Visit Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The rising mist, the roaring noise, and the gaping abyss into which sheets of water cascade provide the spectacle and drama of a visit to Victoria Falls, aptly known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (‘the smoke that thunders’) in the local language. Our specialists visit the Zimbabwe side of the falls regularly to uncover the best things to see and do during your visit. They’ll recommend ways to appreciate the falls fully, such as on a sunset steam train ride along Victoria Falls Bridge or soaring overhead aboard a helicopter to grasp the falls’ true scale.
With a height of 108 m (354 ft) and a width of 1,708 m (5,604 ft), Victoria Falls takes the prize as the largest curtain of falling water on the planet. The falls form the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, but you’ll have a similar experience whichever side you visit.
There are lots of little paths you can follow that wind along the basalt clifftop adjacent to the falls, where you might see trumpeter hornbills darting across the gorge. The mist rising from the chasm has created a rainforest-like ecosystem, and as you walk among the dripping fig, palm and mahogany trees you can admire close-up views of the plunging water. You also stand a chance of seeing vervet monkeys and baboons among the vegetation, as well as black eagles and falcons circling overhead.
While water levels vary throughout the year (travel between January and April to see the falls at their peak), even visiting during the driest periods still has its rewards as the cliff face is exposed and you can peer right down to the bottom of the gorge.
Lower water levels also give you a chance to go white water rafting through the turbulent waters at the foot of the falls, navigating a series of class IV and V rapids with an experienced guide.
A fine way to spend an evening here is having dinner aboard the Bushtracks Express, a restored 1920s steam train that runs along part of the ‘Cape to Cairo’ railway on Tuesdays and Fridays. The train takes you through Victoria Falls National Park and onto the Victoria Falls Bridge, built by British colonialist Cecil Rhodes in 1905. After pausing for you to take sunset photographs of the falls, the train continues to a siding, where a five-course dinner is served on board.
Alternatively, you could take a sunset cruise along the Zambezi, sipping drinks while listening to your guide recount local myths and legends. You might be joined in the water by elephant, hippo and crocodiles as the sinking sun casts a pink tinge over the river.
More wildlife can be seen on a game drive through Victoria Falls National Park, which is home to zebra, giraffe, buffalo, eland and impala. Or you could visit Chobe National Park, around an hour and a half’s drive away in Botswana, for a full-day safari. After cruising along the Chobe River, looking out for spoonbills, ibises and carmine bee-eaters, you take an afternoon game drive through the park’s fertile floodplains. Huge herds of elephant populate this area, as well as wildebeest, lion and hyena.
Dr David Livingstone, the first European to see the falls, said of his first impression: ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight’. Seeing the falls up close is one thing, but viewing them from the air reveals their full scale. A 15- or 30-minute helicopter flight can take you over the Upper Zambezi to the edge of the falls, swooping low over the water so you can stare into the mist-filled crevasse.
Suggested itineraries featuring Victoria Falls
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Victoria Falls, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Accommodation choices for Victoria Falls
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Victoria Falls. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.