The surging waters of Victoria Falls plummet over a basalt cliff wall into the Zambezi River; the mist and roaring sound can be seen and heard for miles, lending the falls their indigenous name, ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Since legendary explorer Sir David Livingstone first caught sight of them in 1855, the falls have been heralded as awe-inspiring in beauty, and even named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, yet there are many reasons why people put it on their bucket-list, and here are just a few of them.
...for the thrill
If the views aren’t enough to set your pulse racing, then some of the activities around the falls certainly will! Adrenaline seekers needn’t look too far; freefall over 100 metres down to the mighty Zambezi River with a bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge. Maybe it’s the heart-pumping drop, the panoramic views of this spectacular natural wonder, or simply the bragging rights, but the leap from no man’s land between Zimbabwe and Zambia is a truly unforgettable experience for any adventure enthusiast.
Once you’ve experienced it from above, take to the Zambezi waters on an exhilarating whitewater rafting journey! For the professionals, the magnificent Batoka Gorge is both their home and their playground; experience the wild waters of ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’ first-hand as they send you crashing through these challenging rapids, interspersed with peaceful pools where you can marvel at this great river corridor.
A little tamer but still not for the faint-hearted, Devil’s Point is a small, natural pool sat terrifyingly on the edge of the cliff, forming the ultimate infinity pool. Luckily, the rock lip slows the current and halts your body at the border, providing a remarkable spot to experience the thunder of the water, the spray of the mist, and the unrivalled views. Expert guides ensure your safety and are happy to take photos as you pose alongside the 360ft drop.
…for the wildlife
The magical mist that the falls generate creates a rainforest-like ecosystem, teaming with lush vegetation and rare wildlife that animal lovers will be keen to explore. Away from the crashing rapids, the Zambezi River is dotted with tranquil lagoons further upstream, swimming with hippos and crocodiles. Best experienced up close, you can paddle down one of Africa’s longest rivers on a guided canoe trip, spotting these wonderful creatures as you pass them.
If you prefer to stay on land, the surrounding national parks are home to both Africa’s gentle giants and most majestic predators. Ride on the back of an elephant through the park’s awe-inspiring stretches and sweeping plains as baby elephant’s play around you, and keep a look out for gazelles and rare birdlife on your trip, which also includes transport and food. Walk with the big cats at the Lion Encounter, and be given the chance to interact with them safely and naturally with no leads or chains. Stand back and admire these grand creatures as they play and care for their young, and learn from the knowledgeable guides. It should be noted that the animals here are well cared for by volunteers, with a focus on conservation and a view to successfully and ethically release the animals back into the wild.
...for the views
At twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls, it’s no secret that Victoria Falls is, as Livingstone put it, a “sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it”. The Flight of Angels helicopter tour sends you soaring over this UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing spectacular aerial views and of the natural wonder in all its magnificence. There are plenty of photo opportunities as the pilot flies circuits over the falls in both directions, but nothing quite captures the falls’ sheer beauty like seeing it for yourself. In the evening, a sunset cruise sails upstream for breath-taking vistas of the setting African sun. In the distance, the echo of the animals can be heard yet peace and tranquillity remains as you sail down the river.
…for the luxury
It makes sense that such a beautiful spectacle should be matched with an impressive range of accommodation, and Victoria Falls is certainly not short of luxury. One of the most famous may be the appropriately-named Victoria Falls Hotel, an Edwardian-era hotel, rich in history, bursting with character and dotted with tropical gardens and lily ponds. Indulge in a memorable dining experience here, with their extravagant buffet of African flavours, accompanied by live performances from local tribes, who dance and sing with the stunning falls as a backdrop.
Named after Sir David Livingstone, the Royal Livingstone Hotel grants guests unlimited access to the falls between the hours of 6am and 6pm, as well as scenic river cruises and 4x4 wildlife safaris. The interior itself is scattered with fine furnishings, antiques and paintings of Livingstone, giving the hotel a sense of Victorian elegance and colonial tradition. Each room here boasts a private veranda overlooking the Zambezi River, what better way to wake up and start your Victoria Falls adventure?