48 hours in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Written by Alex
Africa Safari Specialist
There's more to these wondrous cascades than just fantastic views — spend two days here to try cooking, fine dining and canopy flying.
Wake to the sound of Mosi-oa-Tunya (‘the smoke that thunders’) before enjoying breakfast in the garden at your hotel, Ilala Lodge, with views of the falls’ rising spray.
Join a local resident for a two-hour stroll around Victoria Falls town to meet some of the talented artists, jewellers and sculptors that reside here. There won't be a strict route or timetable, so you can spend time chatting to locals and going behind the scenes of small businesses.
Head to the edge of the Zambezi gorges for a two-hour guided canopy tour. After a full safety briefing, follow your tour leader along nine zip wires. The rainforest below will likely be teeming with birdlife, and you might spot elephant. Zipping across the width of the gorge, you'll have fleeting views of the Zambezi’s rapids and Victoria Falls Bridge.
Enjoy lunch at the Lookout Café, which overlooks the Zambezi, before exploring the footpaths and viewpoints of the Victoria Falls Rainforest, taking in the views of the cascades. Your guide can tell you about the journey of David Livingstone, the first European to see the falls in 1855 and who named them after the Queen of England.
Join a sunset cruise along the Zambezi. After a welcome drink and introduction from the captain, you'll head upstream, exploring small islands and riverbanks while looking out for wallowing hippo, bathing elephant and birds such as egrets and fish eagles. Drinks and light refreshments will be served on board.
Return to your hotel to freshen up in time for dinner at the award-winning restaurant, The Palm. The menu changes often, but includes a variety of local dishes as well as a choice of artisan gins and South African wines.
Head out early for a sunrise boat cruise. A continental breakfast will be served as the sun rises through the morning mist. The river is quiet at this time of day, making it easier to spot birds such as African skimmers, jacanas and pied and malachite kingfishers.
Head to Ko Mpisi village, a traditionally run homestead. Here, you'll meet the village chief, Chief Mpisi, who'll tell you about the area’s rural culture, traditions and lifestyle. You can chat to him about traditional healing techniques, local farming practices and small-scale conservation, and see a typical set up of a farming village.
Return to Victoria Falls town to browse the curio market before heading to the esteemed Victoria Falls Hotel to enjoy lunch on the colonial-style terrace.
Join a ‘Pot and Paddle’ experience. First, a top chef will guide you in creating a traditional African stew, slow-cooked in a potjie (a three-legged cast-iron cooking pot), which is placed in the embers of a fire for around three hours. All the ingredients will be provided: choose from beef, lamb, fish, vegetables, herbs and spices. While it simmers, you take a short game drive through Zambezi National Park, looking out for wildlife such as elephant, buffalo, baboons, giraffe, zebra and lion. Then take to the river in an inflatable dinghy, paddling slowly and enjoying a sundowner drink. The afternoon will end with a three-course dinner under the stars, with your potjie pot as the main dish.
- Visit the rainforest in the afternoon — there are fewer people and the light creates rainbows in the spray. (Russell)
- Wear shorts or quick-drying trousers and sandals when visiting the falls — you're likely to get wet from the spray and this will help you dry off quicker. (Georgie)
- Request a ‘Kaza’ visa when you arrive — this allows you to cross between Zimbabwe and Zambia so you can see the falls’ full expanse. (Louise)
Start planning your trip to Victoria Falls
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