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Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe & Zambia

The Visit Victoria Falls is One of The Seven Natural Wonders Of The World

Victoria Falls, known by locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, is one of the “7 Natural Wonders of the World” and a World Heritage Site.

The Victoria Falls marks the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, where the mighty Zambezi River gathers its strength and tumbles off a fissured basalt plateau into a series of dramatic gorges 100 meters below. Though not the tallest waterfall on land (this title is held by Angel Falls in Venezuela), at an impressive width of 1,708m, the Victoria Falls creates the single largest continuous falling curtain of water on the planet.

At the peak of the rainy season, around 500 million cubic meters of water thunders down the cliff face per minute, sending up clouds of rainbow spray.

This is truly a magnificent natural wonder that every safari lover should visit at least once! The Victoria Falls were first seen by Western eyes in 1851 when British explorer David Livingstone came upon it and named it after his queen.

Reflecting on the experience of seeing falls for the first time, he wrote, “Scenes so lovely must be gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

Victoria Falls

In which country is Victoria Falls located?

The Victoria Falls is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in southern Africa. The waterfall straddles Zimbabwe to the west and Zambia to the east, and can easily be accessed from either country via Livingstone in Zambia or Victoria Falls Town in Zimbabwe.

Both cities have international airports, serviced by several flights a day from various major destinations. Victoria Falls also combines seamlessly with many other African safari hotspots as a convenient add-on.

It is a short road transfer from Chobe in Botswana and Hwange in Zimbabwe and a short flight from Botswana’s Okavango Delta or Kruger in South Africa.

Is Victoria Falls The Biggest Waterfall In The World?

Yes, the Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world. The falls has a combined width of 5 604 feet (1 708 metres) and height of 354 feet (108 metres).

Venezuela’s Angel Falls is higher but not wider than the Victoria Falls. It is 1.5 times wider than and doubles the height of Niagara Falls with, unlike Niagara, scenic national parks on either side.

When Scottish explorer and missionary, Doctor David Livingstone first laid eyes on the fall in 1855, little did he know that it would be confirmed as the largest waterfall on Earth, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, and a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.

Is it better to see Victoria Falls from Zambia or Zimbabwe?

Victoria Falls

This depends totally on your safari wishes.

Both Zimbabwe and Zambia sides have superb views of the Victoria Falls.

However, it is your choice of activities and accommodation preferences that might influence your vacation decision.

If you want to experience the best of both worlds, you can easily get across the border via Victoria Falls Bridge. All you will need is a multiple entry visa and your passport.

The visa can be bought at the border control. This means that if you are staying on the Zimbabwe side and want to view the fall from the Zambia side, you can do so comfortably on a day excursion – and vice versa.

Zimbabwe Side of the Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

As about 75 percent of the Victoria Falls is found in Zimbabwe, the country has the lion’s share of vantage points. You can take a leisurely walk down Victoria Falls National Park’s trails.

You stroll through drizzling rain-forest and out onto gorge-edge viewpoints where you will have glorious views of Main Falls – thundering down into the rocky chasm below, causing tremors in the ground beneath your feet.

Zambia Side of The Victoria Falls

Swimming in Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls

If you want to get really close to the Victoria Falls, then go to the Zambia side of Victoria Falls.

You can walk along the paved paths on the edge of the falls and cross the heart-racing Knife-Edge Bridge during high-water season – an exhilarating (and soaking!) walk along the edge of the precipice, about 100 meters above the gorge.

During the low-water season months, move down the footpath that leads to the Boiling Pot: a massive whirlpool at the base of the waterfall.

Top Things To Do at Victoria Falls

There is no shortage of activities near Victoria Falls and the surrounding area. As you travel across the bridge that straddles the cascading waters, you might see a helicopter in the sky.

And as you get closer, in the mist, you will find fearless individuals preparing to bungee jump or take a Zip lining adventure. Read on to find out what the Victoria falls has to offer you.

1. Guided Walking Tour of the Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

One to go right at the top of your activity list is taking a guided walking tour of Vic Falls.

Under the expert care of a local guide, you will get more up close with the incredible nature on offer in falls. The walk is best conducted in the morning and afternoon to showcase this wonder of nature in the best light.

With sparkling rainbows, clouds of thick spray and the thundering power of the water, touring the fall is an all-encompassing sensory extravaganza.

2. Day-trips to Hwange or Chobe National Park

Day-trips to Botswana’s Chobe National Park, – a land of dramatic wildlife viewing and hundreds upon hundreds of elephants – are available from Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Remember to carry your passport as you’ll have to go through border control.

Hwange, the biggest national park in Zimbabwe, is about 104km from Victoria Falls and famous for its vast numbers of buffalo and elephant herds.

If you are staying on the Zimbabwe side of the falls, then this is a very good Big 5 safari option.

3. Zambezi River Sunset Boat Cruise

Victoria Falls

This is a lovely and relaxing way to savour the awe-inspiring beauty of the longest east-flowing river in Africa.

Expect to see elephants crossing the river, classic hippo ‘yawning’ shots (actually a show of force to patrol their territory), a tremendous number of birds (African fish eagles, terns, pelicans, herons, and more), Buffaloes, Monkeys, water monitors and huge Nile crocodiles.

Marvel at Africa’s blazing sunset and replete with good food, fine drink and excellent company.

4. Scenic Helicopter Flight over Victoria Falls

Also known as the ‘Flight of Angels’, this thrilling helicopter flight over the Vic Falls is a definite bucket-list activity.

This adventure breathes life into the famous David Livingstone quote, ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight’.

The helicopters have smartly designed bubble-shaped windows to enjoy the panoramic views over the falls and surrounds.

5. White-water Rafting on the Zambezi River

Known as one of the best one-day rafting trips in the world, white water rafting on the Zambezi River below the Victoria Falls is an adrenaline rush not to be missed.

