Towards the end of last year I spent three glorious nights hopping around Victoria Falls and Chobe in Botswana (and added a new country to my ‘visited’ list! Yay!) and loved every minute of it! Three days was just enough to get a taste of these two destinations but I left still wanting more, which is why I think spending six days exploring these two areas will be the perfect amount of time.
The perfect six-day Victoria Falls and Botswana Itinerary
The perfect six-day itinerary for Victoria Falls and Botswana includes three nights in Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side and three nights in Chobe in Botswana. Because these two spots are both situated close to the borders it’s easy enough to travel between the two countries. It’s also easy enough to pop over to Zambia, and possibly even Namibia if you’d like to add a couple more countries to your ‘visited’ list.
The two properties that I mention below both fall under the Africa Albida Tourism group, so booking them together makes it all the more convenient.
Three Days in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
We landed at the Victoria Falls International Airport in Zimbabwe which was just under an hours drive from where we were staying at the Victoria Falls Safari Club. After checking in and freshening up we had a quick tour of the property followed by sundowners.
The Victoria Falls Safari Club is an absolutely spectacular property. The rooms are beautiful and have everything that you need — large, comfy beds with mosquito nets, spacious bathrooms with showers and baths, Nespresso machine and tea- and- coffee-making facilities, and a small balcony with beautiful views out into the bush. The dining area is a lovely, relaxing area where they serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, sundowners, and dinner. We only had sundowners and breakfast there — both great. On the same property is the Victoria Falls Safari Suites and Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, which have slightly more affordable rates.
That night we had dinner at the popular Boma restaurant, which includes a traditional spread of various meats, salads, vegetables, potatoes, and bread (as well as Mopani worms – which you can get a certificate for eating in front of the chef! I skipped this one…). It’s a vibey atmosphere. We were dressed in traditional clothes upon entering and later had our faces painted with different African animals. After dinner, there is a traditional drumming and dancing show – always fun for tourists! If you’re brave enough, you can also have a meeting with the local Sangoma to have your fortune told.
The next day we had an early breakfast then set off to see Victoria Falls. It’s US$20 per person for entry into the Rainforest on the Zimbabwean side (there is a card machine, but take cash just in case it isn’t working for some reason). Three-quarters of Victoria Falls lies within Zimbabwe, and there are so many amazing views. There are 15 viewpoints on the Zimbabwean side and another four on the Zambian side. Each viewpoint seemed to get more and more amazing – it truly is an unbelievable sight to see! It wasn’t the high season when we were there, but still spectacular. If you want to see the falls in full flood then you should go from February to May.
We then went back to the hotel to check out and hop onto our transfer to Chobe, which took about three hours.
Our time in Zimbabwe felt a bit too short, which is why I think three days would be best to properly experience the area. Having three days in Zimbabwe means that you can take part in more of the activities in the area, including white water rafting, bungee jumping, hiking, and wildlife safaris. You can also check out the Victoria Falls on the Zambian side by walking across the bridge.
Three Days in Chobe, Botswana
We stayed at Ngoma Safari Lodge in Chobe which was another absolutely beautiful property. I am so in love with Botswana so I loved every minute being back in the country, and the beautiful setting of Ngoma definitely helped. It’s located just outside of the main reserve, away from the busy hustle of Kasane which means that it’s a bit quieter in the surrounding area. The lodge is built to look over a large marshland, which in season attracts loads of animals. There were permanently groups of Zebra, Wildebeest and Giraffe grazing in front of the lodge while we were there.
The rooms are individual chalets, each with their own plunge pool, sun loungers, and outdoor shower. Inside, the rooms have large windows looking out into the bush and again, include all of the amenities that you would need. Because there are no fences in Botswana, you aren’t allowed to walk between your room to the main lodge area alone at night. Guards will come and collect you and drop you off at your rooms after dark.
During your three days at Ngoma Safari Lodge you can join as many game drives as you’d like – there are morning, afternoon, and evening drives available. I’d recommend joining the full day safari on one of your days. This includes a boat safari along the Chobe River followed by a full afternoon game drive in the afternoon with a picnic stop for lunch. While it is a long day on the road, the area is so packed with animals that you are constantly kept entertained and don’t even notice time going by. A few animals that we saw include lions, wild dogs, hippos, crocodiles, buffalos, a jackal, zebras, loads of impalas and other antelope, fish eagles, tortoises, and more. I was a bit bummed that we didn’t see any elephants (only two on our way out of Botswana), as they are my favourite animal. They had apparently all moved deeper into the park as there was more water available.
Everything at Ngoma Safari Lodge was impeccable, from the personalised service to the rooms and the food. Every single meal that we had was delicious, including the buffet that they set up in the newly built boma on our last night. I’d highly recommend this lodge to completely unplug, unwind, and enjoy an African safari experience at its very best.
How to Get There
We flew fastjet from Johannesburg (OR Tambo) to Victoria Falls International Airport in Zimbabwe. A representative from Tourlink met us at the airport and took us to the hotel. The same driver then took us to Victoria Falls the next day, as well as to the border on our way to Botswana. At the Kazangula border, we were met by a representative from Ngoma Safari Lodge to take us the rest of the way. Having all of our transfers pre-organized made it a whole lot easier.
You can get tickets from JHB to Victoria Falls with fastjet for about R1,600 – R1,800 (US$130 – $145) each way. It’s important to note that because they are a budget airline, baggage is not included in the base fare and needs to be added separately. If you pre-book this online it’s R280 (US$22) per bag. The flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls takes about two hours.
Top tips for traveling to Victoria Falls and Botswana
A few tips when planning your trip to Vic Falls and Botswana:
Book your trip with a tour operator
This is the first time that I’ve ever said to pre-book your entire trip with a tour operator beforehand (as I’m more of a ‘let’s just arrive and wing it’ kinda traveler), but I definitely think that it is a thousand times easier than doing it alone for this particular trip. At the very least organize transport to pick you up from the airport as Uber does not exist and there are very few (if any) taxi’s available. Check with your accommodation if they can organize a shuttle – otherwise a tour operator like Tourlink can assist.
Essentials to pack
Make sure the following items are packed in your suitcase:
- Sunscreen (African sun ain’t a joke – Nivea SPF 50 is a good option),
- A sunhat,
- Rain jacket (it can get quite wet at Vic Falls),
- Comfortable walking shoes (your trusty Tommies will do),
- Waterproof bag/sleeve for your camera/phone while at Vic Falls,
- Binoculars (though, animals are generally in abundance in Botswana so you likely won’t be straining to see faraway animals),
- A portable charger (to keep your phone charged on those long safari drives), and
- Insect repellent.
Bring cash with you
Make sure to have cash (US Dollars) with you when entering Zimbabwe, they are still going through hard economic times so you’ll struggle to find an ATM with cash in it.
South Africans do not need a visa to enter either Zimbabwe or Botswana. US citizens will, however, need to get a visa upon arrival at the airport in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe visa will cost US$30, alternatively, there is the UniVisa which is valid for 30 days for multiple entries into both Zimbabwe and Zambia for US$50. The UniVisa is worth it if you’re planning on hopping over to Zambia as well. US citizens will not need a visa for entry into Botswana.
Thank you to Africa Albida Tourism and fastjet for sponsoring this trip. As always, all views and opinions expressed are my own.