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Victoria Falls

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The world-famous Victoria Falls - Africa's adventure capital - marks the spot where the mighty Zambezi River gathers its strength and tumbles into a series of dramatic gorges 100 metres below - the single largest continuous falling curtain of water in the world.

The falls are also officially known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders) in the local Lozi language – a name that perfectly captures the almost mystical atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site (also listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World).

The neighbouring towns of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side and Livingstone on the Zambia side are thriving tourism hubs easily accessed by road, rail or air. Scroll past the safari packages below to find out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about Victoria Falls

The safaris below all include time spent in Victoria Falls

Everything you need to know about Victoria Falls

Because to immerse yourself into that thumping energy of the Smoke that Thunders is to recharge your batteries and awake the adventurer within each of us. Vic Falls is rightly on most safari bucket lists - you could spend months there and enjoy a new experience every day.

Victoria Falls straddles both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides of the mighty Zambezi River and combines seamlessly with many other African safari hotspots as a convenient add-on. It’s a brief road transfer from Chobe in Botswana and Hwange in Zimbabwe and a short flight from Botswana’s Okavango Delta or Greater Kruger in South Africa. You could also easily connect to Cape Town and the Cape Winelands after your Vic Falls sojourn.

This is the adrenalin capital of the world, but it’s also a genuine safari destination with plenty of traditional safari activities on offer - and a few more! Check out our list of things to do in Victoria Falls below.

The Zambezi National Park on the Zimbabwe side of the river and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park on the Zambian side offer convenient safari activities a short drive or walk away from the bustle of this vibey bushveld town.


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TRAVEL DIARY - Vic Falls - Africa's adventure capital

Victoria falls map

Tour of the Falls

This is a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sights, sounds and smells of this iconic natural masterpiece. No photograph truly explains the experience of being there.

This tour is conducted in the morning and afternoon. You will be accompanied through the rainforest by a qualified and experienced guide, who will give a brief history of the Falls themselves and point out the trees, birds and wildlife and other points of interest. Raincoats are provided when the water levels are high, and the water vapour is so thick it feels like rain!


Livingstone Island and the Devil's Pool

Livingstone Island is a small island in the middle of the Falls, at the very edge. During low water times, it's possible to get to the island by foot or boat and swim in a rock pool at the top of the Falls, with elbows hanging out over the 100m drop! The island can only be accessed from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls and only during the low-water months of August to January.


Zambezi sunset cruise

A sunset cruise on the Zambezi River is a superb way to relax and enjoy the serenity and spectacular beauty of the Zambezi River upstream of the Falls. The renowned African sunsets provide wonderful photo opportunities as flocks of birds skim the water and another perfect safari day winds down. You may even spot hippos, crocodiles and elephants as you drift peacefully along. The sunset cruise is very popular and includes finger snacks, beer, wine, local spirits and soft drinks.


Helicopter flight – the ‘Flight of Angels’

The spectacular helicopter flight over Victoria Falls is known as the ‘Flight of Angels’ – so named because David Livingstone famously described the Falls as “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. The best way to truly appreciate the splendour of the Falls is to view them from the air, and the helicopters have specially designed ‘bubble-shaped’ windows to provide a panoramic view from above.


Microlight flight over the Falls

The best way to truly appreciate the splendour of the Falls is to view them from the air, so join an experienced pilot on a microlight flight over Victoria Falls and the surrounding attractions.


White water rafting

The mighty Zambezi River plunges over Victoria Falls and thunders into the canyons below – forming the highway for the most thrilling ride of your life! Have no fear, though, because you’re in the hands of extremely experienced and qualified guides who ride these waves daily.

You will be given the option of either

  • an “oar boat” (controlled and manoeuvred by the guide using 12-foot-long oars from the middle of the raft. You are seated in the front and rear of the raft and hold on to the safety line around the perimeter) or

  • a “paddle boat” (guests are seated around the perimeter of the boat and assist with paddling and manoeuvring the raft through the rapids and the calm stretches).

The walk in and out of the gorge after your rafting adventure is steep and rocky. The walk out is approximately 750 feet to the top of the gorge and requires a reasonable degree of fitness. Waiting at the top is cold beer, soft drink and water.


Bungee jump

The iconic Victoria Falls bridge bungee jump is on any adrenaline junkie’s bucket list. At 111 metres, it is also one of the highest jumps in the world, and the view down to the mighty Zambezi River is simply exceptional. You will be escorted across the bridge to pass through the Zambian immigration point and to your jump platform.


