30 Awesome Things to Do in Livingstone, Zambia & Vic Falls, Zimbabwe


Last updated November 2018The Best Things To Do in Victoria Falls Zambia ZimbabweThe towns of Livingstone in Zambia and Vic Falls in Zimbabwe sit on either side of the world famous Victoria Falls.

I first visited this region in 2009 as a volunteer in Livingstone, in fact it was the first place I ever visited in Africa and it was love at first sight!

To this day, Livingstone, Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River are my happy places and I often rest here in between tours.

I love showing my Rock My Adventure groups around my African ‘home’ because as well as being a stunning part of the world, there’s just so much to do and see, so you never get bored! You could spend weeks here and still not run out of things to do (although unless you’re loaded you’ll probably run out of money).

So with this list, I aim to give you some ideas of all the fantastic things you can do in and around the Victoria Falls to help you plan your time there! Unfortunately there aren’t many cheap things to do at Victoria Falls, but there are a few!

A lot of activities are offered from both sides but some just operate on one side, however you can easily cross the border between the two countries, especially if you have the KAZA visa (read more about this visa here). Many of the activity providers offer complimentary transport from either side, so check at the time of booking.

Victoria Falls is one of the seven ‘Natural Wonders of the World’ and you will completely understand why when you see it for yourself. The first time I went I was absolutely blown away, in fact, I still am, despite visiting many times since.

Victoria Falls lies both in Zambia and Zimbabwe and you can visit from both sides.

From the Zambian side you can stand at the top of the falls, walk along the Knife Edge Bridge (pictured above) and walk down to the Boiling Pot near to the bottom of the falls for a number of perspectives.

You don’t really need a tour of the falls and it’s fine to just wander around at your leisure, taking pics and enjoying the view. However if you want a bit more information or don’t feel confident going alone, you can book a guided tour.

The best trail for photographs is the Knife Edge Bridge Trail (despite one of the others being called the Photographic Trail). For more info on visiting Victoria Falls, see the link to my guide below.

Quite possibly the most terrifying day of my life, but fun nonetheless…

The Zambezi is known for having the wildest white water in the world, with a number of grade 5 rapids on the route (and a grade 6 which you have to walk around) plus tons of ominous rocks just to keep you fearing for your life on the edge of your seat.

Last time I went we must have flipped around 3 or 4 times and due to the rapids being so close together, I didn’t even have chance to get back in the boat before we entered the next rapid, which meant I had to swim/float along until one of the safety kayaks could get to me. Scary but fun!

You see, unlike rafting the Nile (or what’s left of it) the rapids on the Zambezi are very close together, so you are in for a real work out! The slog is worth it though for the views alone.

There are a number of companies that offer rafting trips but you can easily book when you’re there, either direct with the companies or via your hotel or hostel.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe in September

The general consensus seems to be that the views are better from the Zimbabwe side, as you get a longer, more complete view of the falls, which is definitely true, especially as you wander further down the trail. However, whether that’s ‘better’ is totally up to the viewer. I love both sides.

During the dry season, the water on the Zambian side of the falls starts to dry up which means that from some parts of the trail you can barely see any water, so you’ll need to visit the Zim side to see the gushing water you see on pictures.

The rains start again around mid-November, and even then it takes a while for the river to fill up again, usually peaking around April and May.

The above photo was taken in Zimbabwe in September. If you go, I’d recommend you visit both sides of the falls either way!

READ MORE: Visiting Victoria Falls in Zambia & Zimbabwe: Everything You Need To Know

If you want something similar to rafting but not quite as wild, try canoeing.

This is generally a nice and relatively relaxed day, although if the wind is strong and fighting against you, you’ll need to be prepared to paddle like crazy.

You will still get the odd adrenaline rush though…

The canoeing trips take place on the upper, more calm part of the Zambezi River, which may sound a bit less hectic than the rapids, however you may come across hippos and crocs which will get your heart racing.

