Livingstone in Zambia is literally like an adventure theme park for every type of traveler! From bungee jumping in front of the famed Victoria Falls to sunset cruising on the Zambezi River, there is no shortage of things to do in Livingstone.
While I was there I did almost every activity there is, and have narrowed down my favorites to help give you an idea of the best things to do there. Luckily, my friends at Put Foot Rally (the 3 week charity roadtrip I’m on) know how much I love chasing waterfalls, so they got together with Safari Par Excellence to plan the ultimate adventure for me!
That being said, this post will also give you an idea of how to plan your trip in Livingstone, so you can do and see as much as possible! Be sure to book your activities in advance on the SafPar website, or head to one of their offices in person as soon as you arrive!
Cost: $175 + $6 aviation fee
Time: 15min flight (1 hour total travel time)
Start your trip out right with an exhilarating Microlight flight with Livingstone’s Adventures and Batoka Sky! You’ll sail over the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, and Batoka Gorge in this open-air contraption! You’ll not only get some seriously breathtaking views, but a really good idea of where everything is, and what it looks like from above.
You might be wondering what in the world a Microlight is…just imagine a go-cart attached to a paraglide. With the Microlight, you take off and land from the ground, and the contraption is powered by both motor and wind power.
During the flight you’ll be able to see hippos in the Zambezi River, the cool zig-zag shape of the gorge, and of course the massive mile-long waterfall with a thick cloud of mist above it. Then you’ll understand the meaning behind it’s original name; Mosi oi Tunya, which means “The smoke that thunders”.
Just swinging into the weekend like….. 💃🏼This was one of three jumps off the bridge in front of Victoria Falls, in between the Zambia and Zimbabwe border! First time was head-first bungee, second was "the swing" (which is probably something I will never ever do again) and third is this fun zipline straight to the bridge! 💪🏼💁🏼🕊🌍 . A massive thank you to @PutFootRally for literally arranging every possible waterfall chasing activity imaginable for me bc they know that's my favorite hobby, and #safparexcellence and @ahahotelsandlodges for hosting me!! 💖🙋🏼🙏 . #victoriafalls #zambia #africa #putfootrally #mylifesatravelmovie #travelblogger #goprogirl #goprotravel #bungee #victoriafallsbungee #adventure #adrenaline #tlpicks #optoudoors
A post shared by Alyssa Ramos 🌍 MyLifesAMovie (@mylifesatravelmovie) on
Cost: $210 (for all 3 activities)
Time: 2-3 hours
Have you ever seen a waterfall upside-down before? Bungee jumping off the bridge near Victoria Falls is a great way to answer that question with a “Yes”! I know jumping off a bridge may not exactly sound safe, but trust me, not only was it safe, but a LOT of fun as well!
There are three options for bridge-jumping; one is to bungee jump head first, second is to swing straight down feet first, and third is to zipline from the edge of the cliff to the bridge. I did all three of them, AKA the Big Air Experience at Victoria Falls Bungee Company, so can tell you the level of awesome and level of terrifying for each one.
Bungee jumping head first was the most adrenaline-pumping and only scary when you’re dangling by your feet waiting to be raised back up, zip lining was the most pleasant and non-terrifying at all, plus has the best photo opps with a selfie stick, and the swing was absolutely terrifying and literally made me think “OMG WHEN WILL THIS END?!”
Watch this video of me jumping off the bridge in front of Victoria Falls three different times!
Bring a GoPro if you have one, or have someone make a video from the side of the bridge. Or, just buy the footage from the bungee company; they even edit the video together for you! The bridge that you jump off of is also really cool to see and photograph. It connects the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and when you get pulled back up from the bridge, you get to walk along the pathway underneath it.
So technically you jump from Zambia and come up in Zimbabwe! You don’t need a visa or any special permits to step foot in Zimbabwe, but bring your passport just in case!
