The Victoria falls Zambia
The Victoria Falls, commonly described as ‘the greatest known curtain of falling water’ are a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are also referred to as 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' - literally meaning the 'Smoke that Thunders'. It is claimed to be the largest waterfall in the world with a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft). Rainy season is from late November to early April and a dry season the rest of the year.
Facing the Falls is another sheer wall of basalt, rising to the same height and capped by mist-soaked rain forest. A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor who is prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls. One special vantage point is across the Knife edge bridge, where visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge. Other vantage points include the Falls bridge and the Lookout Tree which commands a panoramic view across the Main Falls.
The bridge affords a magnificent view both down the gorge on the one side and through to the falls on the other. The immense depth of the gorge can be fully appreciated from this perspective and combined with the sea green river below, the shiny black rock face and lush green foliage, the 360 degree view from the bridge is breathtaking.
How to get there
The Falls can be approached from the town of Livingstone by traveling south on Mosi O Tunya road for 11 kilometers. There is a turning to the right just before the border, which leads to a parking area. If approaching from Zimbabwe, cross the border at the town of Victoria Falls and watch for the left turning just after the Zambian customs post.
When to go
Different times of the year will provide completely different experiences of the Falls region. Peak flood season is around March and April and the full power of the falls can be experienced in all its glory. But due to the masses of spray rising from the fallen water the full width of the Falls cannot be seen on foot. The aerial view at this time however is spectacular, with clouds of spray rising high into the sky.
As the floods reduce the view of the falls gets better through the year, but at it’s lowest, around November and December the Falls become little rivulets running over the edge and in some places along the 1,7km width no water falls at all. This season’s gift is the view of the impressive cliffs that form the Falls wall and the magnitude of the abyss can be fully appreciated.
The falls and the Zambezi river
To fully appreciate the incredible size of the Falls, and the awesome power of the water, they must be seen from the air. The breathtaking sight of this magnificent feature, seen in all its grandeur from the air, is remarkable. Activities range from river rafting and bungee jumping to sunset cruises.
A walk through the rain forests leads to a path that opens out into a clearing where the falls can be viewed. Further along this path is the Knife Edge Bridge which affords an impressive sight depending on the time of year.
During the dry season, a walk along the lip of the Falls is good. Sometimes the water is low enough to walk all the way across to Livingstone Island where it is surely one of the most magnificent views in the area.
Another fascinating viewpoint is deep within the gorge into which the Falls descend. It’s somewhat a steep climb, but well-worn steps make it a fairly easy descent. From this point one can also see the impressive Victoria Falls Bridge.
Mosi O Tunya National Park situated along the upper Zambezi stretching from the Falls for about 12kms up river, is 66 square kilometers that provides a home for numerous antelope species, zebra, giraffe and the recently acquired white rhinos. A pleasant drive around the park in a couple of hours guarantees sight of all the species there at close range. Since there are no predators, they are very relaxed and afford some excellent photo opportunities. Other activities include elephant back rides or walking with lions.
Mukuni Village is an authentic tribal village where thousands of people live and work. In July of each year the Leya people partake in the colorful Lwiindi Ceremony. The local people believe the spirits of their ancestors still dwell in the gorges of the Falls and during the Lwiindi, they offer sacrifices to them for rain.
Where to stay
The Livingstone safari lodge
With bush cabins it provides a great opportunity to stay overnight within the confines of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. It is positioned on the banks of the Zambezi River with open gazeboes.
A luxury lodge in colonial style on the banks of the Zambezi; the bedrooms are upstairs and bathrooms below, close to the river. The club has a library, and a massage parlour.
Stanley Safari Lodge
The lodge is erected on a hill 3km from the Zambezi river and the Victoria falls. All the suites have private plunge pools.
Sussi & Chuma
Is a private luxury tree house, just 10 minutes upstream of the Victoria Falls in the riverine forest, built among the branches of huge ebony.
The main lodge building features a raised bar / lounge deck, open air dining area, curio shop and swimming pool. Revitalising spa treatments are available
Sun International Resort
Is very close to the Falls. There are two hotels, The Zambezi Sun (3 star hotel)
as well as The Royal Livingstone (5 star hotel). Each of the hotels has its own design, specific character and identity. The needs of the widest possible range of clients are provided for, including families and corporate and conference groups, as well as top end individual travellers.
Taita Falcon Lodge
Lies high up on the cliffs of Batoka Gorge and has spectacular views of the Zambezi.
The lodge is positioned on the banks of the river, with views across the Zambezi. It contains 22 cottages and houses with personal valets.
Has 9 en-suites, self contained rooms all with river views.
Zambezi Royal Chundu Fishing and Safari Lodge
Is further up the river offering riverfront chalets and 3 tree houses.
Bushbuck River House
Located just outside the National Park on the banks of the Zambezi, just 16km upstream from the falls. The house is set in 105 acres of bush with en-suite rooms, a swimming pool and tree house.
Chundukwa Tree Lodge Camp
Has wood and thatch chalets on stilts over the River and offers horse trails and canoeing.
Maramba River Lodge
Located just 4km from the Victoria Falls, in a shaded woodland setting. It is situated in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park overlooking the Maramba River and often visited by the resident wildlife with elephant wandering through the grounds at certain times of the year.
Funky new backpackers lodge in central Livingstone with pool, bar, climbing wall.
Jolly Boys Backpackers
In the centre of Livingstone, offers affordable thatched double and twin chalets, air conditioned ensuite rooms, dormitories and camping. They have a swimming pool, pool table, restaurant, self catering kitchen and bar with DSTV.
In central Livingstone, offers self catering flats and chalets as well as en suite rooms with restaurant, bar and internet facilities.
For a few nights on a magical jungle island right in the middle of the Zambezi. They'll take you over to the island in a traditional makoro and give you a secluded and comfortable bed to camp down for the night. Basic rural accommodation and food.
Zig Zag Bed & Breakfast
Is a family run establishment in central Livingstone offering good budget accommodation, motel style, with an excellent restaurant and the best cappuccinos in town.
Guest Houses in and around Livingstone
Chapa Classic Lodge
Guest Mate Inn
Little Paradise Hotel
Lubamutu Guest House
Sunbird Guest House
The Stone Guest House
Wane Guest Lodge
For Campers and Backpackers
Jolly Boys Jungle
Junction secluded camping spots on an exquisite, soft beach-sand, Jungle Island is in the middle of the Zambezi with laid back casual rustic atmosphere.
Peregrine's Bush Camp
For people wanting to camp away from the noise, hustle and bustle of Victoria Falls and Livingstone at the cliffs of Batoka Gorge. There are three campsites and each has it's own private ablution with hot showers.
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