A normal paid tour of Victoria Falls by the tour companies that go there is an extra $80USD when you can take a walk through the Victoria Falls Hotel property directly in back of the train station, and enter for $15USD which is the cost for the visa and entry.
Fun Alternatives: If you are living in Victoria Falls proper, and not at a distant located hotel (in such case you would need to pay for transportation into town anyway and there would not be much savings), the walk through the Victoria Falls Hotel property is refreshing as there is a great view of the Falls from the front of the hotel, benches in their gardens for sitting, resting, viewing, and patio restaurants where you can enjoy a great lunch with a view....and still come out paying half of what you would have paid for the tour alone. Touring the Falls on your own is non rushed, you have ample time to stop for photography, to just rest and relax in the rainforest like environment, and enjoy.
You are looking at pictures of an idiot. This guy hangs around the Bungee Jumping station on the bridge between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. He will show you a small cloth with a few copper coloured bracelets inside. He will go on to explain that he has hand-made them as his dearly departed Grandfather taught him as a child. He may even elaborate about how it took years to learn the craft. It is all lies. They are made by machines in factories. There are other idiots just like him all over Livingston. I had 2 of them together at one point in town when one of them starts with the ‘Grandfather taught me’ while the guy next to him had identical bracelets held out a few inches away!
I took pictures of this guy because he is the worst. He will start by sounding like he works with the bungee jumping people. He does not. He will follow you and will also follow you again when you return over the bridge. He is a major nuisance. Just keep saying ‘NO’ in a slightly loud manner. Most scurry away, not this guy. Do not even speak to him if you see him. And do not buy the bracelets unless you really want them and you should only pay $2-3.
Just across the road from the entrance to Victoria Falls is a free car parking area and a row of stalls all selling the same things. Mostly postcards and soft drinks from Zambia. They are all uniformly aggressive, high priced and unhelpful. They will happily overcharge you for everything and not negotiate.
Unique Suggestions: Buy only what you need and at least be rude. It made me feel better.
Fun Alternatives: If you really need postcards or other souvenirs, go into town and try and negotiate. Or better yet, go to the Zambian side and set the price and argue until you get it. The sellers have fleeced tourists for years and don’t seem to realise that there is a lot less on the Zim side now.
Zimbabwe has placed a tax on all tourists entering the country. Nothing so bad about that. They also tax the vehicle you arrive in. Okay. They also tax you Z1000 for each liter of fuel you have, a tax (carbon) for the size of the motor, a bridge tax, a road tax and a toll tax. You also must pay a sticker tax. You buy the sticker. It doesn't do any good, but you have to have it. For one person entering the country in a normal size car with a tank of fuel, this can easily hit 400 bucks just to get in and that does NOT include visa, carnet, insurance, or permit to drive in the parks. We are avoiding this by going up a bit farther into Mozambique and then into Zambia which has more relaxed taxes.
When Zimbabwe cannot get any more money from the citizens guess which cash box they turn to? The tourist. Recommendation. write them a letter and then stay away.
The Mutare Museum in Mutare (not so suprisingly!) Has a US$ 2 entrance fee and it simply isn't worth it, the museum was half empty when I was there but maybe it has improved.
Unique Suggestions: Look at everything there - it won't take you long.
Fun Alternatives: Have a walk around the town instead.
now this is a very personal thing and not really a trap:
we went to the Elephant Hills Hotel to change money, enjoy the resort and have dinner there. And I just didn't like it, because this resort was so high class and all the rich white people were relaxing there and it popped to my mind: just like in colonial times!!! That was just not my style!
These men and boys approach from all directions, they are very persistant and annoying. Granted, they are just trying to get by, like everyone. You can be arrested if you are caught exchanging money with them, not to mention anything else that could happen.
Fun Alternatives: The boys on the street selling carvings are willing to negotiate and have very nice items, as good as you will find any place else. We bought a few things from them, but they will keep coming back, whether you buy or not. They will negotiate for your shoes!
I think that the guy at the Zambian border (in Vic Falls) took to many dollars to let me in....I'm not quite sure about that....It took a while to get into Zambia, cause the guys loved to be important and they also loved to stamp your passport!!!
Just go and get into the safari!! I didn't have any trouble with any tourist TRAP! If you feel unsafe or unsure, have your guide or befriend
someone that lives there. Thats what I did.
"NO PROBLEM" Just go enjoy the SUN-SETS.
Have fun floating past some CROCS and
Although Victoria Falls was beautiful, there are a lot of people trying to sell you things on the streets.. We didn't mind it because most of the things were things we would have wanted anyways, and for really good prices, but they can get a little annoying as they are very determined to sell you their products..
Victoria Falls - well, you must see it. But dont plan to stay more than two days. Its crowded with tourists. Although very interesting little town - with monkeys, warthogs etc. You can also find cheap accomodation there. We did rafting and recommend it. As Slovenian girls it was somehow logical we didnt fall into Zambezi and go over the rapids so nice and smooth. Everyone knew Slovenia for rafting down there - I was surprised. But it was our first time in raft. You just have to relax and enjoy it! I started to enjoy, when I stopped worrying.
My friend has made also bunjeejumping, but I think its too expensive way to waste 150 USD in 9 seconds and having problems with knees (and walking) afterwards. Buying their photo shots? No, no, let your friend make those - I made a great ones of my friend.
Flying into Big falls airport you'll soon notice how very strapt for foreign cash is. Your expected to pay both an entry fee and an exit fee of both 30 USD.
If you're going to big falls pay in zim dollars, not in US, it will make a difference of about 90%.
The Vic Falls curio market is amazing. Be prepared to barter and look around before buying. But watch your valuables. Lots of thieves and pickpockets. A girl we were with had her money and travellers cheques stolen from her backpack. Despite what the Amex ads might say, it is not quick or easy to get new cheques in Vic Falls.
Do not change your money at the hotel, at the bank or with anybody in the street. Ask the person that takes you to your hotel (or where you stay) where the best place is to exchange your money. We changed our money at the exchange shop closest to the craft market - the last building on the right, painted in white with black stripes. We got 22 Zim dollar for R1,00 whilst the official exchange rate is 7 Zim dollar to 1. Tourists with USD got up to 230 Zim dollar for USD1 whilst the official rate is 55 to 1.
You must be able to think on your feet as they accept Zimbabwe dollar, US dollar and South African Rand as payment and it is for you to decide which price is the better, eg we were told that the entrance fee to the Falls is USD20 or R170,00 per person. When we arrived there, somebody in the queue told us that they also accept Zim dollar and the fee is Z$1140, which, at Z$22,00 to R1,00 let us enter for R51,00 per person.
NEVER pay anything with your credit card because then they charge you the official exchange rate.
Be careful when making advance bookings for anything at the Falls. We wanted to take the helicopter ride across the Falls and the travel brochure quoted it at R536,00 (South African Rand) (about USD67) per person for a 12 minute flight. The tourism office at the hotel quoted R1150,00 (USD143) per person for the same flight. We found the offices of the helicopter company (Shearwater) and they quoted R693,00 (USD86). They we very adamant that we pay in US dollar and would not accept any other currency. We eventually decided against the helicopter flight as we thought the price was a little steep.
Zambezi River, 80 km from Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Good for: Solo
Corner 3rd Street/Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
service was allright rooms are very basic, clean but a little used the restaurant was a posivtive...more