Cost: $20 entry fee
Time: 2-3 hours
After you’ve flown over and jumped in front of Victoria Falls, head into the actual park to see the massive waterfall up close! Buy your ticket at the small ticket house (or negotiate with a guard…we got let in for $15 and when they asked for our ticket at the gate, they knew the guard deal), then park right inside.
There isn’t much of a walk, you’ll reach the edge of the waterfall in about five minutes, then there’s a long pathway with several viewpoints along the ledge that faces Victoria Falls. You WILL get soaked, so if you don’t want to get wet, buy or rent a poncho (both available at the entrance), and bring a dry bag for electronics.
Cost: Around $400
I had the pleasure of staying at the phenomenal David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa while I was in Livingstone, and I literally did not want to leave there! It’s safari-chic decor makes you really feel like your in the wild, and you really are! It’s situated on the Zambezi River, and there’s wild monkeys, elephants, hippos, and crocodiles all around! Don’t worry, there’s fences separating you from the hippos and crocs.
The prestigious hotel has massive open-air decks all along the river, so you can enjoy cocktails, meals, and leisure time watching wild life or the sunset. There’s even an infinity pool over looking the Zambezi River! If relaxation is what you seek, definitely book a treatment at their award-winning spa; which is located in it’s very own thatch-roofed structure!
You can also take a luxurious sunset cruise that leaves right from the banks of the hotel! Other awesome features include an extremely friendly staff, lighting fast wifi (for those of us who like to work while we travel), and a free shuttle to and from Victoria Falls!
There’s also a Safari Par Excellence office located in the lobby of the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa, so you can get all of your activities sorted in one place!
If this seems a little iffy for your budget, try checking for discounts closer to your travel dates using this feature on Booking.com!
Cost: $100 + $20 tax fee
Time: 2 hours
There’s a good chance that if you’re going to Victoria Falls, you’ve heard of Devil’s Pool, or at least have seen a photo! It’s literally a pool at the very edge of the massive waterfall, that you can swim in and look down over the waterfall if you’re daring enough!
Devil’s Pool is only accessible during low-water seasons (starting in July and ending in October), otherwise you’d get swept over the edge of the waterfall. When I went the water was still too high, so we swam at the easier-to-access edge, which is called Angel’s Pool.
To get there you must take the Breezer boat from The Royal Livingstone (which grants you a sneak peak at the ultra-luxury resort) to Livingstone Island, and then you hike a small bit to the waterfall’s edge. A guide will help you into Angel’s Pool, and there are ropes to hold on to as well. I’m not going to lie, it’s still pretty scary even with the guide and ropes, because there’s a mini waterfall plunging down into the pool creating a strong current, but so far no incidents have happened.
The Breezer only goes out early in the morning, which means it’s pretty cold, so bring warm clothing! You’ll have the option of using a poncho since there’s a lot of mist up there, but you’re going to get wet anyway when you get in the pool!
Cost: (Included with the above activity)
After you’re done swimming at the edge of Victoria Falls in either Angel’s Pool or Devil’s Pool, you’ll be given dry towels, and then treated to a gourmet breakfast on Livingstone Island!
To give you a brief history lesson, everything in the area is named after Dr. David Livingstone, who was the American explorer who “discovered” Victoria Falls and turned the area into a tourist destination. Technically the waterfall was found way before that though, which is why it has the name Mosi Oa Tunya, but Livingstone is the one who made it known to the rest of the world. He named it after the Queen of England.
So anyway! Livingstone Island is this little island right at the edge of Victoria Falls, which needless to say, is awesome. So you’ll eat your breakfast with a view of the top of the waterfall and the smoke and rainbows rising up from it! You can even visit the “Loo with a View”, which is doorless toilet hut that faces the river!
Cost: Depends on your shopping habits
Time: Same as above
Skip the souvenir stores and step into the local areas of Livingstone where you’ll find several little craft markets! These are generally safer to buy things from than the people who walk around selling things, but be careful either way. Also, sometimes the guys walking around sell better things than the craft markets!
