Where to go

Victoria Falls

Known locally as 'The Smoke That Thunders'

Victoria Falls - Zambia
Victoria Falls - Zambia

First discovered by explorer David Livingstone in 1855, Victoria Falls, referred to locally as ‘the Smoke that Thunders’, is one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. At a towering height of just over 100 metres, and a staggering volume of water cascading over the lip every minute (750 million litres at its peak), it is clear why a visit to the falls is often high on the list when visitors come to Zambia!

Victoria Falls can be seen from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. The eastern cataract is seen from the Zambian side, which is approximately a quarter of the falls. At the height of the dry season (November and December), the Zambezi River water levels drop and some sections of the falls actually dry up.

At a total of 1,680 metres wide, Victoria Falls’ curtain of water is actually interrupted in several places by small islands that stand on the lip of the falls. These small breaks in the water create smaller waterfalls – the Devil’s Cataract, the Main Falls, the Horsehoe Falls and the Rainbow Falls in Zimbabwe, and the Eastern Cataract in Zambia. Both countries are well equipped for tourism, with a network of paths, bridges and viewpoints built to encourage visitors to experience the Falls from every angle.

When visiting the Falls, a great base in Zambia is Livingstone. The town itself is fairy compact and accommodation is varied – from hotels and guesthouses in the city centre, to bush lodges spread along the Zambezi River. For those looking for beside the Falls accommodation, the Royal Livingstone Hotel and Avani Victoria Falls are fantastic options.

Activities around Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls attracts millions of visitors throughout the year and if the view of the mighty Falls isn’t enough, there are a handful of activities on offer. For thrill-seekers, activities over Victoria Falls include bungee jumping, helicopter rides, bridge walks, abseiling, gorge swings, white-water rafting on the Zambezi river, canoeing on the upper Zambezi, microlight flights over the falls and many more!

Upstream of the Zambezi River is a small national park called Mosi-oa-Tunya. For those staying in the bush camps along the Zambezi, guided bush walks are offered in the park and with resident wildlife of giraffe, buffalo, antelope, zebra, elephant and white rhino (introduced to the area in 1994), it is a good option for those looking for something to combine with the Falls.

Canoe excursions and boat cruises are also on offer further upstream to Victoria Falls. You’ll see elephant on the banks of the river, plenty of crocodiles and hippo, and an incredible variety of birdlife. Further downstream, the spray from the mighty Falls can often be seen - a remarkable show of power!

Best time to visit Victoria Falls:

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    At a glance... Victoria Falls

    • Location South eastern Zambia, bordering Zimbabwe
    • Recommended time 2-3 nights
    • Time to visit Year round
    • Activities Victoria falls visit, white water rafting, river cruises, canopy tours, zip-lining, helicopter rides, and many more

    Further reading...

    Our top five hotels & lodges in Victoria Falls:

    1. Toka Leya View from river

      Toka Leya Camp

      Designed along the lines of a luxury safari camp, Toka Leya sits approximately 30 minutes drive upriver from the famous ‘smoke that thunders’ or Victoria falls. Celebrating its 10th year in 2018, Toya Leya offers a different type of experience to the properties that are located close to the falls (... More...

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    2. Tongabezi

      Tongabezi

      Voted as the best safari lodge in Zambia by Conde Nast Travel, this luxury lodge is definitely one to consider when you are planning your trip to Victoria Falls! Tonagezi is set on the banks of the Zambezi River and offers a range of stunning, afrocentric design rooms and communal spaces. The best... More...

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    3. Waterberry Lodge

      Waterberry Lodge

      The main draw to Waterberry Lodge is that it provides the most calming atmosphere – away from the hustle and bustle of Victoria Falls. With well-maintained gardens and an intimate number of guest rooms, Waterberry Zambezi Lodge is the perfect base for those wanting to combine activites in... More...

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    4. Islands of Siankaba

      Islands of Siankaba

      Islands of Siankaba is a unique luxury lodge located on islands on the Zambezi River. As it is around 45 kilometres from Livingstone, it is definitely one of the most peaceful lodges you can stay in during your visit to Victoria Falls. There are a wealth of activities on offer and a generous amount... More...

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    5. Royal Livingstone Hotel

      Royal Livingstone Hotel

      The Royal Livingstone Hotel is the most famous hotels out of all of the Victoria Falls properties. It sits on the Zambian side, on the banks of the Zambezi River and boasts a short 15-minute walk to Victoria Falls itself. The décor is quite colonial which adds to the history of this lodge. The... More...

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