Recommendations for Victoria Falls

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Aug 18th, 2002, 05:13 PM
  #1
Chris
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Recommendations for Victoria Falls

I am planning a trip to see Victoria Falls and Botswana next April and would like to get comments on the safety of visiting Vic Falls. Is it better on the Zambian side? What about hotels, anyone had experience with the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge?
Is it possible to fly from Vic Falls to Maun to catch a safari.
Would appreciate any comments.
 
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Aug 19th, 2002, 04:19 PM
  #2
n
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Hi Chris,
Went to Vic Falls in May, stayed at the Vic Falls Safari Lodge. Lodge was awesome - I highly recommend but mixed reviews on the town / sights of Vic Falls. Too many street hustlers in the market and on the streets to enjoy ourselves, was actually scared a couple of times and those kinds of things usually don't bother me. They absolutely WON'T take no for an answer and go away. We didn't go to the Zambian side so can't say about that. We DID do the elephant ride - FABULOUS, the 'meet the people' tour' very humbling but an awesome experience - be prepared to donate to each 'stop', but they're overwhelmed with US$10. But can't say enough about the Safari Lodge - first rate, although we did have a monkey get into our room the first night (make sure doors and windows are latched!) Made for a great 'tell the folks back home' story and no harm was done. Be sure to eat at the 'BOMA' restaurant on site - outstanding, and very authentic. LISTEN to the warnings about not walking alone on the grounds at night. We were almost charged by a small group of wild elephants. Highlight of our stay there was sitting out on the open air veranda enjoying some great African chardonnay while watching the watering hole as first the elephants, then the water buffalo came in to water. Simply indescribable - not to mention wonderful photos.

When we left Vic Falls, we were driven to the Kasane border post then to Kasane airport (very small but adequate). There we took a very small plane (Cessna 206 I think) to a camp on an island in the Okavango Delta (Xigera Camp – unbelievable – but that’s a whole ‘nuther post). The flight was 1 ½ hrs. long, very high (8000 ft) and extremely bumpy. I was terrified and had to be carried off the plane - just too long, too hot, too bumpy for this wuss of a traveler. If small planes and bumpy flights don’t bother you, then you’ll have no prob. When we flew off the island, it was a short 20 minute hop to Maun and was NO problem. I actually enjoyed it. Would never take the flight back in again though. Hope this info helps…

n
 
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Aug 19th, 2002, 05:50 PM
  #3
evelyntrav
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We went to both the Zim and Zambia sides of the falls this past June. The Zim side was so misty we could not see anything, however, the Zambian side was awesome, heavy flow, many rainbows, double rainbows, and a complete circle rainbow. I believe what you see depends on the season and the river flow. If the river is strong in April, it is absolutely unnecessary to go to the Zim side.

I agree with "N" about the unsettling feeling experienced by the street hustlers on the Zim side. There was none of that in Zambia.

We stayed on the Zambian side, however, I would not recommend our lodge.
 
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Aug 20th, 2002, 07:15 PM
  #4
Chris
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Thank you both very much, this will help.
Evelyn, you mention a lodge in Zambia that you did not like. What is the name of it?
Chris.
 
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Aug 26th, 2002, 02:51 AM
  #5
Lisa
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We just got back from a trip to SA incorporating a stay at Vic Falls. We stayed on the Zambian side becasue we were concerned about circumstances on the Zim side. However we landed up going backwards and forwards over the border crossing so many times that I don't know if it was worth the effort involved and should have just stayed on the Zim side.
Zim charges arrival tax, visa tax and departure tax and you can only get a double entry visa not a multiple entry visa so it was quie a pain.
However you do have to go to the Zambian side to see the Falls from that side.

The safari lodge looked very nice from the outside and it is very central.

We stayed at the Zambian River Sun and it was a great stay. The staff are very pleasant and helpful. The pool area and the public areas of the hotel are wonderful and the food was out of this world. The rooms are quite tiny and very, very colorfully decorated. The 5 star Royal Livingstone is breathtaking. It is incredibly elegant and sophisticated.

