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Victoria Falls Entrance - Zimbabwe and Zambia
Spanning almost 1.7 kilometres, and split between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the mighty Victoria Falls can be seen from both sides of the Zambezi River and has two entrance gates.
If you are visiting Victoria Falls, the information below will be very useful to you.
The beautiful Victoria Falls is located within the Victoria Falls National Park (on the Zimbabwe side), and the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park (on the Zambia side), which means that for you to see the entire length of this the largest waterfall in the world, you will need to enter via two gates in two different countries.
However, people will generally choose one Victoria Falls entrance based on the country they are staying, and/or the time of the year they are visiting (visit our Victoria Falls Weather page to read about the seasonal changes).
Choosing which country to stay in is an important decision for various reasons, please read our Zimbabwe vs Zambia page to read about the pro's and cons of each side, but at this point it is worth mentioning that 75% of the Falls are viewable from Zimbabwe and 25% from Zambia.
The two entrance gates are close to the border posts on either side, with the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting them.
Apart from these two entrances the only other way to see the Falls is from Livingstone island, from above by helicopter or micro-light, from below by either white water rafting or jetboat (both seasonal) and you also get a glimpse of a small section of the Falls when crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge.
So how do you get there and what can you expect?
Victoria Falls Entrance Zimbabwe
Guided Tours transfers
Getting There on Your Own
The entrance to the rainforest is on the left side of the road. You will need to check in at the booth on the left of the gate, produce your passport or identification card (if you are SADC or Zimbabwean), and the parks cashier will let you know the charges. This payment covers a single entry to the Victoria Falls. So if you decide to exit, you will need to pay again to re-enter. Payment can be made in cash or via credit/debit card - (MasterCard or Visa).
Victoria Falls National Park Opening Hours
Summer (1st September to 30th April) - Opens 06h00 and Closes 18h00
Inside the Park
Touring the Rainforest
On a guided tour of the Victoria Falls, your guide will take you around the different view points, sharing in-depth knowledge on the waterfall and it's history, beginning a viewpoint #1 and Livingstone's Statue (see the map below). If you are touring on your own, which is quite easy to do, it's easiest to start from there as well and work your way eastward. See a breakdown of the different viewpoints here.
Best time of day to visit the Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe
The park has early opening hours, which during some times of the year (February to September) allows you to catch the sunrise from inside the park. This is a highly recommended, as not only is it a spectacular sight but the park is often very quiet at that time of day and you can end up having a natural wonder of the world all to yourself. Specialised sunrise photographic tours are also available.
During the morning the rainbows are excellent over Devils Cataract as the sun is behind you looking east to west, but the best time to catch rainbows in the perfect position over main falls is between 2pm and 4pm (pictured below). These are the classic rainbows as seen on postcards. Specialised photographic rainbow tours are also available, whereby the guide knows the position of the rainbows throughout the year and can guide and place you in the perfect spot at the right time.
During the middle of the day the sun is overhead so the rainbows are not clearly visible and would only be seen right at the bottom of the gorge.
After 4pm the sun is getting a bit low and the rainbows are high in the sky or not visible at all and shadows are starting to be cast on the Falls themselves. Although it's a magical time of day, if you are only visiting the Falls once then don't go in after 4pm as you are not seeing them at their most glorious.
The best place to view the late afternoon is from Danger point (#15) but remember that the gate closes at 6pm and you are at the most furthest point from the exit gate, so allow enough time. You will not be able to watch the sunset from this point, as there is just not enough time.
For more detailed information on rainbows their positions and taking photographs of them please read out Tips on taking Photographs of Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls Entrance Zambia
Getting There on Your Own
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park Opening Hours
The park opens daily at 6am, and closes at 6pm (all year round)
Inside the Park
Please be aware that during the months of late September, October, November and even early December (if the rains are late), the Zambian side of the Falls, also known as the eastern cataract are completely dry, there is only an impressive dry rock face. During these months it is important to view the Falls from the Zimbabwean side and/or Livingstone Island. During the peak flow months of February, March, April and May, because the gorge is narrow and the paths are so close to the Falls, the incredible volumes of spray can obliterate the view. It is advisable during these months to also view the Falls from above either in a helicopter or a microlight.
Best time of day to visit the Victoria Falls - Zambia
Sunrise is always a magical time to be up and about. At this time of day the light is beautiful and it will be very peaceful and quiet, however unlike the Zimbabwean side, because the the lay of the land and movement of the sun, you don't get to see the sun rising above the Falls, except for a short period, from certain angles, in June and July.
Mid-mornings and mid-afternoons are both good for Rainbows, as you can view east to west in the mornings and west to east in the afternoon. Midday is the worst for rainbows as there is very little angle for the sun to create them, however the sun is bright and you can see deep into the gorge. As mentioned earlier though, in the dry months there is just a dry rock face so no rainbows are visible at all. In the peak flow months there is so much spray it is difficult to see anything except from the viewpoints just as you enter the park and those going upstream.
One of the Zambian sides great advantages over the Zimbabwean side is that the exit gate is close to 1st view point, so you can watch the sunset over the Victoria Falls and still exit the park before the gate closes. For several months of the year the sunsets directly down the length of the Falls which is a spectacular site. Check out the Photographers Ephemeris website for which months.
Rainforest Do's & Don'ts
The Victoria Falls is essentially a safe place as long as you use your good judgement and don't break the rules or do anything silly..
There are wild animals in the Victoria Falls National Park, and that includes
the rainforest. While there aren't any common predators, you may come across the
more nervous species such as warthog and bushbuck, or the cheeky monkeys and
baboons (hide your food!). Be sure to keep your distance and never feed the
animals. Keep an eye out for snakes along the path as well but generally they
are more scared of you than you are of them.