The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

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Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. I’m sure it is on the bucket list for every person that travels to Africa and with good reason.. This complete guide to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe (and Zambia) will give you all the information you need to plan your trip.

Introduction to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is known as one of the most spectacular waterfalls on the planet. It is located on the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The waterfall is 1,708 meters wide and 108 meters high. The spray of the falls rises up to 400 meters above the drop and can be seen from up to 30 kilometers away. This mist is the reason that the local people call Victoria Falls the “Smoke that Thunders”. The mist creates a smoke like effect and you can’t believe the thunderous noise the waterfall makes until you hear it. 

Vic Falls is a popular tourist destination, attracting over a million visitors each year making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southern Africa.

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe side

Victoria Falls Facts

Vic Falls is the largest waterfall in the world and is one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders. Here are some interesting facts about this popular tourist destination:

  • The Victoria Falls is 108 meters high and 1,708 meters wide, making it the world’s largest sheet of falling water. It is worth noting that it isn’t the highest drop waterfall in the world. That honor goes to Angel Falls Venezuela. 
  • Victoria Falls is almost double the height of Niagara Falls and over 500 meters wider.
  • Victoria Falls is fed by the Zambezi River which is actually only the fourth-longest river in Africa.
  • Over a million visitors each year however the majority of those visitors only visit the Zimbabwean side. 
  • David Livingston gave the waterfall its English name after the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. The town on the Zambian side is called “Livingston” and while there have been talks about renaming the falls, it maintains its English name for now. 
  • There are actually 5 gorges in the Victoria Falls system, aptly named first, second, third and fourth gorges followed by the better named Songwe Gorge which is where the Songwe River feeds in. 
  • If you are lucky enough to visit on a full moon the mist creates a “moonbow” which is really awesome to see. Hard to photograph, but great to see!
Victoria Falls Waterfall
Victoria Falls Waterfall

The 5 Falls that make up Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is made up of several sections, each with its unique features.

The Devil's Cataract

At 70 meters high, Devils Cataract on the Zimbabwean side, is separated from the rest of the falls by Boaruka Island. The name of the island means “water divider” and the falls were given its name “Devil's Cataract” by missionaries who arrived in the area and were horrified by the local tribes performing sacrificial ceremonies there. Today, a statue of David Livingstone overlooks the cataract and it serves as the first of 19 viewing points.

The Main Falls

The largest of the falls is 93 meters high and has a peak flow rate of 700,000 cubic meters per minute. The sheer volume of water here is so great that it is turned into mist and appears to be smoke, never reaching the ground.

The Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe falls is actually a fissure that has been eroded over time into a horseshoe shape. This 95 meter high section of the falls is the first to dry up during the dry season and is a popular nesting site for birds such as swifts, martins, and long-tailed wagtails.

The Rainbow Falls

At 108 meters, this is the highest of the falls and also one of the most dangerous spots to view from. However, as the name suggests, clear days often result in a stunning rainbow being visible. The best time to see this is around 4pm from the Zimbabwean side, when the angle of the sunlight reflects off the rainbow.

The Eastern Cataract

This 101 meter high section is the only part of the falls that is entirely within the Zambian border.  

With the main falls in the background.
With the main falls in the background.

What to See at Victoria Falls Town

Victoria Falls is a town that has grown to meet the tourism levels for Vic Falls visitors. It is a decent little town and there are a number of cafes, restaurants and bars and a wide range of accommodation options. Here are some things to see and do after you’ve spent your day at Vic Falls. 

The Victoria Falls Bridge

This bridge spans the Zambezi River and is a popular tourist attraction. It offers stunning views of the Victoria Falls and is also a great spot for bungee jumping. If you don’t fancy plummeting to earth at breakneck speeds but still want a spot of thrill seeking, consider the gorge swing instead. It is higher than the bungee platform though so if you aren’t a fan of heights, maybe just stand back and watch those who are taking part.

Also consider doing a walking tour that takes in the bridge. It's a great way to get more info and also see the bridge.

Victoria Falls Wildlife Park

This park is home to a variety of wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras, and more. It is a great place to go on a safari and get up close to the animals.

High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel

One of the best things to do in Victoria Falls is to experience the High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Hosted on the hotel’s Stanley’s Terrace, their famous high tea is a wonderful way to spend some time at the hotel looking out over the bridge to the mist from the falls. High Tea is from 3pm to 6pm daily and must be booked. You can usually just book a day or two in advance but it sells out regularly so please do book. 

!! Are you on your own? The High Tea is also available in a “half” serve if you are just one person. Or you could avoid breakfast and lunch and give the full 2 person service a red hot go!

High Tea at Vic Falls Hotel
Tom, Julia (not in photo) and I having high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel 
Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She's always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.

Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve

As the name suggests, this private game park is located within the Zambezi National Park. Boasting the big 5 as well as reintroduced black rhino this might be your chance to have some safari time. 

White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River

While the rafting is an exhilarating experience for sure, there are grade 4-5 rapids which mean it can be almost terrifying at times. Go with a reputable company and listen to what your guide tells you and do exactly what they ask. 

Take The Dinner Run Steam Train

Rovos Rail’s 14a class locomotive will take you on a fine dining experience from  the Victoria Falls Station (opposite the hotel) across the bridge stopping for some photo time, and then down to Jafuta Siding where you partake in a 3 course dinner prepared by the Victoria Falls hotel team. The trip is about 3-4 hours (depending on the season) and usually runs Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. It isn’t cheap but it is an amazing foodie experience. 

