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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.
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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.
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Victoria Falls River Lodge
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Best for: Family, Wildlife
Victoria Falls River Lodge is a private game lodge set in Zimbabwe's Zambezi National Park, just minutes from the magnificent Victoria Falls. It is close enough to see and hear 'the smoke that thunders' from your private viewing deck.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8870
Within easy reach of Victoria Falls Town, yet hidden away inside the park, Victoria Falls River Lodge is a great base from which to explore and experience both the adrenalin fuelled adventures offered around the falls, as well as a range of safari focussed activities.
The Victoria Falls River Lodge occupies a wide stretch of Zambezi riverbank, minutes upstream from the falls. This area attracts wildlife throughout the year. Herds of elephant regularly make their way past camp, headed for the river to drink and play. Pods of hippos noisily make their presence felt along the shallower pools out of the main current. The national park itself is home to a fantastic array of wildlife as the animals are drawn to the constant source of water and the lush vegetation growing alongside it. Kudu, impala, hippo, buffalo and crocodile are all commonly spotted from camp.
The lodge consists of just eight luxury tents, all with fantastic views over the Zambezi and all have their own private viewing decks, from which guests enjoy uninterrupted views of African sunsets over the river.
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
Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Kwai Community Area, Okavango Delta
Marvel at the majestic Victoria Falls before travelling to Botswana to observe the abundant wildlife, whilst enjoying a range of safari activities in the most pristine national parks.