The World Heritage site Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders) is one of the most spectacular sites in southern Africa. The world’s largest waterfall plunges the Zambezi river down 108 meters (354 ft.) and spans over 1,700 meters (5,600 ft.) between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Stay near Livingstone in Zambia or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Both locations are popular and offer different benefits at different times of the year. A great destination for adventure seekers, romantics and active holidaymakers. Spend at least two nights.
Most visitors’ route via Johannesburg and fly into either Victoria Falls or Livingstone. Direct flights are available to Livingstone from Skukuza in Kruger, Cape Town and Nairobi. The re-introduced KAZA uni-visa (US$50) allows multi-visits to both Zimbabwe and Zambia as well as day trips to Botswana via Kazungula. A two hour road transfers bring guests to/from Kasane airport in Botswana or to/from a safari in the Chobe National Park or further afield. We include transfers to all activities.
BEST TIMES TO VIEW VICTORIA FALLS
Low water is usually between mid July and the end of January. High water is from February to June with the peak flow in March/April.
The best views (from the Zimbabwean side) and most variety of activities are probably between May and October. It is awesome to see the power of the Zambezi river in full flow from January to early May. During the dry season (July-Jan) the decline in water has a significant impact on the Zambian side and, although a great time to visit, we’ll ensure that you get to view the falls from Zimbabwe too.
Temperatures are hottest between September and April and can reach up to 38C (86F). The cooler winter (May – August) temperatures range from 5C (41F) to 20C (68F).
TOUR OF THE FALLS
Viewing the falls from both Zimbabwe and Zambia as well as from the air is highly recommended. It is simple to arrange the uni-visa to visit both countries. Guided tours usually take two hours, allowing time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as you walk through the natural rainforest and National Park. We recommend knowledgeable and informative local guides. The Flight of Angels helicopter flips are 12-15 or 22-30 minutes and spectacular! For the braver few, try the microlight flight.
There are more activities on offer than you are likely to have time for. Some of our favourites include the sunset cruise on the Zambezi river above the falls or on the Zambian section, river safaris (Zambia) a hike into the gorge and then paddle to the Boiling Pot below the falls, the slides and walkway on the Victoria Falls Canopy tour, a trip to Livingstone Island (Zambia) and a swim in the Devil’s Pool (open mid-August to mid-January – depending on water levels).
The area has become the adrenaline capital of Africa and activities include white water rafting, upper Zambezi canoeing, bungee jumping, zip lining and bridge swinging. Most are too scary for us but we can suggest the best time of year plus know the right people to keep you safe and show you a good time.
FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT
Favourite options in Zimbabwe include an evening of African food and drumming at the Boma, a seven-course meal in the colonial Livingstone Room at the Victoria Falls Hotel and a meal on the Zambezi Explorer after a sunset cruise. We also love Zambian options such as the twice-weekly romantic dinner on the Royal Livingstone Express train and High Tea on Livingstone Island during low water (mid July to end of January). For romantics be sure to enjoy a sundowner or dinner on the sand spit or with views of the river.
CULTURE & HISTORY
Missionary and African explorer David Livingstone is credited with being the first European to see the falls in 1855. The falls were well known to local tribes who called them Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders). Guided tours of local markets can yield interesting items including fabric, beadwork and wooden items, artwork and curios. Guides will help you with bargaining skills! A visit to Chief Mukuni’s village in Zambia is also worthwhile.
WILDLIFE & SAFARIS
Although not a traditional safari destination, there is a lot of wildlife in the various national parks and private safari reserves. Our favourites are watching elephant swim and play in the Zambezi river and game viewing from the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge onto the waterhole in the Zambezi National Park. River safaris and canoe trips offer game viewing from the water and game drives, guided walking safaris and viewing from the Siduli Hide are available on land.
Families enjoy the variety of activities from river cruises to train rides and white water rafting to canopy tours. We’ll recommend the activities for all ages and suggest the best accommodation for your family holiday.