Get An Aerial View Of The Falls

Both helicopter and microlight trips over the falls are available with both 15 in and 30 minute options. The microlights are really fun and can get quite low over the water and wildlife. Helicopters are more readily available but as long as you are prepared to have your gopro or camera strapped on to you, the microlights mean you have unobstructed views for the best photos. 

An aerial view of Victoria Falls
An aerial view of Victoria Falls

Do A Sunset Cruise

The Zambezi river cruises are very popular and there are options for budget travelers as well as more upmarket boats some of which include dinner. It is a great way to finish your Victoria Falls or Livingston experience, however I wouldn’t recommend you book this tour on the same day as you will be visiting the falls. It can take heaps more time than you imagine to walk all around the falls, cross into Zambia (or Zimbabwe), view the other side and get home. Having a time frame that you have to meet isn’t something I would recommend for that day, so I would say book your sunset cruise another day. 

Do The Boma Dinner and Drum Show

The Boma Restaurant has a Dinner and Drum show that is really great. The menu includes things like Crocodile and warthog and while they do have some great vegetarian meals, the more adventurous fare is definitely for meat eaters. At $50 USD for dinner and the show I thought it was great value. 

The Boma Dinner and Drum Show
The Boma Dinner and Drum Show

What's The Best Time of Year to Visit Victoria Falls?

The best time to visit Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is from April to May and from August to November. During these months, the water flow is higher and the spray of the falls can be seen from both sides of the border. It is also the best time to go on a safari as the animals are more active during the dry season.

It is important to note that the rainy season in Victoria Falls is from November/December to March/April and during this time, the waterfall is at its highest and the spray can be seen from miles away. It is also the best time for white water rafting and other water activities. 

  • If you wish to swim in Devil's Cataract you need to go in the dry season, which will be better for spotting wildlife.
  • If you wish to see the falls at its peak, April to May when the wet season is just finishing will be the time to visit. 

!! Don’t be overly put off by some rain as you end up soaked through from the mist anyway. 

Soaked to the skin at Vic Falls!
Soaked to the skin at Vic Falls!

Should I See Victoria Falls From Zambia or Zimbabwe?

In short, both. A ZimZam visa enables you to cross into and out of Zimbabwe & Zambia so you can see both sides.

Victoria Falls from Zambia

The Zambian side of the falls offers a unique perspective of the waterfall and is the perfect spot for taking photos of the main falls opposite. The viewpoint is quite close to the border crossing, but Livingstone town itself is about 7 kilometers from the viewpoint. If you cross from Zimbabwe, and if you want to head into the main town you will have to grab some transportation.  There are plenty of good accommodation options and the National Art Gallery is really worth a visit in Livingstone.. 

Victoria falls from Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean side of the falls offers a different perspective of the waterfall and in my opinion is a much better way to grasp the sheer volume of water that roars over the waterfall each day. Once you enter, you can follow the walkway along the length of the falls and there are some bench seats to allow you to sit and take it all in or to eat your lunch. 

For me, you really need to see both sides. The Zimbabwean side will be so impressive, noisy and wet, and the Zambian side allows you to stand back a little further and really take in the scale.  So yet – I say do both.

Victoria Falls viewed from the Zambian side. You can see how HUGE it is from here.
Victoria Falls viewed from the Zambian side. You can see how HUGE it is from here. 

Tips for Visiting Victoria Falls

Visiting Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is an incredible experience and there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you have the best experience possible. Here are some tips for visiting the falls:

  • Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and plenty of water as even though you end up a little wet, it can get really hot. The Zimbabwean side particularly can also be very wet and slippery so decent shoes are a must.
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses as the sun can be intense.
  • Make sure to bring insect repellent as the insects can be quite pesky. Consider Malaria protection as there are malaria mosquitoes in this area.
  • If you are going on a safari, make sure to wear neutral-colored clothing as white and bright colors can scare away the animals.
  • Make sure to book your accommodation in advance as it can be difficult to find last-minute accommodation.
  • Make sure to check the weather before you go as the waterfall can be dangerous in the rainy season.
  • Make sure to check the rules and regulations for the activities you plan to do as some activities may be prohibited.
Rainbow caused by the mist at Victoria Falls
Rainbow caused by the mist at Victoria Falls

Accommodation Options At Vic Falls

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. There are a number of hotels, lodges, and campsites in the area that are perfect for any budget or preference.

If you are looking to be spoiled, the most popular luxury accommodation option is the Victoria Falls Hotel which is located right on the edge of the falls and offers stunning views of the area. It is a great spot for honeymooners as it offers luxury suites and fine dining.

Other accommodation options include safari lodges, luxury tented camps, budget-friendly guesthouses, and camping sites. There are a variety of options to suit any budget or preference.

Enter either Victoria Falls or Livingston in the search box below to search for something that suits your style and budget.

Tours That Visit Victoria  Falls

From day tours with a guide that take you to the best parts of Vic Falls, to multi day trips and include Victoria Falls, there are heaps of day and multi day tours that will allow you to see the very best of Victoria Falls. 

Day Tours In and Around Victoria Falls

Multiday Tours that visit Vic Falls

Tour Radar have over 25 trips that visit Victoria Falls. From budget 3-4 days trips to Luxury multi-country tours including Safaris, South Africa & even Botswana.

Conclusion – Victoria Falls A Must See African Destination

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is an incredible destination and is a must-visit for any traveller to southern Africa It is a combination of a powerful waterfall, striking scenery, and abundant wildlife that make this place a truly unforgettable experience. This blog article has provided you with a complete guide to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and all the information you need to plan your trip.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, look no further than Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. So, what are you waiting for? Unlock the magic of Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and start planning your trip today!