Chobe day trip

Chobe National Park in Botswana is well known for its large herds of elephants that gather on the Chobe River banks during the dry winters. Other species, such as lion, leopard, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, zebra, sable, puku, kudu, eland and roan are also frequently seen.

You will be transferred by road from Victoria Falls to the Kazungula border post with Botswana, where your Botswana guide will meet you. You will then enjoy a morning boat cruise, followed by lunch and an afternoon game drive. You will then be taken back to the Kazungula border for your transfer back to Victoria Falls.


Big 5 game drive

Game drives within Zambezi National Park, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve are a great way to see the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and black rhino) plus a variety of other species such as hippo, crocodile, various antelope species and many bird species. The drives are conducted in open four‐wheel drive vehicles.


Canoe trip on the upper Zambezi River

Enjoy a gentle paddle down the languid Zambezi River far upstream of the Falls, exploring the converging channels and scanning the riverbanks for animals in the national park. Canoe safaris bring you one step closer to nature, yet safe under the expert guidance of experienced and qualified guides. Look for crocodiles and hippos in the river and elephants on the banks as you are swept along by the stream. A Zambezi River canoeing safari is a fun-filled activity for the whole family!


Walking safari

This is your chance to experience the detail of the African bush, in a spectacular wild setting along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. Bush walks are conducted in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park near Livingstone, Zambia. Your professional guide and scout will brief you about safety aspects of the walking safari. During the walk, your guide will inform you about the fascinating species you will encounter and answer your many questions.


Horse riding

This is your chance to canter through the open bushveld, explore hidden paths and roam through wilderness areas in the Victoria Falls area. There is no shortage of wild rugged countryside, and this exhilarating experience is suitable for all levels of rider. You might track elephants and buffalos along the shady banks of the Zambezi River, or approach within a few metres of impala or kudu. You will be led by an experienced guide and back up rider, who will share their passion for the wildlife and area. Refreshments will be provided, and there will be a picnic lunch stop during longer rides, with a short siesta through the midday heat at the hottest times of the year.


Bird-watching

Bird-watching safaris in the Victoria Falls area for the keen twitcher are tailor-made – based on which species are being targeted. You go by open safari vehicle, on foot or by boat in search of an array of species through a variety of habitats such as teak and mopane woodlands, grassland and riverine forest of the Zambezi National Park. There are about 415 bird species in the area, and over 130 species have been seen in one day! Notable species include Pel's fishing owl, rock pratincole, grey-headed parrot, African skimmer, white-backed night heron, African finfoot, collared palm-thrush, Dickinson’s kestrel and western banded snake-eagle.


Canopy tour

The Victoria Falls canopy tour offers amazing views of the Zambezi rapids, Victoria Falls bridge and the Falls spray. There is a network of nine slides (40 to 85 metres long), trails and a rope bridge walkway within the canopy of the hardwood forests, affording you wonderful encounters with birds such as Knysna and purple-crested turacos and peregrine falcons. This experience suits adventure seekers of all ages – including families and groups. You are in safe hands – the friendly and experienced staff will give you a detailed safety briefing and guide you.


Zipline (foofie slide)

This is one of the longest zipline (foofie slide) rides in the world, with a speed of 106 km/hr as you slide across the gorge, suspended 120 metres above the mighty Zambezi River below! The cables zigzag across the various ravines of the Batoka Gorge, and you are safely harnessed and attached to a pulley.


Gorge swing

The gorge swing plunges you into the Batoka Gorge in an exhilarating zero-gravity experience. With a mind-numbing 70m free fall from 120m high above the mighty Zambezi River, this 95m long pendulum swing is as close to unassisted flight as you will get. You are safely harnessed and in the hands of extremely experienced and qualified guides.


Flying fox

The flying fox is a great appetiser before you try the zipline and gorge swing. Imagine taking a running jump into thin air over the Batoka Gorge, soaring horizontally through the air over the turmoil of the Zambezi Rover 120 metres below. The gorge at this point is 200 metres wide and 120 metres deep.


Curio and craft shopping

This daily tour is for those enthusiastic shoppers looking for hand-crafted curios and objet d’art, African style – ideal for your home and gifts. You will visit open-air markets and crochet halls, plus various galleries and shops selling authentic African art, including stone sculptures and wooden cravings, local crochet, hand-made textiles, jewellery and more.


The Boma Restaurant

This is probably the most fun you can have at a restaurant. The Boma is not just another ethnic restaurant; it is a unique cultural experience. You will be invited to participate in a hand-washing ceremony before sampling traditional beer and snacks as a prelude to dinner. The eat-as-much-as-you-can buffet food is excellent and varied, including venison, traditional Zimbabwean dishes, and even mopane worms!