Let’s put it this way, I’ve never paddled so fast in my life!

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Lunar Rainbow

On the night of the Full Moon (plus the night before and night after), Victoria Falls opens in the evening so you can enter to see an incredible spectacle appear, the Lunar Rainbow or Moonbow as it’s sometimes called.

The bright moon causes the spray to form a rainbow, as the sun would do in the day time. I’ve been to see the lunar rainbow a couple of times and it really is a cool experience.

The Lunar Rainbow is best viewed during the high water season (April – July) and whilst can see it from both sides, they say the best place to see it is from the Eastern Cataract on the Zambian side and the best time is the early evening around 7.30 – 8pm.

However, if it’s cloudy and you can’t see the moon, there won’t be a Moonbow! And I’ve never been during low water, so I’m not sure whether you can actually see it, but I believe there are tours running all year, so maybe you can – but I’d check before you go if that’s what you really want to see.

Again, you don’t need a tour, you can just visit the falls at night. Just make sure to take good shoes, a torch and something to protect your camera.

If you want to take photos of the Moonbow, you’ll need a tripod and a camera which has long exposure capabilities.

Excuse the photo, this was taken a long time ago. Definitely need to go back and take another with my current camera.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Fancy seeing Livingstone on the back of a quad bike? Well you can!

There are a couple of different of options for you to choose from. The first is a ride through the Zambian bush, where you have the opportunity to see the animals that live in the national park.

The second takes you through one of the local villages where you can meet and interact with the local people.

On the route, you will also get the chance to stop at some amazing viewpoints to see the gorge in all its glory.

Operated From: Zambia

This is one of my favourite activities, where you get a tour of Livingstone Island, the spot where David Livingstone first saw Victoria Falls followed by the chance to sit and swim (I use the term swim loosely) in a pool at the very edge of Victoria Falls.

It’s very exhilarating and a great experience (if pretty expensive).

Once you’ve finished your daredevil adventure, you get a nice meal (breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea) on Livingstone Island.

The Devil’s Pool is only open during low water, from around mid-August to mid-January and I’d advise to go in the afternoon for better lighting and rainbows.

I would definitely advise booking the Devil’s Pool in advance to avoid disappointment. Prices vary with breakfast being the cheapest and high tea being the most expensive.

For the record this is one of my favourite things I’ve ever done in Livingstone.

Operated From: Zambia

One of the more luxurious experiences in Livingstone and Vic falls is to dine on either the Bushtracks Express or the Royal Livingstone Express.

The aren’t cheap but it will be an experience you won’t forget and your ticket includes a stop on the Zim Zam Bridge for sunset, a welcome drink upon arrival, a 5-course meal, drinks (with some exclusions – spirits and champagne are extra) and transfers from your hotel.

Bushtracks Express leaves from Victoria Falls (Tuesday & Friday) and the Royal Livingstone Express leaves from Livingstone (Monday, Wednesday & Saturday). They are run by the same company so I assume the experiences would be very similar.

You can also hire them out for private functions. Book your experience here.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Angel's Pool, Zambia

If the Devil’s Pool is closed, don’t worry, you may be able to swim in the Angel’s Pool (usually open July to August and January to mid-February). You won’t be right on the edge as you are for the Devil’s Pool, but it’s still an awesome experience and makes for even cooler pictures I think.

The set up is the same as the Devil’s Pool, with a tour of Livingstone Island and breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea included in the price.

Again, I’d probably book in advance to ensure you get to go when you want to although it’s generally not as busy as Devil’s Pool.

Operated From: Zambia

If you want an adrenaline rush of speeding on the Zambezi but without having to paddle yourself, go jet boating!

A jet boat is a purpose-built speed boat which is capable of doing daredevil turns and spins!

A trained captain will take you for a scenic trip through the Bakota Gorge at the bottom of the falls, before things start to speed up and get a bit exhilarating! It’s quite the adrenaline rush!

