Victoria Falls National Park
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What YAS members think
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Bungee jumping and helicopter rides
- Close proximity to Zambezi National Park
About Victoria Falls National Park
Victoria Falls National Park is located in Zimbabwe on the Zambian border. It is a highly-visited park due to its proximity to Victoria Falls, which attracts an estimated half- million visitors each year. A famous feature of this small park is its rain forest that has resulted from the spray / mist of the nearby falls. In this forest, one can find a wide variety of ferns and palms, as well as a wide variety of birds and smaller animals. There is also an elephant camp that can be visited here, with overnight lodging facilities. For those wishing to view larger game animals, a trip to nearby Zambezi National Park is highly recommended.
Victoria Falls: The smoke that thunders
Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means ‘the smoke that thunders’ in the Kololo Tribe language, Victoria Falls is the third-most visited waterfall in the world, after Niagra Falls and Iguazu Falls, respectively.
The source of the mighty Victoria Falls is the Zambezi River, which starts in Zambia, runs through Angola and on to form the northern border of Botswana and on to be the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe before getting to Mozambique. It runs through Mozambique and into the Indian Ocean.
A UNESCO World heritage site, Victoria Falls can be visited from the Zambian or Zimbabwean side. Victoria Falls National Park falls entirely in Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls is comprised of five separate waterfalls: Armchair Falls, Devil's Cataract, Horseshoe Falls, Main Falls and Rainbow Falls. The waterfalls together measure 1700 meters wide (slightly over 1 mile wide), and the waterfall with the highest vertical drop is Rainbow Falls at 108 meters / 354 feet. The spray from Victoria Falls can be seen from Lusaka Rd in Zambia, around 30 kilometers / 50 miles away. The falls are an impressive 1700 meters wide and the deepest drop is around 100 meters.
Some main areas of attraction at the falls include:
The Devil’s Cataract (Zimbabwe side)
Main falls (Zimbabwe side)
The boiling pot (Zimbabwe side)
Rainbow Falls (Zambia side)
Eastern Cataract (Zambia side)
Activities in and around Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls offers a wealth of activities for all types of visitors. It has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, and one can find lodging and dining options that range the full gamut. Helicopter rides and microlight flights over the falls are available for those wishing to get an aerial view, while bungee jumping is also available for the more adventurous.
In addition to wildlife safaris and a visit to the Falls, there are myriad items to do at this popular destination, including the following:
- Horseback riding
- Bungee jumping
- White water rafting
- Gorge swings
- Microflights over the falls
- Helicopter flights over the falls
- Fine dining along the Zambezi River
- Local village visits
Best times to visit Victoria Falls National Park
To view the falls when water levels are at their highest, it is recommended to visit them between February and May. Visiting during this time also means you will most likely be shrouded in a large cloud of mist, and may have a harder time taking photos of the falls, but the volume of water will be higher. The dry season runs from May through September and, due to the reduced volumes of mist from the falls, photography opportunities are better. It is also during the dry season that you can access pools such as the Devil's Cataracts. They are not accessible during the wet season.
I have been to Victoria Falls a couple of times. Each visit has left me awestruck. Being Norwegian, I am used to waterfalls, but the power and beauty of the Victoria Falls is stunning. The best way to experience the falls is by walking the trail in the national park on the Zimbabwean side. The path takes you along the gorge, and lets you get glimpses of different sections as you walk along. There are 16 viewing points, each with breathtaking sights. The path also leads you through a spectacular tropical rainforest. If you stroll along leisurely, the walk will take about two hours. The best time to visit is early afternoon, when the sun shines on the water and you can see multiple rainbows over the gorge. When I visited in December 2013, entrance to the national park was $30. I observed a frustrated family who had to go back to town to get cash, as they were not able to use VISA or American Express. So be sure to carry enough paper money with you! The spray from the falls will leave your clothes, your shoes, and everything you carry with you, soaked. You can buy umbrellas and raincoats from hawkers at the entrance. Even if you dont mind getting wet yourself, you will need some kind of protection for your camera and phone. And wear sandals or flip flops if you want your hiking boots to be dry the next morning. A few minutes from the main entrance to the park is "The Big Tree", a Baobab estimated to be 1500 years old. It's a Victoria Falls landmark, and worthwhile having a look at if you have some spare time after visiting the falls.
