When we had made the decision to fly to Zimbabwe, there was only one thing on our mind; Victoria Falls. During our time in Africa, we had explored the city of Cape Town, gone on a safari in Tanzania, and camped the desert in Namibia. With two weeks left in Africa and an open itinerary, we quickly went on Hopper and booked two relatively cheap flights straight to Victoria Falls to see one of the continent's most popular destinations.
We carefully planned out a week to give us enough time to view the world’s largest curtain of falling water and experience the myriad of adventure activities that it had to offer. Victoria Falls, known by locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or ‘the smoke that thunders’, has an established adventure tourism industry, and we wanted to take full advantage of it. Straddling two countries (Zimbabwe and Zambia), Victoria Falls runs over 100m tall and over a mile wide making it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Given the popularity of Victoria Falls, accommodation options are plentiful and reach the height of luxury. With a week’s worth of our time being spent at Victoria Falls (most people just stay a few days), we decided to stay in two different resorts...which we realized only later, were about a 3 minute drive apart. The great part about both resorts was that everything was taken care of for us. If we wanted to book a day-of tour, then the front desk had you covered…along with transportation! The restaurant staff was always ready to serve you breakfast, lunch and dinner…or put a drink in your hand during sun down.
Our first hotel was a spacious resort located at the top of a hill right outside of Victoria Falls. Our room had sweeping views of the Zambezi River across Zambia. To our left were four pools connected by cascading waterfalls. Our room overlooked the resort grounds and wild animals such as warthogs, antelopes and monkeys could be seen roaming the grounds freely. Be careful, monkeys are notorious for coming into your room through the balcony...it happened to us on more than one occasion.
To the right of the tennis and squash courts you could see huge white clouds forming from the thunderous sprays of Victoria Falls. We thoroughly enjoyed the many leisure facilities offered, most notably the Zimbabwe spa and the 18 hole golf course which was frequently visited by a variety of wildlife.
The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge had everything from brand new facilities, spacious suites and above all else, a spectacular view overlooking a large watering hole. During afternoon sunsets, we were able to enjoy a nice glass of wine while overlooking wild elephants, crocodiles, hyenas and antelope from our balcony!
We booked a traditional Boma Dinner and drum show with the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge located in a semi open and thatched roof restaurant just a walk away from the resort. This unique experience kept us confused and alert from start to finish. On arrival, we were given traditional Chitenga cloth and were welcomed by traditional dancers and drummers. Once we were seated in our new clothing, we were offered a variety of meat such as crocodile tail, ostrich, kudu and impala meatballs. Along with being captivated by the ongoing performance, our culinary repertoire was definitely broadened-we even got a chance to get our face painted, hair braided, and fortunes told!
Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls
There’s never a bad time to visit this beautiful country, it all depends on what you want to experience. November-April is considered its rainy season and is when the falls is the most thunderous. You can fully grasp the force of the water cascading over the edge which causes a torrential rainstorm throughout the area. If you go during this time period, expect to get completely soaked and leave the expensive cameras at home! It can be an incredible experience seeing the falls at full force but visibility won’t be quite as clear.
We went at the end of May which lies around one of the best times to visit. We still got to experience a LARGE volume of water left over from the rainy season to showcase the enormity of the falls, but our visibility was not affected as much. Unlike many other popular tourist destinations we had encountered on our trip, we were pleased to find that Zimbabwe was not overcrowded with people trampling over each other to get photos. We still got to see the falls for its size and depth and could see well down the canyon. We even got lucky to capture a few rainbows staring in Zambia and ending in Zimbabwe!
Exploring the Falls
Raft the Zambezi River
Our plane hadn’t even touched the Zimbabwe runway when we looked into white water rafting tours. White water rafting is THE prime attraction of Victoria Falls that almost everyone does when the visit. We booked with Wild Horizon the day before and were collected from our hotel and taken to The Lookout Café viewpoint to see what we were about to face; long violent class 5 rapids with ridiculously daunting names such as ‘The Devil’s Toilet’ and ‘Oblivion’.
We had an absolute blast spending the day at one of the top ten white water rivers on the planet. The mighty Zambezi river had our blood pumping and gave us the adventure of a lifetime. Theres not much that gives you an adrenaline rush like falling out of the raft several times into crocodile-infested waters!
Take a Helicopter Flight
This can be quite costly, but you will NOT regret taking a helicopter flight over the falls. We booked a private Flight of Angels Tour with the Zambezi Helicopter Company to receive the ultimate bird’s eye view of the falls. From the impressive height we were able to capture the full scope of its immense size.
Our pilot took us right down to the Zambezi River and soared over the high canyons following the river gorge. Catching the full view of the Victoria Falls is breathtaking and the route that our pilot took us had us circling the falls, giving us a chance to see it from all angles.
Walk through the National Park
Entry to the Victoria Falls starts here. A network of trails takes you right up to the face of the massive waterfalls. We took about two full hours to check out all fifteen viewpoints..and we were soaked by the end of our self-guided tour!
Don’t forget to bring your raincoat or waterproof pancho because you’re unlikely to stay dry. Don’t skip over any viewpoint either, each one provides you with a completely new perspective of the falls and seeing this magnificent wonder is worth visually capturing it at all angles.
You will soon notice the impressive size of the mile long curtain of water that stretches across the rocks, erupts into spray and then thunders into the canyons below.
Starting at the very beginning, the paved walkway throughout the falls has you begin in viewpoint one and two which offer spectacular views throughout the canyon beyond the David Livingstone statue. The last viewpoint, number fifteen, offers views across to Victoria Falls Bridge..if youre lucky, you can see someone brave bungee jumping!
Take a Dip in Devils Pool
Once you are finished viewing the falls from the viewpoints of the national park, head over to Devils Pool to receive an entirely different perspective of the falls as you sit on top! The ledge of the falls creates a barrier at the top so that you can sit and peer over the edge. If you happen to go during the low water season, you are able to swim in the pool and stand on the edge…although we recommend keeping at a safe distance.
Bungee Jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge
Victoria Falls is definitely the number one place in Africa for an adrenaline adventure. This 111m bungee jump is said to be one of the best in the world and remains a firm favorite for those in the region. A bridge swing and slide are available in the same location.
If you want to veer away from the more popular jump, you can head over to the George Swing for an exciting leap to get your blood pumping. The 55 meter abseil down the cliff goes down and swings into the Batoka Gorge at 120km per hour.
Book a Sunset Cruise
The Zambezi River Cruise guided us slowly down the Zambezi River at sunset while also providing unlimited drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The tour is roughly two and half hours and gives you access to the best location for a classic African sunset.
Booked for our last evening in Zimbabwe, we had the chance of visiting both Zimbabwe and Zambia as the river divides the two countries. As we went along the river we saw massive crocodiles laying on the river banks and hippos sending off territorial warning sounds our way as they swim towards us toppling over one another in the water.
Victoria Falls was the perfect last stop to our African adventure. However you decide to spend your time in Victoria Falls, we can guarantee that you will never tire of seeing the clouds of the thunderous falls forming on the horizon and wild animals roaming all around you. Victoria Falls is home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders and is truly a magical place to visit.