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Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world and one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. The massive waterfall is 108 m (354 ft) tall and 1,708 m (5,603 ft) wide.It’s not the tallest or the widest but wins the title of largest in terms of sheer water volume.
Victoria Falls can be accessed through a town of the same name. The small town of Victoria Falls is full of greenery, wildlife, and one-of-a-kind activities. Continue reading to discover the best places to eat, stay, and play in this guide to Victoria Falls.
Guide to Victoria Falls:
Where is Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is the world’s largest waterfall and one of the Seven Natural Wonders. It’s located on the Zambezi River in southern Africa on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Located nearby, is the small city and resort town of Victoria Falls, named after the waterfall.
The town is located in western Zimbabwe and is the main tourist hub. This guide to Victoria Falls will cover activities based out of the town of Victoria Falls. However, the waterfall is viewable from the Zabian side as well.
How to Get to Victoria Falls
There are two international airports near Victoria Falls. These are Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI). You will likely fly into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa first before changing planes and continuing on to Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls International Airport is located about 11 mi (18 km) south of town. Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport is located just 3 mi (5 km) north but is on the Zambian side of the falls. A flight into Zamia can often be less expensive.
Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls can be a year-round destination with each season offering something different. The best time to visit will largely depend on what you would like to see and do. The rainy season is from December to March. The rainy season is generally hot and humid with thunderstorms taking place in the afternoon. During this time, river levels rise. Many water activities become unsafe and are not available. This also isn’t a good time for wildlife viewing. However, Victoria Falls is at its greenest and really beautiful. Being the low season, you’ll find the lowest rates on hotels during this time.
The dry season is from April to August. However, immediately following the rainy season during April and May, the river will be the most powerful. The mist from the falls is strong and visibility is limited during this time. Water activities may still be limited as well. June through August is a great time to visit. This is considered winter but temperatures are pleasant and it’s still sunny. This is the perfect time for most activities such as safari and helicopter tours. This is considered the high season, so expect crowds and higher hotel rates.
Later in the dry season during September and November, the river is at its lowest. It’s a great time to see the geological formations. Many activities are possible and it’s a great time for safari but temperatures are at their highest and even nights remain warm.
Things to Do in Victoria Falls:
There are many amazing activities available near Victoria Falls. However, not all are ethical. Please be mindful when booking any activity involving animals. Enjoy a safari but avoid anything that involves captive animals. There are no true sanctuaries in the area and many of the animals are exploited.
Do not participate in an elephant-back safari or the lion experience. Elephants are not meant to be ridden and this activity damages their backs. The lion activity forces interactions by keeping the lions drugged. The lions are also forcibly taken from their mothers in the wild at a very young age.
There are many great activities in Victoria Falls that don’t involve animals. There are multiple ways to view the falls and incredible one-of-a-kind bucket list experiences. Continue reading for 7 amazing things to do in Victoria Falls.
1. Safari at Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is located in northern Botswana but makes a great day trip from Victoria Falls. The park gate is located 80 km (49 mi) or just over a one-hour drive from Victoria Falls. Chobe is known for its large herds of elephants but you can also expect to see giraffes, zebra, impala, wildebeest, warthog, and more.
The dry season is the best time to visit when the animals stay close to the Chobe River. However, it can be visited throughout the year. Tours leave daily from Victoria Falls. There are plenty of options that include transportation, breakfast, lunch, and assistance with immigration across the Botswana border.
2. Enjoy a Sunset River Cruise
A cruise down the Zambezi River is one of the top things to do in this guide to Victoria Falls. The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa at 2,574 km (1,599 mi) long and there really is no better way to experience the river than by cruise. It’s basically the real-life version of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise.
The cruise moves upstream and will give you the chance to see all kinds of incredible wildlife. You can expect to see hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and birdlife. There are quite a few options as far as cruises go. I recommend a dinner cruise so you can experience the sunset on the river. You’re also likely to see more wildlife at dusk when it’s cooler out.
3. Go on a Walking Tour of Victoria Falls
A walking tour of Victoria Falls is a must-do. Being able to actually feel and hear its roar is an incredible experience. A tour isn’t necessary and you are able to self-guide along the paved pathways but I recommend one. A guide will be able to point out all the best views and provide you with great information along the way.
The path includes 16 stops. The best views are at the end so make sure to complete the walk. You also won’t want to miss a set of stairs that go down to Devil’s Cataract, the lowest part of the falls. Many tours also include a visit to “The Big Tree”, a huge baobab that is believed to be over 1,000 years old.
Depending on the season, you may get very wet so plan accordingly. The spray from the falls creates an everlasting “rain” and each viewpoint visited becomes progressively wetter. Raincoats are provided with most tours. During the rainy season, walking next to the falls is like walking through a heavy rainstorm. I recommend wearing slip-resistant sandals and lightweight clothing that will dry quickly. Do not wear sneakers. They will get soaked and will take days to thoroughly dry. Most tours include admission to the park ($30 USD).