The Vitoria Falls is an unbelievable curtain of falling water. I have had he opportunity to be there in high, medium and low water seasons and each season has its own advantages. The thundering roar of the water in the high season is majestic. The beautiful rainbows in the low season a marvel to watch. The number of activities around the town are amazing. In terms of accommodation you will be spoilt for choice as there are hotels/ lodges to suit all budgets. This a place you can visit as many times as you can afford and still find it exciting.
Home to one of the seven wonders of the world - Victoria Falls. This vibrant little town is not to be missed during a trip to Zimbabwe. With its fiery energy, the National Park and all its wildlife as well as the obvious breathtaking views of the Falls - youll leave with a new found zest for life. Theres an array of activities to get your adrenaline pumping. From bungee jumping to white water rafting, gorge swinging to enjoying the nightlife in town and all the local talent that infests this exciting place, to relaxing at any one of the bed and breakfasts or lodges sprawled all over. Vic Falls caters for everyone, no matter what age, budget or interests. There is always fun to be had by all. The more luxurious, exclusive lodges that are dotted along the Zambezi river are the perfect locations to rejuvenate and spend your days watching life go by in the park, relaxing and enjoying the more peaceful activities such as boat cruises, fishing and walking safaris. In town youll find a range of hotels and other places to stay that will allow you to get involved with the locals and enjoy the buzzing energy that Vic Falls is so famous for!
While on our honeymoon in South Africa, my husband and I made a trip up to Zambia / Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls and we are so glad we did! My husband and I felt it was well deserving of "the seven natural wonders of the world" placement and were amazed by the amount of water that rushes over the falls. On our first day in Zambia, we took a boat over to Livingstone Island, where we were able to walk and sit on the very edge of the falls, in Angel's Pool. We visited in July, when the water was quite full, so Devil's Pool was not an option for us...thankfully (!). It will be an experience neither me nor my husband will ever forget, and luckily, our tour guide took several pictures of our terrified faces sitting on the edge! We also ventured to the park area on both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides. Clouds of heavy mist abound from the rushing waters and you can see dozens of rainbows as you look at the falls, which is really incredible. Both sides of the falls are worth seeing, although I felt we were able to get closer to the falls on the Zimbabwe side, evidenced by how wet we were when we left the park (come prepared with a rain slicker if you don't want to be soaked)! The Zambia side is incredible and was a worthwhile view to see. It was also fun to meander through the park seeing monkeys, warthogs, and tons of wildlife. If you have the time, we definitely recommend seeing both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides! Lastly, we were absolutely blown away by our hotel, The Royal Livingstone. The Royal Livingstone is a luxurious 5 star hotel situated on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls along the banks of the Zambezi River, just a short walk to the entrance of the falls. You are so close to the falls, you can hear the roar of the falls and see the midst as you sit on the deck by the river sipping cocktails. It was our favorite hotel of our entire trip and it was such a treat to stay in such beautiful and comfortable surroundings while visiting such an incredible natural wonder. We were sad to leave when our trip was over!
This is the most famous of the mighty waters. At the height of the wet-season, five hundred and fifty million cubic meters of water roars over the edge of a cliff into the dramatic gorge, over one hundred meters below. What a sight to see!! This area is becoming known for adventure-sports. White-water rafting and bungie jumping are both available for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Or, you can simply take a relaxing canoe trip. There is an excellent craft village nearby where you can buy beautiful green malachite which the Zambians use to create intricate jewelry. Wood carvings and other curios and crafts can be bought or even bartered for. * In the 19th, the local Kololo tribe, called the Victoria Falls "the smoke that thunders", as their immense scale was so breathtaking.
I'm a bit of a waterfall fanatic. I've been to Iguazu, Niagra Falls and Khone Falls in Laos. I found the falls impressive, but would rank them after Iguazu, which to me was absolutely amazing. There was a lot of water going over but it was also very misty and hard to see. Also, beware of the baboons, who can be very aggressive!
