Known locally as 'The Smoke That Thunders'
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!
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