Victoria Falls Safaris
A Victoria Falls Safari explores Victoria Fall, one of the most remarkable natural wonders of the world, known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or "the Smoke that Thunders". This breath-taking waterfall was introduced to the world by the great explorer David Livingstone and is now the Adventure Capital of the World.
Victoria Falls Highlights
A two-night stay is recommended for a Victoria Falls Safari, in order to give visitors the opportunity to explore the town with its many attractions and activities. Visitors can enjoy exploring in and around Victoria Falls, as well as day-tripping into Zambia and Botswana due to the close proximity.
This plunging curtain of water creates clouds of water vapour that rise high above it, giving it its nickname, the Smoke that Thunders, called Mosi-oa-Tunya in the local language. Visitors can walk along the footpaths and watch as millions of litres of water plummet into the Zambezi River below, however, one does stand the chance of getting soaked at this close range and raincoats are on offer to keep onlookers dry. Enjoy a canopy tour, a sunset cruise and a decadent high tea and so much more on a Victoria Falls Safari.
Livingstone in Zambia shares the Victoria Falls and has many lovely activities and places to say. A KAZA Visa provides multiple entries to both countries ensuring that all activities are available regardless which side of the falls you stay on.
Victoria Falls Facts and Best Time to visit
Victoria Falls is where the Zambezi River plummets down 5 different 'falls', 4 of which are in Zimbabwe: The Devil's Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls; while one, The Eastern Cataract, is in the bordering country of Zambia. Plummeting into First Gorge and swirling through the remaining gorges, the Zambezi River then swirls through the rest of the Batonka Gorges.
Victoria Falls was introduced to the world by noted explorer, Sir David Livingstone, in 1855 after a long trek across Africa. He named it after the then-Queen, Victoria, who visited the Falls in 1947 and stayed in the Victoria Falls Hotel .
The plummeting curtain of water is 1708m wide and plunges to an estimated 110m with 5 million cubic litres falling every minute; however the foot of the Falls is constantly eroding, so they may fall much deeper than that.
Viewpoints 1 to 16 are on the Zimbabwean side and 17 to 19 on the Zambian side.
It is always "raining" in the rain forest that overlooks the Victoria Falls, even at very low water there is a fine mist pushed up from the tumbling water.
A common question is when is the best time to enjoy a Victoria Falls Safari, closely followed by which side is best! The answer to both is intertwined and here is why.
- The Victoria Falls has never dried up which means that there will always be water falling over the edge. The dry season from September till January does see the water levels drop. There are 19 viewpoints, all but 2 are on the Zimbabwe Side. The fist overlooks Devils Cataract, which will always flow. As the water levels drop you start to see the bottom of First Gorge and more of the rock face of the falls as you move through the viewpoints.
- The Eastern Cataract is the final viewpoint, best seen from the Zambia side. This is dry by December. The rains start from December through to April, with the river water levels rising from rains in the Angolan highlands. Victoria Falls starts to fill up from February through to May with a peak in late April, early May. After years of drought, the floodwaters of 2020 are one of the highest on record.
- This means at low water the Zimbabwe side is best and at high water, both sides are spectacular. Border crossing can be quick so is no longer a deterrent to which side you stay on. The KAZA Visa is a multiple entry visa available for most passport holders on arrival. We list some of our top choices of accommodation at the end of the article.
Top Victoria Falls Safari accommodation suggestions:
Ilala Lodge is a lovely boutique hotel located within walking distance of the Victoria Falls. Wild animals often graze on the hotel lawns with the spray of the falls in the background. The Palms Restaurant is a must for all visitors to Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is set high on a natural plateau, and borders the Zambezi National Park and is just 4km from the thundering Victoria Falls. An active waterhole and hide has elephants and other animals visiting regularly.
Old Drift Lodge in the Zambezi National Park stretches along the Zambezi River, offering not only a Victoria Falls adventure filled trip but a wildlife safari as well.
Elephant Camp is located about 10km from Victoria Falls town, inside Vic Falls National Park. Guests can enjoy a peaceful safari experience, yet remain close enough to town to enjoy all the other activities on offer.
