, here you can find usefull info.



Price for the falls entrance: 20 $
Less if SADC or resident. 
Also night entrance for full moon january-may (more expensive).

Entrance gate to Victoria Falls-Zambia
Possible to pay with a bank card.
The entrance to the Victoria Falls in the Zambia side is 10 km south from Livingstone, just before the Zambia border post and then the Zimbabwe - Zambia bridge.
Easy to reach from town (vans). You can see info about Livingstone here.

Views are more limited than on Zimbabwe side as Zambia has only 1/4 of the falls (east side). So you only have 4 lookouts (15 in Zimbabwe).


Extras in Zambia side: there are a few "bonus".

  • Knife Edge Bridge (connecting the view points) gives you are floating feeling over a gorge and good views.
  • Boiling pot: you can go down to the Zambezi Gorge, following a steep track.Not many people do it.  You can see the place from the international bridge, just down. The river is very strong, just after the falls. Be careful!
  • Zambezi Riverside area: you can approach the Zambazi River before the river heads down. Many local people refresh themselves there or even have picnic.
  • Devil´s pools, Angel´s pools, Livinsgtone Island: the famous pictures of people swimming at the edge of the Victoria Falls, it´s in Zambia, it´s Devil´s Pools. It´s just west, close to Livingstone Island. It´s an extra activity, not included in the normal entrance fee in Zambia. Keep on reading, we explain it latter.

Zambia or Zimbabwe side of the falls?
We answered in detail to this question here.


HOW TO VISIT THE DEVIL´S POOL FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS?

¿How to go to Devils pool? ¿Is it possible without guide?  ¿Can I go without organized tour? This is a small  Travel Guide to replay your questions.


The Devil´s pool is a small place on the edge of the Victoria Falls wall, just west of Livingstone Island, in the middle of the falls, just a few minutes walk from the island. 

You can bath there when the water level is low, usually between September til February. The famous picture that you can see everywhere, scaring!

There are also other places on the falls, like Angel´s Pools or Livinsgtone Island. Depends how far you go... and if it´s safe or not...

To understand everything, here´s a view of the falls with low water level.  Sometimes it´s not very well explained, to make people confused. In fact it´s simple.


When the water level of the falls is high, it gets impossible to walk or stay at the edge of the falls. Just going to Livingstone Island by boat is possible. But forget about swimming there!
In any case, please be responsable!

In Zimbabwe, in the western area of the falls,  the stream is very strong and the Devil´s Cataract ( it´s a mighty and year-round fall) makes the access to the falls edge and island impossible.


We were not interested in doing anything over the falls but wanted to get things clear, to help other travellers.


You have different options over the falls.  

Depending on your budget, level of water, adventure feeling, booking in advance or not... here there are, always from Zambia side.
  • Join a organized tour to Devil´s Pool, Livingstone Island. Easy but expensive (the prices are around 100$/pp! for a 1h30-2 h tour!). Usually boat (5 min!)+ food + guide included, departure from The Royal Livingstone Hotel Jetty (close to the falls entrance). Just enquire around Livingstone and Victoria Falls Town, maybe you find something. But it seems that a tour-operator Tongabezi (www.devilspool.net) controls the tour there and it seems that you need to book in advance as only 5 boats a day with 16 people go. This is their offer:
    Boats: 7:30, 9:00 or 10:30 US$ 95, 12:30 US$ 155, 15:30 - US$ 130. Expensive for less than 2 h tour!
    We are not 100% sure, keep on reading, it seems that this is the fact if getting there by boat... so please, if interested in the pools and island, before booking anything, try to enquire with hotels around Livingstone, specially with the Royal Livingstone Hotel (it´s the departure point).
    You can check the webiste of the hotel group... offering the tour to Livingstone Island-Devil´s Pool, here. Tongabezi is also an expensive lodge, 50 km drive from the falls, on the Zambezi River (Kazangula-Botswana Rd).
  • Go to The Royal Livingstone Hotel Jetty. This is the departure point of the boats (also for organised tours) to reach Livingstone Island (5 min boat ride). As there´s an hotel on the island, we saw staff going there. You can always ask, specially if you are many people, about crossing to the island. Then the pools are just super close, walking, for sure somebody will guide you to the pools, just near the shore of the island. 
  • From the Zambia side of the falls (entrance fee 20$), there´s a riverside access. If the water is low, you can walk all the way to Livinsgtone Island, just maybe a couple of months a year, around november to december. Don´t walk alone, please!
    That´s the period where you can easily get to Devil´s Pools and other pools without a boat, even on the wall, like Angel´s Pools. It seems that there´s even a concrete small path...
    We asked at the falls gate and control (official information) and they told us the tariff was around 40 $/pp for Devil´s Pools. So it seems that it´s also allowed and possible, said by the authorities. Maybe some local people around can guide you for less money, but be careful and always calculate the risks. Never, walk alone!  For sure, getting closer to Angel´s Pools just a few meters away should be much cheaper. 
    In any case, take care! And it´s better if you have a travel insurance, just in case.

