Victoria Falls Stories and Tips

Away from the Falls - out and about in Vic Falls town

When you’ve finally dried out from your drenching on the walks around the falls, head into town for a wander and perhaps a spot of shopping. The town itself is small -- really a one road show -- but with a couple of good "malls" that have a good range from not-too-pricey all the way up to Harare-gallery pieces for Shona experts with cash to spend.

The biggest selection can be found at the Landela Centre (down a rather uninspiring little dirt-road turning off Livingstone Way, but you’ll soon find your way) where you’ll find shops selling most forms of craftware (as well, it has to be said, as some overpriced tat). Prices are pretty good and, if you’re discerning, you can pick up pieces at similar prices to the Harare shops. Various different outlets offer T-shirts, ethnic beaded and silver jewellery and other clothing as well, if you’re so minded, as the odd tiger skin or elephant’s foot footstool (I was assured by the management that they were Victorian).

Alternatively, try along Adam Stander Drive for more one-stop shops : Jairos Jiri and the Falls Craft Village sell the gamut from postcards to jewellery, painting, and craftware and have some good reasonably-priced Shona sculpture and they both have an extremely good range in terms of both price and style; Dezign does some novel, colourful clothing and accessories. However, one thing to note here is that it’s a favourite hang out for beggars -– young children with pleading eyes lead apparently blind adults and are very persistent.

Sundays see exhibitions of Shona singing and dancing at some of the "malls" (again, not too good if the begging children are operating) –- and the groups have on offer the usual variety of their music on CD. You can sometimes catch them performing at some of the restaurants –- the Vic Falls Hotel restaurant hosts them on a Saturday night (but sadly the $20 buffet doesn’t justify eating there just for the music).

From here, it’s also worth a wander at any time from about 3pm onwards around town (you won’t see a soul save in restaurants before then) to see the station, which dates from 1906 when the line was built to bring the first tourists to the Falls. The line still doesn’t seem to see much action and the locals casually wander up and down the tracks -- there's a sign next to the sidings which warns "BEWARE OF TRAIN" but it’s pretty overgrown and seem to be totally ignored.

When the heat starts to fade, people come out to pass the time of day, spread some gossip on street corners and promenade (on a Sunday afternoon in their Sunday best - well worth the short walk into town to see the finery of the women alone).

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