We did a River Cruise, the elephant safari,the Vic Falls market and a lot of time at the Falls.

One of our group got her wallet pickpocketed at the market but she stupidly took it in and out of her backpack.

If you have any other questions, let me know.
 
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Aug 26th, 2002, 03:48 AM
  #6
Joan
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Lisa, Thank you for the post. I am planning on staying at the Zambezi Sun. It is good to hear you liked it.I would like to hear about your river cruise.Did you go on the African Queen or a smaller boat?
Also who did you use to book your trip? Did you like them and would you use them again?
Thank a lot
 
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Aug 27th, 2002, 02:46 AM
  #7
Lisa
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My husband's aunt is a travel agent in SA and she booked the Zim/Zambian part of the trip using an outfit called something like Bushtrackers. I would highy recommend Bushtrackers. I'm not sure how you would contact them directly, but I definitely recommend bypassing my family connections. I'll try to find our their contact details. They arranged the transfers from the airport as well and that part was great.

We went on the African Queen which provides drinks and cocktails inclusive.I thought the staff on the boat were great and they took care to remember what you were drinking and had a wonderful attitude.

I don't think there was a dramatically huge price difference between the River Sun and the Royal Livingstone and if it fits within your budget I would look into staying at the Royal Livingstone. Although I did not see their rooms, I thought the public areas, location and ambiance were breathtaking. We found the Zimbabwe/Zambian portion of our trip to be the most expensive so an extra $30 per person per night for the Royal Livingstone would not have made that much difference. However, we were taking a large group of friends so I went with the majority decision.
 
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Aug 27th, 2002, 03:44 AM
  #8
Joan
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Thanks Lisa,
Did you feel safe on the Zim side? Did being with a group make you feel better than if you had been alone?

The Market you went to was that on the Zambian side or the Zim side?I would love to get one of those craving of a garrife.All though I am not sure how I will get it home.

Did anyone in your group go on the Village tour or the Livingstone insland Tour? You can email me if you would like that is my email at the top.
Thanks a lot
 
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Aug 27th, 2002, 04:06 AM
  #9
Joan
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Boy! I can't spell this morning. I wish this board had a way for us to edit our messages.
I Want a Giraffe craving.
 
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Aug 27th, 2002, 01:01 PM
  #10
Louise
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Joan - we brought home a 4 foot giraffe which we bought at the outdoor market in Victoria Falls. It is beautiful. A darker wood than most and the lines outlining the spots are black. They will wrap them right there for a slight charge. Ours was completely done in bubble wrap and secured with masking tape. They even made carrying handles out of the tape. It was marked "fragile" all over. When it arrived in the States it came off the South Africa plane with other fragile items on a special cart where we had to pick it up. I can't say the same for AA as it came off with the rest of the luggage but it did survive just fine.
 
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Aug 28th, 2002, 04:00 AM
  #11
Lisa
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Joan, I can't say we felt unsafe on the Zim side but we were in the town area for a very short time.(half an hour)and were constantly approached. Obviously, you have to have your wits about you and keep your valuables in a waistpack and have only a small amount of money with you and let that be known. I think it definitely helped being in a group. The woman who had her pocket picked stayed behind after our meeting time. There is a craft market on both the Zim side and Zambian side and not much difference in prices. They are very willing to barter goods but usually ask for dollars as well. We bartered old sneakers, shoes, sunglasses, hats etc. They would have taken anything but really like sneakers, hats, clothes, pens. They were very keen on the baggy jeans one of our teenagers wore. We got a huge elephant for a pair of old sneakers. You will definitely satisfy your craving for a giraffe carving there . A few from our group bought them. We watched a TV program in SA which showed that during the earth summit there were a number of people carrying around long wrapped objects; the ubiquitous wooden giraffe. It is the second most popular export now! (I don't know what the first is.) Get it wrapped and check it in with your luggage.
 
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Sep 1st, 2002, 08:19 PM
  #12
evelyntrav
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Chris, if you email me directly, I will tell you about the lodge which we did not like and what the problems were. I hesitate doing it on this public forum.
 
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