Livingstone is all about the Victoria Falls, an amazing experience that you’ll never get tired of seeing. Once the Falls were ‘discovered’ the town became a little enclave in the heart of Africa, and enjoyed excellent facilities superior to anywhere elsewhere in Zambia. It was established in 1905 and named after the famous Victorian missionary, Dr David Livingstone. It still has some charming Edwardian buildings and a strong whiff of old colonialism, livened up by African exuberance.
Apart from the Falls, the town itself has the nicely presented Livingstone Museum and a lively local market. Several tour companies offer white water rafting, canoeing, horse riding, abseiling, cruises, lion walks and elephant rides.
Livingstone is a great base for adventure tourism. The Falls themselves are at their daunting best from February to May when the volume of water is mind-boggling. The spray at the viewing points can hide the view then, but you’ll get gleefully soaking wet and dry off again within minutes. In October and November the water level is low, so you have panoramic views with no mist. The Zambian side can dry up almost completely in these months. No matter when you visit, hire a car or hook up with a tour operator to go and see the Falls from the Zimbabwe side too for the full experience.
Zambia is GMT +2 with no Daylight Saving Time.
Zambia’s currency is the Kwacha and it fluctuates readily. You can change money in banks, bureaux de change and hotels. There are ATMs in the town centre and in the shopping centre on the way to Victoria Falls. Most bank ATMs accept Visa cards, and some take MasterCard. Most tourist-friendly places take credit cards and usually vendors happily accept US dollars.
The best time to visit is from February to May after the summer rains, when the falls are at their most spectacular. From October to November the weather is hot and humid, but the river is still low after the dry winter months. Most rain falls between October and February with a dry period from May to August.
Plug sockets in Zambia can be of three types: the UK style with three square pins, the European two round pin variety or the three round pin type. The standard voltage is 230 V.
Livingstone has good mobile phone network coverage and several places with wifi hotspots, including the hotels. There’s free wifi at the airport too.
The town centre is small and you can walk around it easily, but some of the nicer lodges are slightly further out. Some run shuttles into town and to the falls, about 10km from the town. Taxis are common and they may pick up other passengers on your route unless you object.
Airport to City Center
Livingstone Airport has been upgraded and was renamed after Harry Mwanga Nkumbula, the leader of the ANC in Zambia. Most of the bigger hotels and lodges run shuttles to and from the airport, otherwise taxis are the only way into town.