Two women crossing the railway lines at Victoria Falls station in Zimbabwe

A visit to Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe

In Africa, En-Route, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel, Zimbabwe by Janis12 Comments

And a stay at the A’Zambezi River Lodge…

Victoria Falls was our first destination on our Zimbabwean adventure, after attending the delightful wedding of my cousin in Harare. Yes, we were off to Matabeleland North, in the northwest of Zimbabwe.    
A small manicured pond on the platform of Victoria Falls railway station in Zimbabwe.
The platform at Victoria Falls railway station

Gary and I opted to fly to Victoria Falls as it’s not the most direct route by road, the fun of driving on the Zimbabwean streets was being saved for a little later on in the trip.

And, if the chaos on the roads that we had witnessed so far in Harare was the norm, then it was going to be an eye-opener.

Quick Links

A view of Livingstone Island sits in the flow of the Zambezi between the Victoria Falls. Behind the island, the main falls cascades over the edge underneath the deep blue Sky
Victoria falls from the Zimbabwe side
We transferred to our lodge from the airport, and as we travelled through Victoria Falls town, it brought back so many memories from our visit 20 years ago. Had the town changed in those two decades? I can’t imagine the Victoria Falls themselves had, but there was only one way to find out.
A street scene, including a man on a traditional, heavily laden bike in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
A typical mode of transport 

Discovering Victoria Falls

A short hop into town
The A’Zambezi River Lodge that we were staying in was in a beautiful location directly on the banks of the Zambezi River. It was around 4km out of town, which made it really peaceful, and they also provided a free shuttle service. Every two hours a smile would greet you and drop at various points in town, which included a stop at the Falls.
The view over the grounds of the A’Zambezi River Lodge from the thatch covered balcony of our accommodation in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The view from our room at the  A’Zambezi River Lodge
We jumped off the bus right near the Shearwater offices, this is a company that you can book all your high adrenalin activities through. Although they do also offer more sedate options. 
The Shearwater adventure store in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Shearwater Offices in Victoria Falls town
When we were here in 1996 & 1998, Gary and I were braver and fitter and headed into the Zambezi river to embark on white-water rafting. On those occasions, we had no hesitation of taking on the grade 5 rapids, although on looking back, it was the climb in and out of the ravine that was the most difficult.
The iron bridge connecting Zimbabwe to Zambia over the Zambezi gorge in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls Bridge
Perhaps it’s time we dug out the video evidence, just to remind ourselves….hahaha

Let us know

Have you visited Zimbabwe or any of its neighbouring countries, share with us your memories? 

The best of Zimbabwe

It’s those little things
While strolling around Victoria Falls town, we found that it was undoubtedly busier now, and also with a lot more shops. Though the same warm, friendly smiles were still greeting us as we wandered through the dusty streets.
A young Zimbabwean posing for a photo as he rides by on a well-used old bicycle at Victoria Falls.
One cool guy , Victoria Falls Town

We regularly got stopped by the locals, offering us the ‘bargain of the day’, but they weren’t rude or hassling. Some of their crafts are lovely, they had the “African Big 5” carved in wood or stone, the choice was yours.

You could even buy a 50 billion-dollar Zimbabwean note, a reminder from the country’s hyperinflation days.

On this occasion we passed up their generous offer, it was early days of our trip. We purchased some great souvenirs in Bulawayo and Harare, later on.

A stall for tourists of carved wooden decoration under a tree in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
A souvenir stall

If you didn’t want to buy your curios and mementoes from a street seller, there were little shops and boutiques you could peruse around.

Selling leather goods, animal carvings, batik clothing and wall hangings, paintings and wire ornaments twisted into the form of every Zimbabwean animal you could imagine.

Good to know

Don’t be like us and miss visiting Victoria Fall Hotel.

It was my fault, I didn’t realise you could just wander in and take a look around. We should have chatted to the locals before our visit and not after.

A row of uniform, single-storey shops at the Victoria Falls trading post in Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls Trading Post

Colonial Zimbabwe

The charm remains
We headed off towards the old railway station, it didn’t look like too many locomotives pass through here every day.
The entrance arch to the colonial Victoria Falls station with its soft greens & creams.
Victoria Falls railway station
The sign for Victoria Falls station with the distances to Cape Town, Beira and Bulawayo
Victoria Falls railway station platform sign
What I find amusing is that the health and safety folk haven’t quite made it to Zimbabwe yet. So, people will just stroll across the dusty tracks wherever and whenever they want to, even we did (such rebels).
Two women crossing the railway lines at Victoria Falls station in Zimbabwe
Ladies crossing the tacks at Victoria Falls railway station
The old railway station had seen better days and was a little tired in places. However, it still had the quirky charm and character, and historical evidence of years gone by.
The Station Manager's office on the platform at Victoria Falls station in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls railway station ticket office

Back to the A’Zambezi River Lodge

We jump on the shuttle bus and head back to the lodge, there’s still time to relax and enjoy the rest of the afternoon before the evening sunsets across the Zambezi.

Oh, we may have also enjoyed a bottle of the local brew.

