Victoria Falls Destination Guide
Victoria Falls was a remote village before David Livingstone introduced it to the world through his stories. From then onwards, many European travellers and adventurers made a beeline for the Falls and the national parks around it. Many hotels and restaurants came up around the area to cater to the needs of tourists and the town of Victoria Falls came into being. In the late 1800s, Victoria seemed like any other American town on the frontier, with gambling dens, bars and stores and today remains a village straight out of the African forests.
Victoria Falls offers an array of adventure sports which you might want to try. The white water rafting expedition through the Batoka Gorge is one of the most exciting stretches of river rafting in the world. Equally exhilarating is bungee jumping from the Railway Bridge. If these activities are not for you then there are other ways that you can use to make the most of your trip to Vic Falls!
This Victoria Falls Destination Guide tells you some of the things that you can visit or even some activities you might want to do while here. A good way to explore all the things to see and do is by booking a Victoria Falls tours. For all the travel information you need while holidaying in Victoria Falls visit our Zimbabwe Country Guide.
Victoria Falls Destination Guide
The thrill seekers who come to Victoria Falls are sure to be happy with the array of adventure sports on offer. Those who do not fear heights can go abseiling down the gorge or ride a flying fox from one end to the other. Avid surfers can go river boarding all by themselves. You can float above the Falls in a tandem microlight, which has an open cockpit! If you are not so adventurous then settle for a small plane or an enclosed helicopter to get an equally breathtaking view of the Falls. The naturalist can amble through the surrounding forests on an elephant and get a view from above, while riding on horseback along the reserve can give you a close up view of the animals.
The ultimate attraction, however, remains the waterfall. It is located right before the Railway Bridge on the border of Zambia. The Falls can be accessed through one of the many trails in the forests that surround the Victoria Park. Devil's Cataract and Danger Point are the two vantage viewing points of the Victoria Falls. The Devil's Cataract, at the western edge of the gorge, is identifiable by the statue of David Livingstone. The Danger Point offers a steep sheer view of the gorge and is not for the faint hearted!
The bridge across the gorge was built in 1902 as part of an ambitious plan by Cecil John Rhodes to join Cape to Cairo by rail, which, ultimately, remains an unrealised dream. Though it bears the name of Queen Victoria, the town of Victoria Falls has architecture that is typically Edwardian, like the Victoria Falls station, from where the Bulawayo - Victoria Falls train operates. Another fine example of Edwardian architecture is the colonial Victoria Falls Hotel that was constructed in 1905.
Yellow fever vaccination update for guests travelling from Zambia to South Africa
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revised the Yellow Fever vaccination recommendations for Africa. The South African Department of Health has subsequently issued a statement that all travellers from Zambia to South Africa, and travellers that have recently visited Zambia, will now require proof of yellow fever vaccination.
All in-transit passengers between the two destinations, irrespective of the time period in transit, will also require proof of yellow fever vaccination.
This show offers tourists a glimpse of the vibrant African dances. Set against a rural backdrop, the ferocious Shangaan warriors chant and dance, while the masked members of the Mkishi tribe perform eerie rituals. Choirs sing and marimbas are played in this authentic display of African culture and entertainment.
Victoria Falls is untouched by the political developments in Harare. It is less troubled than the other parts of Zimbabwe and the people of the town want to kick start the tourism industry.
Witness Victoria Falls, one of the most amazing geographical features on the planet, as you take a stroll through the evergreen natural rainforest within the Victoria Falls National Park. As the Zambezi River pours itself over the edge of the cliff, plummeting into the 100m + gorge below, plumes of spray dazzled with colours of the rainbow billow upwards, sometimes as high as 1.2 km and then shower down on the vegetation, creating the lush forest framing the pathways and cliffs above the falls.
The picturesque walkways of the Victoria Falls Rainforest are overhung with vines and wind along more or less the entire width of the falls. During the high water season be prepared to get wet at the many spray drenched viewpoints along the way. Marvel the beauty of the individually named falls: Devil's Cataract, Main Falls, Armchair Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls and the Eastern Cataract, which combine to create the greatest curtain of falling water in the world. Keep your eyes open for resident bushbuck, monkeys, reptiles, insects, and birds in the forest.
The Victoria Falls were so named by the missionary and explorer David Livingstone, when he first discovered them in 1855, reportedly from Livingstone Island. Led there by the Karanga people, who referred to the falls as "Mosi-oa-Tunya", the smoke that thunders, Livingstone renamed them Victoria Falls, after his Queen Victoria. A statue of David Livingstone stands proud near the western and lowest point of the falls, the Devil's Cataract.
