Victoria Falls are one of Africa’s most famous sights, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders), David Livingstone named the falls after his queen when he first saw them in 1855.
Straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the falls are over a kilometre wide, 108m high and at the peak of the rainy season up to 500 million litres of water crashes over its edge every minute.
After a few days in Harare watching the Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament and then exploring the Matopos National Park, we arrived into Victoria Falls on an overnight train from Bulawayo. Stepping off the train, we could see the spray rising above the falls and we were now expecting to get wet.
The town of Victoria Falls was built for tourists so it’s a quick 15 minute walk from the town to the falls. We could hear the water from the ticket office and there was a cloud of spray high in the sky above them.
There are a number of viewpoints to admire the falls from and what first impresses is the sheer volume of water. We well and truly knew it was rainy season as we got absolutely soaked!
The volume of water is so intense that a mist often covers the falls and at times all you see is a wall of white. Thankfully it wasn’t all misty and we had wonderful glimpses of panoramic views across the falls.
We headed to the Lookout Cafe to dry off and admire the amazing view of the gorge and the river. We could see people bridge swinging and zip lining and we decided to zip line across the gorge at 100 km/hour!
After a fun few days getting soaked at the falls and hanging out with Mike, Sergeijs, Flo and Zoneboy at the Vic Falls rugby 7s, we walked across to Zambia. It’s an epic border crossing over the mightily impressive Victoria Falls bridge, which is now over a hundred years old.
Staying in nearby Livingstone at the brilliant Jollyboys Backpackers, it’s a short ride to the falls. On the Zambian side you get even closer, so the falls are louder and there’s also a lot of mist. There are more trails to explore so you’re able to see the falls from many different views.
We crossed a small bridge, walking under a rainbow to Head Island where the spray was even stronger. There were beautiful rainbows everywhere we looked and it was like being in a shower there was so much water.
We were able to walk down to the river, to a spot known as the ‘Boiling Point’, where the water is so powerful it makes whirlpools when hitting the rocks. We were now also looking up at people bungee jumping off the bridge.
After another wet afternoon, we headed to the Royal Livingstone hotel to enjoy a cold Mosi draft on their deck overlooking the river; and while enjoying the view we were joined by zebras grazing in the garden.
We then popped across the road to a beautiful baobab tree with an awesome viewing platform from where we watched the sun set over the falls.
It was great to see the falls from both sides as they’re such different experiences. With so much water, we really felt like we experienced the falls.
Given the huge volume of water the rafting was unfortunately closed but it’s the perfect reason to visit again in the dry season. Perhaps then we’ll brave the bridge swing!
- Zimbabwe – $30 ($20 for SADC countries)
- Zambia – $20
Where we Stayed
- Victoria Falls – Shoestring Backpackers
- Livingstone – Jollyboys Backpackers
- Zimbabwe – walk from town
- Zambia – taxi from Livingstone (50 ZKW – $5)