Most of the time, when you travel, you get to experience new foods, new people, some different customs, but rarely do you get to travel somewhere unrecognizable to your way of life. The kind of 'immersive' travel that changes you on the inside. Zambia is like that.
Our time in Livingstone was filled with beautiful natural wonders, awe-inspiring wildlife, and the friendliest people I've ever met in my life. If you're willing to brave the 17-hour plane ride to Southern Africa (for those US-based anyway), I highly recommend you check out Livingstone. You won't be the same.
See below for my recommendations on how to get the most out of your time in Livingstone, Zambia.
SEE & DO
- Visit Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (translated to "the smoke that thunders" as called by the locals), is the destination activity in Livingstone. Forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is the longest waterfall in the world, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Top tips for visiting:
- Bring your raincoat - You will get wet like a heavy rainstorm. Don't get caught without something to cover your camera, or get stuck in wet clothes for the rest of the day.
- Hike to the 'Boiling Point', get sweaty, and cool off with a walk through the spray.
- If you stay at the nearby Avani Hotel, you have unlimited access to the falls for the duration of your stay.
- During a full moon, you can see the rare phenomenon of the lunar moon. Essentially, a rainbow made in the falls in the middle of the night. So very cool.
- Local Cowboy Bike Tour - Hands down, this was the best thing we did in Livingstone. This locally run tour provides you with a bike and tour guides as you visit local villages. This is not a typical tourist trip. You will meet children, see daily life, visit the market, experience housing in the suburbs and the rural villages, and visit a local village school (the tour proceeds fund the school!). They provide water and plenty of breaks. This tour will change you.
- Culture & Cooking Class - I really enjoyed this. Your tour guide will take you through the local market to choose/pay for your food. You will return to a guest house or local village area to wash, chop, cook and eat with local friends. By far the best meal we had in Zambia. You also get to get hear an interesting history lesson on traditional Zambian customs and practice local languages. The whole excursion lasts about 3 hours.
- Canoe Trip & Game Drive through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park - A four-hour canoe down the Zambezi river + a couple of hours for the game drive. We had an excellent guide and were able to see some up-close hippopotamuses (we saw a pod of 60!), birds, elephants, and crocodiles. Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable about the different trees, birds, and wildlife. Highly recommend this intimate experience on the river.
- Day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana - Less than an hour to the border of Botswana and Chobe National Park, this day trip is a must if you have time. Chobe is best known for its concentrations of elephants - some 120,000 in all - along with cape buffalo, crocodiles, elephants, giraffe, zebras, impalas, and more. It was the greatest concentration of wildlife we saw in one area. You will start the morning with a game drive, and end with a motor boat cruise allowing you to be up close and personal with your favorite wild animals.
- Tea/Cocktails at the Royal Livingstone - Pretend you're on a British holiday in the 1950s with a stop at the Royal Livingstone. In British tradition, this popular hotel serves traditional High Tea at 3:00 PM daily (no reservations necessary). Enjoy unlimited tea sandwiches, bakery confections and your selection of teas. The hotel is situated on the directly on the Zambezi, so make sure to soak in the beautiful views.
I have linked each tour we used specifically, but there are many, many options available in Livingstone. Everyone we met was very friendly to us, and very willing to answer our questions, so I don't think you can really go wrong.
My last tip? Watch out for hungry baboons! Enjoy!