Africa's Four Corners

The Victoria Falls are the result of the fall of the Zambezi River through a crack in the basalt plateau through which the river flows.
••• Miguel A. Marti/Getty Images

Do you have problems figuring out "what is what" when it comes to Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the Zambezi? They do all sound similar, especially if you're being introduced to them for the first time. If you are planning a safari and including the Victoria Falls in your itinerary, then it's a good idea to get familiar with the "4 corners" in southern Africa. The "4 corners" is a popular term used to refer to the area where the great Zambezi and the Chobe rivers join ZimbabweZambia, Namibia, and Botswana together.

This is actually the only place in Africa where 4 countries meet.

With 3 airports in the region: Kasane (Botswana), Livingstone (Zambia) and Victoria Falls(Zimbabwe), and relatively "easy" land and boat border crossings between the four countries - you could potentially enjoy breakfast in Namibia, lunch in Botswana and dinner in either Zambia or Zimbabwe.

Making Sense of the Geographic Area

The Zambezi River forms the divide between Angola and the Northern border of the Caprivi strip (the thin long "panhandle" of Namibia that reaches out 250 miles east of the country), then rushes over the the Victoria Falls and courses through the spectacular Batoka Gorge about 50 miles east of the "4 corners" and continues to mark the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, flowing through Lake Kariba, then Mozambique and ultimately out to the Indian Ocean.

Along the southern border of the same Caprivi strip, the Chobe River separates Namibia from Botswana before its confluence with the Zambezi.

One of Botswana's best-known game parks, the Chobe National Park, teeming with elephant, stretches along it's the southern bank for roughly 90 miles. 

Chobe is easily accessed from Kasane Airport (the nearest park gate is about 15 minutes away), which is also frequently the point of departure for guests flying on to the Okavango Delta, Linyanti, and Savuti areas.

Shuttle buses and private transfers are readily available as ground transportation between Livingstone, Victoria Falls, and Kasane. The trip takes between 2- 2.5 hours from either point and can be booked by your tour operator or at any of the local hotels. Bushtracks is a good ground operator to check in to. You will change vehicles or go from vehicle to boat at the border with Botswana. Here your passports will be checked and visas purchased as per official requirements (check with local embassies as it depends on your nationality).

Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe is a "must visit" even if for just one night. Known as the adventure capital of Africa (not least for a 350 feet bungee jump off the bridge that connects Zimbabwe with Zambia), it also offers the broadest view of the falls, about two-thirds of the width of the Zambezi river, and the airport serves guests connecting to safari destinations like Hwange National ParkKariba, or the beautiful Mana Pools area - again flanking the mighty Zambezi further east.

Another border crossing from Victoria Falls Town (Zimbabwe) into Livingstone (Zambia), affords access to the eastern cataract, as well as (seasonally) the precipitous Livingstone Island and the famous Devils Pool at the lip of the thundering abyss.

Along the Zambezi River's northern bank, several lodges including the Royal Livingstone serve as a base for exploration, or a stepping stone en route to Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park to the East (across the Zambezi from the Mana Pools) or South Luangwa National Park further north east (usually requiring a connection in Lusaka).

Driving about 90 minutes westward from Livingstone back towards Namibia however, leads one to the Kazangulu border post where crossing from Zambia back into Botswana is possible only by boat or ferry, and yes - the exact spot in the water where the four countries meet.

The "four corners" makes it possible to visit at least 2-3 uniquely different countries with minimal travel time.