Vic Falls is a MUST for anyone who loves an adrenaline rush. You have to do the Vic Falls BUNGEE jump to do it justice. I went during high water time and was wet and happy. Would gladly return for another jump.
Victoria Falls can be viewed from two different countries (Zambia and Zimbabwe). I happened to be working on an African lion research project at the time, and had some time off to take a side trip somewhere near Livingstone. I had briefly seen the falls on my way up on an overland tour, but I hadn't visited the park itself. I'd heard conflicting opinions about which country had the best views of the falls, and for the most part, residents said the view from Zimbabwe was the best. They were right. The only unfortunate aspect of my visit to the park was that it was the dry season, so the falls were not as impressive as they could have been. However, the downside to coming here in the wet season, so I've heard, is there is so much mist and moisture, it's difficult to see. So that's something to think about. The park was teeming with birds, and we came across a hilarious family of warthogs that didn't seem to mind we were so nearby. The park was almost devoid of people completely, save for a few backpackers, which was kind of nice. There are several paths that snake around the park, with signage along the way explaining the ecology of the park and facts about the 'Falls' themselves. There were plenty of fabulous look-out spots, and even though the Fall weren't as full, you could get a clear sense of their majesty in the wet season. All in all, I would definitely go back and visit them during the wet season.
I initially planned on just seeing the falls from the Zambian side, since that's where I was staying and it was expensive to cross over a bridge, into another country, so I could see the same water only from a different angle. I eventually decided that we're only going to be here once, so I did it. I really recommend doing both sides. Yes, it's expensive, but the Zimbabwe side is markedly different and you do get a completely different perspective. I also recommend the bungee jumping! :)
Victoria Falls is impressive on the worst of days. Catch the falls over a full moon, when the park stays open in the evening (Zam side), and prepare to have your mind blown. The power, the noise, and the beauty is exponentially increased when you sit beside the rushing Zambezi under the light of the moon. It costs a little extra to extend your day into the evening, but its worth every cent. A typical visit to Vic Falls has walk around the top of the falls and across the bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia. In the dry season, I understand the bridge offers a great view. In the wet season, its a bit tough to process as sheets of water dump over you. Vic Falls from these vantage points are just as spectacular as you'd imagine. It is worth however spending a few extra hours at the falls however to break out of this loop and walk to the bottom on the Zambian side. A slightly slippery hike down takes you to what feels like a vortex at the bottom of the falls, with a few safe swimming spots! Its an excellent location for a picnic before clambering back up to the top. There are additional hiking trails around the Zimbabwe side, offering more views with less crows. The trade off is that the town of Vic Falls in Zimbabwe is not quite as lively as Livingstone on the Zambian side. If you can swing it, spend a few nights at both to get the full picture! Also - if you're there in the dry season it is possible to take a cruise down the Zambezi to Livingstone Island in the middle of the falls! Unfortunately it is inaccessible in the rainy season so I couldn't make it but - it sounds spectacular.
To my right the sign says Welcome to Zimbabwe. To my left Welcome to Zambia. Behind me, the Victoria Falls. Waterfalls can be higher, wider, and longer. But this is the officially most powerful in the world. It's estimated that 1000 tonnes of water drop over the edge, every second. I can hear the crash of the water from almost 10 kilometres away and it more than deserves its place as one of the new seven wonders of the world. The water rises above the viewing platform, above the waterfall, and comes down on everyone who stands nearby. It's like standing underneath a fire hose. While visually beautiful, its the power that is most unforgettable. Crossing to the Zimbabwe side I find better views. More of the falls are on this side, and its from here that I get the trademark photos of rainbows and falling water. From Zambia you get the unstoppable power, but in Zimbabwe you get 10% of the tourists and can get closer without coming out drenched. Livingstone is undoubtedly a nicer base than the Victoria Falls town, but if you have time and money its worth crossing the bridge and seeing the differences between these two nations. Or maybe I was just caught up in wonder, desperate not to leave without experiencing every angle
The most direct way to get to Victoria Falls is via Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Zambia. The drive to the Zambian side of the falls is under 30 minutes. It is also possible to cross over to the Zimbabwean side, with border crossing times varying greatly depending on season, officers and other variables.
