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Victoria Falls Accommodation Guide – Zimbabwe or Zambia: Which side is best?

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Its Africa Time!! Of course you know that the incredible Victoria Falls is one of the must-visit destinations in Africa – but as it lies on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia – it can be hard to decide which side should you make your base. Our Victoria Falls Accommodation Guide will give you all the information on Victoria Falls (town) in Zimbabwe and Livingston in Zambia to help you decide which is the best place to stay to visit Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls Accommodation Guide - Zimbabwe vs Zambia
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Victoria Falls Accommodation Guide
– Zimbabwe vs Zambia: Which Side is Best?

Victoria Falls – one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and fed by the Zambezi river – stretches over 1.7km and crosses the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. As a consequence the two towns on either side of the border – Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingston in Zambia – have seen a surge in tourism and it can be difficult to decide where you should stay. This post will give you in the in’s and out of both towns which will hopefully make your decision easier!

Related: Click here for the Top Activities and Things To Do in Victoria Falls – there’s something for everyone!

Livingstone – Zambia

Best Place To Stay To Visit Victoria Falls Zimbabwe Zambia | Where to Stay Victoria Falls | Where to Stay Livingstone | Best Place to Stay Victoria Falls | Best Place to Stay Livingstone

Visa Arrangements & Cost:
Single Entry: $50USD; Double/Multiple Entry: $80USD; Day-Tripper Visa: $20USD
The tourist visa’s listed above can all be obtained on arrival at Livingston Airport and are valid for Australian, British, North American, Canadian and EU citizens. (Please note that visa changes are a regular occurrence in Africa and you can check HERE for the latest information.)

Location:
Approx 12.5km from Victoria Falls

Currency:
Zambian Kwacha (1000 Kwacha = $0.20USD/£0.13/$0.18AUD approx)

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Where to Stay – Livingstone, zambia

Accommodation Options:
There are around 66 Guesthouses/Lodges and budget accommodation in Livingston with approximately:
23 Backpackers/Guesthouses @ $0-60USD per night (My pick – Fawlty Towers – yes, I’m being serious!)
25 Guesthouses/Hotels.             @ $61-100USD per night (My pick – Maramba River Lodge)
15 Lodges                                         @ $101-200USD per night (My pick – Munga Eco-Lodge)
7 Luxury Lodges                             @ $201-1200USD per night (My pick – The Royal Livingstone)

For the latest Livingstone hotels rates & availability and to narrow down results by your own requirements, click to visit Hotels Combined

Activities Specific to Zambia:
Devils Pool & Angels Armchair, Microlight Flight above the Falls, Free walking Trails next to the mighty Victoria Falls, Lunch on the banks of the Zambezi at The Royal Livingstone & Canoeing Safari on the Zambezi

Other Activities Available:
Helicopter Flights, White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, River Cruise

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Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe Where to Stay Victoria Falls | Where to Stay Livingstone

Visa Arrangements & Cost:
For USA & Australian Citizens: Single Entry: $30USD; Double Entry: $45USD
For UK & Canadian Citizens: Single Entry: $55USD; Double Entry: $70USD.
The tourist visa’s listed above can all be obtained on arrival at Victoria Airport and there are no Day Tripper Visas available. Should you wish to enter Zimbabwe for a day, you will be required to purchase a single entry visa. (Please note that visa changes are a regular occurrence in Africa and you can check HERE for the latest visa information.)

Location:
Approx 3km from Victoria Falls

Currency:
United States Dollar  (click for current exchange rates) Currency must be clean,not ripped or marked and dated after 2001.

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Where to Stay – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Accommodation Options:
There are around 20-25 Guesthouses/Lodges and a handful of hotels in Victoria Falls town with approximately:
4 Backpackers/Guesthouses  @ $0-60USD per night (My pick – Shoestrings Backpackers)
5 Hotels/Bed and Breakfast    @ $61-100USD per night (My pick – Rainbow Hotel)
5 Lodges                                         @ $101-200USD per night (My pick – The Kingdom)
9 Luxury Safari Lodges              @ $201-1100USD per night (My pick – The Victoria Falls Hotel)

For the latest rates & availability and to narrow down results by your own requirements, click to visit Hotels Combined

Activities Specific to Zimbabwe:
Bungee Jumping, Lion Encounter, Gorge Swing, Flying Fox, Zipline, Victoria Falls National Park, Sunset Cruise

Other Activities Available:
Helicopter Flights, White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping,

 

