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Last summer I scored a business trip jackpot to South Africa. It was last-minute and I scrambled to put together a weekend outing. If anyone at the company had asked why I vanished from South Africa, I would have said, “Well, you kept warning me about the security, so I decided to step out for a bit.” I pored over regional award options on South African Airways and British Airways, coming up with almost nothing last-minute so I sucked it up and bought a revenue ticket on BA for Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls is accessed by either Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) in Zimbabwe or Livingston Airport (LVI) in Zambia. Both have regular flights to Johannesburg, both countries charge visa fees for many nationalities, and both allow a certain amount of visa-free daytripping (always subject to whim and change) to the falls on the other side. For a time Livingstone became the fallback for people nervous about Zimbabwe, though Zimbabwe, especially at Victoria Falls, has gotten much more stable. I chose to fly in to Zimbabwe and out of Zambia for the sake of variety. I based myself in Zimbabwe which I was glad as the town is a walkable distance from the falls, while Livingstone is considerable distance from the falls over in Zambia, the area near the falls only occupied by sprawling high-end hotels and a highway. I never felt unsafe, finding the town and people quite pleasant.
I only had 3 days and the flights are mostly midday. Upon arrival at VFA and after the long visa-on-arrival line, I went straight to the falls to maximize daylight. I need not have been in such a scramble. The park is right at the falls and a good visit from one end to the other on the flat trail is easily accomplished in 1-2 hours. Water flow changes by season and visibility by moment. In my brief walk there were moment of rainbow clarity alternating with impenetrable mist.
Left with several hours of daylight and an open Saturday I headed to town to explore the activity options on offer, ranging from safari to bungee jumping. I chose night safari followed by a day trip over to Botswana. Why not slip over to another country?