The rain forest is open 365 days a year; entry is USD 20 per adult and USD 10 for children. Open from 6 am until 6 pm in the low water season and from 6:30 am during high water season. Informative guided tours can be arranged.
Bush walks in Victoria Falls, give an in-depth view of the flora, fauna and ecology of the Park. They are conducted by experienced guides who share absorbing facts about the mammals, birds, insects, flowers and trees in the reserve. There is also a walking safari along the perimeter of the Safari Lodge's waterhole on the Victoria Falls.
Stable two-seater canoes manned by expert guides give a close up view of Zambesi River above the Victoria Falls. The entire experience can be enhanced by taking a canoe safari, where breakfast is served at dawn on the banks of the river and lunch is served on one of the beautiful islands.
There are two plush casinos in Victoria Falls with a wide range of facilities like roulette, blackjack and slot machines.
Three kilometres upstream of the Falls, in Elephant's Hills, is the 18 hole Gary Player Championship Golf Course. The course, situated along the Zambesi River, is unique because it does not displace the wildlife from their natural habitat. So you might just tee off before an audience of an impala or a mongoose, waterbuck, monkeys, baboons and even crocodiles! The course is surrounded by a profusion of indigenous trees, like the regal baobab tree.
Among the many attractions of the Victoria Falls National Reserve is the Crocodile Ranch, where you can actually hold a baby crocodile! At the Craft Village, you can get a glimpse of Zimbabwe's culture in the performances of the local Mkishi or Shangaan people, with dinner thrown in. For a full scale African buffet dinner, head for the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. It serves the entire range of game meat (including crocodile or impala meat) and barbecued meat, with an array of salads and local vegetables. Do not miss the diviner who tells your fortune by throwing bones and the performance of traditional African dancer as you dine.
The Chobe National Park is 11,700 kilometres of pure wilderness. It has the largest population of elephants in Africa - almost 35, 000. In the hostile dry season, entire herds move towards the perennial Chobe River and its fertile plains. Hundreds of elephants and buffaloes against the backdrop of a red sunset make a spectacular sight. Do set aside an entire day for this excursion.
Elephant Back Safaris provide an excellent view of the entire forest and its surroundings. Tourists can opt for the early morning safari, which includes breakfast, or take the one later in the afternoon, which gives you a chance to witness the magical sunset and enjoy snacks and sundowners. All trips are led by an armed guide who walks alongside the elephant.
Tourists can use helicopters to get a bird's eye view of the magnificent Zambesi River, the Victoria Falls and the wildlife in the surrounding forests. The adventurous and the audacious can opt for ultra light and micro light aircraft with open cockpits or the sea plane!
The best way to explore the Zambesi National Park is to take a half day or full day safari in a rugged 16-seater safari vehicle. This takes the tourist as close as possible to the buffaloes, elephants, deer, sable and the other wildlife in the Park. A full day trip ventures into the secluded interiors of the reserve with a buffet lunch on the banks of the Zambesi.
If time is not a constraint, then do visit Livingstone in Zambia , just across the border. The town, steeped in colonial history and architecture, has a tremendous character, in addition to some interesting museums.
The rapids in the gorges of the magnificent Zambesi River, graded at 5, are reputed to be one of the best in the world for white water rafting. Sportsmen and adventurers come to the Falls for this thrilling experience. The half day river rafting expeditions cover 15 kilometres, while the full day expeditions cover 22 kilometres.
Horse rides take tourists around those regions in the park where there is a concentration of wildlife. There are rides designed both for the novice rider and the veteran.
There are cruises down the Zambesi River in stable pontoon boats, which give tourists an opportunity to lie back and enjoy the idyllic beauty of the forests, watch the animals and birds, and appreciate the famous African sunsets, with a tall drink at hand. Most of them have an experienced guide on board who points out the various sights and sounds. Breakfast and lunch is served on board and there are even sunset champagne cruises.
This cruise down the river takes the route that Livingstone may have taken in his time. The two-seater paddle boats are navigated by knowledgeable and experienced paddlers who steer the boat noiselessly, so as to offer a ringside view of the flora and fauna surrounding Victoria Falls. A most relaxing experience, all you have to do is to sit back and soak in the scenery as you nibble on snacks and sip your sundowner.