Victoria Falls

One of the seventh wonders of the natural world

The Smoke that Thunders – so says the local name for Victoria Falls, Mosi oa-Tunya. Certainly this description is far more evocative and true to reality than the colonial name which was adopted. The British explorer David Livingstone described ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by Angels in their flight’ and certainly these spectacular scenes continue to draw visitors year after year. It is a superb destination to start or end a safari.

With the Zambezi River forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, visitors wishing to see Victoria Falls have the option of staying either in Livingstone (on the Zambian side) or Victoria Falls (on the Zimbabwe side). Both sides offer an excellent range of accommodation and a dizzying list of activities. Accommodation options vary from simple guest houses and colonial style hotels to luxurious safari style lodges set along the river in national parks, offering the chance to continue the safari experience.

As the Zambezi River tumbles down 100 metres from a vertical chasm, the Victoria Falls is formed. Stretching across 1,700 metres and falling at heights between 80-110 metres, Victoria falls is one and a half times wider than Niagara Falls and is twice the height making it the biggest curtain of water in the world. At its peak up to 5 million cubic square metres of water plunges over the rim every minute- a staggering sight.

Across the 1,700 rim there are a number of gorges, or ‘falls’, most of which fall within the Zimbabwe side, rather than the Zambian side. The gorges are known locally as Main Falls, Rainbow Falls, The Devil’s Cataract and Horseshoe Falls in Zimbabwe and the Eastern Cataract in Zambia. The new Uni Visa allows visitors to visit both sides very easily.

Thick vegetation and woodland surrounds the falls, known as The Victoria Falls Rainforest, though not strictly a rain forest it forms a unique and fascinating eco-system.

When to visit Victoria Falls? The experience at the falls will all depend on the amount of rain received in the areas upstream. The Zambezi River is fed by the rains which fall from November-April, with the flood season from February to May, peaking in April. The spray at this time is immense, rising almost 1km into the sky and visible 45 kms away. It is worth noting that at its peak the spray is so strong that visibility is restricted. During the drier months, from September to January, the rocky face of the falls begins to show again. October is traditionally the driest month. The experience varies greatly across the seasons but certainly each month will offer something very different for everyone.

Victoria Falls has become a hub of activities and visitors are spoilt for choice. Certainly the area offers much more than simply a tour of the waterfall, with a huge range of activities now available for every age and interest. Serene activities such as boating along the Zambezi or dining on steam trains offer a chance to take a slower pace while at the falls. For those looking to get their heart beat up there is a long list of adventure sports- from rafting to canoeing and walking safaris. Families will delight in the canopy tours and elephant interactions in Victoria Falls while rhino tracking is available in Mosi oa-Tunya, in Zambia. Cultural activities such as village and school visits are also available.

Plenty to entertain any visitor – or simple a peaceful place to recharge before or after a safari.

Accommodation in this Area

From $1400 per person

Rovos Rail

Perfectly capturing the spirit of a bygone era, a journey on the world-renowned Rovos Rail transports guests back to the nostalgic golden age of rail travel. Rovos is an exceptional way to travel to iconic destinations such as Cape Town and Victoria Falls, embracing slow, luxurious travel as you journey through dramatic African landscapes. Between exquisite dining experiences, guests enjoy an array of guided activities at notable historical and natural attractions along the way.

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From $630 per person

Thorntree River Lodge

Magnifying the astounding beauty of the mighty Zambezi River is the incredibly stylish and luxurious Thorntree River Lodge. Set on the banks of the river within Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, this beautiful safari camp offers a serene and spoiling base from which to visit Victoria Falls. An abundance of enticing activities are available from rhino tracking to canoeing, fishing, boat safaris and many other adrenaline activities associated with the falls.

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From $175 per person

Batonka Guest Lodge

Batonka Guest House is an upmarket but well priced and friendly boutique hotel just 2km from Victoria Falls. This smart owner run hotel offers a quiet and calming haven away from the hustle and bustle of town yet easy access to the endless activities offered in the area. Spacious and modern rooms are set in lush gardens and facilities include a lovely swimming pool and lively restaurant with delicious meals. A little gem.

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From $From 320 per person per person

The Wallow Lodge

The Wallow is a new safari style lodge set on the banks of the Masuwe River within the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary, just five kms from bustling Victoria Falls. It is the perfect base to take in the expansive views of Batoka Gorge, one of the greatest sights in Vic Falls. This peaceful sanctuary makes an ideal base recharge before or after a safari, with a full range of exciting activities within easy reach.

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From $739 per person

Toka Leya Camp

Upstream from Victoria Falls on the banks of the Zambezi River lies Toka Leya – a luxurious safari camp named in tribute to the indigenous inhabitants that once lived here. Set within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Toka Leya is one of the best safari style accommodation options in the area, a stylish sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the falls, with an excellent range of safari and adventure activities.

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From $248 per person

Victoria Falls Hotel

Known fondly as the “Grand old lady of the Falls’’ the luxurious Victoria Falls Hotel is a stone’s throw away from the thundering Victoria Falls. Built in 1904 and steeped in history, the hotel epitomises the elegant splendour of the early 1900s with rich teak furniture and sophisticated décor. With spectacular views into Batoka Gorge, an unrivalled location and a full range of facilities to suit everyone, this remains a top choice for many visitors.

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From $200 per person

The Royal Livingstone Hotel

The elegant and colonial style Royal Livingstone Hotel is just 1.4km from the falls and has incredible views over the Zambezi River. The hotel lies within Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Zebra and other antelope are often found grazing the lawns. Well located for accessing the Falls, the tranquil setting complements the numerous exciting activities on offer. An unashamedly traditional hotel, a well-run and elegant classic with a good range of facilities and services.

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From $820 per person

Matetsi River Lodge

One of Victoria Falls’ top and most luxurious lodges – Matetsi combines luxury safari with a Vic Falls experience to offer the best of both worlds. Set on the banks of the Zambezi River in pristine wilderness amid colossal baobab trees. Striking architecture and slick service sets family - owned Matetsi River Lodge apart from the rest. Unwind in luxurious river-facing suites with private plunge pools between a huge array of activities.

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From $478 per person

Old Drift Lodge

Old world charm meets modern day safari sanctuary - fourteen elegant tents adorn the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, just 7 km from Victoria Falls. An idyllic bush paradise awaits at Old Drift Lodge. An 1898 settlement, “Old Drift” was the platform for the building of this luxury lodge offering a tranquil space and safari experiences away from the hustle and bustle of Vic Falls town. The best of both worlds.

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From $740 per person

Tongabezi

Tongabezi is a much loved haven of peace on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia. This owner-run boutique hotel has plenty of character and impressive attention to detail. It is a very special spot and has a welcomed many returning visitors over the years. A fantastic range of activities are available or simply savour the tranquil hours taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Zambezi River from your luxurious room.

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From $485 per person

The River Club

Elegantly nestled within the tree line, The River Club sits high on the Zambezi river with views towards Victoria Falls. This colonial -styled sanctuary blends genuine Zambian hospitality with fascinating natural heritage and exciting adventure activities. Ideal for discerning travellers with a taste for distinct old-world luxury, The River Club offers panoramic views into the Zambezi National Park.

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