There is a bit of scrambling required to get down to and up out of the gorge, so you’ll need a good level of fitness and you’ll need to wear good shoes.

On the way back, you’ll drive through some of the villages and last time I did it, we even got out and played a game of football (soccer) with the kids.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

If you’ve ever felt the need to jump off a bridge attached to a rope (for the record, I haven’t), then there aren’t many better places in the world to do it than from the Zim Zam Bridge which connects Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It’s not the highest bungee jump in the world, but it is definitely one of the most spectacular, with Victoria Falls behind you, Zambia to your left, Zimbabwe to your right and the Zambezi River stretching out below you.

It’s amazing… even if you’re just a spectator.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

The gorge swing is similar to the bungee, however instead of being attached to a rope attached to the bridge, you are attached to a rope that is attached to another rope which stretches across the gorge, with a harness around your waist (instead of feet).

You then jump off the Zim Zam Bridge, drop and then swing through the gorge. Makes me feel sick just thinking about it.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

If you go bungee jumping or do the gorge swing, you’re going to walk across the Zim Zam Bridge anyway.

But if you don’t do either of those activities, I’d still recommend that you walk across to watch the bungee and take in the view of the falls from the bridge – it’s incredible.

In fact, it’s probably one of my favourite views of the falls, looking all Lord of the Rings and Jusassic Park-esque! And the best bit is – it’s free (apart from the transport there and back).

Just remember that you will need your passport to get onto the bridge and if you want to go across to the other side and into the other country – whichever that may be – you will need a KAZA visa or else you will need to pay for more visas. More info here.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Usually taking place at the end of October, the Zambezi White Water Festival is a two day event with lots happening out on the water including races down the Zambezi as well as music, food and lots of culture!

You can join a team and enter as a contestant or just watch!

Operated From: Zambia

Under the Falls: Swimming at the bottom of Victoria Falls.

Photo Credit: Vicky Flip Flop

This is a relatively new activity called ‘Under the Spray’, at least I’d never heard of it until this year, but you can go down to the bottom of the falls and swim, with the water cascading down on top of you.

You hike down to the Boiling Pot (where the rafting and jet boating leave from also), then you get into a raft, paddle a short way upstream to the bottom of the falls before scrambling over rocks to get to the pools directly underneath the falls.

Once you reach your destination, you can sit underneath the falls which is so much fun. From the picture it looks like spray, but believe me, when you’re sitting under it, it’s pretty heavy and you literally get battered by the water. Once it gets too much, you can swim around just staring up at the top of the falls. It’s a real WTF moment – absolutely crazy – I loved it.

When they mentioned that elephants and other animals sometimes get washed over the falls, I did subconsciously move away from the bottom, just in case one fell on my head.

Although, what a way to go…

As you’d expect, this activity is only available in low water and when the conditions are right. If you tried to do this in fuller water, you’d be crushed and washed away down the Zambezi.

Book this activity in advance to ensure availability.

Operated From: Zambia

Want to get up close with endangered white rhino, then do a rhino walk through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

I’ve never done this here, but I did a similar rhino trek in Uganda and it was absolutely exhilarating and humbling experience to be so close to these magnificent animals.

Operated From: Zambia

Sailing down the Zambezi with a glass of wine in hand watching elephants cross the river at sunset is one of my absolute favourite things to do (and it’s a lot more relaxing than most things on this list).

There are tons of operators who run this type of trip from both sides. Some hotels even have their own boats too, but the most popular ones are the African Queen, the Makumbi (operated by Safpar from the Victoria Falls Waterfront) or the Taonga Safaris.

The African Queen and the Makumbi cruises are slightly fancier and more expensive, but I prefer the laid-back vibe on the Taonga cruise (plus, it’s slightly cheaper). I haven’t joined a cruise from the Zim side yet, but there are lots of different options to choose from.

If you are rafting (or taking part in some other activities) you can get the Makumbi cruise as part of a combo deal which makes it pretty cheap, but you must book the activities together.

