Anyone been to Vic Falls Recently?

Sep 29th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Anyone been to Vic Falls Recently?

We're leaving in a week, spending three nights at Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls. I'm confused about the money aspect while we're there. We were told to use US dollars. How much should we bring? The hotel has been paid for already, including breakfast. I assume we will eat the rest of our meals at the hotel also. Will we be able to charge those meals to credit cards? Or will we have to pay in dollars? And what about activities, how do we pay for those? Any help much appreciated.
julia1 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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We stayed at the Vic Falls Hotel in June. EVERYTHING we did was paid for with US dollars. We even paid for our activities with cash.
knlaw is offline  
Sep 29th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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I'll be at Ilala (in over a year, don't know how I can wait that long). Please post a trip report when you get back, and have a great trip!
Momliz is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 12:21 AM
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I was there a few weeks ago (Zambia side). We paid for everything in USD or with a credit card.
Lynneb is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 04:43 AM
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We stayed at llala in July. We used cash exclusively. Even the people at llala recommeneded against using a credit card. There is a huge difference between the official and actual exchange rates. Also, they implied there was a chance of a problem with credit card fraud.
jns110 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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Thanks so much for your replies, everyone!

jns110: could you give me an idea of how much you spent for meals, activities, etc? Or suggest how much cash needed for 3 days? Did Ilala accept credit card payment for meals or did you pay for meals with dollars? If so, how much is a typical evening meal?

Any information most appreciated.

julia1 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Hi there,

My husband and I were in Zambia 3 years ago and found it difficult to change US currency. It was the only place we had 'problems'. We traveled through a few countries in East Africa and Zambia was the one country that wanted $100 dollar bills with "big heads" on them and a certain letter number combination. Even in Thailand we have had some 'problems'. I don't blame the banks, because of counterfeiting. It's just not as convenient...but that's not why we are traveling, is it?! Cheers, Alie
Hobosinlovemedia_com is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Thanks so much for the information. We will be in Zambia and Namibia also, but those are fully pre-paid. In Victoria Falls, only breakfast is included in the hotel rate, which has been pre-paid. Still looking for input about the amount in dollars to take with us for expenses in Vic Falls. Anyone?

julia1 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 11:11 AM
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We prepaid in US$ for the room, activities and a meal at the Boma with a credit card through our travel agent.

The meals at llala were $20-$30 pp. These we paid for in cash (US). I also used US$ for tips.

I'm not sure if they took credit cards, but the man behind the desk was one of the people who strongly recommended against it.

We also went to Hwange and Mana Pools
and were given the same warning about credit card use anywhere in Zimbabwe.
jns110 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 06:23 PM
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just a note on husband and younger son stayed at the Victoria Falls Hotel last December. The hotels and major activities were pre-paid, but they still needed to pay for a lot of stuff. Everything thru the hotel was on credit card, but they found that when they were "out and about" - merchants (even the golf club) would ONLY take US dollars, then they would give Zimbabwe currency as change for the US dollars.....but then no one would accept the Zimbabwe currency anywhere else.

Once he realized this - he did his best to gather as many smaller US bills (1s, 5s, 10s) as possible to minimize the amount of local currency he got back.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:49 PM
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We were just in Victoria Falls Sept. 20 and stayed at the Ilala Lodge. They do not want Zimbabwe money, they will take US$, SA Rands or Euros. The reason is that Zimbabwe money is worth zero, nada, zilch. I got the feeling that there is a parallel economy sidestepping the system, its possible the reason that credit cards are an issue is because they leave a transaction record. We used US$ and were give change in US$ If you do any cash transactions in Zimbabwe we were told to ask for your change in US$ and get the change before you hand over your dollars. This was not necessary at the Ilala or Victoria Falls hotel when you paid in US$ they automatically gave you the appropriate change. But with street venders and shops I would use this precation.

As you walk around Victoria Falls you are escorted by "Tourist Police" they shoo people away from you and go in to shops with you, come to find out if you purchase anything while they are with you they expect 10% from the vendor. It was very uncomfortable, we finally gave the Tourist Police some money and said we would be fine unescorted and thank you for your help.

Although I was only in Victoria Falls for just over 24 hours, I got the sense that the people were very desperate to make any kind of transaction with you, the had a sad pleading defeated look in there eyes. Very different from agressive vendors in other parts of the world. They wanted to trade craft goods for your shoes, clothing, bandanas, any of you belongings. I found it very sad.

There is no bread, gasoline ,jet fuel shoes, or clothing etc. unless it is brought over the boarder and sold black market. Even the fuel for the helecoptor ride is purchased black market.

Regarding prices, Dinner at the Boma was US$40.00 per person (If I had to do it over again, I would have eaten at the Vicoria Falls Hotel Instead), helecopter ride was $90.00 per person, drinks at the Victoria Falls hotel were the same as any expensive resort in the world. Entrance to the falls $20.00 per person. Single entry visa at boarder $30.00. Our breakfast was included in our stay.

ktw is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:28 PM
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we will be there Dec '08. I wonder what it will be like then
Momliz is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:35 AM
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ktw: Thanks so much for the detailed information. A great help!

julia1 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 03:13 PM
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Would you all recommend staying in the Zambia or Zimbabawe side for two nights to see the falls? Is the Zambia side safer? Thanks!
enlehman76 is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 06:48 AM
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Just read this thread with interest, since we are going to Zambia.

So, do I understand it right that one can go in Zambia without getting a local currency and just pay everywhere with US dollars? That would save the trouble of exchange at least for one trip destination.

Our bed and breakfast should be paid through the tour company, and I guess we could pay for dinner at the hotel and for activities in US dollars, right?
Old_Elephant is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Yes, that is correct.
Have a great time
matnikstym is offline  
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