Victoria Falls (Zambia, Zimbabwe)
English and in Zambia (Bemba, Lozi, Tonga, Nyanja) and in Zimbabwe (Shona, Ndebele)
Victoria Falls the largest waterfall in the world by water volume, was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. The spray from the falls can reach around 400 meters high, making it visible from miles away. The falls at night are also magical - during full moon, it is possible to see a "moonbow", or lunar rainbow, above the spray. Paths lead along the edge of the forest, and provide the visitor prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls, not to mention its thundering noise.
This landmark is one of the 7 Wonders of the World, and visiting the colossal waters should be on everyone's bucket list. The falls can be accessed from either Zambia or Zimbabwe, as they straddle both countries. About three quarters of the waterfall lie on the Zimbabwe side, and the pathways here allow plenty of viewpoints. However, the Zambian side will bring you closest to the thundering water and spray. Whichever side you stay on, a border crossing from one to the other is not arduous, and will allow you to get the full Victoria Falls experience.
Attractions & Activities
A closer look at what your holiday could be.
Victoria Falls offers plenty in the way of activities and safari in the area; in addition to viewing the falls via footpath, visitors can also see them from helicopter, Devil's Pool and balloon rides. Brave guests can take a dip in the magnificent Devil's Pool, a natural formation that takes you right to the edge of the falls. Adrenaline junkies can go bungee jumping and white water rafting. The jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge drops you 111 meters down over the Zambezi river, and remains one of the most popular and scenic jumps on the continent. White water rafting trips range from half day excursions to 5 days.
Visitors seeking a calmer experience can take sunset cruises on the Zambezi with sun downer drinks, or enjoy an incredible afternoon tea at the venerable Victoria Falls Hotel.
Safari activities are also available, with nearby Hwange National Park offering excellent game viewing.
When to Visit
February to May offers the best time to view Victoria Falls, when the preceding summer rains give the waterfall its greatest volume.
We don’t recommend visiting the falls at the end of the dry winter period, October to November, when the water level is lowest and the weather is hot and humid. Low water levels guarantee you’ll have panoramic views (no misty spray) on both sides of the falls, but the Zambian side (about one quarter of its width) may have dried up completely. Water flow on the Zimbabwean side is permanent but ebbs in volume with the seasons.
If combining with a safari trip to Botswana and parks in Zambia, visit during the dry winter months of June to August. Very little rain, and comfortable temperatures make for great game viewing and still plenty of water gushing over the falls. October and November is hot, with very low water levels, and the least ideal time so see the falls.