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Victoria Falls activities (Devils pools & Botswana) questions

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May 15th, 2012, 08:01 AM
  #1
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Victoria Falls activities (Devils pools & Botswana) questions

We are a family of 7 adults and Victoria Falls will be our last stop after a 2 week trip to South Africa in mid August 2012. We are staying at the Illala Lodge for 2 nights which equates to 1 afternoon of activities (we arrive at 13:50), 1 full day of activities, & possibly 1 early morning activity before we depart at 13:15. Based on what I have read, I think these are the activities we would most like to squeeze in if possible:
Self guided walking tour of the Falls
Short helicopter tour of the Falls
Tour of Livingstone Island (& possibly Devil's Pool if water level is right)
1/2 day or full day safari/river trip to Chobe in Botswana
Is it possible to fit all of this in?
Also, we will have been on 8 days of safari in South Africa before arriving at the Falls. And although I don't think it's possible to get "burnt out" on African safaris, will the day at Chobe be worth it? We have heard that the habitat and landscape is different in Botswana and that is why we really wanted to see it. But if it's not that different we'd like to know that.
Any input will be appreciated!
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May 16th, 2012, 06:26 AM
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Hi

By the time you have arrived at your hotel after airport formalities, transfer etc. At best you can get a sunset cruise or a helicopter flight that afternoon.

The half day trip to Chobe I would say is not worth it as most of your time is spent travelling (min 2.5 hours)and again clearing customs at Zimbabwe and Botswana (more time). The Full day trip is definately a fantastic trip and very worthwile if you have the time, but I dont think on your schedule you do. It would take up the whole of your only day there.

The best time to see the Falls is at around 1.30 to 3.30pm, this is when the rainbows are at their best and in all the right places.

The Devils swim and Livingstone island tour is from Zambia, so that will involve another border crossing and visa fees into Zambia and visa fees back into Zimbabwe. Plus you might need to get a yellow fever vaccination if you visit Zambia. If you dont mind paying these fees it is definately worth it.

I hope you have a good trip
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May 16th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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We had lunch on Livingstone island. It was amazing to be on top of the Falls.
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May 17th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Tony gives you a lot of great info. However, a lot of people do day trips to Chobe from Vic Falls. In mid-August, there will be a lot of wildlife along the river there. As for the rainbows, I've seen nice ones in the early morning at Rainbow Falls, one of the streams that make up Victoria Falls... don't know about August, however. The waterflow at that time of year is lower than when I was there in February.
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May 20th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the input. Our flight lands in Zambia so we have to have the yellow fever shots anyway.It sounds like we're going to need to make a choice between a day trip to Chobe and Livingstone Island. It would have been nice to do them both in one day, especially on one visa , but I guess that won't work.
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May 22nd, 2012, 07:55 AM
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You can always plan a return trip to include a Botswana safari with a stay in Chobe. It's hard to find anyone who has been to Africa once who does't start planning a return trip.
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Jun 2nd, 2012, 06:20 AM
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I agree! (about the return trip) This is our 4th trip and I'm sure not our last!
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Jun 2nd, 2012, 05:47 PM
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I had a similar amount of time there that you are planning and I also stayed at Ilala. I would say that if you are planning other safari activities that you can exclude Chobe. I'm sure you'll see similar things on the safari portion of your trip (although the boat ride I took there was very nice!).

I did do Devil's Pool with afternoon tea and I highly recommend this (if you are in good shape - it is difficult getting out to the pool and very hard to climb out once you're in...but the guys doing the guiding are great and they will make sure you don't fall or get stuck). I was there in October and the water level was perfect for the Devil's Pool jump...not sure what it would be like in August. No problem at all with getting to and from Zambia at all and I wasn't asked anything about yellow fever (although I do have that).

I did the walking tour as well as a sunset cruise on the river - both very nice.

Have a great trip!
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Jun 2nd, 2012, 06:49 PM
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Here are some ideas for fitting in the sites you listed above. Since you are landing in Zambia, maybe you could go straight to the Livingston Island tour with a return transfer to the Illala into Zimbabwe. The Livingston Island tour departs from Zambia. The only drawback would be where to put the luggage.....I believe the tour leaves from a hotel so maybe you could store the luggage at the hotel for a fee. The next day you could take a full day Chobe cruise. Then, the following morning the self-guided trip to the Falls. Alternatively, the helicopter ride instead of Livingston Island tour the day of arrival.

I agree with you that Chobe and Livingston Island is too much for one day. From what I have read, the Chobe cruise gives a unique perspective for viewing the animals.

We are going to be in Zimbabwe early July. We are also staying at the Illala Lodge for two nights. We will be arriving at the Illala via a land transfer from Kasane, Botswana. I have booked the Ra-Ikane cruise for the day we arrive. This is a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. The pick-up from the hotel is at 15:30. The next day I have booked the Livingston Island High Tea tour. We are also hoping the water levels are low, but if not we are still looking forward to seeing the Falls from the top. The pick-up from the hotel will be at 14:45. We will be traveling into Zambia from Zimbabwe and back (double visas). I believe I booked the high tea tour because we also wanted to see the sunset from the top of the Falls. The plan will be to do a self guided tour of the Falls and a stop at the craft market ( my fiance has to shop for souvenirs) early before the trip to Livingston Island.

Hope these ideas help.
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Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:00 PM
  #10
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CarrieT and Likes2Travel, Did you book your tours (Livingstone Island and sunset cruise) through the Illala Lodge or directly yourself? I see that Tongabezi does the Livingstone Island tour but I don't know if there are others.

I don't think we'll have time to do the Zambezi sunset river cruise on our day of arrival if the pickup time is 15:30 since our flight isn't even scheduled to arrive until 13:50. But maybe we can do the Falls self walking tour on our day of arrival and then the Livingstone Island tour and sunset cruise on our full day and then the helicopter tour on the morning of our departure. But it sounds like we can't do the Livingston Island high tea tour AND the sunset tour so we'd probably have to pick a different time. Is the high tea tour time the best?
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Jun 4th, 2012, 10:17 AM
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I think there is only one company that does the Livingstone Island tour and I did book directly with them (Tongabezi).

I did the sunset cruise the day I arrived and my flight got in at about the same time. It really didn't take long to get through customs and to the lodge. I highly reocmmend the sunset cruise if you can - it was the perfect way to kick off the tour (and we even saw some hippos and a crocodile).

I can't remember what time I returned from the Livingstone Island (high tea) tour...you might want to check with Tongabezi and find out what time it is scheduled to return to the hotel. I think they also have a morning tour that includes breakfast that you could check into....
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Jun 5th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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I agree with CarrieT, I think that only one company provides The Livingstone Island Tour-Tongabezi.

I booked our activities with our outfitter, but you can book the Livingstone Island Tour directly. Tongabezi has various times that the tour takes place. You don't have to go on the High Tea Tour. I chose the High Tea Tour because of recommendations.

I believe you can book the sunset cruise directly with the hotel. I also believe the cruise is for hotel guests. They may be able to accommodate the time of departure to coincide with your arrival--it is worth asking.

Keep us posted.
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