Driving from Lusaka to Victoria Falls
If you are planning on driving from Lusaka's international airport, the drive is around six hours, in normal conditions.
The following airlines travel to Victoria Falls National Park
Botswana's national carrier. Air Botswana, Botswana's national carrier is the flagship and pride of Botswana. Today, Air Botswana enjoys a wide and acclaimed reputation quite disproportionate to its modest size as a model, quality airline. Currently, Air Botswana operates and maintains a fleet of BAE 146 as well as ATR42-500 and ATR72-500 advanced turbo propeller aircrafts which operate daily domestic and regional scheduled flights. Visit website
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Budget flights within East Africa. Established in 2012, fastjet has flown over 1,000,000 passengers with almost 40% being first time flyers benefitting from fares as low as $20. Of the 300,000 social media followers fastjet has over 100 customers who have flown as frequently as 50 times! Low-cost is quite simply the avoidance of costly frills, offering customers the lowest possible fares in addition to pay-as-you travel extras. Visit website
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Kavango Air was established in 2005 by Mark Smith who has been operating aircraft in northern Botswana since 1990. Kavango Air strives to keep safety its first priority, punctuality its second and also keeping the flight enjoyable at the same time. Based in Maun (Botswana) on the edge of the Okavango Delta, it is ideally positioned for quick scenic flights over the delta, as well as camp transfers to the numerous lodges and camps in the delta and surrounding areas. Kavango Air does air charters to almost anywhere in Southern Africa, and also does medical evacuations. The crew receives extensive training in bush flying techniques, and the pilots have to adhere to the high safety standards instilled by the company. Visit website
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MACK AIR is a fixed-wing charter company operating from Maun International Airport in northern Botswana. Based in Maun, the gateway to the Okavango, our destinations are throughout Botswana and neighbouring countries reaching as far as Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Vilanculos and Windhoek. Visit website
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Moremi Air Services (Pty) Ltd, is an air charter company based from Maun in Botswana. The company has been operating since 1997 and has been under new management from June 2003. With have a fleet of 8 different aircraft suited to regional and international flying both single and twin-engine, as well as turbine aircraft. We operate from Botswana and into Zambia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Visit website
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Wilderness Air is proud to be the air partner of Wilderness Safaris, a responsible ecotourism and conservation company with private access to the finest wilderness and wildlife areas of southern Africa. Wilderness Air began operating in 1991, with one aircraft based in Botswana servicing two camps in the Okavango Delta. Today, Wilderness Air is also based in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, operating over 35 aircraft and employing over 50 pilots. Throughout its time, it has maintained its excellent reputation for safety and guest service. We operate a varied fleet of light aircraft, chosen for their ability to transport visitors comfortably to remote wilderness destinations with dirt airstrips. Each aircraft type has been selected based on its ability to transport different numbers of passengers, over different ranges. Our fleet operates on a daily circuit within the regions. Wilderness Air is privileged to fly into some of the most pristine wilderness areas in the world. We believe that flying is an integral part of each guest's travel experience and that our pilots' passion and professionalism can make a genuine contribution to journeys that change lives. Visit website
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Domestic services in South Africa. An aviation company founded in 1946, Comair Limited is managed and owned by South Africans through its listing on the JSE. For close to 70 years, Comair has provided consistent value, reliability and professionalism. British Airways and kulula.com now carry an average of 4.8 million passengers per annum locally and regionally. Our reputation of quality and passion for service will ensure Comair continues to play a major role in the South African aviation and travel industry. Visit website
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Air shuttle and charter services throughout Africa, former name - Pelican Air Services. Federal Airlines (Pty) Ltd. Trading as Federal Air, is the preferred aviation partner for the top safari destinations in Southern Africa, and the market leader in Aviation Shuttle and Charter Services. Taking guests to the most beautiful and remote parts of Africa is our specialty and a market segment which Federal Air innovated in the late 1990s. We partner with world leaders in luxury safari experiences, and are committed to raising the bar in aviation to play our part in delivering a unique and seamless travel experience unparalleled anywhere in the world. Visit website
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Low-cost services in South Africa and to neighbouring countries. kulula.com is a fun loving and professional airline based in South Africa. Passengers can be assured that every safety precaution is taken before every flight. Passengers can book cheap flights to domestic destinations and more. We also offer affordable hotel accommodation and car hire, making travelling in South Africa easier than its ever been. Visit website