4. Take a Helicopter Flight
A helicopter tour is a terrific way to see Victoria Falls. It provides one of the best views of the falls and is an incredible experience. If a helicopter tour is a must-do for you then I suggest visiting in the dry season. Tours are greatly dependent on weather and helicopters can not take flight during the storms of the rainy season. A helicopter flight is a great way to photograph Victoria Falls. The falls are so massive and wet that it is difficult to capture them from the ground. A helicopter flight will give you a whole new perspective.
Helicopter tours can be booked through most hotels or at a small discount if booked directly at the office in town. I suggest booking upon arrival in Victoria Falls and scheduling the first available tour in case the weather changes. The cost is roughly $150 USD/ per person for a flight time of 15 minutes.
5. Bungee Jump off theVictoria Falls Bridge
Victoria Falls offers a handful of activities for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Bungee jumping off of the Victoria Falls Bridge is one of the most popular. It may be one of the most scenic bungee jumps in the world. The jump takes place 111 m (364 ft) above the Zambezi and gives the feeling of free-falling over the river. Solo ($160 USD) or tandem ($240 USD) jumps are offered and tours include hotel pick up/drop off.
6. White Water Rafting on the Zambezi
White water river rafting at Victoria Falls is an experience you won’t soon forget. It’s some of the best grade 5 white water rafting in the world. There are massive rapids with stretches of calm water in between allowing you to enjoy the scenery.
White water rafting is not a year-round activity and is dependent on water levels. High-water rafting takes place from January to February and from June to July. Low-water rafting takes place from August to late December. Low water is the best time to go and will allow you access to rapids numbered 1-19. Rafting tours cost roughly $140 USD and should be booked in advance.
7. Go for a Swim in Devil’s or Angel’s Pool
Devil and Angel’s pools are small natural pools located at the edge of the falls. A visit to one of the pools is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The pools are located at the top of the 108 m (354 ft) drop and allow you to look over the edge. This activity is not for someone who has a fear of heights. The pools are located on the Zambian side of the falls but tours to Livingstone Island are offered daily from Zimbabwe.
Devil’s Pool is generally open from August to January and Angel’s Pool from mid-March to mid-June. Access to the pools is dependent on current water levels and they will close when levels become unsafe.
Where to Eat in Victoria Falls
Shearwater Cafe: Shearwater Cafe is conveniently located in town and opens early daily for breakfast. It’s a great place to stop for coffee on your way to the falls. The chic cafe serves Western-style food and the menu includes burgers, pizza, and pasta dishes. It also offers veggie options.
The Boma: The Boma is an African buffet that includes unusual items such as crocodile tail and BBQ warthog. Boma offers nightly entertainment under its giant open-air thatched roof. You’ll find traditional dancing and drumming starting at 8 pm. During lunch hours, Boma is a more casual spot and offers guests the use of its pool.
Lookout Cafe: The Lookout Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is hands down one of my favorite places in this guide to Victoria Falls. The cafe is an indoor/outdoor space overlooking the Batoka Gorge and the rushing river below. The view is absolutely incredible.
It’s owned by Wild Horizons, which operates a lot of the activities in the area and a free shuttle to the café can be arranged in advance. Reservations are not required but are recommended. Lookout Cafe opens at 8 am daily for coffee and pastries. A full breakfast is only offered on the weekend unless pre-booked.
Where to Stay in Victoria Falls
A’Zambezi River Lodge is located on the banks of the Zambezi River and is the only hotel in the area with a jetty site. It couldn’t be more convenient if you plan on doing a river cruise. A’Zambezi River Lodge is about 3 mi (5 km) from town. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle and it takes just 10 minutes to reach Victoria Falls. The grounds are beautiful and the hotel offers nightly entertainment. There are also a number of tour agencies onsite which make it easy to book activities.
Lokuthula Lodge is a stunning hotel. It offers multi-room lodges and chalets which are perfect if you’re traveling with family or a group. The property overlooks the bush giving guests plenty of wildlife sightings. There’s a pool, restaurant, and bar on-site. Free shuttle service to town is also offered. The lodge is just over 1 mile (1.6 km) up the road from Victoria Falls.
Shearwater’s Explorers Village is about 5 minutes from town and sits near the Zambezi River. The hotel is a great value for the money with a variety of budget options that include camping, serviced tents, and chalets. The hotel has a lounge, bar, and pool areas. A friendly staff is available to assist with booking activities.
Have you been to Zimbabwe? Is there anything I missed in this guide to Victoria Falls?I’d love to hear about your experience. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please leave a comment or share using the social media buttons below. Interested in visiting the Zambian side of the falls? Continue to my post, “Angel’s Pool: A Visit to the Edge of Victoria Falls“.