Victoria Falls International Airport (IATA code: CFA) is one of the most recent beneficiaires of a splurge of Chinese investment in Zimbabwe. The result is a new runway and terminal and the ability to handle up to 1.7m passengers a year, compared to 500,000 previously.
For visitors to nearby Victoria Falls, the new airport is a boon. Situated in the far north-west of Zimbabwe, the world-famouse waterfalls are a long way from the country’s two other international airports. But they are only 13 miles from Vic Falls airport. You can reach the Victoria Falls National Park by following signs on route A8 from the airport. This is a modern, two lane tarmac road.
Domestic flights into Vic Falls are available from Harare and Bulawayo, but many visitors fly in directly from airports outside Zimbabwe, from which direct flights to Europe and the USA are available.
Driving long distances in Zimbabwe can be challenging, but shorter journeys by hire car are normally straightforward. Many tourists choose to fly into Victoria Falls and then hire a car to visit the falls and explore the local area. At the time of writing (Aug 2017), car rental was available at the airport from a number of well-know hire companies:
A full range of rental car sizes was on offer, including mini, economy, compact, intermediate and 4×4 offerings. Prices may seem high compared to typical European and US car hire rates, but this is largely a reflection of the high cost of importing and buying new cars in Zimbabwe. In our experience, these rates are typical for this region.
Driving in Zimbabwe
Drive on the left in Zimbabwe. Give way to the right at roundabouts.
Police road blocks are said to be frequent and although not usually troublesome, it’s important to make sure that your hire car contains all legally-required safety equipment, and that you carry all necessary papers and identification documents.
In rural areas and national parks, a 4×4 may be necessary. Aim to fill up with fuel and use restroom facilities, etc, when in towns. Try not to stop in highway lay bys, as these are not always the most salubrious or safe places.
Try to avoid driving at night. In urban areas, robbery and hijacking are a risk. In rural areas, wildlife, potholes and other obstructions could be dangerous in the dark.
Several traveller accounts mention the importance of moving out of the way if you spot the President’s motorcade on the road. Regardless of which direction you are travelling in, stop as soon as you see it and pull as far off the road as possible.
Internet reports seem to suggest that for tourists, driving in Zimbabwe was relatively trouble-free until late in 2016. However, during 2017, reports have suggested that road blocks and spurious fines have become far more of a nuisance.
For information about airport car hire at other locations in Zimbabwe, click here.