Victoria Falls is known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ – and we could not think of a better name for it. You can hear the rumble of the Falls from up to 40 kilometres away and you can see the spray, which gets up to about half a kilometre high, from a distance of almost 50km – it truly is an incredible experience! Due to its location on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, and its close proximity to Botswana, Victoria Falls is probably one our most popular destinations. Here are our top experiences:
White water rafting at Victoria Falls
The Terminator… The Washing Machine… Stairway to Heaven… Judgement Day… Devil’s Toilet Bowl… Oblivion – merely the names of the rapids are enough to set your pulse racing, so imagine how exhilarating it is to encounter them on a raft! Of all the adrenaline-packed activities available at Vic Falls, white water rafting was the first, attracting intrepid adventurers from all corners of the Earth. And to this day, many reckon it is the best activity, beating gorge swings, zip lines, even bungee jumping! The rafting available is entirely dependent on the year’s rainfall, but low water trips typically run from August to late December and high water trips happen from January to July, with the exception of April, when it’s just too dangerous! The low water trips are longer, plus they are more exciting! But the highs contain plenty of thrills too.
Helicopter or microlight flights over Victoria Falls
To fly over Victoria Falls in a helicopter or microlight is one utterly unforgettable experience. The view you get of the spray, the Falls, and the surrounding area is unparalleled, and this short 15- or 30-minute thrill ride should certainly be considered for anyone visiting.
There are two types of helicopter flights available. The first, called the Flight of Angels, lasts just under 15 minutes and takes off on the Zimbabwean side at Elephant Hills, situated about 4km upstream from the Falls. It loops the Falls several times – and the pilot banks the helicopter to allow amazing views into all those chasms not visible from the ground! The second flight is longer, just under half an hour. It too performs the Flight of Angels, then moves upstream to take in the Zambezi river and adjacent national park, so you’ll see some wildlife from the air.
For microlight flights, there are the same two options as the helicopter flight. However, these flights accommodate just one traveller, plus the pilot of course, and take off from the Zambian side of the Falls. As microlights are completely open air, a flight over the Falls in this aircraft offers a completely different experience – travellers are able to fly lower over the Falls than the helicopters, to really get a sense of the power behind the spray.
Where to stay at Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls itself is the area’s obvious attraction, although we use a number of lodges located away from the Falls themselves. These properties offer trips to the Falls, but they’re also destinations in their own right. For travellers who simply wish to view the attraction and then move on to the area's safari parks, we recommend lodges and hotels close to the Falls, such as The Royal Livingstone.
Set farther away, up- and downstream from the waterfall (but still within reach), are a number of smaller lodges, similar in style to safari camps. These camps feel a world away from the tourist hotspot of Victoria Falls. Sindabezi Island Lodge and The River Club are two of our favourite properties offering this kind of accommodation. We also recommend lodges and activities available on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls.