We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
23 posts
32 reviews
Save Topic
Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

Some things to know before you go:

BEFORE YOU GO

It is expensive. There are only two international flights a day into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (VFA) - both go from Johannesburg OR Tambo (JNB) and arrive around the same time (just after noon) and fly out of VFA back to JNB around 1:25 PM. Hotels are also very expensive. We stayed at the Kingdom for $180/night. If I paid that much for a hotel in the US of that quality, I would be furious. Remember that you are in a beautiful place and just be prepared to spend a lot. US citizens can get a visa upon arrival - check your country's requirements.

NOTE ABOUT CHECKED LUGGAGE

I don't know about British Airways but South African (Flight 40 is JNB to VFA and 41 is VFA to JNB) uses an Airbus 319-100 and the staff is extremely surly and will make you check-in even normal carry-on luggage. Two members of our party had their locks broken and one of these two people had items stolen from their bag.

GENERAL FLIGHT NOTE

A sandwich is served from JNB to VFA and proper lunch is served from VFA to JNB on South African Airways.

ARRIVAL/AIRPORT/VISA

A single entry visa is $30 and a double entry visa (necessary if you want to cross over and see the falls from the Zambia which I highly suggest you do) is $45. Make sure you state this clearly upon arrival and fill out the correct form - there are only 2 guys doing Visas and the line gets very long very quickly. Everything is done in USD so there is no need to change currency.

AIRPORT TO HOTEL

If you have a group (namely, you are not a solo traveler), don't bother with the $10 - $15 pp transfers done by the hotels or companies like Shearwater. Just negotiate with the guys in the taxi line. We got one direction for $25 and one direction and $20 in the other.

CRUISES

This is an absolute must-do. The rates are difficult to negotiate but a sunset cruise through a reputable company like Mapopoma (sp?) or Shearwater should be $42 - $45 pp and include pickup from your hotel at 4 PM with unlimited drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snacks.

VIEWING THE FALLS

If you can, get a double entry visa for Zimbabwe ($45) and then you can walk across the bridge to Zambia and get a day tripper visa ($20). If you don't want to do the long walk, you can do a double cab (one cab takes you from your hotel or the Zimbabwe park entrance to the Zimbabwe border and another one takes you from there to the Zambia side) for $15 or so - negotiate the price!

I would suggest viewing the falls from both sides. It is a different experience and on the Zambian side, you can see the falls from below at Boiling Point (be prepared for a strenuous hike). I would give yourself 3 - 4 hours for the Zambian side.

Park Entrance: $30 for the Zimbabwean side (2/3rds of the Falls) and $20 for the Zambian side (1/3rd of the Falls). On the Zambian side you can also easily walk along the side but please note on the Zambian side, there is a dearth of fencing so please be careful.

If you are really lucky, you will be there at a time when thee is a full moon and you can do the night moon rainbow.

GENERAL

Zimbabwe is not dangerous (except getting. We were prepared for who knows what. People are extremely friendly and there are green uniformed Tourist Police everywhere - they are happy to escort you anywhere you go. Even the vendors who appear literally out of the bush are not too aggressive. They will all try to sell you the same "Happy Family" statue. Do your shopping on the Zambian side if you can as the quality of the art is better and more unique.

MONEY

Make sure you have lots of cash as very few places accept a card.

The falls are amazing. You will love them.

Colorado
Level Contributor
229 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

2 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

CHECKED LUGGAGE. Hi do you think the luggage thing was a one off as I will be carrrying a lot of camera gear there is no way I can check this back in. I assume If i did I would never see my camera again.

Sydney, Australia
3 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

Any more reports on this checked luggage issue with SA airlines?

4. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum guidelines with regards to the participation of business representatives.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 22 April 2012, 12:08
OSKALOOSA
Level Contributor
350 posts
333 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

Just back advice is really appreciated !

Am interested in knowing how long you spent in VF and what did you do -- suggestions of things to do/not do, eat/not eat ?

We are scheduled to spend 4 days there in June...

Thank you again for just back advice !

