Spectacular, romantic and awe-inspiring, the Victoria Falls are 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).
There are two options for staying in this area – either Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia.
Victoria Falls town has plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, banks, smaller guesthouses and larger hotels, including one of the oldest and well-known hotels, the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel. There are a mix of accommodations to choose from all within a few minutes of the falls.
Staying near Livingstone on the Zambian side of the Falls is a slightly different experience with accommodation generally situated away from the town along the banks of the Zambezi river. Again, there is a mix of accommodation with some larger properties right by the Falls with others up to 40 minutes upstream (providing a peaceful sanctuary at the end of a busy day).
Visiting the Falls themselves can be enjoyed independently or with a guide, and there are different perspectives after dark, when an ethereal lunar rainbow can appear amidst the spray during full moon. There are numerous other activities in the area from helicopter trips to evening river cruises – along with a number of adrenaline activities.
Both sides of the Falls have easily accessible international airports with daily flights from Johannesburg (along with other African capital cities). There are also direct flights between Cape Town and Victoria Falls and to both sides of the Falls from the Kruger area.
Adding a stay at the Falls to either end of an itinerary offers fabulous options for both activity and relaxation for all ages.
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 have water, 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.