When Dan and I visited Victoria Falls in April 2015, I had an extremely difficult time figuring out which Visas we would need to purchase to visit both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides of Victoria Falls! Lucky for us, the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia introduced the Kaza Visa before we visited. This made our Visa purchasing so much easier, however, it was not that well publicized outside of the Victoria Falls immediate area, so I decided that its own post was necessary. For a quick cheat sheet, see the bottom of the page.
Tourists have two options when visiting Victoria Falls, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Zimbabwe or Zambia. The Falls straddle the border between the two countries, and the famous border is marked but the photogenic Victoria Falls Bridge!
Zimbabwe has historically been the tourist favorite, offering the best views of the Falls and the closest accommodations. In recent years, however, political turmoil and crazy-inflated currency have lead many tourists to visit the Falls from Zambia, rather than Zimbabwe. Dan and I decided to visit both sides and started our tour in Zimbabwe, and I much preferred to Zambia!
Old and new Zimbabwe ads! I just love travel ads!
The good news is that Zimbabwe is steadily returning as a tourist destination. The politics largely avoided Victoria Falls in an effort to keep tourist dollars flowing into the country, and Dan and I really saw no sign of it on our trip. The people were very friendly and we felt totally safe. The only lingering effect of the past troubles is Zimbabwe’s lack of currency. As of April 2015, Zimbabwe uses the US dollar.
Hello! After a far-too-long hiatus, wareontheglobe is back! The postings fell behind due to a two-week vacation to Southern Africa and preparations leading up to it (i.e. clearing my plate at my paying job for the trip!).
As you may have gathered, Dan and I took two weeks and traveled to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe earlier this month. We took this trip as an early 30th birthday celebration for Dan. What a treat, and so worth it!! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the entire trip was amazing! I will be posting a lot about our trip, as so many people have already asked for information about it and how feasible such a trip would be for them. While waiting for the more detailed posts, here is a sneak peak to tide you over!
For starters, we flew direct from JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB or “Jo’burg” as everyone calls it) with South African Airways on a 14.5 hour flight (yes, that was a ridiculously long flight) and then transferred to Cape Town for six lovely days!
Cape Town is a BEAUTIFUL city right on the Southwestern tip of the continent. We sampled delicious, delicious wines in Stellenbosch, hiked around the Cape of Good Hope, bronzed on the beach (as Dan says), saw the famous penguins and took a boat to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Our time in Cape Town was amazing and while we stayed six nights, one with limited time could do the highlights in just a few days. Here are some of my favorites – full post to follow:
After Cape Town, we flew back to Jo’burg (1.5 hours or so) and then transferred to Livingstone, Zambia (another 1.5 hours) to see Victoria Falls for three nights! We split our time between the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides of Victoria Falls (or “Vic Falls” as the locals call it) Another wonderful experience, but a bit of an effort to reach, requiring a connection in JNB each way. If you want to visit Victoria Falls, you need to stay AT LEAST two nights and I would recommend longer. There are many activities to do aside from the Falls, including elephant-back safaris, helicopter rides, a walk on the edge of the falls, day trips to Botswana to see the game reserves there, rhino walks, and any dare devil activity you can imagine! Here are a few highlights from our trip – a view of the falls from a helicopter and the Botoka Gorge just beyond the falls. Another full post to follow!
After Victoria Falls, we flew back to Jo’burg, spent a night there at the lovely Bath on 54 hotel and dined on a 10-course tasting menu at Cube Tasting Kitchen. I’ll have to come back to JNB to see the city! Here is a shot of the hotel pool with Jo’burg in the background from our room.
We saved the best for last, ending our trip with a safari near Kruger Park, South Africa. We stayed at the luxurious Vuyani Lodge and saw lots of zebra, giraffes, elephants, monkeys and even two cheetahs! I will be positing more about the safari but here are a few shots! We were so close to the animals!
In short, this was SUCH A FUN TRIP!!! And it was not nearly as difficult to plan and execute as I had imagined! Totally doable! While we took a long, leisurely two weeks, you can do this trip on a shorter time-frame. For example, Cape Town and a safari can be done on 10 days and one or the other could be done in a single week as long as you don’t mind the long flight! Prices were way more reasonable than I expected and everyone spoke English.