Zimbabwe still has visa requirements in place for many nationalities - Brits and South Africans are notable exceptions.
Immigration at Vic Falls airport is rather haphazardly organised, and it is easy for people requiring a visa to join the wrong queue, which is frustrating for all concerned.
The cost of a visa appears to be somewhat 'flexible' (read that as a euphemism) - for example, a group of Korean tourists paid US$70 a head, whereas the person I was travelling with - who goes to Zim quite regularly - only paid US$30. Don't be naive enough to assume that any receipt will be issued whatever fee you pay (which could be a problem for business travellers claiming back legitimate expenses) and make sure that you carry small notes, as another favourite scam is for the immigration official to claim that they have no change (in the hopeful expectation that you'll eventually lose patience and tell them to keep the change).
You also have to fill in an immigration form to enter Zim, which asks for all the usual personal info and details of where you are staying. Why these cannot be distributed on the inbound flight so that people can complete them at their leisure (and non English speakers can seek timely assistance) is a complete mystery to me, but this simply doesn't seem to happen. As a result, there is a scramble for forms and pens and people jostle for space at the limited desks provided. You can save yourself a lot of grief by making sure that you have a pen and the relevant information to hand, and completing the form whilst you stand in the (correct) immigration queue.
Next time I go to Victoria Falls, it will be on the Blue Train. I just have to save up some (a lot of) money first.
The train on the picture is not it, even though the locomotive IS blue. But we did see it in Victoria Falls and it was the only train we saw in Africa, and thus deserves a place on my pages ;-)
The 70 km road from Botswana to Victoria Falls takes about 45 minutes. The taxi drivers are waiting outside the immigration office, and will approach you when you get out of the immigration office. They will ask for 30-40 USD to Victoria Falls. The normal price is 30 USD, but you can bargain the price even more. I recommend to pay the price and have a happy driver who can be co-operative. There are a lot of wild animals on this trip. Ask if he can stop when you see the animals. Also ask if he can assist you to find some guesthouses in Vic Falls.
Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) is 18 km south of the town (25 minutes drive). South African Airways and Air Namibia is the only airlines with regular service to the airport.
18° 5' 45" South, 25° 50' 20" East
Air Zimbabwe is the national airline of Zimbabwe. The airline was established on 1967, and is still in business. It has domestic routes and routes to Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Lusaka, Johannesburg and Singapore/Beijing. The fleet consists of Boeing 737 and 767.
Victoria Falls Town Office
P.O. Box 60
Victoria Falls, Zimbawe
Fax: (263-013) 4318
It's possible to travel by train from Gaborone in Botswana through Zimbabwe and Zambia to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. The main train stations on the line are Gaborone, Francistown, Bulawayo, Hwange, Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Lusaka, Kapiri Mposhi, Nakonde, Mbeya, Dar-es-Salaam.
The fares are cheap. F.ex the 11 hours trip on a 1st class sleeper from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls cost about USD 8. 2nd cost about USD 5.
Traveling with overland trucks across the African continent is a great way to explore Africa. Many overland trucks pass through Victoria falls on their way. A usual route for overland tourists is South Africa-Botswana-Zimbabwe-Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya.
Want to see Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe without having to worry about your car or bus running out of fuel? Ride the Shongololo! So what does the word Shongololo mean? It a giant African Millipede the length of a man’s boot. Shongololo Express trains are like long Cruise Ships on land. They offer luxury travel that can take all the hassle out of some places in Southern Africa that you really want to visit. They offer luxury cabins, excellent chefs preparing authentic African dishes, local wines and professional staff. Packages range form weekends to 16-day treks. Each train has air-conditioned Mercedes Benz touring vehicles for days out with guides who speak English, German, Dutch and French. Adventures even include scuba diving, hot air ballooning and elephant rides.
The Shongololo travels to nine countries across southern Africa: Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania.
Victoria Falls is a small town and it is easy to negotiate by foot. The hotel we stayed at (The Kingdom) was about 10 minutes walk from The Falls.
It was never necessary to make use of taxis in the town.
One problem with walking is the constant harassment of craft sellers.
The Kingdom Hotel is located next to The Victoria Falls Hotel, which another good option if you want to be close to the Falls and the town.
South African Passport Holders get a stamp in the passport and do not need visas before entry. You have to complete an arrival form at the airport before going through passport control. It took us about 10 minutes to get through passport control.
There are no departure taxes to be paid when leaving Zimbabwe.
There are direct flights with South African Airways from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). The flight from Johannesburg takes only 1 h and 40 minutes. You can book online on www.flysaa.com.
British Airways also have daily flights between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls
You best is flying. Your least expensive is by bus and train. There are various options:
Bus: www.greyhound.co.za; www.translux.co.za
You can take the train from Vic falls to Buluwayo and then catch the bus to JHB. Better to travel 1st class as it is one of the old colonial trains (the waiters even serve food with white gloves when I did the trip!)
Flying - you can fly to Vic falls, or Livingstone which is on the Zamiban side of the border. Check out www.flysaa.com; www.nationwide.co.za; www.britishairways.com
Zimbabwe seems to have shortages of everything, so when you plan your trip decide if you want to rent a car or pay for transfers via taxi. Taxis and transfers can be very expensive. We got a package deal that included transfers and the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge where we stayed had a free shuttle.
For example, many people eat at the BOMA restaurant for dinner to experience Zimbabwean culture and some of the meats unavailable elsewhere--like Kudu, Ostrich, Crocodile, Warthog. Transfers to and from the dinner would have been US $16 each if we had not been staying at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge that has the BOMA restaurant on property.
Similarly, we paid for the guided tour of the falls US $25 each that included transportation, but our lodge had a free shuttle that would have taken us to the Falls and back that runs on an hourly basis.
If we did it without a package that included free transfers, we would rent a car and drive everywhere ourselves for the freedom that would provide.
Arrival at Victoria Falls airport is quite pleasant, but it takes at least an hour to clear 120 passengers. There is no difference whether you have a visa or not. Both queues most just a slowly. A visa for Europeans is US$55 or US$60 depending on your nationality. make sure that you have something to drink as there is nothing in the airport and it can be warm.
Once I got to my hotel, I walked to and around the town. I am believer in exploring on foot. Along the way, you'll find paths that lead to villages. It's very easy to find your way around since there's only one main street.
I got hassled a lot walking around in the company of me, myself, and I. Folks came up trying to sell me stuff, asking if they could have my shoes, telling me they have problems and need help. Just keep walking, pretend you didn't hear or speak a jibberish language. They'll leave you alone.