One of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls deserves a spot on any serious adventure traveler’s bucket list. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls straddles the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, where it crashes 355 feet (108 meters) below with such force it can be heard from nearly 25 miles away (40 kilometers). The Zambezi River that feeds Victoria Falls is no slouch either. Surging through the African continent, it’s considered “the wildest one-day whitewater run in the world” by the British Canoe Union.
Together, the river and the falls make this area a natural playground and bucket list destination for the adventurous traveler. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip to Victoria Falls.
Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls
Plan your visit for February to June to see the largest volume of water plummeting over the fall’s edge and experience it at its most challenging. April is the peak month. From the beginning of October through early November, the falls are at their lowest but so are the crowds, and you’ll be able to score better rates for flights and hotels.
How to Get There
The nearest cities to the falls are Livingstone in Zambia and the city of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. You can fly to and stay in either city. Flights to Livingstone are typically cheaper, though, but the views from the Zimbabwe side are considered better.
Whichever side you use as a base, you’ll want to pack for an adventure. A durable, weatherproof bag is a must for storing everyday clothes and general travel items, as well as rain ponchos (you will get soaked from the mist next to the falls), water shoes for rafting, and a water bottle to keep hydrated during adventurous activities.
How to See the Falls
The falls are open August 15 to May 14 (summer) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 15 to August 14 (winter) from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can walk to the falls from the cities, rent a bicycle, or hire a taxi. Many hotels also offer free shuttle services, and you can always hire a guide or join a tour. Be sure to bring a backpack for snacks, water, sunscreen and rain poncho.
The falls can be viewed from several points in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and you can easily navigate between the popular viewpoints—this includes walking across the Victoria Falls Bridge and crossing the border, which is both possible and easy. Purchase a Kaza UniVisa for $50 USD at the airport or falls to enter both countries so you have access to all the viewpoints.
● From Zambia, the best place to appreciate the falls is Knife Edge, where you can see the Eastern Cataract, Main Falls, and Boiling Paint.
● From Zimbabwe, explore the trails of Victoria Falls National Park with views of the Main Falls, Devil’s Cataract, Horseshoe Falls, and Rainbow Falls.
Walking isn’t the only way to see the falls. You can also explore the area and enjoy spectacular views of the falls by boat, helicopter, horseback, and bicycle tour. Safari tours allow you to see the wildlife that gather at the river and surrounding pools.
If you’re looking for an adventure you’ll never forget, book a river rafting trip on the Zambezi River, which disembarks near the base of the falls. Or, swim out to Devil’s Pool, a natural pool on the edge of the Victoria Falls (this pool is only open in the drier season and ability to visit depends on water levels in the Zambezi). Since you’ll have wet clothes after both these experiences, luggage with a separate compartment for wet, potentially dirty clothes will come in handy.
Even more, adventurous travelers can bungee jump near the falls. The four-second free fall from the Victoria Falls Bridge is the third highest bungee jump in the world in the world and considered one of the top adrenalin experiences you can have.
Not enough of a thrill? You can freefall jump and swing back and forth like a pendulum on the bridge swing, or take the 1,000-foot zipline across the river.
Ready to pack your bags? Use our complete travel packing checklist before your next trip.
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
5 Places to Feel Adventurous in Zimbabwe
World’s Best Places to Go River Rafting
By Teresa Bitler on December 5, 2019
Teresa Bitler is an award-winning travel writer specializing in adventure, culture, and history. Her work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Sherman’s Travel, and many other high-profile outlets. To learn more, visit teresatravelstheworld.com.