How to Get to Victoria Falls: Transport Options for Zambia and Zimbabwe

July 12, 2023

by Conor Walsh & Jonathan Lechtman

If you’re traveling to Victoria Falls for an event or conference, you have plenty of transport options to choose from – on the Zambia and Zimbabwe side. 

For most people, flying is the best option. It’s quick, convenient, and comfortable. But if you’re already in Zambia or Zimbabwe, you might want to travel overland. 

In this quick guide, we present every option based on our many trips to the Falls. We’ve also included some tips on how to get around once you arrive. 

Quick note: Victoria Falls the attraction is split between two towns: Livingstone in Zambia and Victoria Falls the town in Zimbabwe

It can get confusing, so we’ve divided the transport options based on the towns, rather than the attraction. 

 

Traveling to Zambia: Livingstone

While the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls is more touristy, Livingstone is much easier to travel to and works better as a gateway to the area. 

Many visitors traveling to Zimbabwe will still stop in Livingstone first, partly due to the better infrastructure, and to spend some time sightseeing on the Zambian side. 

Livingstone is also much cheaper, and has numerous supermarkets like Spar and Shoprite. So, on essentials before crossing into Zimbabwe. 

 

Direct flights to Livingstone

The only direct flights to Livingstone are available from the cities below. And as of July 2023, only the Lusaka, Johannesburg, and Nelspruit routes run daily. 

  • Lusaka, Zambia (1h 10min; $80+ one way)
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Nelspruit, South Africa 

 

Direct flights to Lusaka

Alternatively, you can fly internationally via Lusaka, which has a few more direct international routes.

Flights from Africa
  • Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, South Africa
  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Gaborone, Botswana
  • Lubumbashi, DRC
Direct flights from the Gulf
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Dubai, UAE

 

Bus Routes to Livingstone

Daily buses run from Lusaka to Livingstone from 6.00am until the evening. The route takes roughly 7 hours, with private buses owned by various companies leaving hourly. 

Buses range from old, cheap coaches to more comfortable “luxury” operators. However, no company offers a direct or express route, so expect a few stops. 

Prices on newer buses start from $9 one-way. 

We don’t recommend taking longer bus journeys to Livingstone unless you have a high tolerance for discomfort and a 15 +hours journey. 

 

Self-driving

If you’re based in Zambia or a neighboring country, you don’t need our advice on driving to Livingstone – you’ve probably done it more than us!

However, here’s a quick synopsis if this is your first time in the country. 

  • The drive from Lusaka is roughly 480km/ 299mi and takes 6-7 hours, depending on traffic and delays. 
  • Road accidents are rare, but drive cautiously in case of potholes and animal crossings.
  • There are many stops along the way, but keep your fuel tank full just in case. 
  • Avoid driving at night, as there are more animals on the roads and less viability.
  • Plenty of car rental companies operating in Lusaka will lease a vehicle for a return trip to Livingstone.

 

Getting Around Livingstone

Livingstone is a small, charming border town that’s easily walkable during the day. At night, safety may be an issue, so we recommend using taxis. 

There’s one main road, the T1 highway, that runs through the middle of town, and along this route, you’ll find all the banks, supermarkets, services, and many of the best restaurants. You’ll also spot the town’s quaint historical buildings. 

Taxis and hotel transfers are the best way to get between your accommodation, sights like the Falls, and downtown Livingstone. Most places, including out-of-town hotels, can be reached for the equivalent of $5-10. 

Your hotel can also organize private taxis for you, although they’ll be more expensive. 

Bike rental is also available in Livingstone for about $13-15 /day. 

Caption: a view of the Zambia-Zimbabwe border crossing at Victoria Falls Bridge

 

Crossing the Border: From Livingstone to Victoria Falls

The border between Zambia and Zimbabwe is located at the Victoria Falls Bridge border crossing, approximately 10 km south of Livingstone (15 minutes by taxi).

Your hotel can arrange a taxi, and the driver will usually usher you through immigration, helping with any paperwork. 