Your dining is accompanied by entertainment from traditional Shangaan dancers, storytellers and other entertainers. You may even have your face painted, learn how to drum and be encouraged onto the busy dance floor to show off your moves. This amazing cultural cuisine experience starts at 7:00 pm and continues till late…


Siduli Hide game viewing

Designed to appear like a termite mound, the ‘Siduli Hide’ is located on the edge of a waterhole - offering a unique opportunity for wildlife viewing up close. A qualified professional guide escorts guests on a short walk (5 minutes) from the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge to the hide. Once safely hidden within, guests wait for the appearance of various mammal, reptile and bird species that visit the waterhole to quench their thirst.


Bicycle tour of Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is brimming with craft markets, enticing restaurants and an array of shops - and visiting them on a bicycle is a fun outing. You can also cycle along the Zambezi River, visit the famous Big Tree (a baobab tree estimated to be 3,500 years old), enjoy spectacular views of the Batoka Gorges below the Falls and cycle across the Victoria Falls Bridge. We recommend basic cycling experience.

Zimbabwe: a majestic panorama

On the Zimbabwean side of the Zambezi River, you will find yourself greeted by a panorama that showcases the falls in all their splendour. Elevated viewpoints offer sweeping vistas that encompass the entirety of this natural wonder - with breathtaking views across most of the front face of the Falls. From the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge to the sprawling Victoria Falls National Park, visitors are treated to a spectacle that unfolds before them like a masterpiece painting, each brushstroke of water, rock and spray meticulously crafted by the hand of nature.

The Zimbabwean experience of Victoria Falls is characterized by grandeur and scale as visitors stand in awe of the sheer magnitude of the cascading waters. The Devil’s Cataract and Main Falls, in particular, command attention with their sheer vertical drop and thunderous roar, leaving an indelible impression on all. Moreover, the well-developed infrastructure on the Zimbabwean side ensures a comfortable and convenient visit, with guided tours illuminating the falls' rich history and significance.

Zambia: closer to the action

Venture to the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, and you will find yourself immersed in the details of the Falls - closer to the action.

The Zambian vantage points offer closer proximity to the Falls, allowing visitors to appreciate the intricate details of its cascading waters and the rugged contours of the surrounding cliffs. From the aptly named Knife-edge Bridge, where you may be drenched in spray so close are you to the Eastern Cataract, to the exhilarating Devil's Pool, where you get to hang over the edge of the precipice, each vantage point offers something different. Zambia is also the starting point for the only footpath to the Boiling Pot, a churning cauldron of white water set immediately below the falls at the head of the Batoka Gorge. Moreover, the relatively untouched nature of the Zambian side lends an air of authenticity to the experience, providing a sanctuary for wildlife amidst the tumultuous waters.

Conclusion: is there a 'best' side?

Whether you choose the grand panorama of the Zimbabwean side or the up-close experience of the Zambian side, one thing remains abundantly clear – the sheer majesty of this awe-inspiring place will take your breath away.

Why not visit both sides? Walking across the historic bridge separating the two countries is an experience in itself.

For a better understanding of the difference between the two options, read this informative article.

A Victoria Falls trip offers the perfect escape for almost every traveller, from the solo adventurer and budget-strapped student to families with children and romantic couples. There is a vast range of hospitality options, from shared accommodation in backpacking establishments to ultra-luxurious lodges on the Zambezi banks.

Check out our chosen accommodation options here and follow the prompts to make an enquiry with our safari experts. Or choose one of the above packaged safaris that feature Vic Falls.

The debate about the best time to visit Victoria Falls boils down to how high the Zambezi River water level is - which is a seasonal variation depending on rainfall in the river catchment areas upstream. High water levels mean a spectacular waterfall display at a sometimes deafening volume and a heavy mist that rises up to 400m above the Falls - the smoke that thunders. Low water levels mean a clear view of the Falls, exciting river rafting and less mist to fog your camera lens.

The river water levels are high from February to July, peaking in April. The levels drop after the April peak and are low from August to January.

The Zambia side of the Falls is slightly higher than the Zimbabwean side and dries up faster and often has no water for months at a time, whereas the Zimbabwean side always has water cascading over the edge. This lack of water on the Zambian side during the low water months is why you can walk across for the epic Devil’s Pool and Livingstone Island experience (see our list of things to do in Victoria Falls below.

Are you ready for Victoria Falls?

If none of the above packages to Victoria Falls suit you, we will craft that epic safari just for you

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