We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Sienna, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Sienna is from the United States and submitted the following report about Victoria Falls. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English, Ndebele, Shona
Reasons to Visit Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is the second largest waterfall in the world and provides the perfect excuse for visiting Southern Africa. The falls straddle the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and the difference in experience is enough to warrant visiting both countries.
Flying into the small Victoria Falls Zimbabwe airport you can obtain a visa for $30, valid for both countries. Zimbabwe officially uses a combination of US dollars and South African rand for currency. The town of Victoria Falls has been developed for tourists, which means it’s clean and safe to explore on foot, but it has also managed to maintain the charm of Africa.
The waterfall is nicknamed ‘the smoke that thunders,’ and depending on when you go you can get completely soaked while you walk along the cliff opposing the waterfall. The views of the waterfall tend to be better on the Zimbabwe side since it wraps around the side and the front of the falls.
Centrally located accommodation is easy to find, and ranges from camping or hostels to high end hotels. While in the downtown there are a number of spots to visit. About a half mile from the entrance to the falls is a traditional African market selling trinkets. Be prepared to barter for your items. Even if this makes you uncomfortable it is still worth a quick stroll through. At the Victoria Falls Hotel high tea is served daily, and is a nice afternoon treat which you can enjoy along with a view of the thundering falls. If tea isn’t your thing you can try the local beer, Mosi. Nearby, Mama Africa’s Eating House is a community staple and features traditional dancing most nights. Stop in during the day to confirm if they will have a show that evening.
Moving from the Zimbabwe side to the Zambia side can be achieved by taking a taxi to the border post, or by simply walking across the bridge yourself and hiring a taxi into town on the Zambia side. The closest town in Zambia is called Livingston and it functions more as a typical African town than a tourist destination. That being said, it also has its charms.
Visiting the waterfall on the Zambia side, you start at the side of the falls and walk your way up to the top of the falls. If the water isn’t too high you can actually swim along the natural pools at the top of the falls. For the true daredevils you can hire a guide to walk you across the falls to Devil’s Pool, which sits on the edge of the falls.
In town there is a smaller market which is geared more towards local, vibrant art. Vendors here tend to be less aggressive and will still accept USD. The town has decent restaurants and hotels, but for a true experience arrange to stay at Jungle Junction, located an hour away on rough roads. You arrive at the island retreat in a dugout canoe, then upon arrival you are encouraged to grab a drink on the house and immediately start relaxing. Accommodations range from camping to cabins, and the outdoor showers alone make it worth the trek.
Visiting Victoria Falls allows a great glimpse into African life while also experiencing an amazing waterfall that provides two completely separate experiences.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)