This is what we saw in january over the falls: tourists in Devil´s Pools, walking to Livinsgtone Island, tourists refreshing in Angel´s Pools, a local fisherman risking on the edge of the falls, local guys walking on the edge.



 
   THINGS TO DO ON THE SURROUNDINGS OF THE FALLS IN ZAMBIA FOR FREE   

If you have time and don´t want to spend a lot of money doing activities, you can do other things for free near the falls, in Zambia side. 

  • Visit the Zambezi Sun Hotel & the Royal Livingstone Hotel
Just next to the falls entrance, on the shores of the Zambezi River. It´s free to go inside the luxury hotels and walk near the river, specially from The Royal Livingstone Hotel Jetty.
The views over the river before falling are beautiful! There are zebras, monkeys and giraffes in the garden! Free!
Departure point (boat) for Livingstone Island Hotel and Devil´s Pool.

 Zebras and views from the Royal Livinsgtone Hotel
  • Walk on the Zimbabwe - Zambia bridge:
The international bridge offers views over the Zambezi Gorge and a little section of the falls.
The bungee-jumping is in the middle of the bridge. Expensive: 160 US$ (same for the swing).
Complete information: http://www.victoriafallsbungee.com
The Bridge Café is just on the Zambia side (booking for the jumps), but the views are not very good over the gorge. There´s a small bridge museum (fee).

You can cross the bridge from either Zimbabwe or Zambia, without getting a visa, just ask for a free crossing bridge pass at the border posts. You need the passport to get the pass.


  • See the Zambezi Gorge
There´s a gravel road from the falls-border minibus station going to the gorge, passing the hidro-electric power station (follow the Gorge Swing sign). 

It´s around 3 km to reach the place where they have diferent activities and a view point (you don´t see the river, just cliffs). Zip is 50 $, Swing much more.

Complete information: http://thezambeziswing.com/

  • Visit the waterfront:
Up the Zambezi river, it´s the departure point for the sunset cruises and there are river camps. Closer to Livingstone (around 5 km), but no public transport. We didn´t go.
The cruises are not too cheap, around 40-50 $, with drinks, dinner.


   THINGS TO DO BUT PAYING   

Any activities? This is the big question in Livingstone (Zambia) and in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)… The answer will depend of your budget and adventure spirit.

Rafting, bungee jumping, swing, zip, helicopter and light flights, walks with lions, rides on elephants, sunset cruises, game safaris, etc, etc. No shortage of activities, Victoria Falls- Livingstone is the Africa capital of activities! 

Most of the activities are around 100-150 $/pp! Just ask around, backpackers, agencies… and try to negotiate. Similar prices and activities on both sides.
We did nothing… just walk around the falls and enjoy the place…
  • Mosi O Tunya National Park:
Game park, close to the Zambezi River, after the Zambezi waterfront (around 6 km from Livingstone). No public transport. Self-drive or you need to join a tour. Also walking safaris. Entrance fee: 20 $. We didn´t go.
  • Visit Chobe National Park and Kasane(Botswana):
Chobe National Park (Botswana) is less than 100 km from Livingstone.
Kasane and Chobe safari-boat on the river with so many wildlife (20 €/pp) were a must in our southern Africa roadtrip. Really recommended (read complete information on the Botswana chapter of the blog).
Public transport or you can join a tour.
No visa needed for UE passports. 

1 comentario :

toray dijo...

Muchísimas gracias por toda la info, muy completa y las fotos de las Falls con sus explicaciones un puntazo. Saludos!

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