When you travel all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, it only makes sense that you would want to make the most of your experience. South Africa, including Cape Town and Safari, is a #1 must-see destination, but if you want to stretch your experience a little further and cross a few more countries off your list you absolutely have to include an extension to Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana. You can see all three countries in just three extra days and at minimal additional expense. We’ve put some important things to know when planning your extension trip here:
Victoria Falls Village is very small. You can cross it in about 10 minutes by foot. It has a few main streets with small stores, a few good hotels, a gas station, a couple of small supermarkets, a few restaurants and tons of locals selling crafts in the village center. We were very impressed with the quality of the sculptures everywhere. From the center, you can walk to the national park to see the Victoria Falls.
THE VICTORIA FALLS NATIONAL PARK
As we walked into the park we felt a little disappointed… at first. It just didn’t seem like such an impressive place. Not enough to lead travelers all the way to Zimbabwe just to see it. A little bit of water running here and there but we were so wrong! As you walk into the park a little further you get a more impressive view and are mesmerized by the stunning outlooks! The powerful veils of cascading waters are hypnotizing. As you walk even further into the park you are treated to a different view every few yards. We were instilled with a whole new respect for nature that day.
THE BRIDGE TO ZAMBIA
From the National Park, you can walk for about 15 minutes, across the bridge, to the border with Zambia. From there, you can do a “Day Trip to Livingstone” tour which includes a visit to Victoria Falls on the Zambian side and a chance to dive into the Devil’s Pool during the low water season. Another option is hiring a guide who will drive you to the border where you can cross the bridge on foot (takes about 5 minutes with time for photos) and then hire a taxi back on the other side. The bridge also offers thrillseekers the option of bungee jumping and zip lining over the river.
Travelers should keep in mind that it is not easy to get money from ATM’s or banks. VISA is accepted widely at stores but the best shopping is done at crafts markets and cash is essential. Make sure to take cash with you for gratuities. Any currency is welcome especially America Dollars or South African Rands.
When staying in Victoria Falls the traveler has the option of staying in the village center or at one of the lodges outside the commercial area. The location of the lodgings will make a big difference in the kind of experience you will have. It is highly discouraged and dangerous to walk outside the village center or lodge grounds alone due to the danger of encountering wild animals. Mother elephants with babies are often nearby and can become a menace. The locals are always friendly and eager to help. The staff in every hotel offers consistent great customer service.
DAY TRIP TO BOTSWANA
You can add Botswana with the Chobe Park Day Trip tour. You are picked up early in the morning from your hotel, as well as guests from other hotels. You are all driven to the border with Botswana and then on to the Chobe Marina Lodge. Once at the lodge, you are briefed on what to expect and then you board the boat for this incredible experience. It’s a whole new level of game viewing.
We saw hundreds of elephants who were not shy at all and put on an impressive show. There were so many families with babies and so close to the boat that you could see their eyelashes. We saw hippos, crocodiles, cape buffalo, giraffes, warthogs, and birds galore, too many to count. Of course, being on the water made all seem a bit magical too. After the river safari, we headed back to the lodge, ate a very nice lunch and left on a land safari, which was great but we had been spoiled by the river adventure.
View this post on Instagram
There’s nothing quite like watching a herd of buffalo take their last drink of water for the day before heading in land, while the sun sets slowly in the background, painting these beautiful animals into a black silhouette against the array of colours on the horizon. A Chobe River Safari on one of our electric skimmer boats is definitely the best way to end off your day full of activities. . . . . . #ChobeGameLodge #ThisIsChobe #ChobeNationalPark #ChobeRiverSafari #ChobeRiver #Wildlife #Sunset #GameViewing #Safari #Experience #Explore #Botswana #Africa #Connect #Nature #Travel
THE SUNSET CRUISE
We also had the opportunity to go on a sunset cruise. The views of the Zambezi River at sundown looked like masters’ paintings or images that had been photoshopped to look just perfect. There was a sense of peace and thrill and excitement and pleasure, all intermingled together.
THE BOMA DINNER
Another great highlight of this trip was the Boma Dinner. There was a variety of local dishes displayed in a very interesting setup. You will be offered an array of “daring dishes” such as crocodile, warthog, impala, ostrich and the all-time winner: mopane worms. The drums and dance show was very entertaining and kept the guests engaged. In general, a lot of fun. The players drew the guests in to be part of the show. A perfect way to finish a perfect trip.
South African Airways Vacations Africa Specialists