Sports & nature
There is so much to do in both Livingstone and the surrounding areas, that it would be impossible to write it all in one paragraph. Below is a short list of some of the attractions which Livingstone has on offer (for the action packed adrenaline stuff, please refer to the Activities and Tours page). But don't forget that this is also the perfect place to sit back, sip an icy cold beer, read a book and lie by the pool!
Victoria Falls is arguably the most beautiful waterfall in the world. Spanning 1.7 kilometers with a 108-meter drop, it is not surprising that people have been drawn to this natural wonder since it was first discovered. It is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe and, in my expert opinion, is well worth experiencing from both countries. By traveling across the border to Zimbabwe, or Zim as the locals call it, you can see Victoria Falls in all its glory. As a bonus, there are usually multiple rainbows that form due to the heavy mist that comes from the millions of liters of water that flow over the edge every second. If you happen to be at Victoria Falls when the water is high (April to July) and there is a full moon, be sure to check out the lunar rainbow.
Victoria Falls is well known around the world so, of course, it is at the very tippy top of many peoples wishlist. However, seeing as there are so many different ways to experience the beauty and power of the falls, the best way was sitting directly on the edge, in Devil’s Pool. Devil’s Pool is located on the Zambian side of the falls and is truly as must-do activity. If you’re like me and enjoy a good adrenaline rush and some very worthy pictures for friends and family, then this will be perfect for you. After swimming in the pool, an added bonus is the eggs benedict breakfast you’ll get to enjoy afterwards on Livingstone Island, a truly delicious way to top off the adventure.
Walking with Lions
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Here you will get spoiled because you got to do try handling the jungle King. As a guest, you’ll spend an hour walking the lions through the African bush, stopping to take pictures with the playful cats while also learning important facts about the species. One of the best parts about this program is that all of the money raised from the walks goes directly towards the care of the lions and ALERT’s research to help repopulate areas of Africa with lions where they traditionally lived. So, not only do you get to hang out with these lions in the wild, but you’ll also help improve the fate of the wild lion prides in Africa.
You could never tire of seeing this awesome natural phenomenon. When the moon is full, the sky is relatively clear and the Victoria Falls are at their peak flow, huge rainbows appear through the mist at night. The thundering sound of millions of litres of water crashing down into the gorges below is pretty impressive in itself. Jollyboys Backpackers arranges special night trips during the full moon at high water (Jan-May). It's worth arranging a stay in Livingstone for this time.
Rapid #7, atop the Gorge
There are numerous spots to view the dramatic Zambian sunset, but this has to be one of the best. Perched atop the Batoka Gorge, above rapid #7, and with scenes of Zimbabwe, Zambia, the Zambezi and the distant spray of the Victoria Falls… where better to down a few cold ones at the end of a long day!.
Crocodile and Snake Park
This is a must if you are in the Livingstone area, especially for some awesome pictures! The park is stocked with problem crocodiles (ie. have eaten people and/or livestock) and various poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Saturday and Sunday afternoon is feeding time where it becomes quite obvious why these beasts rule the river!
Senior Chief Mukuni is involved with the promotion of tourism in Zambia and his village provides an excellent opportunity to see rural life in action. Located just outside Livingstone, the village is inhabited by about 8000 people of Toka-Leya decent. Life here goes on pretty much as usual, even with a few tourists about; though, curios are for sale. Please do not bring handouts for the children; however donations to the local school are always welcome. If you are lucky, meetings with Chief Mukuni can sometimes be arranged. Remember to dress modestly in any rural setting (especially woman) and ask before taking photos. Refer to the Travel Facts and Info (Local Social Conventions) page for more details.
Maramba Market incorporates just about every type of business venture imaginable. There are rows and rows of stalls for second hand clothes (some excellent deals!), woman selling fresh vegetables and dried beans, stacks of chitenge and places to fix your bike, sew your backpack, buy a bed or get a toy made from some copper wire and a couple of bottle tops. The people are used to lots of Muzungus being around (quite often this market is the best stocked in town!) so feel free to walk around and soak up the atmosphere but remember to dress modestly and ask before taking photos.
The Livingstone Museum is very well kept and informative and should be part of any visitor's stay. There are large displays about Zambia's independence, early man, witchcraft, local chiefs, crafts and an extensive selection of David Livingstone memorabilia (donated by his family). The museum also has a small gift shop.
Victoria Falls Field Museum
This small museum is based beside the Victoria Falls and is built around an actual excavation site. The museum focuses on the early people inhabiting the area as well as the geology and formation of the Victoria Falls.
Railway enthusiasts think that this place is great, but others should give it a miss. Rare steam locomotives and various information on the Cape to Cairo route are on display.
Rafting the Zambezi River
Rafting the Zambezi River was one of my favorite activities. There are many rafting places in the world but none come close to the Zambezi. River Zambezi is one of the top 10 places in the world to go rafting. You can choose between a full day and half day trip. The full day is highly recommended as you get to experience more rapids and don’t have to hike out of the canyon at the end. The rapids are big, the largest being a class 5, but if you fall out, which there is a 99.99% chance that you will survive. You don’t have to worry about getting your feet caught or hitting your head on rocks because the river is so deep. It is truly a blast and an awesome bonding experience with your fellow boat mates.
Most people go to Africa because they want to see the amazing wildlife in action. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that while you are visiting Zambia, you take advantage of all the game drives that are offered. Some will be overnight excursions, taking you into Zimbabwe or Botswana, while others are half-day trips. You can enjoy early morning and late evening game drives, as you are more likely to see the animals in action before the afternoon heat hits. Either way, you are bound to see some awesome wildlife and snap the perfect picture to capture that memory.
The White Rhinos
Seeing any wildlife in Africa is a remarkable experience but none was is as special as seeing the rhinos. There are nine white rhinos of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. These are endangered wildlife and are often under protection. The rhinos here show no fear, and are instead extremely inquisitive. The guards will often help shoo the young adults away when they get too close.
The market in Livingstone is a vibrant place filled with treasures waiting to be discovered. The key to enjoying yourself here is to be relaxed. Like in many developing countries, you will have people constantly calling after you to buy their items and this can be overwhelming. Instead of getting frustrated, enjoy the cultural immersion and set your inner haggler free. Be sure to never settle for anything until you get it at the “local” price.
Sun-downers at the Royal Livingstone
After a long day of adventures, the best way to relax is with a drink in your hand while watching a gorgeous African sunset. And there is no better place to do this than from the patio at the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Located directly on the Zambezi River just before Victoria Falls, it is the perfect place to “take a load off” and enjoy the scenery. But be warned, the zebras are wild and they will kick you if you get too close.