Most trips include unlimited drinks and a buffet dinner.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Celebrate your New Year with a bang at the Vic Falls Carnival, a 3-day music and cultural festival on the banks of the Zambezi, starting with a train ride through the African bush with music and top DJ’s.

Lots of hotels and backpacker places in town also hold parties too so you’ll be spoilt for choice! They have a number of packages available, including overland trips that leave from Johannesburg and Cape Town (maybe I’ll add this into the Rock My Adventure portfolio… let me know if you’re interested).

And whilst you’re there, you can take part in all of the other activities too, many offering a festival discount!

Operated From: Zimbabwe

Not one for the fainthearted, but microlighting over the falls is definitely a once in a lifetime kind of experience and some say it’s the best thing to do at Victoria Falls.

As you soar over the falls in your light aircraft, you’ll be able to see the full extent of the falls as well as animals in the river and the national park too!

I would love to do this, as it looks amazing and all of my group members who do this activity absolutely rave about the experience, but for now I’m too scared. But it’s on my bucket list!

I would guess that this activity is probably best during high water, around June to August, when the falls are full and creating spray which in turn create amazing rainbows, although I’m sure any time is pretty spectacular.

Operated From: Zambia

Equally as exhilarating although slightly less exposed to the elements, is a helicopter ride at Victoria Falls.

You fly over the falls and swoop through the gorge, getting crazily close to the rocks on either side.

Again, something I’ve never done, heights and flying just aren’t my thing, but I’ve seen countless videos of this and everyone tells me this is bloody amazing! Again, I’d try to book in advance where possible.

One day I’ll do it…

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

When I went to Livingstone for the first time, one of the schools I was volunteering at was the Local Cowboy Preschool.

The school was started by a guy named Cliff, a kind and good man who started running bicycle tours through Livingstone and then used the profits to build a local school.

Cliff has since passed away, but his legacy still lives on. The Local Cowboy Cycling Tours are still going strong and the school is growing too! His son now works as a guide, so you may get to meet him!

The tour usually lasts around 4 hours and takes you through a couple of different areas in Livingstone, seeing places that most tourists never get to see. This is one of my faves!

Operated From: Livingstone

Imagine free falling overlooking one of the Seven Wonders of the world!

Skydiving is one of the most exhilarating activities you can do (or so I’m told) so what could be better than jumping out of a plane in one of the most incredible destinations on the planet!

Operated From: Zimbabwe

Bovu Island on the Zambezi

Up river on the way to Botswana, you’ll find a cool place called Jungle Junction on a small island called Bovu on the Zambezi River.

Run by the very eccentric Brett, this is a popular weekend spot for NGO workers, volunteers and backpackers, where you can immerse yourself in nature, take mokoro rides, visit the local village, learn to cook Zambian food or just relax in a hammock.

I love this place!

Operated From: Zambia

If you want a taster of the bungee or the gorge swing, but don’t want the free fall, you could try the zipline, flying fox or foofie slide.

There are the usual style ziplines, which pretty much go horizontal as you would expect, but you have the choice of sitting or lying down like superman (aka the flying fox). Both are pretty cool, although lying face down over the gorge definitely takes some bravery!

If you want a bit of extra speed with your zipline adventure, you can do the foofie slide, which is at an angle, so you go super fast!

There are a couple of different companies that operate from Zambia and Zimbabwe and some of these activities can be done by children too (with adult supervision).

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

The Botswana border is only around a 45 minute drive away from Livingstone and Vic Falls, so many people choose to go on day trips or multi-night trips to Chobe National Park.

Chobe is an awesome place to visit and I’d say it’s in my top five national parks in Africa. The elephant viewing in Chobe is the best in the world and you also have a good chance of seeing leopards, lions and African wild dogs.

