Zambezi River Cruise | Magical Boat Rides, Prices, & More


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The mighty Zambezi River is truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Affectionately known as Southern Africa’s “River of Life,” this awe-inspiring waterway captures the hearts of any traveler once they get a glimpse of it.

Acting as a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it has supported life here for thousands of years. To make things better, it continues to sustain both the people living around the river and the vast array of animal life.

As you tour Africa, there will no doubt be a few destinations that you’ll want to tick off on your bucket list. We firmly believe that the Zambezi should be one of them. And what better way to do so than with a scenic Zambezi River Cruise?


  • Enjoy seeing a vast array of animal life as you cruise down the river.
  • Soak up the stunning views across the river at sunset.
  • Enjoy a delicious 3 or 4-course meal on a sunset cruise.

Know before you book:

  • Ticket prices don’t include park fees of $10 per person.
  • Not all tours include drinks and snacks.
  • Some tours only offer hotel pickup and dropoff for visitors who start in Victoria Falls Town lodges or hotels.

Elephant in the Zambezi

The Zambezi River is the fourth longest river in Africa. While it’s most notable for its presence in Zambia and Zimbabwe, it actually flows through six different countries. The other four include Angola, Namibia, and Botswana, before eventually flowing out into the Indian Ocean Delta in Mozambique.

In Zambia and Zimbabwe, the river stretches for over 310 miles (500 km) and is separated into the Upper, Middle, and Lower Zambezi River sections.

Its most notable feature is the thundering and spectacular Victoria Falls, which locals call “Smoke that Thunder.,” It’s also the source of other waterfalls, including the Chuvama Falls and Ngonye Falls.

The Zambezi River is one of great contrasts. In some areas, such as the Batoka Gorge, it is extremely fast-flowing, making it a popular spot for white river rafting. On the flip side, other parts of the river are quite slow-moving, making it more suitable for Zambezi river cruises.

So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to round up the best cruises for an epic adventure along the Zambezi. From sunset dinner cruises to simplistic boat rides, you’re in for a good time.

Zambezi River Cruises Prices

The cost of the tickets/tours for a Zambezi river cruise starts at about $45 and can go up to $110, depending on the duration of the activity. Whether the tour includes meals and drinks or not also affects the prices.

It’s important to note that these prices do not include the $10 National Park fees that operators have to pay, and you’ll need to pay this before you embark on the cruise.

Compare prices across the ticket providers below:

Sunset Cruise, Victoria Falls & Zambezi River Cruise Times

Cruise tours and rides can depart as early as 6:30 am and as late as 5 pm. It all depends on which tour you’d like to join.

Best Time to Go for a Zambezi River Cruise

The best time to go for a cruise down the Zambezi River is from June to October. This is when it’s the dry season. With little chance of rain, and there are no river floods at this time. This is also the best time for wildlife viewing, which includes birds and hippos.

Hippo in the Zambezi

What Can You Expect on a Zambezi River Cruise?

You’re in for quite the adventure as you cruise down the Zambezi. Expect incredible scenery, a fantastic atmosphere, and great company.

If you enjoy wildlife photography, then this is a great opportunity to bring your camera along, as there is a wide array of animals, such as birds with vivid colors, elephants, and hippos to capture. It’s almost like an African safari on water.

Zambezi Explorer River Cruises

Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for – our top picks for a Zambezi river cruise! Whether you’re an early bird or an in-the-afternoon kind of person, there’s a tour for you. Here’s what you can expect.

Victoria Falls: 2-Hour Luxury Zambezi River Sunset Cruise

Victoria Falls Sunset Cruise

This relaxing cruise is the perfect way to end a long day of exploring and sightseeing around the Victoria Falls area. Plus, if you’re short on time, it’s only two hours long, making it the perfect last-minute adventure.

What we liked: A Scenic adventure that also comes with canapes and drinks.

  • Welcome drinks
  • Canapes
  • Hotel pickup and dropoff

  • $10 National Park fee
  • Gratuities

After being picked up, your guide for this Victoria Falls sunset cruise will lead you down to the waterfront area. From there, you’ll hop on board a luxurious vessel where you’ll be welcomed with drinks and freshly prepared canapes.

