Victoria Falls in 48h: top things to do 

Victoria Falls in 48h: top things to do 

Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is part of the UNESCO natural list. The falls (and river) serve as the border between the countries Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The locals call it Mosi-oa-Tunya which means “The smoke that thunders”. The name comes from the mist from the water falling which goes high up into the sky, particularly during wet season. It is also considered the capital of adventure in Southern Africa for the wide adrenaline offers in the area.

After living in Cape Town for a year I had to make my way to the falls and experience the majesty of it. I travelled with friends and found out what do in Victoria Falls in 48h, so let’s dive in!

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

How to get to Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls has two main towns near it. One is the town of Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, the closest town to the falls. The other one is Livingstone, in Zambia, about 18 minutes’ drive from the falls.

Both have an international airport and you can fly to either airport and because the transfer between them is a short one, you should look for the best price. Check if you need visas for both countries first!

You can fly directly from Cape Town but most flights from Southern Africa arrive via Johannesburg.

Best area to stay during your trip to Victoria Falls

There are several areas and vibes for you to choose depending on what you want. Victoria Falls town is the hub of a small town, walking distance from the falls. You can find anything from hostels to high-end hotels around the city. There are restaurants, nightclubs and a small town offering in terms of variety. There are resorts outside of town offering a more tranquil setting.

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

Livingstone town is mainly left as a tourist spot unless you know someone or you have a specific reason to want to stay there. It is too far away to just go to the falls, you’d need to drive. Instead, Zambia has a different type of offer with hotels located next to the falls, without being in a town/village. They offer different levels of hospitality and can go as far away as more than an hour from the falls.

If you are looking for a small town vibe close to the falls, Victoria Falls town should be your first choice. If you are looking for more of a ‘resort in Africa’ experience and just want to check the falls once, then the resorts in Zambia will be to your liking.

Where to stay in Victoria Falls

There are several good accommodations on both sides of the falls, here are just some options to get you started.

Zambia side:
  • Avani Victoria Falls: the only hotel with a private entrance to the falls on the Zambian side. That means that you can save up to about 30EUR in costs. It is a big hotel and great for families and couples alike.
  • Chundukwa: looking for something a little more secluded? This hotel has great value for price and offers a luxury experience a little higher up the falls.
Zimbabwean side:
  • Shoestrings backpackers: The backpackers where I stayed during my trip. It has a great vibe with simple and clean rooms, food is delicious and locals and tourists seem to get together for a beer in the evening!
  • Batonka hotel: It is an entry-level hotel style, this lodge offers a relaxing atmosphere and great service.

Victoria Falls in 48h: best things to do

First day in Victoria Falls

Arrive and check in at your accommodation. Start your Victoria Falls in 48h trip by walking to Lookout Café for lunch/snacks/drinks. If you are into adrenaline adventures, the gorge swing is a must do from this place.

Head back to town and stop at the falls. The falls can be visited from the Zambian side as well as the Zimbabwean side. They both have lookouts in front of the falls with views. About the 75% of the fall’s lookouts are in the Zimbabwean side.

During low water season (between the end of August and January) the Zambian side doesn’t have much water running down, due to turbines being used up the river (they are in the process of changing this!)

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

I recommend starting with the Zimbabwean side’s falls. The lookouts start off to the side of the falls and take you closer and closer to Zambia. I visited during low water season and the last 4 lookouts left us drenched in water, so during high water season ‘The smoke that thunders’ (Mosi-oa-tunya, the original name) will leave you very wet! From the last lookout you can see the amount of water on the Zambian side and make your decision whether to go there or not.

Go for dinner and a great hostel atmosphere at Shoestrings backpackers.

Second day in Victoria Falls

Go on a Chobe full day tour. The tour involves crossing the border to Botswana and spending the day discovering the landscape.
You will have included a boat safari and a 4×4 safari, as well as lunch and transfers from Victoria Falls.

If you are curious about the fauna and landscape of Chobe, read this detailed post about it here.

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

Third day in Victoria Falls

Start the day early and go to the Zambian side for the Livingstone tour. This tour needs to be booked in advance. The tour takes you to an island on the Zambezi, Livingstone Island, where David Livingstone first saw the Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

During low water season you can do the thrilling activity of swimming in the Devil’s pool. It looks way scarier than it was! You get to visit the island (arriving by boat), cross the Zambezi river to get to the pool and swim there for a short time. All tours include either breakfast or lunch on the island.

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do
Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do
Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

If you want the warmest water go for the 7am tour. If you want the warmest sun go for the 9am tour.

You have more days in Victoria Falls?

Not a problem! You will see the town is full of energy for such a small and remote place. You can choose from a variety of safaris to nearby parks or focus on adrenaline activities.

There are day tours departing daily to the national parks and you can also choose to go on a sunset cruise along the Zambezi.
Some of the available ones are white river rafting, microlight flight over the falls, helicopter ride over the falls, bungee jumping or zip lining. It is called the Adventure capital of southern Africa for a reason!

If you’re interested in a group of activities make sure you try to find an activity package to bring the cost down a little bit, your pocket will be happier for it.

