Victoria Falls Safari Tours and Holidays
Victoria Falls Safari Tours and Holidays
Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world. Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two kilometers, into a gorge over one hundred meters below.
The wide, basalt cliff over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a placid river into a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges.
Facing the Falls is another sheer wall of basalt, rising to the same height, and capped by mist-soaked rain forest. A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor prepared to brave the tremendous spray, with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls.
One special vantage point is across the Knife-edge Bridge, where visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot, where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge. Other vantage points include Livingstone Island, the Falls Bridge, Devils Pool, and the Lookout Tree, both of which command panoramic views across the Main Falls.
History of Victoria Falls Zambia – Zimbabwe
In 1851, Livingstone first heard of the great waterfall, but it was only in 1855 that he set out to visit it. He spent the night on Kalai Island a few kilometers upstream of the Falls, having come down the river by foot, and the next morning set off in a small canoe to approach the thundering smoke. He landed on the biggest island on the lip of the falls, now called Livingstone Island, and from there obtained his first view of the Falls.
” Creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambezi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet and then became suddenly compressed into a space of fifteen to twenty yards….the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.”
Of the surrounding area, he wrote: “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight” (Livingstone 1857).
See our popular Victoria Falls tours
It is thought that earth movement in an earlier geological period diverted the south-easterly flowing upper Zambezi River to a generally easterly direction and so initiated the development of a waterfall in an area occupied by a massive bed of basalt which is about 305 m thick.
The basalt, through which the Zambezi runs for 209 km in the Livingstone area is characterized by very marked joints or cracks, which may have developed as the molten lava cooled. One dominant series of joints running in an east-west direction is associated with zones of soft material within the basalt.
Since the Zambezi is flowing due south in the Livingstone area, these softer materials are very easily eroded to form the great east-west gorges. The upstream retreat of the Falls is due to a second major series of joints running north-south. The gradual erosion of small joints that run north-south caused the river to be concentrated into a narrow fissure and the broad fall line was abandoned. Once this happened, it was only a question of time before the narrow gorges cut back into another transverse fracture zone of soft material. This gouging out of the soft zone again established a broad fall. This process has been repeated over many years and the zigzag gorges represent seven previous lines of waterfalls.
The Devil’s Cataract, on the Zimbabwe side, which is lower than the rest of the present falls, shows how the force of water is starting to cut back along such a line of weakness. It will probably erode its way back to another east-west joint where a future line of the waterfall will eventually become established.
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How to Get to Victoria Falls Zambia – Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) is 11 miles south of the city and the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) is located three miles north of the city across the border with Zambia. If you land at the Victoria Falls Airport, you can get to town by taking a shuttle or a taxi. A shuttle should cost US$24 and a taxi fare should cost between US$30 and US$40. If you land at the Livingstone Airport in Zambia, you will have to take a taxi to the border for US$25, clear customs, and catch another taxi to town for US$5. A shuttle or private transport from Livingstone Airport should cost US$15.
There is an overnight train between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. A first-class ticket costs US$12, and you ride in British coaches from the 1950s through breath-taking scenery.
Victoria Falls is 68 miles away from Hwange and 270 miles away from Bulawayo and the roads are not well maintained. If you decide to rent a car at Livingstone Airport to drive to Victoria Falls, keep in mind that you will have to pay taxes and insurance at the border as well as obtain a temporary import permit for the car.
The Pathfinder Bus Company can take you from Harare to Victoria Falls for US$35 but keep in mind that the trip lasts for 12 hours since the bus stops in several smaller towns. Extra city Luxury is a more direct option that costs US$30.
Things to do at Victoria Falls Zambia – Zimbabwe
Bungee Jumping at Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls Bungee Jump is undoubtedly the most scenic bungee jump in the World. With the Victoria Falls themselves as the backdrop, and the mighty Zambezi River flowing beneath you, this is sure to be the greatest bungee jump you’ll ever experience.
Bungee Jump off the famous Victoria Falls Bridge. Experience 111 meters of free-fall and 4 seconds of pure adrenalin! If the sheer excitement of bungee isn’t enough, this must be the most beautiful bungee on the planet. A spectacular backdrop of the epic Victoria Falls sets the scene. Move to the edge of the bridge, arms out, and 5-4-3-2-1- BUNGEE. Leap off the bridge and plummet towards the rapids of the mighty Zambezi River and let the adrenaline flow.
You have to be at least 15 years old to do the bungee jump.
Although transfers are not included to the Victoria Falls Bungee Jump Bridge, there is a complimentary shuttle from the Shearwater Cafe in Victoria Falls town at 10 am and 2 pm daily. No visas or stamps are necessary for entry onto the bungee bridge, but please remember to bring your passport.
If you would like a keepsake of you 111m to plummet into the Batoka Gorge, personalized DVDs and photographs are taken of every bungee jump and are made immediately available for viewing and purchase.
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River
The Zambezi River below Victoria Falls is widely considered to be the very best White Water Rafting River in the world. A deep channelled, high volume river, the Zambezi has class 3 – 5 rapids interspersed with tranquil pools.