Traveling between Zimbabwe and Zambia

Top Adventure Activities Victoria Falls

The crossing between Zimbabwe and Zambia is essentially a (very laid back) 1.6km walk across the Victoria Falls Bridge. It is then a 3km walk to Victoria Falls or a 12.5km walk/taxi to Livingstone. If you are planning on doing activities that can only be found on one side of the falls, I would recommend purchasing a ‘double-entry’ visa on arrival in either Victoria Falls or Livingstone Airports and planning to complete those activities on the same day to avoid incurring additional visa charges.  which side Victoria falls best 

The Process – Crossing from Zimbabwe to Zambia

On arrival at the border post you enter a single level building and provide your passport to the immigration officials. They will ask if you are exiting permanently or for the day and will check you have the authority to return (double entry visa). They will then stamp it with an exit stamp and provide you with a small slip of paper. Upon exiting the building, walk towards the gates and give the piece of paper to the waiting guard who will check your passport before waving you through into no-mans land. 

No-man’s land stretches 1.6km, which can seem like a really long way when you’re not entirely sure where you are going! (There are also taxi drivers there who will tout for your business. If you are going all the way to Livingstone, engaging one of these is not a bad idea.) You’ll walk across the bridge and past a couple of guard posts before reaching another building, which is the Zambia border post. 

Enter the building. Hand over your passport to immigration and request to purchase a day tripper visa for $20USD. (It is best to have a $20 note dated post-2001). Enter Zambia.

This process can be reversed to enter Zimbabwe from Zambia, but can only be done between the hours of 6am and 6pm.

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The Verdict

There are plenty of reasons to stay in either Livingstone or Victoria Falls and although the accommodation options are numerous in Livingstone (in comparison to Victoria Falls) if I was planning another trip, Victoria Falls town would be my preference. It has a great small town feel, several well priced restaurants and is walking distance to the Falls themselves. (The distance between Livingstone and the Falls would mean additional taxi fares between the two.) Victoria Falls also have a wider range of activities on offer, meaning you can do everything on the Zimbabwe side and only have to enter Zambia for the Devils Pool, Free walks to the Falls & the Microlight Flight. (All of which can be done in a day.) Victoria Falls also has a great craft market where you can get some serious bargains on wooden and stone carved souvenirs!

If you have any questions I haven’t covered above, please let me know. I will do my best to answer them.

I hope I have helped in your decision making, and, regardless of where you choose to stay, you will have the BEST time because you’ll be in AFRICA. And Africa is Amazing.

Victoria Falls Accommodation Guide

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Hi There! Thanks for reading my post about The Best Place to Stay in Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe or Zambia? I just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something after clicking a link, I may get a small commission – which is at absolutely no cost to you. If you enjoyed this article and are going to be searching for some of the things I mention anyway, I would love it if you could click through from the links above & thank you in advance! Read my full Disclosure here.

 

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Elizabeth Clark

Saturday 20th of April 2019

The info you have provided is on Wed very helpful- esp pre-planning/dreaming (any ) trip to Africa. I appreciate your honest & candid knowledge & hope to read more of your input in the future! God Bless & Peace, Liz (Texas USA)

Martha

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Trying to be diplomatic here. Zimbabwe side is better as those who go to Zambia side need a helicopter to fly over to see Victoria Falls. I have been to both but I regret staying in the Zambia side as we had to fork out some money to go to Zimbabwe side to see the Falls properly.

Vicki

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Thanks for sharing your experience. I absolutely recommend staying on the Zimbabwe side for the reasons you mentioned, among others.

Michael

Sunday 7th of January 2018

Great, thank you! Planning on doing a safari in Kenya, gorilla trekking in Uganda, Mt. Kilimanjaro, then Victoria Falls!

Vicki

Sunday 7th of January 2018

No worries - I hope you have an amazing time!

Michael

Saturday 6th of January 2018

Hi there, heading to Africa in July/August. How many days would you recommend at Victoria Falls? Thanks.

Vicki

Saturday 6th of January 2018

Hi Michael - I'm so excited you're going to Africa! We had 5 days there and thought that was plenty, but it depends on where you are heading before/after or if you need to do day trips from the town. But 5 days for Victoria Falls itself should be enough to see and do a lot.

JM

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Hi, I am planning a trip to the Victoria Falls in December, and will likely stay in Victoria Falls town. Do you have any suggestion for which safari (near to Victoria Falls) that I should be visiting to increase my chance of seeing the Big5? And would a day trip to the safari suffice? Or should I have spend 1 night at some lodge in the safari?

Vicki

Monday 4th of September 2017

Hi JM There are a couple of safari parks within a few hours drive of Vic Falls (Hwange in Zimbabwe and Chobe in Botswana - although Chobe only have 4 of the Big5) - but remember there are no guarantees of seeing them! And the more time you can spend in the park the better, so a stay in a lodge inside the park might be a good idea!