During low-water months, rafting is best from August to September.

During high-water months rafting usually runs from January to July, but the river will be closed if the levels are too high and dangerous.

Though some stretches are classed at a Grade 5, there are long stretches of calm waters and you will always be with an experienced guide.

6. Visit Livingstone Island & Swim in Devil’s Pool

Swimming in Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls

Livingstone Island is the point at which Dr. David Livingstone first gazed at the beauty and magnitude of Mosi-oa-Tunya.

Follow in David’s footsteps to the island in the company of experienced guides and take a dip in the most extreme plunge pool in the world!

It is important to note that this adventure is only offered during the low-water season from August to January and can only be accessed from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.

Is swimming in Devil’s Pool safe?

Swimming in the Devil’s Pool is not as dangerous as it appears in photographs.

Devil’s Pool has a natural rock ledge on the edge of the waterfall that makes a barrier where the water is only a few centimeters deep.

This barrier allows you to safely splash about in Devil’s Pool without getting swept over the edge of the waterfall.

But, you not advised to sit on the edge of Victoria Falls. Please listen to your guides who understand the water levels and currents.

7. Micro-light Flight Over Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

If you’re interested in something a little more exhilarating than a helicopter, take off on a tandem micro-light flight and soar above the Vic Falls, enjoying uninhibited views of the gorges below.

8. Bungee Jump from 111-Metre (364 Feet)

Victoria Falls is known as the ‘Adventure Capital of Africa’ and is overflowing with electrifying activities for thrill-seekers.

The bungee jump off the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge is one of the highest jumps in the world. Jump through the mist and into 2 different countries from one spot!

9. Zip-line Across 425-meter (1394-foot) Gorge

Ziplining at Victoria Falls

Enjoy a ziplinning adventure over the longest zipline in the World. Zip at a tremendous speed across a 425-metre (1,394-foot) gorge – while suspended 120 meters (393feet) above the stunning Zambezi River!

10. Gorge Swing About 120 meters Above the water

gorge swing at Victoria Falls

Imagine a giant swing of about 120 meters (393 feet) above the water. Then imagine free falling nearly 70 meters (230 feet) before you even start swinging!

11. Canoeing & Kayaking On Zambezi River

Another way to explore the beautiful Zambezi River at Vic Falls, at a rather more leisurely pace, is by kayak or canoe.

Taking a canoe trip through some of the calmer stretches and gentle rapids upstream of the fall allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings at a graceful, gliding pace.

No doubt that this is one of the best things to do in Zambia Side of the Victoria Falls, especially for those who wish to see this incredible waterfall from the river.

12. Enjoy a scrumptious meal on the Steam Train

Victoria Falls

Board a luxury steam train at Victoria Falls station and on a journey through time.

You will have a stop on the Victoria Falls Bridge just in time to watch the sunset in one of the most magical spots in Africa.

After that, you’ll sit down to enjoy a delicious dinner as the train chuffs its way through local villages and into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

13. Walk Under the Historical Railway Bridge

Victoria Falls

Board a luxury steam train at Victoria Falls station and on a journey through time.

You will have a stop on the Victoria Falls Bridge just in time to watch the sunset in one of the most magical spots in Africa.

After that, you’ll sit down to enjoy a delicious dinner as the train chuffs its way through local villages and into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

14. Spot the Big 5 on a game drive

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve in Zimbabwe all offer excellent opportunities to encounter the African Big 5 animals, along with a variety of other species.

Board an open 4×4 safari vehicle and see if you can spot one of the region’s rare black rhinos!

15. Dusty Road Township Dining Experience

Located deep in the heart of the busy Chinotimba Township, not far from Victoria Falls town centre in Zimbabwe, Dusty Road offers a lively dining experience unlike any other.

Amid flickering lanterns and rustic tables, treat your tastebuds with a tantalizing array of flavours crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

16. Bicycle Tour along the Batoka Gorge

Take a cycling tour along the Batoka Gorge, stopping every now and again to take in the awesome views before encountering the massive baobab tree that is believed to be 3,500 years old and cycle across the Victoria Falls Bridge, all in the company of an experienced guide.

17. Dine at The Boma Restaurant

The Boma restaurant in Zimbabwe is about more than ordering dinner; it is a complete Zimbabwean cultural experience.

Participate in the hand-washing ceremony before sampling the traditional beer to whet the appetite before dinner.

During the diverse meal of everything from mopane worms to venison, storytellers, Tsonga dancers, and entertainers will hold the floor. You can then take to the dance floor and show off your newly-mastered dance moves!

18. Embark On A Horseback Safari

Embark on a horseback safari and explore the wilderness.

This is a unique adventure, not only because the wild animals do not perceive the horses as a threat, but it also allow for unusually close encounters with otherwise shy ungulates such as Impala or kudu.

Enjoy a day tracking buffalos and elephants in the deep shade of the riverine forests of Zambezi River and may be even stop for a siesta during the hottest hours of the day.

19. Enjoy High Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel

The Victoria Falls Hotel is famous for this activity. Go to Stanley’s Terrace for the famous afternoon teas and delicious snacks served daily.

It is a delightful setting with superb views of Victoria Falls Bridge, enjoyed by the British royal family during their visit in 1947.

The entire hotel was reserved for them and they visited the fall twice during their stay.

20. Go curio and craft shopping

Enthusiastic shoppers on the Victoria Falls holiday vacation will find their senses overwhelmed on this daily tour of open-air markets, galleries, crochet halls, and boutique stores selling handcrafted works of art.

Admire the wooden carvings, textiles, jewellery, stone sculptures, and crochet lovingly created by local artisans and pick out gifts for loved ones back home.