The Victoria Falls Hotel offers a charming colonial luxury hotel stay. Beautiful gardens overlook the Victoria Falls Bridge and their afternoon High Tea is a must!
Victoria Falls Safaris: How to Get There
Victoria Falls is one of Africa's most sought-after destinations, and it enjoys its status as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. As majestic as it is itself, it is also conveniently located at a safari hotspot, making a trip to Victoria Falls an all-round great idea.
Sun Safaris agents will arrange for their guests to fly to Victoria Falls International Airport, from where they will have an arranged pick-up or road transfer to their hotel or lodge. Alternatively, guests might like the freedom of having their own vehicle in which case Sun Safaris will arrange to hire a car at Victoria Falls Airport.
Victoria Falls National Park is on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls and offers some extraordinary wildlife experiences. Guests can go in a number of directions from here, such as Botswana's Chobe National Park, or take a cruise up the Zambezi. Alternatively, enjoy where you are and partake in the range of adventure activities at the Falls itself.
Victoria Falls Safaris Adrenalin Activities and Game Viewing
Victoria Falls is known for its numerous activities available, from gentle cruises to wild white water rafting. There is something for everyone.
- A Tour of Victoria Falls is a 2-hour circular path that stops at the 16 viewpoints overlooking the Victoria Falls. This can be done on your own or with a guide.
- A Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River is a wonderful way to end the day. Jump onboard a fun booze cruise or join a smaller boat with sumptuous snacks and drinks, with a captain who knows the animals and the birds that call the river home.
- A morning breakfast cruise, or early morning birdwatching cruise, a lunch cruise and a dinner cruise are all also available.
- High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel is a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon. You do not need to stay at the hotel to enjoy this.
- View Victoria Falls from the air on a helicopter flip.
- Spend half a day on a canoe trip on the upper Zambezi River.
- White Water rafting is available at certain times of the year, as is the swim at Devils Pool at Livingstone Island.
- Zipline, Bungee Jump, Gorge Swing and Canopy Tours are available for the more adventurous
- Explore the local markets for some beautiful statues to take home with you.
- Go on a game drive and spot lions, elephants and more.
The Victoria Falls National Park and the Zambezi National Park cover an area of about 56 000 hectares and share part of its border with the Zambezi River, which also separates Zimbabwe from Zambia.
The Zambezi National Park is home to the Big 5, as well as several antelope and smaller species, which provide a nearby and interesting safari opportunity for interested guests not willing to travel into Botswana for a safari in Chobe National Park (which is also nearby).
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge offers a magnificent setting situated on a raised hill overlooking a waterhole on the doorstep of the Zambezi National Park. Guests can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the lodge and safari activities and game viewing.
Old Drift Lodge
A new addition to the Zambezi Riverfront, Old Drift Lodge is located in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi National Park only 7km from the town of Victoria Falls bringing both the excitement of the Falls and the tranquillity of the 55 000 hectare wildlife reserve.
Victoria Falls Hotel
The Victoria Falls Hotel is stylish five star Hotel steeped in history and culture, known as "the grand old lady of the Falls". The experience at Victoria Falls Hotel is of a bygone era and the Edwardian-style architecture enhances the age-old ambience.
Victoria Falls River Lodge
Victoria Falls River Lodge is the first private game lodge to be set in the Zambezi National Park. This newly built luxury tented lodge is situated on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River – so close to Victoria Falls one can see the spray in the distance.
Situated in the Upper Zambezi National Park, in close proximity to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, newly established Pioneers Camp has many things to boast about. Located a short 17 kilometres from Victoria Falls town, guests will gain insight into the historical significance of this site.
Stanley and Livingstone
Elegance and sophistication is what guests can expect at the luxurious Stanley and Livingstone Hotel; offering a magnificent location on 6 000 acres of private African bush. Indulge in romantic bush dinners, culinary cuisine and exciting wildlife activities.
Cliff Top Lodge
At the Victoria Falls Cliff Top Lodge, guests will be surrounded by the pristine and beautiful scenery of Zimbabwe, with views overlooking the wondrous Zambezi Gorge. Situated 25 km from the town centre and airport (daily shuttles into the town centre available).