This vessel is large and has an ample seating area for you to relax and unwind by yourself or in the company of friends and family. Before it gets too dark, you’ll sail past the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls while watching the sun set over this vast river.

As the evening carries on, take note of the various wildlife around you. It’s highly likely that you’ll see a hippo taking a peek at you or a croc lazing around on the river banks. Also, keep an eye out for an elephant or two and the wonderful sounds of birds calling before heading back to the waterfront to head home.

Seating Area Vic Falls Cruise

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Victoria Falls: Dinner Cruise on the Zambezi River

Reflections Cruise

After a long day of sightseeing, we’re pretty sure you’ll be hungry, right? That’s where this Zambezi River cruise comes in. Not only will you get to enjoy the gorgeous sunset and views along the river, but you’ll also be treated to an elaborate four-course meal.

What we liked: The meals are freshly prepared on board.

  • Four-course meal
  • Choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Hotel pickup and dropoff

  • $10 National Park fee
  • Gratuities

This river cruise is a stand out amongst its competitors because it’s one that seamlessly blends together great views and atmosphere with African hospitality.

As you sail down the Zambezi, you’ll be served an array of meals freshly prepared onboard. All around you are the pleasant noises of the “River of Life,” highlighting the beauty of the African continent.

Dinner Cruise

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Livingstone: Zambezi River Sunset Cruise

African Queen Sunset Cruise

This tour departs from the Upper Zambezi and is only two hours long. While this river cruise isn’t the longest, it’s still long enough for you to have an adventure of a lifetime. And it comes with drinks and snacks, so what more could you ask for?

What we liked: This is a budget river cruise.

  • Drinks and snacks
  • Hotel pickup and dropoff

  • $10 National Park fee
  • Gratuities

After a day of exploring the town of Livingstone, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a rewarding end to the day by hopping on board the African Queen vessel. This large boat will slowly glide down the Zambezi, allowing you to marvel at the sunset as it colors the river in deep hues of orange and red.

While doing so, you’ll be treated to a variety of drinks prepared by a skillful mixologist and tasty treats.

Cruising Down the Zambezi

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FAQs About Zambezi Africa River Cruises

Here are some answers to questions that you might have wondered regarding some Zambezi River cruises.

How Long does it take to Get From Victoria Falls to the Zambezi River Waterfront

Victoria Falls Town is roughly about 3.2 miles (5 km) from the Zambezi River Waterfront, where cruises depart from. The drive should take around seven minutes. Ideally, your guides will pick you up 30 minutes before your cruise.

Do Zambezi River Cruises Depart from Zambia?

Yes, they do. The easiest place to depart for a Zambezi cruise from Zambia is from the town of Livingstone.

What Should You Bring Along for a Cruise?

  • A light jacket for when it starts getting chilly in the evenings.
  • Comfortable shoes
  • A few extra dollars, as gratuities, are not included in the tour price. You will also need an additional $10 to cover the cost of traveling through the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.

End of Day on Zambezi

8.5Expert Score
This is a fantastic activity to enjoy as a solo traveler or with family and friends. You’ll have the opportunity to admire the most picturesque views of the great Zambezi River, great atmosphere, and wonderful African hospitality.
Value for Money
  • Opportunity to discover this great area
  • Short distance from Victoria Falls
  • Most cruises come with meals or snacks and drinks
  • Most cruises include hotel pickup and dropoff
  • Most vessels are spacious and can accommodate wheelchair users
  • Not very clear differentiation between the cruises
  • If you stay outside the Victoria Falls Town and Livingstone areas, hotel pickup and drop will not be included.
  • No concessions for special dietary requirements

Specification: Zambezi River Cruise | Magical Boat Rides, Prices, & More


Wheelchair accessible


2 Hours


Meals and drinks


hotel pick-up and drop-off (unless specified), National Park entrance fees, Gratuities

Best suited for

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Zambezi River Cruise | Magical Boat Rides, Prices, & More
Zambezi River Cruise | Magical Boat Rides, Prices, & More
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