South Africa and Victoria Falls, Zambia
Did you know?
Victoria Falls is known by local inhabitants as "Mosi oa-Tunya" ("the smoke that thunders").
‘Creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambezi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet and then suddenly became compressed into a space of fifteen yards ... the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.'
This was the first impression explorer-missionary David Livingstone had back in 1857, when he first saw the Victoria Falls. Hundreds of thousands of tourists have seen them since, to similar acclaim. The Vic Falls, as they are affectionately known, are simply stupendous.
Zambia's Victoria Falls trans-border experience generally starts at the town of Livingstone. One of the advantages of the ‘Zambian approach' is you get to swim in a natural pool just before the edge of the upper falls - which must rank as one of the really exclusive ‘must-do's' of a trip to Africa.
Zambia's Vic Falls trans-border experience has expanded over the years to include a bungee jump off the bridge, microlighting over the falls, white-water rafting, horseback riding, sundowner cruising and game drives. Although there is a longer bungee jump on South Africa's Garden Route, the Vic Falls jump is still regarded as a classic in this category.
Zambia's Victoria Falls trans-border also offers a plenty for the extreme adventurist, with kayaking, abseiling and riverboarding on offer for the young and restless.
Otherwise, once you've had the trans-border experience on the Zambian side of the Vic Falls, get a day pass and cross over the border into Zimbabwe for another viewing angle of this wondrous onrush of water. You can even stay over for a night – just remember, always take a light raincoat to avoid getting drenched by the spectacular spray.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The Zambia Wildlife Authority
Tel: +26 (0)21 127 8513 / 366
Tel: +26 (0)97 998 4068 / +26 (0)97 769 9956
How to get here
Fly to either Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or to Livingstone in Zambia.
Best time to visit
Summer is very hot, but you could visit any time of year. Find out if there is a drought, because that would affect the volume of water going over the falls.
Around the area
Mosi O Tunya National Park on the upper Zambezi includes the falls and zebra, giraffe, white rhino and other local wildlife.
Tours to do
Mukuni Village is an authentic tribal village nearby. In July of the Leya people celebrate their colorful Lwiindi Ceremony. They believe the spirits of their ancestors still dwell in the gorges of the Falls and during the Lwiindi, so they offer sacrifices for rain.
Most activities are within walking distance, but some of the resorts have lifts. Stroll over the bridge to Zimbabwe for a bungee jump.
Length of stay
Two nights at least.
What to pack
When the river is running strongly, you may get soaked by the spray. Bring an umbrella (especially to shelter your camera, another must-bring) or a raincoat. Bring comfortable clothes for adventure activities.
Where to stay
There's a very wide choice, from ultra-luxury to backpackers.
You'll find a wide range of crafts and curios is the Mukuni Victoria Falls Craft Village – animal carvings in stone, wood, or the beautiful green malachite, masks, drums, marimbas, spoons, book ends, walking sticks, jewellery and more.