Victoria Falls - Zim or Zam?


Dec 19th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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Victoria Falls - Zim or Zam?

I am planning on going to Victoria Falls in July 2004 and trying to decide on which side of the falls to stay. I would like to hear from someone that has been to Victoria Falls recently concerning the atmosphere in Zimbabwe, which is currently go through some political unrest. I would like to also know how it compares to the Zambian side, which I hear is experiencing a boom in tourism due to the unrest of its neighbor. Recent firsthand accounts of the situation on Zim and Zam would be greatly appreciated!
jet_setter is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Hi Jet_setter,

I don't have exact answers to your questions. There's quite a bit of discussion about this at Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, if you haven't already checked that out. (On the other hand you may be the person who asked the question there.)

In summary, the general consensus seems to be that both sides of the Falls are safe for tourists. It also is said that, to get a full appreciation for the Falls, one ought to see them from both sides, as the views are different.

My husband and I have aunts, uncles and first cousins in Zimbabwe. They report a lot of hardships (shortages of even basic consumer commodities), but they do not feel in personal danger. Based on the reports I'm hearing (but not my personal experience), I do not believe that Zimbabweans, whatever their issues are amongst each other, have an axe to grind with tourists.

The discussions at Lonely Planet suggest that the Zim side of the Falls is more commercialized, while the Zam side is more laid back. This is something that may influence which side you want to stay on (while perhaps day tripping to the other side to get the other perspective of the Falls).

People at Lonely Planet talk in glowing terms of a place called Jungle Junction, an island 50 km upstream from the Falls in Zambia. I'd never heard of it before, but many posters highly recommend it.

I saw only the Zim side of the Falls many years ago. It really is beautiful.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2004, 02:25 PM
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While more people are staying on the Zam side these days because of the supposed political unrest in Zim, the Vic Falls area is perfectly safe for tourists regardless which side one stays.

If going for only a day or two you may want to stay on the Zim side as a number of people have complained about the border crossing problems (delays), especially if in Zam and needing to cross back to Zim to get to the airport which is in Zim.

While the Falls can be seen from either side, if on the Zim side, it is easier to get a day-pass (cost about $5)to cross to Zam than the other way around. My own personal preference is that the Zim side is better.
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Jan 25th, 2004, 11:03 PM
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we were in Zim in July 2003 and stayed at the Victoria falls Safari lodge. It was simply wonderful. The people were amazing. They were kind, gracious and we NEVER were concerned for our safety even though the country itself is a mess. The lodge was beautiful. I've never eaten so much for so little money. We also enjoyed shopping in the village. I will say, however, that I don't know if I've ever seen such desperation. People are starving. they'll bargain for your shoes and shirts. We met several people who we ended up giving some of our extra t-shirts to. We met a white farmer who had recently lost his farm to the govt. He said that all of his cattle, agriculture, etc. had died. It's tragic. I think it's important to see, visit, support where you can. It is a beautiful country, especially the falls.
Good luck and safe travels.
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