THE VICTORIA FALLS
Providing a spectacular sight of great beauty and elegance on the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is the largest curtain of falling water in the world and has been identified as one of the seven wonders of the world. Being one of the greatest physical spectacles in Africa, the Victoria Falls has attracted so much interest from tourists from every part of the world over time.
The most beautiful sight to witness in Africa. None can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It has never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.
— David Livingstone
To avoid confusion, Visit Falls just wants to clear up that both the town and the waterfall are called Victoria Falls. The waterfall is slightly outside the city, while most accommodation, restaurants, and everything else are within the town. The airport of the same name is about 20 minutes outside the town.
For a Victoria Falls holiday, the Zimbabwean side of the fall is any traveller’s dream. This is not just because of the fact that it allows for two-thirds of the view, it is also home to unique plants and animals life and it is the only place on earth where you can experience rain all day and all night as a result of the spray from the falls. This also makes the Zimbabwe side of the fall a good choice for accommodation.
Getting to Victoria Falls (the waterfall) from the town is incredibly straight forward. Entrance depends on nationality and age, with a standard adult fee for non-Zimbabweans being USD 30, this is a single-entry fee. Payment can be made using most international debit and credit cards, you can also pay using the local currency or in US dollars or Euros.
Winter opening hours: 6.30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Summer opening hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Note that, within the Victoria Falls Park, there are bathrooms, a restaurant, and drinks/snacks sellers.
VICTORIA FALLS ACTIVITIES AND TOURS
White water rafting
Not one for the risk-averse, the mighty Zambezi River is home to many grades five rapids providing the adventurous with an up-close and personal experience of the falls. Trip duration is dependent upon time of the year, with the wet season and, therefore, very high water levels meaning that particular rapids are simply not safe.
Visit Falls took this tour and, despite all the awesomeness they encountered in Africa, stated that their helicopter flight over the Falls remained their firm favourite. It is not a cheap flight as the tour will be of only fifteen minutes, but it doesn’t get more ‘bucket-list’ than this. You can book tours here.
Popular for a good reason, this tour guides you slowly down the Zambezi River at sunset whilst providing unlimited drinks (yes, that includes booze) and snacks – all for just £30. Book and find out more here.
This 111m bungee jump (said to be one of the best in the world) remains a firm favourite for those in the region. Pricing is USD 120 per person and can be booked in advance here. A bridge swing and bridge slide are also available in the same location.
One for the animal lovers, this tour involves two safaris (one river-based, the other in a 4×4) in Botswana’s incredible Chobe National Park (no, that’s not a typo – you go to Botswana!). Find out more here.
Except for the bike tour and afternoon tea, all the above are optional extras that can be included as part of the Visit Falls Tour.
BEST TIME TO VISIT VICTORIA FALLS
The waterfalls is also called by another name; Mosi-oa-Tunya, or ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Visit Falls recommends you to visit during the height of the rainy season (November to April), and this name ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ is incredibly accurate.
The consensus is that the best time to visit the falls is in June or July. You still have a large volume of water leftover from the rainy season to showcase the splendour of the falls, but not so much as to affect visibility.
If you’re keen to walk across the top of the falls, then Visit Falls recommends you visit during peak dry season (September to November) – but just bear in mind that from viewing platforms, you’ll likely see more rock face than the falls.
WHERE TO STAY IN VICTORIA FALLS
There is a wide range of hotels and lodges in Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe to choose from but The Elephant Camp is the place to be. Located on a private concession within and bounded by the Masuwe River and the Zambezi gorges, The Elephant Camp Zimbabwe has amazing views of the falls’ spray with spectacular views of the mist rising over the majestic Victoria Falls and the steeply carved gorges of the Zambezi River. The Elephant Camp Zimbabwe is a luxury and within easy reach of Victoria Falls and all its attractions and activities and its definitely a place where every dollar will be worth spending. Some of the customer reviews quoted below:
“Our stay at Elephant Camp was wonderful because of two primary factors 1) welcoming (and efficient) staff and 2) the location and beauty of the facility. Staff made everything easy for us and were clearly focused on making sure we enjoyed our stay”. – Paula P
“Our family enjoyed a very special three nights at The Elephant Camp over New Year. It’s a lovely location, very attentive staff, numerous activities and they really try to make your stay personal and special”. – Erich M
Victoria Falls Hotel | The Queen Mother’s hotel of choice, this hotel sits firmly in the luxury hotel category. Built-in 1904, it mixes colonial charm with modern comforts in a grand setting. The very first hotel to be built in the area, The Victoria Falls Hotel continues to be a trendy choice.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge | While the facilities and the rooms are exceptional, the real reason to stay at this safari lodge is the spectacular view overlooking a large watering hole. Watch wild elephants, antelope, and more from your balcony and enjoy a truly African experience. For more information, or to check prices and availability, click here.
Also, whenever you’re planning for your Victoria Falls holiday, don’t forget to make an advance reservation at the often fully-booked restaurant; The Boma. The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show is a restaurant that offers an impressive combination of sumptuous local cuisine, interactive drumming and spirited dance performances. It has established itself as a Victoria Falls highlight and it provides a unique cultural experience that bombards the senses with the tastes, sights and sounds of Africa. These are what people are saying about The Boma:
“The performance of The Boma artists was exceptional. The feat of getting everyone in the audience to play the drums was a momentous feat that was very well coordinated.”. – Christopher A
“We had an interesting dining experience at Boma. Not only did we get to try various game meat, there were also performances, as well as face painting (which was very well done)”. – NewSpidey
HOW TO GET TO VICTORIA FALLS
By far, the easiest way to get to Victoria Falls is by plane, with several flights a week from Harare, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Windhoek, and Addis Ababa. For those travelling to Africa from Europe, Asia, or the Americas, your journey to Victoria Falls will mean a connection transfer at one of these five airports.
Taxis are available at the airport and can be arranged with the information desk (takes 20-30 minutes and costs USD 30), however, if you can book in advance, this pre-arranged transfer service which you can easily book online up to 24 hours before your arrival works out cheaper for couples or individuals.
WHAT VISA DO YOU NEED FOR ZIMBABWE?
Firstly, with the recent large-scale change in the Zimbabwean government and subsequent loosening of entry requirements, Visit Falls highly recommend you check your own government’s advice on entry requirements before you travel.
If you choose not to purchase your visa in advance, or simply aren’t able to, then you will quickly arrive at the immigration checkpoint within Victoria Falls airport after you touch down. The visa covers multiple entries between the two countries for the duration and costs USD 50.