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
23 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

1. No help from SAA on the luggage. We arrived on a Friday and they said we had to wait till Monday to report the issue. We had to leave South Africa on a Sunday morning so we were out of luck. Sadly, our travel insurance said if we didn't have a claim report filed with SAA within 24 hours, we would not get any compensation from the travel insurance either. We were quite satisfied with SAA until this event (had flown them inside South Africa as well).

2. We spent 2 days and 2 nights in VF. As both flights from JNB OR Tambo arrive around the same time and turn around very quickly for the return, regardless of what flight you book you are basically guaranteed 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, and so on in VF.

Some members of our group wandered into the town itself for breakfast and said it was okay quality and completely safe - remember the friendly Tourist Police are always there to help.

Other members of our group went to eat inside the Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe-side) park and said the restaurant was reasonably priced and the food was quite tasty. All of us had snacks there when we went to see the falls. Here is our itinerary so you can get a feel for how 2 days can be the perfect amount of time in VF:

Day 1

12:30 PM SAA Flight lands in VF

1:30 PM Get double entry visa ($45) - it's a separate line that moves faster than the single entry line, collect luggage, and find our transportation. As I mentioned, we used Shearwater on the way in for $11 pp but would have been better off just negotiating with one of the cab drivers outside.

2 PM Check into hotel

2:30 PM Eat lunch at hotel and book sunset cruise (Mapopoma is the company we used, there are a few others)

4 PM Picked up at hotel for sunset cruise

4:30 - 7:30 PM Sunset cruise - unlimited drinks and great snacks

8 PM Return to hotel and had dinner (as I mentioned, avoid the restaurants in the casino area at The Kingdom - the food is very bland)

10 PM Go to sleep so we can be up early to explore the Falls

Day 2

7 AM Breakfast

8 AM Enter the park on the Zimbabwe side - easy walk from The Kingdom and had a Tourist Police Escort. Rent raincoats for the day - very worth it for just $2.

9 AM - 1 PM Walk the entire park on the Zimbabwe side - we found 4 hours to be ample

1 PM Eat snacks and dry off at the lunch place on the Zimbabwe side

2 PM Exit park and do the long walk to the Zambia side

3 PM Arrive at the Zambia border post, get day tripper visa ($20) and go into park on Zambia side ($20)

3 PM - 6 PM Explore the park on the Zambia side. If you are in shape, I would suggest doing Boiling Point first as it's the most strenuous and most unique vs. the Zimbabwe side. It will take a good 1.5 hours including having about 20 minutes to enjoy the view when you get down to the bottom of the gorge.

6 PM Take a cab back to The Kingdom - you can negotiate a double cab - first guy takes you from Zambia border post to Zimbabwe border post, second guy takes you from Zimbabwe border post to your hotel - you have to clear immigration which takes about 10 minutes in total for both sides once you have your visas

7 PM Walk to dinner (we missed High Tea - some members of our group didn't want to go to the Zambia side and did a helicopter excursion instead and they said they loved the High Tea) at Victoria Falls Hotel - owned by the same company as The Kingdom

9 PM Walk back to The Kingdom - play at casino and make your "donation" to the craps of blackjack table

Day 3

9 AM Leisurely breakfast

10:30 AM Late checkout from hotel

11 AM Went to see The Big Tree

11:30 AM Arrive at airport

My only suggested change would perhaps be to check-in as late as possible for your outbound flight - we arrived too early and sat inside the airport which doesn't have enough chairs and that also means more time for the guys at the airport to comb through your luggage and steal things from you.

Overall, VF is amazing.

OSKALOOSA
Level Contributor
350 posts
333 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

Thank you again for the specific details -- this certainly gives us an idea of what to expect and look for...

Silver Spring...
Destination Expert
for Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
8,085 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

As to the itinerary mentioned above, if at all possible get in a day tour to Chobe, it too is fabulous. We saw so many Elephants and game, it was fantastic.

Silver Spring...
Destination Expert
for Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
8,085 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

We also saw SA Airlines weighing all hand and checked luggage. They were charging aggressively for over weight bags.

Kuala Lumpur...
Level Contributor
135 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Just back - some advice on Vic Falls for others

do you need to present yellow fever vacinnation card when you return to Johannesburg (since you have visited Zambia)?