With the world’s best-known and most impressive torrent of water, the Victoria Falls region is a destination to see before you die. Whether you want to throw yourself from a cliff or brave some of the planet’s most exhilarating rapids, this stretch of the mighty Zambezi River is the place to be. Big water, big animals and big thrills! And the bill for experiencing this classic piece of Africa need not be big with a little advance planning.
Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, which flows along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. You can visit the falls from either Livingstone (Zambia) or Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). Both have airports, served by flights from Johannesburg and a few other Southern African airports.
To see the falls at their strongest and loudest, visit between February and May, after the summer rains. Water levels are lowest in October and November, at the end of the dry winter period. Christmas is busy here, as are the winter months from June to August, when many people visit the region for wildlife watching.
Opinion is divided over which country is best for visiting the falls. From the Zambian side, you can get breathtakingly close to the roaring water, while Zimbabwe has the best views. If you invest in an extra tourist visa, you can cross the border and decide for yourself.
- Gasping at the majesty of Victoria Falls, a thundering body of water with rainbow-flecked spray rising to the heavens
- Swimming atop the falls and leaping into Devil’s Pool, clinging to the watery precipice with a misty abyss below
- Zambezi rafting – the best one-day white-water rafting trip on earth, tackling gnarly rapids with names like Devil’s Toilet Bowl and Oblivion
- Strolling through Livingstone’s Maramba Markets, where stalls sell everything from mopani worms to second-hand clothes
- Putting in hammock time at a riverside lodge in the bush outside Livingstone
- Gazing at wallowing hippos and Zambezi vistas on a sunset river cruise
- Adding to the drama of the falls by bungee jumping or micro-lighting
Did you know?
Victoria Falls is the world’s largest waterfall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Explorer David Livingstone ‘discovered’ the roughly 100m-high, 1.7km-wide waterfall in 1855, and named it after Queen Victoria. Locals also use the indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya (‘the smoke that thunders’) – a good description of the spray and mist rising over 400m into the air.