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Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls. Also known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ ('The Smoke That Thunders'). Whatever you call the world's largest waterfall it calls to mind images of vast billowing clouds hovering above the point where the mighty Zambezi River hurtles headfirst into a chasm 1,708 meters wide and 108 meters deep. That’s more than twice the height of Niagra Falls. Set on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, Victoria Falls is, quite rightly, a huge draw for thousands of visitors each year.

Zambia or Zimbabwe?

Which country boasts the best view, Zambia (to the north) or Zimbabwe (to the south)? They both have their charms. Happily, the introduction of the KAZA Univisa (covering Zambia, Zimbabwe and day trips into Botswana's Chobe National Park) has made crossing Victoria Falls Bridge a cinch. At just $50, it's affordable, too.

Want to cop an eyeful of that classic view of the Main Falls? Head to Zimbabwe. Roughly two thirds of Victoria Falls lies in Zim and water flows all year round. Victoria Falls National Park has a network of paths that open up onto 16 stunning viewpoints overlooking the Devil's Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls and beautiful Rainbow Falls. That said, Zambia has plenty on offer. From Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park you’ll enjoy closer views of the thundering torrent. A walk across Knife-edge Bridge puts you right alongside the action. When the Zambezi is in full throttle, prepare to get soaked to the skin. From Zambia, you can also see down the length of the Falls at sunset.

At a Glance

  • When to go

    High water levels are between February and July when the Zambezi River experiences a five meter rise in the water being forced through the gorge. The power of the Falls is mesmerizing as it throws up a dense cloud-like spray that drenches delighted bystanders and is interlaced with rainbows.

    Low water levels happen between August and January. Very little spray means you now get an excellent view of the Fall's ancient geological details and appreciate the sheer magnitude of the chasm. Now the fun really begins as the Zambezi River is transformed into one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world.

  • What to do

    Adrenaline junkies: Enjoy some of the world's craziest whitewater rafting trip that takes you down 19 class IV and V rapids while water levels are low, IX when they're high. Or how about a helicopter ride through the spray of Victoria Falls that gives you an unbeatable bird's eye view? Or a microlight glihht that gets you close enough to the Falls to feel the spray on your face? If you laugh in the face of vertigo, you can bungee 111 meters off of Livingstone Bridge for one of the most scenic jumps you'll ever do. Or don a harness and zipline or swing serenely across the gorge.

    Mellow souls: Swim in the rock pools below the Falls, surrounded by the towering black basaltic rock with water cascading down. Or paddle across the 'Boiling Pot' in an inflatable raft with guides who'll take you directly beneath the Falls. Alternatively, take a dip in Devil's Pool (a rock pool set at the lip of Victoria Falls), accessible only from the Zambian side. On dry land, explore Livingstone Island, named after explorer David Livingstone, the first European to see the Falls in 1855.

Did you know?

Upon his first sighting of the Falls, David Livingstone wrote, "It has never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so wonderful must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight".

Unique ecosystem

The national parks are home to elephant, buffalo, giraffe, Grant's zebra, variety species of antelope, vervet monkeys, baboons and honey badgers. Lion, leopard and cheetah are occasionally seen. The Zambezi River itself contains plenty of hippos and crocodile, with elephant crossing in the dry season.

Did you know?

Victoria Falls is one of the few places in the world where you can see a 'moonbow' or 'lunar rainbow'. The light of a full moon in a cloudless sky is refracted and reflected by the ever-present water particles from the spray of the Falls.

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Luxury Southern Africa: Victoria Falls, Sabi Sands and Mozambique beach

Victoria Falls, Sabi Sands and Bazaruto Archipelago

Experience some of the very best Southern Africa has to offer, from the thundering Victoria Falls, a big five safari in the Sabi Sands and relaxing on an idyllic beach in Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago. Ideal for a special celebration or honeymoon.

Best for: Adventure, Couples, Off the beaten track, Wildlife

Wild Namibia & the Falls

Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Etosha, Okonjima, Victoria Falls

Namibia is a true adventure playground and the perfect destination for an active teenage family adventure. Teens will love the activities, from quad biking, sand-boarding, kayaking with a seal colony, tracking rhinos and rafting at the Victoria Falls.

Best for: Adventure, Teenagers, Family, Road trip

The Delta and Salt Pans

Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Makgadikgadi pans, Victoria Falls

A thrill-seeker’s safari through Botswana, taking you beyond the bounds of traditional game-drives. Watch wildlife from a canoe or helicopter, gallop on horseback through the eerie Makgadikgadi pans and save the Victoria Falls for your grand finale.

Best for: Adventure, Off the beaten track, Riding, Couples

Family Vacation Off the Beaten Track in Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana, Gonarezhou, Lake Kariba & Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe is a fantastic country for a family adventure this itinerary combines some of the most comfortable lodges in the country at Changa and Singita Pamushana with the more wild and adventurous Gonarezhou Bush Camps and ending in The Victoria Falls.

Best for: Adventure, Family, Wildlife, Eco/ethical tourism

Great Guiding in Southern Africa

Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, Hwange and the Quirimbas Archipelago

Great guiding can make or break a safari, at Scott Dunn we believe this extends beyond the bush, to the beach. Let some of the best guides in Southern Africa bring their unique environments alive and give you an unforgettable vacation experience.

Best for: Adventure, Couples, Eco/ethical tourism, Wildlife

Journey around Southern Africa

Cape Town, Sossusvlei, Skeleton Coast, Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Victoria Falls

Go on an epic journey around Southern Africa, beginning your journey in Cape Town and then traveling through the mind-blowing landscapes of Namibia, the lush Okavango Delta and up to northern Botswana and finishing at the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Best for: Adventure, Couples, Family, Honeymoon

Victoria Falls and Classic Botswana

Livingstone, Linyanti, Okavango Delta & Makgadikgadi

Starting at Tongabezi on the spectacular Victoria Falls then Duma Tau in Botswana's Savute, on to the Okavango Delta to stay at Xigera, then Duba Plains for superb lion and buffalo action and finally finishing at luxurious Jack's Camp in the Kalahari.

Best for: Adventure, Eco/ethical tourism, Family, Honeymoon

Victoria Falls, Wildlife and the Oberoi - Tailormade Honeymoon Adventure

Victoria Falls, Hwange, West Coast Mauritius

Explore the Victoria Falls and then take a relaxed safari through Africa’s wildest regions taking in the beautiful Hwange National Park from Davison's Camp. End with a relaxing spell on the beach in Mauritius at the luxurious Oberoi Hotel.

Best for: Beach, Honeymoon, Wildlife, Spa & health

Wonders of Western Zimbabwe - Rhodes, Big Game and Victoria Falls

Hwange, Matopos National Park & Victoria Falls

Discover the colonial, San bushmen and Matabele tribal history that weaves through the Matobo Hills. Then visit Davison's Camp in Hwange National Park for phenomenal game viewing. Finish with time to explore The Victoria Falls, and the many activities.

Best for: Couples, Family, Wildlife, Adventure

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