If you’re just visiting the bridge to bungee jump or take a few photos, you don’t need to get stamped out of Zambia. You’ll be given a slip of paper as a pass. If you’re continuing into Zimbabwe and must obtain a visa, carry US dollars in cash to pay for it at Zimbabwean immigration. 

 

Traveling to Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls

Due to Zimbabwe’s relative isolation compared to Zambia, Victoria Falls the town is much less connected to the outside world. 

As mentioned, Livingstone remains the preferred gateway even for people visiting the Zimbabwe side. 

However, you have a few options for getting to Victoria Falls without stopping in Livingstone first. 

 

Direct Flights to Victoria Falls

There are seven direct international flights to Victoria Falls:

  • Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Nelspruit, South Africa
  • Gaborone and Maun, Botswana
  • Windhoek, Namibia
  • Nairobi, Kenya

You can also fly domestically from Harare, Bulawayo, Kariba, and Hwange National Park. 

Few international routes run daily, so if you have limited time, flying via Harare or Zambia is the best option. 

 

Direct Flights to Harare

You could take a connecting flight from Harare, but it’s served by fewer routes than Lusaka:

  • Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, South Africa
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Dar Es Salaam
  • Maputo, Mozambique
  • Lilongwe, Malawi

 

The most convenient option for reaching Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe by air might be flying into Livingstone and crossing the border. 

 

Bus Routes to Victoria Falls

Several bus companies operate daily services from Harare to Victoria Falls. The journey typically takes about 12-14 hours, and overnight trips are available. 

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, also runs bus services to Victoria Falls. The drive is shorter, around 6-7 hours, with a few bus companies providing daily services.

Like in Zambia, buses range in quality and price, from basic to luxury. 

 

Self-driving

If you’re driving to Victoria Falls from Harare or Bulawayo, you’ll use the A5 highway. The drive from Harare takes approximately 9 hours, and from Bulawayo, it’s about 5 hours. The roads are generally in good condition, but look out for occasional potholes and animals on the road.

Zimbabwe has a good road network, including major highways linking the main cities. However, while major roads are generally paved and maintained, secondary roads can be in poor condition, especially after rain.

We also suggest you avoid driving at night due to limited visibility and the increased risk of animals on the road.

 

Getting Around Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls town is even smaller than Livingstone, with most shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and services packed into its tiny “downtown” area – the streets around the Elephant’s Walk Shopping Centre and Livingstone Way street. 

It’s super walkable and very safe – even at night. The only risk we were warned of was wayward buffalo or elephants wandering into town at night. 

Much like Livingstone, taxis and hotel transfers are the best ways to get around. Your accommodation can organize reliable drivers. Prices range from $5-10 for more remote destinations, like Elephant Hills Resort and the Boma Dinner. 

 

Crossing the Border: From Victoria Falls to Livingstone

Crossing the border from Zimbabwe to Zambia is very straightforward. It works the same way as crossing from Zambia into Zimbabwe. 

If you’re on a tour, your driver will organize everything, and you’ll stay in the car or jeep through the whole process, only getting out to have your passport stamped at the immigration posts. 

If you’re doing the crossing yourself, you’ll need to organize a taxi to the border, where your driver can help navigate immigration, and get you picked up by a colleague on the Zambian side. 

Regardless, the whole process is quick, and you can read about it in our comprehensive guide to the Zambia-Zimbabwe border crossing.  

 

Conclusion

While Victoria Falls is still somewhat isolated from the outside world, you have plenty of options to travel here by air or land – especially if you don’t mind a quick stopover in a nearby city like Lusaka or Johannesburg. 

Your ultimate decision will depend on your preference for convenience or adventure. 

Hopefully, this guide has made that decision a little easier. 

 

Are you looking to host an international event in Victoria Falls, Gaza? Let us help you! Hallpax has destination experts dedicated to making your event planning process enjoyable and stress-free. We are passionate about the cities we work with, and with our in-person presence in Africa, we’ll help you navigate your city of choice with ease.

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