Two bottles of Zamedia beer on our table at the edge of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
A couple of Zambezi beers at the A’Zambezi River Lodge
I’m really pleased we chose to stay at the A’Zambezi River Lodge, the location just by the Zambezi river was perfect. The people were friendly, the lodge was extremely comfortable, and if you enjoy a swimming pool, theirs looked very enticing.
Janis standing at the edge of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Janis at the edge of Zambezi at the A’Zambezi River Lodge
A blue sign warning "Beware of Crocodiles", in the grounds of the A’Zambezi River Lodge at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Beware of the Crocodiles at the A’Zambezi River Lodge

A great hotel in Victoria Falls

What a location
There were even some little friends wandering around the grounds minding their own business. I didn’t have the heart to mention I’d enjoyed tasty warthog fillets earlier for lunch.
Two warthogs exploring the grounds of the A’Zambezi River Lodge at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Warthogs at the A’Zambezi River Lodge
We stayed at the lodge for two nights, each evening it was idyllic, we sat and watched the sunset across the Zambezi river, and it just made me smile, does it get any better?
A riverboat moored up at dusk at the edge of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Sunset over the Zambezi at the A’Zambezi River Lodge
Once the sun had gone down, it’s like the volume has been turned up and the incredible nocturnal African night sounds start to awaken. We strolled into the Boma and enjoyed a freshly cooked meal. The food was lovely and whilst enjoying your dinner, traditional Zimbabwean dances would entertain you.
A group of performers in traditional tribal attire at the A’Zambezi River Lodge at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The entertainment at the boma at the  A’Zambezi River Lodge

Is Zimbabwe for you?

Take a peek at our other Zimbabwe posts and start creating your own adventure for yourself. 

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Only in Africa

Although Victoria Falls has become quite a tourist destination, particularly for people flying in and out and not visiting other parts of Zimbabwe, it hasn’t lost that wonderful African charm.
Two women carrying heavy loads, with one balancing it on her head, in the town at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
This doesn’t look easy

Warthogs were just snuffling around the paths, ladies carrying babies on their backs, balancing food and other belongings on their heads and old, tired out, trucks passing through the main street from Zambia.

It appears that things haven’t changed too much, after all.

A helpful guide

If you're considering an adventure around Zimbabwe, then your in for a holiday of a lifetime. I always find it incredibly useful to plan our trips with the help of a guide book.

Take a look at this informative Bradt guide, it will give you great tips and advice.

See more of Zimbabwe

Tour the country, you won’t regret it
We flew to Victoria Falls with Air Zimbabwe, we’d heard mixed comments, due to reliability. However, I must admit, that other than it departed slightly late from Harare, the flight was comfortable.
A casual Janis standing on the tarmac in front of the air Zimbabwe flight to Victoria Falls
Our Air Zimbabwe flight to Victoria Falls Airport 
We’re now off to Hwange National Park for a few nights to hopefully see some incredible wildlife. I’ll let you know how we get on.

Another Option

We’re now off to Hwange National Park for a few nights to hopefully see some incredible wildlife. I’ll let you know how we get on.

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Inspired to visit Victoria Falls?

Why not stay at A’Zambezi River Lodge, not only is it set in a tranquil location out of town, you can enjoy a free shuttle bus to Victoria Falls.
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  1. Thank you for posting this guide! Its so interesting to see the town and not just the falls. Beautiful photos. Love this.#FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks Esther, I really appreciate your comments. Yes, I think the town does get overlooked a bit, people often just head straight for the falls.

  2. Really enjoyed this, I’ve never been to Africa and your pictures and descriptions make me want to! I would love to visit Victoria Falls one day#farawayfiles

    1. Thank you, it’s an incredible continent so diverse and the people in Zimbabwe were so friendly. Victoria Falls are breath-taking, you just can’t believe the size of them

  3. When visiting the falls on the Zim side, I decided to pop into town as well, before stopping by the Lookout Cafe on the way back to Zambia. I must admit I wasn’t too impressed, so it became a very short visit. Unfortunately didn’t spot the train station 🙁 #farawayfiles

    1. The town isn’t very big and can be quite busy at times. It’s a shame you missed the station, it’s a little bit of a blast from the past.

  4. Looks beautiful – I still have yet to make it to Africa! I think the beware of crocodiles sign would make me nervous! Hope the wedding was fun! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    1. We’ve only been to Zimbabwe and Namibia and I would highly recommend both. Thanks the wedding was great fun.

  5. Powerfull Victoria falls is the place to be so beautifully was there in January 2020

    1. Author

      Yes, it is incredible. You’re lucky you got there early this year, did you visit any other locations in Zimbabwe? It’s a magnificent country.

  6. Glad to see the Falls vibrant and still an amazing place.Was stationed there in the 1970’s as a police officer.Met my wife there,she worked as a receptionist at the A’Zambezi River Lodge.We still miss the place after all these years.Our home is full of mementos from from those days.Used to relax there at Vic Falls Hotel Plebs bar(Wonder if is still there.Really hope to go back there for a visit before we get too ancient.

    1. Author

      Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, both for the scenery and the people. It’s a shame that most visitors just go to Victoria Falls, as there is so much more to see.
      My uncle moved out there in the ’70s and is still there, although two of his children now live in the UK.
      We went to a family wedding in April 2019, prior to that we visited twice in the 90s, we certainly noticed the changes.
      The A’Zambezi River Lodge is where we stayed the location is amazing. It must have been an eyeopener working in Zim in the 70s.
      We always pick up mementoes too, we visited a Shona gallery in Harare, and I fell in love with some of the sculptures. They have a sister company in the UK, so I couldn’t resist purchasing one for my birthday.

      Did you travel around the country much while you were there? We haven’t really been east; however, my favourite location has to be Lake Kariba.

      I truly hope you get to visit, as it must hold some incredible memories for you.

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