This enables you to marvel at the magnificent beauty of the Batoka Gorge between some of the most exciting and challenging rapids rafted anywhere on the planet.
Helicopter Flights over Vic Falls
Indisputably the best way to appreciate the true splendour of the Victoria Falls is to view them from the air. Zambezi Helicopter Company (ZHC) is the largest private helicopter company in Zimbabwe and has been operating scenic tours over Victoria Falls for over fifteen years.
Zambezi Helicopter Company’s customized helicopters have specially designed ‘Bubble shaped’ windows perfect for panoramic viewing purposes which provide wonderful views and visibility from all seats… the ultimate photographic opportunity.
Flight of the angels
Enjoy a 15-minute helicopter flight over Victoria Falls.
Enjoy a 22-minute helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls and Batoka Gorges
Zipline, Gorge Swing & Flying Fox
Experience the adrenaline rush of traveling at a speed of 106 km, hurtling 425m across the gorge, while suspended 120m above the breath-taking beauty of the Zambezi water below!
The zip line runs 120m above the Batoka Gorge, spanning 425m from one side of the Zambezi to the other.
On the zip line ride, real adrenaline high, you are harnessed and then launched into the deep gorge, rushing across the scenic chasm at speeds of up to 106 km’s on a pulley. This is the longest zip line in the world and is suitable for all ages.
The experienced guides will make you feel at ease as you take a leap of faith knowing that they are backed up with a 100% safety record, 17 years of experience under their belt, and a team willing to make this adrenaline kick a breeze.
Swim on the Edge of Victoria Falls
Splash in a rock pool on the very edge of Victoria Falls! This exciting and unique Vic Falls activity is definitely one of the best.
You can take a guided trip to Devil’s Pool from the Zambian side of Vic Falls. his is one of the best spots for marvelling at Vic Falls. Plus, splashing in the pool is a thrilling and invigorating way to admire the natural wonder.
The Devil’s Pool activity is only done during the dry season (from about September to December) and/or when water levels are low enough for swimming.
Zambezi River Canoeing Trips at Vic Falls
There are a few good operators offering canoeing or kayaking trips on the Upper Zambezi, above Victoria Falls. You can also try more challenging river boarding, jet boating, and rafting options below the falls.
Victoria Falls Canopy Tours
This one is perfect for families in search of a milder adventure for kids and seniors. Explore a network of nine elevated slides and a bridge walkway suspended between platforms in the forest canopy. The canopy tour is great for soaking up views of the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls Bridge & the spray of Vic Falls.
Abseiling at Vic Falls
One of the softer adventures at Victoria Falls is rappelling. Abseil 53m down Batoka Gorge! And take in the spectacular views of the Eastern Cataract of Vic Falls, with the Victoria Falls Bridge in the distance and boiling pot rapids below.
Zambezi River Sunset Boat Cruises above Vic Falls
One of the best things to do at Victoria falls Zambia-Zimbabwe is a Zambezi River Sunset Cruise. If you’ve seen photos of the sunset boat cruise then you’ll know why this activity is a real gem. The setting is magnificent and the sunsets are spectacular, Keep an eye out for wildlife along the banks and in the shallows of the Zambezi.
Fishing safaris on the Zambezi River
The Zambezi River is a premium African freshwater fishing destination. Although the area is most known for an abundance of Tiger fish, one of the world’s most prized freshwater fish, it is more than a Tiger fish hotspot.
Best time to visit Victoria Falls Zambia – Zimbabwe
Different times of the year will provide completely different experiences of the Falls region. Peak flood season is around March and April when the full power of the Falls can be experienced in all its glory. Due to the masses of spray rising from the fallen water, the full width of the Falls cannot be seen on foot. The aerial view at this time is spectacular, with clouds of spray rising high into the sky. As the floods abate the view of the Falls gets better and better through the year, but at its lowest, around November and December the Falls become little rivulets running over the edge, and in some places along the 1,7km width, no waterfalls at all. The delight of visiting the Falls in this season is the view of the impressive cliffs that form the Falls wall, and the magnitude of the abyss can be fully appreciated. Sobek and Safari Par Excellence do trips by raft to the base of the Falls in a low season called ‘the float of angels”.
Where to Stay in Victoria Falls Zambia – Zimbabwe
There are quite a lot of accommodation options in Both countries below is our picks
- The elephant camp
- Old drift Lodge
- Stanley and Livingstone Boutique hotel
- Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma
- Tongabezi lodge
- Thorn tree river camp
See our Victoria Falls safari packages featuring wildlife safaris
THINGS TO DO
|white water rafting on the Zambezi River|
|Zambezi River Canoeing trips|
|Zambezi River sunset Cruise|
WHERE TO STAY
|Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma|
|Thorn tree River camp|
|The Elephant camp|
|Old drift Lodge|
|Stanley and Living stone Boutique hotel|
WHEN TO GO
|Best time to visit Victoria falls|
|3 Days Victoria falls safari|
|7 Days Victoria falls and South Luangwa safari|
|7 Days Victoria falls and Hwange safari|