When explorer and missionary David Livingstone first reached the Victoria Falls, he wrote, “The most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa… No one can imagine the beauty of the view… Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
He might have written those words way back in 1855, but not much has changed. Victoria Falls is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited destinations on the African continent.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do on your visit.
1. The Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, with Zimbabwe on one side and Zambia on the other, is the largest sheet of falling water on the planet — 5,604 feet wide and 354 feet tall.
Take a stroll down meandering footpaths, through the rainforest, and out to spectacular viewpoints with eye-level views of the falls as they thunder and tumble over the edge, plummeting into the rocky chasm below. With 16 viewpoints, the network of paths allows you to see the falls from every angle.
If budget is no obstacle, I’d also recommend a helicopter flight over the falls, known as Flight Of Angels.
Pro Tip: How wet you’ll get depends on what time of year you visit. Wear quick-drying clothes and flip-flops, and take a light rain jacket with you, or rent a poncho; they’ll also protect your camera.
2. The Victoria Falls Bridge
Hovering 420 feet above the Zambezi River, the 650-foot-long steel bridge — which opened in 1905 — spans an enormous chasm over the water, giving visitors spectacular views of the falls and the river below. You can walk across the bridge or take the Bamba Tram for a 1.5-hour ride right onto the bridge. To get your heart beating, try bungee jumping off the bridge. It’s undoubtedly the most scenic bungee jump in the world — 364 feet of free-fall and 4 seconds of pure adrenalin! If you can’t quite face a bungee jump, then try a bridge swing or the not-so-scary bridge slide.
3. The Zambezi River
Rafting, Canoeing, And Sunset Cruising
Once you’ve had your fill of looking at the falls or jumping off the bridge, don a life jacket and helmet and head for the Zambezi River — the fourth-longest river in Africa. White-water rafting on the Zambezi, below the falls, is considered to be some of the best and biggest grade-five waters in the world. You’re sure to flip and swim several times.
Still looking to get your heart pumping after that? Head down to the Boiling Pot, right beneath the falls, where you can speed through some of the rapids on a jet boat. Much heavier than a raft, the jet boat won’t flip, but you’ll still get the thrills.
Upstream from the falls, spend some time canoeing, or take a leisurely breakfast, lunch, sunset, or dinner cruise.
4. Victoria Falls Town
The bustling, small town of Victoria Falls, commonly referred to as Vic Falls, revolves around tourists. Its neat streets are lined with various accommodation options, cafés, bars, shops, and colorful local markets. The town is perfect for keeping visitors occupied when they’re not doing one of the exhilarating activities for which the town is renowned. The falls themselves are just a mile from the center of town. It’s easy to get around and pretty much everything is within walking distance.
Pop into the Lookout Café for amazing views over the Batoka Gorge and the Zambezi River. For something more sedate and stylish, head to the Victoria Falls Hotel for high tea on the Stanley Terrace and amazing views of the Victoria Falls Bridge.
5. The Wildlife
Located upstream from the Victoria Falls, 3 miles from town, is the Zambezi National Park. It’s home to elephants, lions, buffalo, the occasional leopard, and herds of zebras and giraffes — perfect for a classic game-viewing experience. Small but scenic, it’s well worth a visit. Spend some time on a game drive, game walk, or bird-watching tour.
Don’t miss the daily opportunity to witness hundreds of vultures swooping down and feeding on meat scraps and bones at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (bonus: it’s free!). Alternatively, just out of town, immerse yourself in the world of elephants at Through the Eye of an Elephant.
When To Go
Victoria Falls is a fantastic year-round destination, but like almost everything else in Africa, your experience is dependent on rainfall. The time of year you choose to travel will have a massive impact on your visit. As a general rule, March–August has the best views of the falls; July–September is best for adding in a safari; and October–November, when the water level is low, is the best time for river activities.
Where To Stay
Shearwater Explorers Village offers accommodation from serviced tents to deluxe rooms and is close to the falls. 528 Victoria Falls is a boutique guest house with Insta-worthy décor. Victoria Falls Hotel is the oldest hotel in Zimbabwe and a luxury icon. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is great for families.