Exploring Victoria Falls
Immerse yourself in the aquatic landscapes crowned by rainbows that Zambia and Zimbabwe offer at Victoria Falls.
VICTORIA FALLS ON THE ZAMBEZI
At DINKtravelers we know that you appreciate the diversity of landscapes Africa offers, from the royal savannah to swamps, rivers, forests and jungles that become even more beautiful with the warmth of their people and their culture. Today we want to talk to you about another African wonder that is shared by two countries: Zimbabwe and Zambia. We refer to Victoria Falls, a place that’s attractive for adventure seekers but also for travelers who want to take a few days off to relax.
A NATURAL BORDER
Victoria Falls are part of the Zambezi River, which flows from Congo and Zambia in southern Africa. They are considered among the seven natural wonders of the world and UNESCO listed them as World Heritage in 1989. They have a total height of 108 meters (355 ft) and a width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft), measurements that make them the largest falls in the world.
Natives used to have their own name for them: Mosi-oa-Tunya or “thundering smoke”. It was until 1855 that the British explorer David Livingstone renamed them in honor of queen Victoria. These falls also represent the natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Both of them offer different tours and activities near the falls but the experience is likewise amazing on both sides.
WHAT TO DO IN VICTORIA FALLS
As we mentioned above, you can visit Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe or Zambia. If you make a tour from Zimbabwe you’ll find yourself surrounded by vegetation that grows thanks to the dew and humidity created by the falls. The tour includes 16 stops (it takes around three hours without rushing) where you’ll get the chance to appreciate the view and thundering roar of the water falling will all its power, always crowned with a rainbow. If you pay attention to your surroundings, you might spot local species like iguanas and nyalas –spiral-horned antelopes. At the end of the tour you’ll reach the statue that was built in honor of David Livingstone.
On the other hand, if you take the tour from Zambia, your experience will be quite different. Even if you’ll only get to see 25% of the falls, you’ll get the chance to be practically on top of them and even swim in the famous Devil’s Pool, located on the western end. Here, you’ll also get the opportunity to visit Livingston Island, a small territory located at the top of Victoria Falls. Nearby you’ll find Livingston city (Zambia) and Victoria Falls Town (Zimbabwe). Despite only having 33,000 inhabitants, every year they receive hundreds of visitors, so they’re bustling destinations that are perfect for a day of shopping.
If you enjoy extreme activities, both in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls tours offer the chance to practice activities such as rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining and going on helicopter rides.
TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In order to make the most of your trip to Victoria Falls, DINKtravelers recommends:
- Hiring an expert guide: he/she will explain every detail about this natural wonder so you won’t miss any special element found in your surroundings.
- You can visit the falls at any time of the year; however, from February to May the volume of flow is so immense that you’ll probably need to take a raincoat to prevent getting wet. It’s also advisable to wear non-skid boots.
- As far as lodging goes, book a hotel in Livingston or Victoria Falls Town. In both locations you’ll find restaurants that serve regional dishes. Another option is renting an apartment and cooking your own preferred foods.
- If you want to complement your visit to Victoria Falls with another activity, go to one of the nearby national parks such as the Mosi-oa-Tunya Park, located north of the falls. Remember to avoid activities that offer the chance to interact directly with wild animals because sometimes they are related with hunting or other illegal activities.
- If you’re going to practice extreme sports, always hire an expert guide.
ENJOY LOCAL CULTURE
The best advice we can offer is taking your time to truly immerse yourself in this natural destination. Visiting it should not only mean taking a couple of pictures and then moving on to the following stop, but trying to connect with the place and becoming aware of the benefits it provides for the preservation of life. Tourism at Victoria Falls benefits the population economically, but it also gives people the chance to share their experiences and ways of life with visitors. Livingston and Victoria Falls Town are the ideal places to mingle with the locals and learn from them. So, now you know, if you’re looking for nature, fun and new cultures, Victoria Falls are the perfect place for you.
We want to thank Jessica Lohmann from Safari With Us for sharing with DINKtravelers her knowledge and expertise for the creation of this article.