If you have a KAZA visa, you are able to visit Botswana for the day without it affecting your KAZA visa, however if you stay in Botswana overnight and then return to Zambia or Zimbabwe, you will need to buy a new visa upon your return.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

READ MORE: An Elephantastic Botswana Itinerary (Plus Things To See & Do)

Fishing isn’t my thing (although… weird fact: Extreme Fishing with Robson Green is one of my favourite programmes – I’ve no idea why but I love it – probably more to do with the exotic locations he’s goes than the actual fishing), however, it is a very popular activity along the Zambezi due to the number of freshwater fish that inhabit these waters.

You’ll find species such as bream, yellowfish, pike and the one that everyone wants to catch, the ferocious tiger fish.

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Both Livingstone and Vic Falls have good curio markets just outside the entrance to the falls, selling things like wooden carvings, jewellery, paintings, clothes… pretty much the usual stuff that you find everywhere else in Africa, although occasionally you will find something that is locally made.

In Livingstone town there is also another curio market where you may be able to negotiate a better deal than at the actual falls and some of the hotels have fixed price shops too.

In Vic Falls town you also have a lot of tourist shops selling similar things. A good place to try is the Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist’s Village. If you are lucky, you may come across some locally made goods, although a lot are shipped in from elsewhere.

If you want to buy African fabrics at a fair price, head to Maramba Market (which is a local market, rather than a tourist market), a few kilometres from Livingstone town centre.

This is also a free activity… unless you buy something!

There’s something very romantic about doing a safari on horseback, very Out of Africa, don’t you think?

The other added bonus of doing a safari on horseback is that the animals just see you as another animal, so you can wander amongst them without scaring them off.

Operated From: Zimbabwe

If you want to get fancy, put on your best dress and go for a spot of high tea.

This very British pastime is a great way to experience a bit of luxury, even if you’re travelling on a budget. You can just see how the other half lives, even if just for a short while.

High tea (or afternoon tea) is served at a number of hotels, however the most famous are The Royal Livingstone in Zambia and The Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe.

In case you’ve never had high tea before, you’ll be served a beautifully presented selection of sandwiches, cakes (including scones with jam and clotted cream), tea and often a glass of something sparkly too! Go feeling hungry as there’s always a lot of food.

At The Royal Livingstone, you’ll often see zebra or giraffe walking through the hotel grounds and elephants and hippos often appear in the river too. From The Victoria Falls Hotel, you have a great view of the bridge and the gorge.

I usually stay for sunset too and for an extra special treat, you could even stay the night!

Operated From: Zambia & Zimbabwe

Known as the most exclusive hotel around, Tongabezi Lodge is like something out of a dream.

Guests stay in fabulous River Cottages (sleeping 2) and Houses (sleeping 2 – 5 people) and most have their own private deck overlooking the river where you can enjoy private dining and, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, each room has  their own valet/concierge who will attend to your every need!

Staying at Tongabezi isn’t cheap, with prices starting at around $655 per person, per night, however this includes all food and drink, as well as a number of activities so it’s definitely worth the expense for an experience you will never forget!

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The Best Things To Do in Victoria Falls Zambia Zimbabwe The Best Things To Do in Victoria Falls Zambia Zimbabwe

Getting There: I always search for flights on Skyscanner. The nearest airports are Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone and Victoria Falls International Airport in Vic Falls. Intercape buses connect other cities in Southern Africa to both cities. There are also a number of other local bus companies too.

Where To Stay in Livingstone:

Where To Stay in Victoria Falls: 

Travel Insurance: This is Africa, so make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance that will cover you for all of the activities you want to do. I recommend World Nomads or Outbacker.

Resources: I’m a big fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks and usually travel with one wherever I go.

Tours: Don’t fancy going it alone? Join a small group tour and come on one of my Rock My Adventure tours.

What To Pack: See my comprehensive Africa Packing List.

Read More About Zambia & Zimbabwe: 

See all Zambia posts here.

I hope you have an incredible trip to Victoria Falls! If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

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