Zimbabwe is one of Southern Africa’s premier safari destinations. It is famous for its guides who are some of the most qualified in Africa as well as excellent game densities in the national parks. The traditional safari season in Africa is June to the end of October when vegetation is less dense and wildlife is drawn to water sources.
Visiting Victoria Falls is a highlight of any trip to Southern Africa, but it is all in the timing. Water levels fluctuate throughout the year, which not only affects what you get to see but also what you can do, with certain activities only available at certain levels of flow. Here we give our rundown of water levels throughout the year, what you can expect to see and when best to go based on what you want to do.
Imagine Africa. Go on. Endless skies, vast plains of wildlife, paradise beaches. We want to show you Africa at her finest.
On returning from a safari in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe specialist Pierre described it as one of the most full-on safaris that he has ever experienced in 15 years working in travel. Pierre highly recommends Hwange as a holiday destination for the more seasoned safari-goer. Read on to find out why…
Somalisa Camp is a charming and authentic tented safari camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Somalisa's passionate guides are incredibly knowledgeable, so game drives and guided walks are thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of wildlife to be found.
There is no doubt that the Victoria Falls are an impressive sight, but we are often asked which side is best. Technically visiting the Zimbabwean side will allow you to view 70% of the Falls and there are more viewing points, but some of the most popular experiences to be had are only available on the Zambian side. Here we give you our top five points to consider when deciding whether to plump for Zambia or Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Best for: Culture History, Family, Honeymoon
Ilala Lodge is a great boutique hotel that makes an excellent base for exploring the Victoria Falls. Set on the Zimbabwe side and the closest hotel to the falls, Ilala Lodge has an award-winning restaurant and is wonderfully good value and very relaxing.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8870
Ilala Lodge is a small boutique hotel which is ideally located closest to Victoria Falls and a stones throw from the town centre. The front of the property borders onto the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and the rear onto the town of Victoria Falls. The National Park borders the front of the property and wild animals often graze on the hotel lawns, with the spray of the falls in the background.
Ilala Lodge offers 32 standard rooms and two deluxe suites. All rooms have en-suite bathroom with separate shower, air conditioning, overhead fan, satellite TV and have individual coffee and tea facilities. The rooms are spacious with railway sleeper teak furnishings and patio doors leading onto either open lawn or a balcony where you are afforded a view of the spray of the falls from the upper level rooms. Each room has got an en-suite bathroom all with complimentary soaps, shampoos and conditioners. Deluxe suites are styled in exactly the same way as the standard suites, with railway teak desks and décor, but are all accompanied by a king size bed. Each suite has got a balcony where guests can enjoy some quiet time on the comfortable chairs and table provided. Ilala Lodge offers the discerning guest a flavour fantasy at the a la carte restaurant, catering for guests staying at the lodge and walk ins looking for the perfect meal to compliment the day.
When to go
There are two very distinct seasons at the Victoria Falls, the wet/flood season and the dry season. These seasons do not reflect the quantity of rain, rather reflect the volume of flow of the Zambezi River. From around March through to July the river surges in size as the rainfall in Angola and Zambia from months before swells the current. The falls are at their most dramatic at this time of year with huge columns of spray. The nights are cold and the days warm at this time of year. From around September to January the water levels drop, the falls are more accessible and views are clearer as the flow can drop in volume by 90%. It is worth noting that the rains come from late October through to February, this combined with high heat, 40 celcius or more, in October and November, causes high levels of humidity.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8870
Things to do
Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi
Take to the water towards the end of the day for an atmospheric cruise on the mighty Zambezi before watching the sunset over a cold drink. Make sure you keep your binoculars and camera handy as there is plenty to see along the river.
During low water (August-January), take a dip in the ultimate infinity pool whilst visiting Livingstone Island perched on the lip of Victoria Falls. Not for the faint heart, an exhilarating plunge into the pool is our top Livingstone recommendation.
Ra-Ikane River Cruises
Cruise along the mighty Zambezi River in the Ra-Ikane, a luxurious boat fashioned after David Livingstone's exploration boat. Reminiscent of the rich history of the explorers of Victoria Falls, this is the perfect opportunity to spot incredible wildlife.
Fishing in Zimbabwe
Visitors travel from across the globe to Northern Zimbabwe to try their hand at catching one of the most iconic of fresh water game fish: the tiger fish. Ten-pound plus tigers are a common catch on the waters of Kariba and the Lower Zambezi.
Helicopter Flight over Victoria Falls
Take a helicopter flight over Victoria Falls to witness one of the seven wonders of the natural world from the air. A flight over the Falls gives a dramatic perspective of the largest sheet of falling water in the world.
Microlight flight over the Victoria Falls
Experience the majestic Victoria Falls in a truly unique way from the open cockpit of a piloted microlight where you can hear the roar of water right below your feet and see the falls from a whole new perspective.
Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel
High tea at the old colonial Victoria Falls Hotel should not be missed. Sitting on the terrace with the sound of the Falls in the background is a truly fantastic experience.
Bungee Jumping in Victoria Falls
For the thrill seekers out there, can you find a more spectacular setting to experience a bungee jump than from the Victoria Falls Bridge? For those who dare, this is a 111 metre jump of pure adrenaline.
Victoria Falls National Park
Take in the Falls in all their glory with a walk through the Victoria Falls National Park. It is recommended to view the Falls from the Zimbabwean side as you can enjoy extensive views of the Falls as you wind your way along the pathways.
White-water rafting on the Zambezi
Experience the thrill of white-water rafting on the Zambezi River on the rapids below Victoria Falls. This stretch of water is home to the largest number of high volume Grade 5 rapids on the planet. An adrenaline fuelled experience in a dramatic setting.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Take in the highlights of Zimbabwe with this wonderful trip taking in the wonder of Victoria Falls, a wilderness safari experience in Hwange and a diverse safari in Mana Pools on the banks of the Zambezi with plenty of activities to choose from.
Taking in some of Southern Africa's biggest highlights - Namibia's desert, the Okavango Delta and mighty Victoria Falls - this is the perfect adventure guaranteeing a memorable trip marked by breath-taking landscapes and outstanding safari experiences.
Offering the perfect water-filled adventure, this itinerary couples a trip to Botswana's beautiful Okavango Delta where wildlife is aplenty with Zimbabwe's impeccable view of the incredible Victoria Falls. This one's not for the faint hearted.