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Domestic operations in South Africa. Since its inception in 1946, National Airways Corporation (NAC) has spread its wings to become the largest general aviation company in Africa and one of the largest of it's kind in the world. The companys headquarters are located at Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg and we operate a local network of offices in Cape Town, Durban, Grand Central Airport, Wonderboom Airport and Rand Airport. NACs international businesses include Awesome Flight Logistics in Perth, Australia and Specialised Aircraft Services in Wichita, Kansas, USA. Visit website
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Regional services in South Africa. Choose Airlink to connect you to 35 destinations in 9 African countries. With more than 21 years of of customer focused experience along with the widest network and choice of flights, you get where you want to be, when you want to be there. Visit website
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Airlink is a privately-owned, BBBEE Level 4 business and regional airline serving a comprehensive network of smaller destinations throughout Southern Africa. We are now operating independently under our own unique 4Z flight code offering more freedom, more choices and more travel opportunities. Visit website
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National airline of Namibia. Air Namibia (Pty) Limited is a proprietary limited company incorporated in accordance with the Companys Act. Air Namibia is the national airline of the Republic of Namibia, with the Government of Namibia as its sole Shareholder. The companys business operations primarily involve provision of air transport services for passengers and cargo. Through its subsidiary company, Air Namibia Ground Handling (Pty) Limited, it provides ground handling services for passengers and aircraft at Windhoeks Hosea Kutako International Airport. The airline is positioned as a niche carrier serving domestic points within Namibia, the immediate regional markets of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia and Botswana. The airline also serves the entire European network through Frankfurt. Visit website
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Air Zimbabwe is the national Airline for Zimbabwe whose main purpose is to provide Air travel solutions for the Zimbabwean community, the African continent and the world at large. The airline which is wholly owned by the Government of Zimbabwe was founded in 1967 and has been in existence over the years up to present time. Its roots can be traced back to 1946 when it was known as Central Africa Airways and operated as a joint airline for Nyasaland, Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia. The tripartite operations continued till 1967 when the joint operations ceased leading to the formation of Air Rhodesia. The airline operated as Air Rhodesia till 1980 when the nation attained its independence and the airline adopted the name Air Zimbabwe. The Airline operated as Air Zimbabwe Corporation until 1997 when Air Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd was created in terms of the Air Zimbabwe Corporation Repeal Act No.4 of 1998.The airline is therefore registered as Air Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd REG NO.10852/97 and conducts its business as such. The airline has been a member of the International Air Transport Association [IATA] and is also a serving member of the African Airlines Association [AFRAA]. Visit website
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Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the flag carrier of Ethiopia. During the past seventy plus years, Ethiopian has become one of the continent's leading carriers, unrivalled in Africa for efficiency and operational success, turning profits for almost all the years of its existence. Operating at the forefront of technology, the airline has also become one of Ethiopia's major industries and a veritable institution in Africa. It commands a lion's share of the pan African network including the daily and double daily east-west flight across the continent. Ethiopian currently serves 100 international and 21 domestic destinations operating the newest and youngest fleet. Visit website
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National airline of South Africa. At South African Airways we are the proud national airline of South Africa. We offer great value flights to and from South Africa as well as within our beautiful country. We are committed to the highest standards in everything we do and aim to deliver a world-class experience on every flight. Plan and book your flights with us and experience why we are one of the leading airlines in Africa. Visit website
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The flag carrier of Kenya. Kenya Airways was established in February 1977 following the breakup of the East African Community and subsequent disbanding of the jointly-owned East African Airways. KQ now flies to over 60 destinations around the world with over 40 being in Africa. The network expands to many more destinations with partnerships from Codeshare partners. Our Vision is to consistently be a Safe & Profitable Airline that Guarantees World Class Service. Visit website
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