This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Livingstone & Victoria Falls
Livingstone & Victoria Falls
Livingstone & Victoria Falls

Livingstone, a great base to see the Falls

Romance and thrills on the edge of the Falls

Livingstone, a great add-on to your safari

Livingstone & Victoria Falls

Livingstone & Victoria Falls: in detail

Livingstone trips: the full story

For many years we've recognised Livingstone, Zambia, as a great base from which to enjoy the Zambezi River, and visit the fabulous Victoria Falls. There’s a wide choice of good accommodation and lots of optional activities, and Livingstone can be easily added on before or after any safari trip within Zambia, as well as in Zimbabwe, Botswana, even north-eastern Namibia.

Take a glance at our Google map of Livingstone. You’ll note that the town of Livingstone is in Zambia, about 10km north of the Victoria Falls – even if the area that we refer to as 'Livingstone' really covers the town and the Zambia side of the Falls, as well as the Zambezi River upstream – to the west.

Places to stay in Livingstone

For many years, Livingstone was eclipsed by the busier Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls on the other side of the Zambezi River. In recent times, the Zambian town has risen to the challenge, affording plenty of places to stay both near the Falls and upstream.

Livingstone: Zambia’s hotels near the Falls

Beside the Falls stand two large sister hotels: the elegant riverside Royal Livingstone Hotel and its less costly sibling, the Avani Victoria Falls – which have the big advantage of easy walking access to the Falls. A few other good hotels are also scattered around between the Falls and the town. With such quick and easy access, these are a simple option for your visit and are usually booked on a B&B basis, with no activities included.

Livingstone lodges upstream of the Falls

There are several excellent small lodges upstream of the Victoria Falls, all overlooking the Zambezi River. Further away from the Falls, but quieter, peaceful and intimate, these places are more costly than Livingstone’s hotels, though your stay generally includes all your meals and some activities.

Some of the Livingstone lodges are close to or even within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, and an easy drive of just half an hour or so from the Falls. These include Tongabezi and its island sister Sindabezi, and The River Club, while a little further upstream you’ll find the equally tranquil Islands of Siankaba.

About the Victoria Falls

Once known by local people as Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the Smoke that Thunders’, Victoria Falls were brought to the attention of the world in 1855 by Dr David Livingstone, who later famously commented: 'scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight'.

Behind the beauty and grandeur lie some impressive statistics. The Falls are 1,688m wide and average just over 100m in height. Up to 750 million litres of water cascade over the lip every minute, making this one of the world’s greatest waterfalls. Closer inspection shows that this immense curtain of water is interrupted by small islands that sit right on the lip of the Falls, effectively splitting them into smaller waterfalls.

An interesting small rainforest, with plant species (especially ferns) rarely found elsewhere in Zimbabwe or Zambia, is found next to the Falls. These plants are sustained by the clouds of spray which blanket the immediate vicinity of the Falls. You’ll also find various monkeys and baboons here, whilst the lush canopy shelters, amongst other birds, the striking Livingstone’s lourie. Boat trips and game drives in the surrounding areas afford the opportunity to see sightings of most of the common antelope, as well as giraffe, buffalo and elephant.

Visiting the Victoria Falls

The Falls never seem the same twice, so try to visit several times, under different light conditions - including by moonlight, when the waters seem to blend into one smooth mass that appears frozen over the rocks.

The flow, and hence the spray, is greatest just after the end of the rainy season – around March or April, depending upon the rains. It then decreases gradually until about December, when the rains in western Zambia will start to replenish the river. During low water, a light raincoat (available for rent on site) is very useful for wandering between the viewpoints on the Zimbabwean side, though it’s not necessary in Zambia. However, in high water a raincoat is largely ineffective as the spray blows all around and soaks you in seconds.

The Zambian and Zimbabwean sides offer very different views of the falls, so if you have time it’s well worth visiting both sides to fully appreciate the whole waterfall.

The reintroduction of the KAZA visa allows visitors to both Zambia and Zimbabwe to obtain one combination visa, making it easier to take advantage of both sides of the Falls without the cost or inconvenience of having to get a second visa (the border crossing is also much more streamlined). During the drier season, from September to December, whilst you’ll be able to better appreciate the usually obscured geology of the Falls from Zambia, there’s usually more water flowing over the Zimbabwe side, so a trip across is worthwhile.

