Victoria Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, and it’s one of the most popular destinations on the continent of Africa. But despite its popularity, Victoria Falls doesn’t come cheap. For most locals (Zimbabweans in this case) The price of accommodation, food, and flights is way out of their budget.
But what if I told you that you could visit this beautiful waterfall and sample some of what the resort town has to offer without breaking the bank? Yes, there’s a way to visit Victoria Falls on a $100 budget, and at the end of the day, you’d have visited the waterfalls, walked on the historic bridge across the channel, and visited the crocodile farm for some wildlife action as well…
Unbelievable right? Well wrong, let me show you how…
1. Use the Night bus ($55 return)
Getting to Victoria falls (and going back) is obviously the highest priority here. Luckily there are low-cost buses that leave Harare around 5 pm getting to Victoria falls early in the morning then leaving for Harare at 8 or 9 pm. This is ideal because it gives you an entire day to galivant in Victoria falls while eliminating accommodation costs, which is a big plus
Just remember to pack light (very light) just a backpack with a change of clothes, and minimal toiletries. Bring your camera along, or if you have a good phone, that will work as well (in which case bring along a power bank)
2. Eat something – you will need it ($3)
Around the rank and around town, there are several places that make Sadza, or rice early on so you can head on to one of these places from around 7 am to get something to eat. Luckily, there are many of these spots around Chinotimba Rank where you get off the bus.
Just ask around and someone will point you to the right place – don’t worry crime in Victoria Falls is almost non-existent and everyone is always happy to help.
3. Get in town ($1)
Getting into town from Chinotimba Rank is really easy, just head on to the road right in front of the rank and stand there, a car will hoot at you or stop, tell the driver you are going to town and you are well on your way.
Ask the driver to drop you off at the bank, or the Post office, in some cases the taxis can take you straight to the falls, but the idea here is to see as much as you can on your small (very small) budget.
4. Falls Tour ($7)
The biggest reason you are traveling to Victoria falls in the first place is to see the Falls, right? So, this will be the first stop on your trip. Along the way to the falls from the post office, you will see the posh, Ilala Lodge Hotel on your left and the majestic Kingdom hotel to the right (both insanely out of your budget at this point). As you walk through the footpath that leads to the falls, you may be lucky to spot an animal or two.
The tour of the falls will take you about 2 to 3 hours – take your time you have the whole day in the town.
5. Victoria Falls Bridge Tour ($2 for a drink)
After the falls, you can now head on towards the border which is just a minute from the Falls entrance, get a bridge pass (you don’t need a passport, just ID), and walk on over to the Majestic and historic bridge. From here you can see part of the falls and the Zambezi as it Zig-Zags along its gorge. Here you can get to see people bungee jump or slide off the bridge – activities you should try once you have the budget, but that is for another time.
From here, you can walk across into Zambian territory, and just after the bridge, you can take your time to relax at the bridge café, and enjoy a drink while your take in the memorable scenery – remember not to overindulge; you don’t need to pay to get to the bridge but like everything in Victoria falls, the price of the drinks might blow a hole or two in your budget.
6. A drink at the Lookout Café’ ($3)
Nested right at the edge of the Zambezi gorge, giving you amazing views of the bridge and the channel, this is a must-visit. Get the most inexpensive drink (should be about $3) on the menu, take loads of photos and memories and be on your way, quick, because at this time you can’t afford much on the menu.
7. Crocodile Farm Tour ($10 entrance, $10 cab return)
From the Lookout Café take the same route you took to get to the falls area back into town. At this point you might need to eat something, there are Sadza spots in town that you can make use of. Close to the post office you can find “Hazvidihope” or ask around and find “Zuva Garage”, you will be sorted.
From here find a cab to The Crocodile farm or Croc Farm as we call it here, the taxi there will cost you $5 each way, make sure you get the driver’s number as the farm is out of town and you might struggle to get cabs from there.
At the Croc Farm, you will get the chance to see loads of crocodiles – where you get to handle baby crocs, yes you heard me right. You can also see lions and the famous Snake Park that allows you to handle a live cold snake – this will undoubtedly be the craziest part of your day.
8. Get cleaned up ($1)
Because of the Heat in Victoria Falls, you will obviously be sweaty and tired, so you can ask your cab driver from the croc farm to drop you off at the rank, there is a reasonably clean pay shower there that you can make use of.
After that, you can get your dinner from the same spot you ate from in the morning. Get your ticket back home and be on your way. Busses here, leave at around 8 pm so if you still have time you can walk around the area and explore a little.
The next morning you’ll be back home with a camera filled with memories. If you have been following my costing, you’ll notice that you get to use even less than $100, meaning at some point you can splurge on Chicken Inn or something.
This trip is even on the cheaper side if you start it from Bulawayo or you share the trip with friends – besides travelling is always better with friends.: https://bit.ly/3WgNxZQ