Victoria Falls started with a little curio shop and slowly expanded until the 1970s, when it became the mecca around which the tourist phenomenon of Victoria Falls pivoted. The political problems following independence have been well documented in the world press and have certainly taken their toll.
There has been significant poaching in Zambezi National Park to the northwest. (If you really want to have the African game experience, take a day trip to Chobe National Park, only 70 km [44 miles] away in Botswana.) The country is currently regaining political stability, and the town of Victoria Falls enjoys the happy coincidence of being a curio shopper's paradise inside a national park. This means you can literally buy an elephant carving while watching the real McCoy march past the shop window. The town is extremely compact. Almost all the hotels are within walking distance, and the Falls itself is only 10 minutes away on foot. The main road that runs through town and goes to the Falls in one direction and to the airport in the other is called Livingstone Way. Park Way is perpendicular. Most of the shops, banks, and booking agents can be found on these two streets, and this part of town is also where most of the hawkers operate. Give these vendors a clear berth, as their wares are cheap for a reason (the boat cruise is substandard, it's illegal to change money, etc.)
Spectacular wilderness, perfect year-round climate, Zimbabwe ranks as one of the most beautiful countries in southern Africa. More than 400 species of wildlife roam the savannas of Hwange National Park. Ancestral rock paintings of ancient San Bushmen mesmerize in the Matobo Hills. Flowing from the Zambezi are the thundering waters of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. From the mighty river derives the Mana Pools National Park, a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site and stunning animal sanctuary.