Typically the clothing isn’t handmade (pretty sure I saw the same pants and skirts in Thailand), but if you look carefully, you can find handmade jewelry, and items that are indigenous to the area. Some things to look for that are specifically relative to Zambia are the copper bracelets (what the guys walking around usually sell), and the Nyaminyami pendants, which are made from the Zambezi river stones.
Also, if you’re interested in getting a local look, the women in Livingstone all wear colorful patterned wrap skirts, which you can buy at the markets as well!
Cost: $135-230 (depending on meal)
Time: 2 hours
In my previous post I wrote about how I went camping with wild elephants, and how you can’t get too close to them because they can kill you. Well, luckily at The Elephant Cafe, the massive elephants are tame, and always up for human interactions!
I’m very particular when it comes to animals and human interactions, and strongly advise against animal riding, however these eli’s and this venue has a very unique story. Their ten elephants were either saved during a culling in Zimbabwe forty years ago (killing of elephants for population control), or from a region that was in a severe drought, and the elephants were dying from lack of water.
They now not only live like royalty at The Elephant Cafe, but are protected, which is important, since many of them are “Tuskers” (having long tusks), which isn’t common to see anymore due to poaching. You must have a reservation to go to The Elephant Cafe, and only 25 spaces are available for either breakfast, lunch, high tea, and dinner.
The lunch is a healthy gourmet meal, which incorporates foods that a typical elephant would also eat! The Elephant Cafe was also recently voted the ‘Best New Restaurant in Zambia’! The cost of the experience is what pays for the elephants’ care, food, and living expenses. They will be expanding soon to help maintain funding, since as of this year they will no longer offer elephant rides, which generates a large portion of their income.
Cost: $65 (Makumba) $85 (Lady Livingstone)
Time: 2 hours
There’s really nothing like an African sunset, especially when it’s being reflected on still waters! There’s also nothing like a fun booze cruise, so you’re really double-winning with this one!
Jump on board one of the sunset cruises leaving from either the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa, or the Victoria Falls Waterfront, depending on what level of vibe you have going on. The Lady Livingstone is more relaxed, and the Makumba which leaves from the Victoria Falls Waterfront is more lively (AKA the party boat).
All drinks and food are included, so get as much as you can in your two hours! As the sun is setting, your captain will cruise along the banks of Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, where you can spot crocodiles and hippos up close! The fees I listed also include the $10 National Park fee!
Cost: Cash bar
The Victoria Falls Waterfront is a lot of different things. You can camp there, you can stay in a chalet, you can hop on a river cruise, and you can party at their always-popular bar and deck. Even locals come to enjoy a couple cocktails or Mosi’s (the local beer, named after the waterfall). Just…don’t confuse wanting a Mosi beer with wanting the other type of Mosi’s…AKA “mosquitos”.
There’s lively music to compliment the atmosphere, and of course that breathtaking view of the Zambezi River at night. Don’t forget to put on your bug spray though, which is included in all rooms and chalets, and even behind the bar!
During my trip to Livingstone I unfortunately caught a cold due to a combination of screaming during the bungee jumps, then getting soaked and freezing at Victoria Falls, so I didn’t get to do the white water rafting. BUT! I’m including it because literally every person I ran into in Livingstone asked me if I was going to rafting, since it’s considered the best thing to do there (talk about FOMO). The white water rafting adventure takes you through the Batoka Gorge, and sends you flying over the fast waters that are powered by Victoria Falls. From what I heard it was quite the intense adventure, and a couple of people even got tossed overboard…several times!
Disclaimer: This blog post is gratefully in collaboration with Put Foot Rally, Safari Par Excellence, and David Livingstone Resort and Spa, however all words, experiences, and photos are my own! I would also like to give a giant THANK YOU to everyone who took part in giving me the most epic waterfall chasing experience EVER, it was so thoughtful, and so awesome!!