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Victoria Falls is about 74km east of the Kazungula border between Botswana and Zimbabwe.

In town, curio vendors ply their trade between tour operators vigorously flogging the usual adrenaline-pumping activity packages and there’s no denying that Victoria Falls is absolutely built around tourism ‒ ac vi es are expensive and the hard-sell energy about town can be overwhelming. It’s still possible, though, for 4×4 self-drivers without foreign budgets to make this a worthwhile detour, if they know where to look.

For first-time visitors, and returning ones too, a visit to Victoria Falls National Park is a must. The 16 viewpoints, joined by pathways that wind through the evergreen rainforest, all provide spectacular views of different sections of the 1.7km-wide falls, which, at its peak, spills more than 550 million liters of water (enough to fill 220 Olympic-size swimming pools) into the Batoka Gorge every minute. Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe it.

To get even closer to the mighty falls, skip the expensive adrenaline activities and take a hike down into the gorge with an experienced guide.

About 5km out of town is the Zambezi National Park. It’s the closest you’ll get to the eponymous river and it’s home to the Big Five. Some sections are accessible by 4×4 only, which means you’re likely to have sightings to yourself.

where to stay

There are two public campsites in Zambezi National Park, Chundu 1 and 2, on the banks of the river. Camping costs include a conservation fee. +263-470-6077/8, www.zimparks.org Pamusha Lodge is the best-value guest lodge in Vic falls. Rooms have aircon and Dstv. +263-779-369-160 www.pamushalodgevicfalls.com

activities

For fees for entrance to Victoria Falls National Park  (S17° 55.502′ E25° 50.818′) and entrance to Zambezi National Park and a fee per vehicle see website (S17° 54.003′ E25° 49.036′), +263-470-6077/8, www.zimparks.org. There is a hike into the Batoka Gorge,  costs include park fees.

(S17° 55.920′ E25° 50.058′), +263-772-368-010, www.rawadrenaline.org

points of interest

Victoria Falls Info Centre (S17° 55.674’E25° 50.290′), Engen (S17° 55.674′ E25°50.392′)