Spectacular, romantic and awe-inspiring, Victoria Falls is found at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe and is the largest waterfall in the world; it is classed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Named by the Scottish explorer, David Livingstone, after the British queen, the Falls are also known by their local name Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders). This is apt considering that you can hear the ‘thunder’ from the falling water at a fair few of the lodges and hotels that are located closest to the Falls, and amazingly you can see the ‘smoke’ from lodges situated quite a distance away from the Falls, particularly in high water season. When David Livingstone discovered the Falls in 1855 he was known to have said ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight’, and this has led to helicopter trips to view the Falls for tourists now being called the ‘Flight of the Angels’ – a superb way to view the Falls without getting wet!
Victoria Falls town has plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, banks and hotels, including one of the oldest and well-known hotels, the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel. When Zimbabwe was at the height of its political problems Victoria Falls town suffered a catastrophic decline in visitor numbers but nowadays it is a vibrant hive of tourist activity. Victoria Falls International Airport is approximately 15 minutes’ drive away from the town and about 20 minutes from the Falls themselves, so they are easily accessible and work very well to visit at the start or end of a trip to Zimbabwe, and Southern Africa itineraries in general.
Water Levels of the Falls:
March to May: the Falls are at their highest water level and it can be difficult to take photographs at this time of year due to getting absolutely soaked by the spray when you get up close!
January, February and June to August: best months for visiting the Falls as the water is at mid-level, meaning the Falls have a good amount of water flowing over but you can still get up close without it having too much spray.
October to December: the dry season and water levels are low – this means that only some parts of the Falls will be falling, and there will be a lot of exposed cliff faces, however, this is the time of year that adrenaline seekers can swim to the ‘Devil’s Pool’ on the edge of the Falls, and it is also one of the best times of year for white water rafting.