Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River is a spectacle that will take your breath away!
It’s a must-see if you venture to the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. There are so many amazing Victoria Falls activities that you absolutely cannot miss if you are in the area!
The best Victoria Falls activities
My favourite way to experience one of the most famous natural wonders of the world. I had the choice between a 15 minute helicopter ride, or a 15 minute Micro-flight. Solely due to the difference in price, I chose the latter, and for once, could not have been happier to have had that little bit less money. Approaching my turn, the nerves set in. I’m not a big fan of flying at the best of times, never mind in what effectively looked like a motorbike with wings. And an old motorbike at that.
But the nerves were completely unnecessary. Despite being a hell of a long way up, the flight wasn’t scary in the slightest. Well… maybe I exaggerate slightly. But even if I was a tiny, little bit scared the incredible views I got to see certainly made up for it. After a couple of laps around the actual falls, we flew back over the Zambezi river, where I saw a huuuuge crocodile swimming along, as well as hippos and elephants.
Book your own helicopter experience here.
Rafting the Zambezi
The starting point of one of the most extreme places to raft in the world is just after Victoria Falls. Although you don’t really get to see the waterfall on this trip, it’s still well worth doing to experience the absolutely insane power of all that bloody water. It was the most terrifying/exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life and definitely not one for the faint hearted. Although activities such as this are (unexpectedly, to anyone who has done little to no research on the prices of Zambia) quite steep, it is, like most things, worth sacrificing those couple of nights out for. Book a Zambezi rafting experience here – it’s the ultimate Victoria Falls activities!
An expedition through Batoka Gorge will do nicely if you’re up for a multi-day rafting trip. Aside from the thrills and spills on the water, it will allow you to camp under starlight, surrounded by incredible scenery.
Although the falls weren’t at their most magnificent at the time that I visited them, the low water level meant that I could swim across the top of the waterfall and sit at the edge. I say the edge… I may have cheated a little bit here. Instead of jumping into a 6 foot across pool that was on the literal edge of Victoria Falls, I freaked out slightly and opted to just sit on the jumping rock. It looked amazing, but having our less than safety conscious guide hold my legs with only his arms as I teetered over the edge of a 108 meter drop wasn’t really my cup of tea. Needless to say, the rest of the group made it back to land alive and I missed out on being 2 meters closer to – well, realistically, only a panic attack.
We were also offered a boat tour to the top of the falls, but you miss out on the walk across. And it’s substantially more expensive.
Walking on the Zimbabwean Side
Victoria Falls lies between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Right in the middle. So in the middle, that you can walk from the Zambian national park Mosi-oa-Tunya to Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. The walk is nice, and a bit more easy going if you’re not into or don’t have the budget for the above.
Chobe Day Trip
Based around the magnificent Chobe River, the Chobe National Park is home to an incredibly diverse species of animals. That is, lions, zebras, the planet’s largest population of elephants, and just under 500 species of bird, all call it home. The landscape varies from lush floodplains to savannahs and rolling grasslands.
It’s worth doing a day trip to the park if you’re visiting Victoria Falls (here’s a great day trip tour that includes a boat trip!).
A Victoria Falls activities for the super adventurous! If you’re a thrill seeker, don’t miss out on bungee jumping from Victoria Falls Bridge. The experience involves a 110 meter free fall bungee jump towards the rushing waters of the Zambezi River. That’s a very long way down.
Victoria Falls: Insider tips for a great visit
1. Although you can take a guided walk to see the falls, I don’t think this really adds much value. The path from the entrance gate is clearly marked and you can read about the salient points on the info boards just inside, so explore Victoria Falls on your own and save your money for something else. A guided tour is a choice on many packages that offer two, three, or five activities for a reduced fee; my advice would be to walk the Vic Falls footpath under your own steam and choose one of the other activities instead.
2. Take your passport with you to the entrance. If you live in Southern Africa, you’ll get a nice fat discount on what overseas visitors have to fork out.
3. Although the falls are spectacular at high water in the wet season (February to May/June), the spray can obscure the waterfall, making it difficult to see and photograph. It’s not the sort of environment you want to expose your camera to anyway, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.
4. You can view the Falls from both the Zambian (Livingstone) and Zimbabwean (Vic Falls) sides of the river, but Zimbabwe gives a better view of the Main Falls. The views are better from Zimbabwe in the dry season (August to October), when not much water flows over the Zambian side.
5. The dry season is also better for some activities like white-water rafting and river-boarding because the currents are just too strong in the wet season for these activities to be safe.
6. If you have time, walk all the way past the Eastern Cataract and Danger Point to the historic iron bridge. Completed in 1905, it was constructed in England, shipped to Beira in Mozambique and then traveled by train on the newly constructed railway to Vic Falls. Today, it’s the site of bungy jumping and other adrenalin sports – definitely the place to go if scaring yourself is your idea of fun.
7. For a completely different view of the falls, sign up for a helicopter flip that buzzes over the falls in a number of stunning sweeps that give fabulous photographic opportunities.