Activities around the Falls

Aside from the lure of the Victoria Falls themselves, there are numerous activities in the Livingstone area. Many visitors see little of the Zambian town itself, dividing their time between the Falls, about 20 minutes’ drive to the south, the adrenalin activities below the Falls, and the gentler stretches of the Zambezi River upstream, bordered by the tiny Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. But Livingstone boasts a diverse range of restaurants and a good craft market, while the town’s museum is worth more than a passing glance, especially for those with an interest in the travels of Dr David Livingstone.

Upstream of the Falls, boat trips and canoe excursions offer the opportunity to get close to the wildlife that frequents both sides of the river. Elephant are regularly spotted on the riverbanks and the islands in the centre of the river, and you may well see white rhino here, too, while aerial entertainment comes from all manner of birds, among them swallows, kingfishers and African skimmers. For keen birdwatchers, there’s the chance to see the elusive Taita falcon, a rare species found near the Batoka Gorge.

Adrenalin junkies are lured by the likes of bungee-jumping and white-water rafting, while more leisurely but no-less-thrilling are scenic flights by light aircraft, helicopter or even microlight, which allow spectacular birds-eye views of the Falls.

Back on land, there are also walks and drives into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, home to giraffe, zebra, buffalo and most of Zambia’s antelope species, as well as elephant and white rhino, and a pack of wild dogs which crossed into the park from Zimbabwe. Guided walks through the national park (included in the price of some of the safari lodges upstream of the Falls) give you a good chance, and a much closer experience than a game drive, of sighting white rhino, successfully introduced to the area from South Africa in 1994.

For special occasions, numerous spas offer luxury treatments, or how about a champagne breakfast or afternoon tea on Livingstone Island, literally just above the Falls? For those looking for something a bit different, a journey on a restored steam train offers a ride back in time through Zambia’s railway history, complete with sundowners and a five-course dinner.

Some activities can be arranged when you arrive; others are best organised by us before you get there. Call our team to discuss the many options available.


Where to stay in Livingstone

Our suggestions for places to stay in Livingstone & Victoria Falls


Avani Victoria Falls

Avani Victoria Falls

Just a few minutes walk from the Victoria Falls, good facilities, lovely grounds and adequate rooms at a modest price make Avani a good choice for a short visit.


85% (221 reviews)
Royal Livingstone Hotel

Royal Livingstone Hotel

Conveniently located just a short walk from the Zambia. side of the Victoria Falls, the colonial-style Royal Livingstone has beautiful grounds and small but quite luxurious rooms.


93% (85 reviews)
Tongabezi

Tongabezi

Secluded on the banks of the Zambezi, less than 20km from the Victoria Falls, Tongabezi is one of the most exclusive lodges in Zambia.


93% (61 reviews)
Islands of Siankaba

Islands of Siankaba

In a lovely location on the Zambezi upriver of the Victoria Falls, Islands of Siankaba provides a tranquil setting to relax at the start or end of a safari to Botswana or Zambia.


96% (54 reviews)
Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

Waterberry Lodge

Offering great value for money and within easy reach of the Victoria Falls, Waterberry is a small, family-friendly lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River.


98% (42 reviews)
Toka Leya Camp

Toka Leya Camp

The new Toka Leya Camp stands beside the Zambezi inside Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park – so wildlife often passes through. It's a comfortable tented camp which has great service and includes a range of activities.


88% (22 reviews)
Stanley Safari Lodge

Stanley Safari Lodge

Stanley Safari Lodge has views of Victoria Falls spray from all the rooms, and is a convenient base for exploring the Zambezi River area.


96% (21 reviews)
The River Club

The River Club

The River Club, near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, overlooks the Zambezi River.


93% (18 reviews)
Sindabezi

Sindabezi

Sindabezi, near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, is an island in the middle of the Zambezi River


98% (16 reviews)
David Livingstone Safari Lodge

David Livingstone Lodge

The four-star David Livingstone Safari Lodge is in a lovely spot on the edge of the Zambezi River in Zambia, close to the Victoria Falls.


86% (7 reviews)
Thorntree River Lodge

Thorntree River Lodge

Rebuilt in 2017, Thorntree River Lodge is one of the best riverside lodges in Livingstone, with a strong sense of the environment and straightforward access to the Falls.


100% (3 reviews)
Tangala House

Tangala House

Tangala House, the family home near Zambia's town of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls


No reviews yet
Sussi & Chuma

Sussi & Chuma

Sussi & Chuma combines a luxurious, laid-back camp with a good location on the Zambezi River, with quick access to the Victoria Falls.


No reviews yet

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Livingstone

This is their success for sightings in Livingstone & Victoria Falls.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Zebra

72% success

Giraffe

71% success

Hippo

69% success

Elephant

60% success

White Rhino

26% success

Buffalo

21% success

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa