Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, has been called one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
It is neither the highest, nor the widest but is said to be the largest waterfall due to the sheer volume of water, estimated at around 500 million litres of water a minute, that comes crashing over the precipice.
Standing near the edge, in rainy season, the noise is deafening and the spray leaves you soaked in seconds. So come prepared with either a raincoat or an umbrella.
The picture above might look a bit hazy, but it’s really hard to describe to volume of water floating in the air, even on a sunny day it is misty.
If you’re feeling brave, take the 73 steps down into the gorge at the Cataract Viewpoint. Not only will you get soaked, but the thundering of the water cascading over the cliff face is deafening.
Don’t miss a walk on the bridge which was designed in 1906 in England and transported in pieces. This forms the boundary between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Don’t be pressured into using a guide. It really is not necessary.
Current entrance fees : Approx $ 20.00 (USD)
When to visit
The summer months (November to March) are hot and humid, the winter is pleasantly cool and dry .
The water is at it is lowest in November and December. April and May is when the water thunder through the ravines.
The Falls are spectacular at any time of the year, each month having a different kind of beauty.
I have stayed in various places over the years.These two are my favourites. The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge . The accommodation is swish and the views over the waterhole are a taste of Africa at it’s best. It is a perfect spot to have a drink and watch the sunset.
A highlight of the stay was the Vulture Culture experience. It is a supplementary feeding program that helps with the survival of endangered birds. It is a fascinating educational experience that should not be missed.
If you are on the Zambian side then I recommend the David Livingston Safari Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River, They offer a range of activities, including helicopter flights, rafting and sunset cruises.
Although I have highlighted luxury options there is accommodation available for all budgets.
Eat & Drink
You obviously have the option of eating at your hotel, but there are a variety of other spots available to tickle the tastebuds.
The Lookout Cafe is located on the gorges overlooking the bridge and the high wire activities. It’s a casual spot for a lazy breakfast, lunch or even a sundowner or two.
From the Craft market at the Falls, head back towards town and look for the sign pointing down to the railway line. Don’t miss visiting here or you will regret it!
Living in Africa one can become a bit jaded with the “African Experience” normally laid on for tourists. I was hesitant when I heard about the Boma being an authentic African evening., but oh boy was I glad that I went!
The meal takes the form of a barbeque buffet. The choice is astounding. There really is something for everyone, including an opportunity to try a mopani worm.In fact this is not a worm at all but is a caterpillar and is the larvae of the Emperor Moth. You can these treats in markets throughout Southern Africa.
Apart from an amazing selection of food, the highlight of the evening was learning to play an African style drum. What fun!
Shearwarer Cafe is a perfect place to sit and have a cappuccino , freshly squeezed juice, or even a cocktail. It is in the main street and is a cool, chic spot. I loved the music, which was jazzy and upbeat. It serves cafe style food.
Last, but not least, is the Grand Old Lady, the Victoria Falls Hotel built in 1904. It is one of the oldest hotels in Africa, and a visit is like stepping back in time to a bygone era. The views from the terrace are some of the best around.
We started the afternoon with a couple of ice cold G & T’s, just to quench our thirst. That was followed by a delicious high tea, with generous servings of sandwiches, scones, tarts and cakes. What a fabulous way to spend a couple of hours.
Although I am not into hurling myself off a cliff into the unknown many others are. If this is you then you will not be short of things to do.
How about dropping off the bridge spanning the gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia? If you’re an adrenalin junkie then this is perfect for you.
This video clip shows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman ( Long way down) experiencing the jump.
White water rafting
Rafting on the Zambezi, racing through the gorge, is claimed to be the wildest one day run in the world. It is also listed as one of the top 10 rivers in the world by National Geographic for white water rafting. Bear in mind that there is a steep path out of the gorge and a climb of approx 225 m ( 750 ft) which takes around 20 minutes depending on your level of fitness.
There are a number of tour operators who offer this cruise, with options of dinner, or just drinks and snacks. They will collect you from your hotel and drop you off after the cruise. It’s extremely relaxing, with the added advantage of seeing various animals that come to drink at the water’s edge at the end of the day. On our trip we were lucky enough to see elephant, giraffe, hippos, baboons, and a variety of buck, but every day differs.
- Zip Line – the Flying Fox- across a 425m high gorge at over 100km per hour
- Gorge Swing – Swing across the gorge
- Elephant Back Safari – Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve, a few kilometres outside of Victoria Falls.
- There are numerous craft markets in town and vendors all over trying to sell you curios.
Zimbabwe uses the US dollar so all prices are quoted in dollars. You may have some problems with your bank cards drawing money from ATM machines and with a bit of trial and error you will usually find the correct one for your card, then it works!
You can pay for most things with a card. It is advisable to bring some cash to have available on your arrival.
Negotiate with the taxi drivers before starting your journey and agree a price up front.
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