A holiday in Victoria Falls is popular among South Africans because it allows them to see the Falls up close and participate in exciting adventure activities. From breathtaking helicopter rides over the Falls and exhilarating white-water rafting on the Zambezi River to romantic sunset safari cruises, there is something for everyone.
Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia and can be reached from either country via Victoria Falls Town in Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia. The Victoria Falls are formed when the mighty Zambezi River crashes over a basalt rock ledge and drops 108 metres (354 feet) into a powerful whirlpool, forming the world’s largest sheet of falling water.
The impressive roar of the falling water, known traditionally as Mosi-oa-Tunya or aptly, the ‘Smoke that Thunders,’ can sometimes be heard from 40 kilometres away. A dazzling cloud of mist floats high above the Falls on a windless day during the high-water season. This is a magnificent natural wonder that every safari enthusiast should see at least once.
When to go on holiday in Victoria Falls
From about February to July, expect the most spectacular views of the Falls and be prepared to get a little wet. Low-water season lasts from about August to January and is ideal for activities such as white-water rafting and swimming in Devil’s Pool.
The high season for safaris is from about June to October, which is a good time to combine a safari with a visit to Victoria Falls. Remember that the later you go, the drier the waterfall will be. The ‘sweet spot’ for a good safari and spectacular views is usually between July and August, which is also a very popular time to visit.
A holiday in Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe vs Zambia
Each side has advantages for a holiday in Victoria Falls. In general, and particularly during the low water season, the views of the falls are better from the Zimbabwean side. However, this is also the best time to explore Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool or Angel’s Pool on the Zambian side. For people on a tight budget, the Zimbabwean side offers better accommodation choices, while guests with a larger budget will find better accommodation options on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.
One advantage of the Zambian side is that on certain days of the week, there is a direct flight between Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and Livingstone. This eliminates the need to travel via Johannesburg when combining a safari in the Kruger National Park and a holiday in Victoria Falls on the Zambian side.
If you intend to visit both sides, then you should look into obtaining a Kaza Univisa, which allows you multiple entries into both Zimbabwe and Zambia and makes border crossing much easier.
Where to stay?
If you want to be within walking distance of the waterfall, Zimbabwe is a good choice for a holiday in Victoria Falls. In Zimbabwe, on the outskirts of Vic Falls Town, there are a variety of good hotels and comfortable lodges beside the Zambezi River. If you want to get away from the crowds, head to the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. Further upstream of the waterfall, there are romantic riverside lodges that provide complete privacy and tranquillity.
What to do on holiday in Victoria Falls
During a holiday in Victoria Falls, there is a wealth of outdoor recreation for every kind of traveller. For adrenaline junkies, a white water rafting experience is a must, while those who enjoy heights can book a bungee jump or swing across lush forests with the gorge swings and zip-lining experiences. Those looking for something quieter during a holiday in Victoria Falls can enjoy a river cruise, visit the local markets for some cultural experiences, go fishing or even play golf.
Beyond Victoria Falls
From Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia, day trips to Chobe National Park in Botswana are available. You will need to go through border control, so bring your passport. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest, is about 104 kilometres from Vic Falls and is famous for its large herds of buffalo and elephants. If you’re staying on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls, this is an excellent Big 5 safari option.
Are you considering a holiday in Victoria Falls? Our friendly Travel Experts are here to answer all of your questions and assist you with an unforgettable holiday in Victoria Falls.