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do

Have you already decided what you’ll do in Victoria Falls with 48h? Pin it for later!

Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do
Victoria Falls in 48h: things to do
6 wildlife photography tips for amateurs – from an amateur wildlife photographer

6 wildlife photography tips for amateurs – from an amateur wildlife photographer

Going on safari is one of those bucket list items for most of us. Personally, my safari experiences are some of my most cherished ones. Driving through the bush and watching animals as they go about their business and being able to just sit there and enjoy the view.

I like to enjoy the moment while I’m there, that is always my number one priority. But lately I’ve found a new hobby: photographing wildlife. As an amateur photographer, trying to capture moving animals and learning how to use my camera so that in low light conditions, with moving subjects, my pictures still came out sharp; proved difficult.

This is my list of wildlife shooting tips – written by a totally amateur wildlife photographer. I’ve learned these through experience and talking to rangers and guides – they sure know how to use a good camera well.

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6 wildlife photography tips

6 wildlife photography tips for amateurs

1.Use your shutter speed priority mode

When taking pictures of moving animals in low light conditions (during dawn and dusk) you will need to increase the shutter speed to get sharp pictures. The shutter speed priority mode (usually shown as Tv mode) will allow you to give the shutter enough speed to capture a still moving object.

The idea behind it is that the shutter speed needs to be quicker than the movement. The quicker the movement (let’s say an animal running) the higher (let’s say 1/2000 for example) you will need your shutter speed to be.

One good trick to check if your picture is sharp enough is to zoom in on the whiskers of the animals – if they are blurry, your picture still needs a higher shutter speed. In order to increase your shutter speed you will have to use a higher ISO when light is not abundant.

2. Be at eye-level with the animals

Trying to position yourself at the same level as your animal will create more meaningful pictures that evoke deeper feelings. By staring at the animal at eye level the sense of knowledge is transmitted into the photography – making it feel like you belong. When you take pictures from an open 4×4 vehicle or a minivan, your pictures will look like this:

Leopard picture taken from a 4x4 vehicle

You want to try to make them look like this:

Be at the animal's level

As it gives the image more realism and the person viewing the image will feel more aligned with what you are showing and connect with the photo more.

It is hard to get eye-level with some small animals like predators, but doing your best to gain some centimeters will improve your pictures.

3. Listen to your guide

In a perfect world, we would have many days and weeks to spend in the bush, learning the animal behaviour ourselves. But in case you (like me and many others) are only going on safari as a holiday – listen to your guide, they have been in the bush for far longer than you and can tell you beforehand when something is about to happen. Guides know everything about animal behaviour.

Guide and ranger in the Kruger National Park

That means that if a lion is moving his ears a certain way he is about to yawn. If you pay attention to the information your guide and tracker give you, you can be ready to shoot when ephemeral moments like yawns happen.


WANT TO GO?: Staying at nThambo Tree houses in Kruger National Park, South Africa


4. Pay attention to composition and framing

We all have seen the annoying grid on our cameras or phones. Although it might not be great when we are not used to it, because we can only see the grid’s lines, it is best to keep it on to always see how our shot is going to look. There are a number of rules for a good composition. Each of them has something to offer, but the most generally accepted is the rule of thirds.

This rule states that everything you want the eye to pay attention to should be in the intersection of the four lines.

Rule of thirds: wildlife photography tips

Being at the right place for the right picture makes a big difference. Framing your animal in the right area of your picture changes the story dramatically. A shot can change a lot if taken one step to the left or crouched slightly down. Explore the different angles and frame your subject with the elements around it (trees, other animals, flowers, etc)

5. Check where the light is coming from

I have heard all my life that you must shoot with the sun behind you, so it lights up your subject. But this would also mean you miss tones and shapes as the object is perfectly lit, giving it a “real estate advertisement” look. If you have the chance to position yourself so that the light comes from one side of the sighting, do it.

where's the light coming from: wildlife photography tips

Another good option is to move halfway between the subject, the sun and your position. Imagine the sun is at 12 on a clock. Your subject is at 6. Shoot from 1:30 and 10:30 to accomplish a bit of both worlds, light from the front and shadows. It allows for flattering light in the background and landscape and focuses your subject.

Another difficult option is to use the first light or last rays of sun, to cover your subject. It creates a dreamy look of the animal and the background. The sun must be covered by the animal/s you are photographing.

6. Respect your subject

It is very important than while you take your photos that no harm or distress comes to the animal. Be careful when trying to accomplosh great shots – never put your life or the animal’s life at risk for a great/better shot.

wildlife photography tips

Another good option is to move halfway between the subject, the sun and your position. Imagine the sun is at 12 on a clock. Your subject is at 6. Shoot from 1:30 and 10:30 to accomplish a bit of both worlds, light from the front and shadows. It allows for flattering light in the background and landscape and focuses your subject.

Another difficult option is to use the first light or last rays of sun, to cover your subject. It creates a dreamy look of the animal and the background. The sun must be covered by the animal/s you are photographing.

Have you taken notes of these wildlife photography tips for amateurs? What other easy tips helped you take great pictures of animals?

6 wildlife photography tips for amateurs
6 wildlife photography tips for amateurs