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Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Sydney, Australia
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3 posts
7 reviews
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Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Going in Feb or March 2013.

1) Is it a better experience to stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

2) Is staying in Zimbabwe too dangerous for any reason?

3) I hear there is limited opportunity to use cards for payment and hardly any atms. Is this true? and how much daily activity cash would one expect to carry for a 2/3 day trip?

Thanks for the advice,


Helsinki, Finland
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77 posts
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1. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

I cannot really comment as I have stayed only on the Zimbabwe side and just made a day trip to the Zambia side, but Victoria Falls is very safe and the people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet. Also Victoria Falls is much closer to the falls than Livingstone is so it is probably a bit more practical.

I cannot help you with the ATM and Credit cards questions though as to be on the safe side we used only cash (USD). But I do know that in Livingstone ATMs are no problem.

To know how much on average you would spend visit the sites of the various tour operators in the area and you will get an idea of what is available and how much it costs. If I recall correctly they all pretty much charge the same prices. You should try to use just one company to book all your activities as many of them offer packages or throw in a freebie like a cruise so it makes it more worthwhile.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

There's really no reason not to stay in Zimbabwe. It's safe---the only problem I had there was persistent young men trying to hawk their goods as I walked from the Ilala Lodge (a very good option in my mind) to the falls. BTW, I arranged through the Ilala Lodge for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, which for me was the highlight of my visit to the falls (one night was sufficient for me).

One thing to think about is that if you go to Zambia you would need to have a YF jab certificate to transit though South Africa and for re-entry to Australia. I don't believe that's the case for Zimbabwe (definitely not for SA, not certain about Australia).

Silver Spring...
Destination Expert
for Dominican Republic
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3. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

VF ATM machines are Visa only and the Barclay Bank machine ran out of money on us a few nights. Go earlier in the business day.

Brisbane, Australia
8 posts
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4. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Hi Greg.

I've recently just been to both sides and would definitely recommend the Zambia side, ie Livingstone. I had absolutely no problems in Livingstone and always felt safe. Depending on your budget, the royal Livingstone hotel is incredible, service is impeccable and its right on the zambezi. For a more African experience, the Marumba River lodge is cheap but still actually very clean and nice, hippos can be seen in the river from the restaurant deck while eating breakfast in the morning!

The Zimbabwe side is ok but gave me an uneasy feeling, I would advise the political stability of this country under Mugabe is unpredictable at the best of times and could change overnight. The government has a history of some horrific reforms.

The history of the Zambia has been stable for many decades and the people are super happy and friendly. The new leader, President Sata is working wonders for this country.

Getting cash out in Zambia with my australian commonwealth bank card (savings account) worked fine every time with no problems. Use, Bureau de change or Barclays bank ATMs, they are'nt scarce. Always carry cash, no where takes eftpos.

Hope this helps.


Hadley, from Brisbane.

Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Hi Greg, I was in Zambia and stayed at Livingstone hotel. It's a lovely hotel with beautiful back yard. You can enjoy the sunset by the river and if you are lucky you may see some hippos. Livingstone hotel service is tip top!! But to see the falls is better in Zimbabwe side. I was in Zimbabwe last April/May. You can see the falls and walk almost to the end, where you can see the bridge where you can cross to Zambia side. I stayed at Ilala Lodge for 2 nights and really enjoy the my time there. Nothing to worry about the safety, me and my husband walk outside the hotel and we don't feel anything uneasy at all... The people there are all friendly and very helpful. So go and have a good time! You may consider crossing the border to Botswana and go on to mobile safari. We enjoyed our mobile safari so much and we are now thinking for our next trip there. I would suggest 3 nights in Zimbabwe if this is your 1st trip. Also you can walk with the lions.

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6. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

We also just got back from staying two nights on the Zimbabwe side at Ilala lodge (which we also recommend). Victoria Falls is quieter than Livingstone (8 story buildings?), and I felt safe walking to nearby souvenir shops and pharmacies. Taxi drivers, tourist police, hotel staff go out of their way to help you feel safe. Only had to lock sliding glass door to keep the monkeys out. Clinic staff and others were very kind when husband fell ill.

Zambia side means yellow fever shot, and evidently you can't carry Benadryl? Who knew.

With the World Tourism Organization meeting to be held next summer, expect that they will go out of their way to keep tourists safe during the next few months. We found Zimbabwe to be quiet. Folks aren't keen on Mugabe of course, and said that when elections come there are always riots. But, elections have not yet been scheduled and probably won't take place until after the World Tourism Organization meeting. Take needed medications with you--they are hard to come by in Zimbabwe (e.g., eye drops).

Pecatonica, Illinois
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7. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

We, too, stayed in Zimbabwe and just walked across the bridge to say we had been in Zambia. The two of us walked to the market, walked uptown, and walked from the Victoria Falls Hotel. There are tourist police if you feel uneasy, but we felt safe at all times. We did have to carry US dollars, though, because you can't 100% count on an ATM machine. I think some places took rand or English pounds, but dollars go everywhere. You asked about how much money, and that is hard to say. It depends on what activities you will pay for in cash (cruise, bungi jump, walking with lions, elephant safari? Also, you have to figure in tips for guides, etc. and the market if you want to bring anything home.

West Australia
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412 posts
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8. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Both sides are as safe (assuming you use common sense) and friendly (assuming you are friendly too) as the other.

9. Re: Stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia?

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