The Victoria Falls lie in between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe.
The Victoria Falls are just over 1 mile wide and 355 feet high. During the wet season over 500 million liters of water plummets over the edge into the Zambezi River. This incredible amount of water generates a huge amount of spray which shoots 1000 feet into the sky and can be seen 30 miles away, hence the name Mosi-oa-Tunya (Smoke that thunders).
The best time to view the Victoria Falls is during the rainy season from March to May, when they are at their most impressive.
Activities at the Victoria Falls
Visiting the falls
Obviously your main reason for visiting the area is to go and see the falls, and We would recommend going the minute you’ve checked your bags into a hotel. If you’re staying in Livingstone shared taxis and minibuses regularly ply the route to the falls. If you’re staying in Victoria Falls just walk down to the park entrance from town. There are well-marked paths and many viewing points. You don’t need a guide or tour just enjoy the spectacle at your own leisure and bring a raincoat for the spray.
Flights over the Victoria Falls can also be booked at various hotels and local travel agencies. Getting a birds eye view of the falls is certainly worth it if you have a bit of money to spare. The more adventurous can opt for a micro light flight.
Some of the best views of the Victoria Falls are from Livingstone Island on the Zambian side. This small island is owned by Tongabezi. A real thrill is to swim in a natural rock pool on the edge of the Falls – Devil’s Pool. You can only do this during the dry season.
Adventures for you at the VictoriaFalls
Bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge is a highlight of many people’s visit to the falls. Jumps usually run just under $100 and can be arranged from most hotels in both Zimbabwe and Zambia, or at any travel agency in town. I jumped, you can read about here.
A jet boat ride allows you to experience the Victoria Falls from below. The very fast (and scenic) ride takes you to the “boiling pot” at the foot of the falls, with some hair raising turns en route. Regal Tours and Safaris run the fastest boat.
Rafting down the rapids of the Zambezi River is an incredible adventure. These are Grade 5 rapids, not a leisurely float down the river, so be prepared to get wet and work hard at staying upright. Trips usually include lunch at a beautiful spot along the river and end with a cold beer once you’ve clambered back up the gorge. More on white-water rafting on the Zambezi River…
Sunset cruises are a popular pastime in this part of the world, and there’s something extremely pleasant about enjoying a beverage while watching hippos cavort in the Zambezi under a spectacular sunset. Cruises can be organized through the various travel agencies around town in both Livingstone and Victoria Falls. My favorite from the Zimbabwe side is Ilala Lodge’s Ra-Ikane. A lovely intimate cruising experience with excellent food. On the Zambia side I enjoyed the Lady Livingstone. For less of s sunset cruise, more of a booze cruise, opt for the cheaper, larger boats.
There’s a surprising amount of wildlife to see just walking around the vicinity of the Victoria Falls on both sides. Baboons and warthogs are very common. Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia) is small but packs a punch with white rhinos, buffaloes, elephants and giraffe. Elephant safaris and a “walk with lions” are becoming popular activities. Both offer less adrenalin-loving folks a chance at a little adventure and many enjoy getting close to these great animals. Personally, I found it a little too set up and heavy on asking for donations at the end of the activity.
The Victoria Falls are an adventurers dream given the amount of activities available. You can Kayak, canoe, abseil, river board, swing through the gorge, and horse ride. See the recommended tour operators on page two and they’ll be able to book whatever activity you’d like to do.