You will be looking for snacks and you will not find any snacks in this town. Bring your own peanuts, snickers, trail mix, beef jerky! Also drink only bottle water and use bottle water for washing your mouth do not drink the water. When eating eat cooked veggies! The water source here is questionable so be careful.
It was not a plan to go farther than just trying to have a short visit, taking souvenir photos of the famous attractive Waterfalls and go. But the nature itself is trying to show its moods. We didn´t know that this month of the year gave us a unique opportunity to be able to explore the utmost part of it. It was a dry season in November. No lots of tourists, or wanderers. I should say, for us it was a good Luck! It seemed that Victoria waited for this moment to show to us how wonderful it could be even without the vast noise of the falling water. The fantastic atmosphere above it invites you to do meditations or just listen to the sound of the small portion of falling Water. Just sitting there without saying a word is like feeding your soul with energy and power. That was for us something unforgettable! Thanks Victoria! You are for me, by all means in all seasons always Beautiful!
The bigger portion of Victoria Falls is actually located in Zimbabwe. But like Niagara Falls it is shared by two countries; Zambia and Zimbabwe. This review is for the Zambian side of the water fall. Nothing prepares you for what to expect until you get to the metal bridge. Located within the Moi oa Tunya National Park in Livingstone, it is one of Zambia's main attractions and one of the top ten wonders of Africa.
The Zambian side of the falls is just as beautiful and inspiring as the Zimbabwean side. Over a small metal bridge, the meandering path leads to the water falls revealing rainbow colors even without a rainbow in the sky. The torrential down pour gets you wet down to your under garments. I did not like getting wet of course as I had not carried a change of cloth, but the excitement and wonder caused by the falls over powered my desire to stay dry.
As close as we got to the waterfalls, the sound of its down pour is deafening.
This is a must see, it is one of the top wonders of the world. It is a result of the Zambezi River flowing through the African plains, and then suddenly makes a 360 deep drop creating the wonderful water curtain that is Victoria Falls.
These New Zealand jet boats are a real adrenalin fix especially on the Zambezi river.
The tour operator will collect you from your Hotel and transfer you to the jetty site just a few mins away from Victoria Falls town
This activity was very special to us as this gave us value for money @ US$59 for 15mins and $US99 for 30mins ride. We chose the 30mins ride so that we could explore the islands closer to the mighty Victoria Falls.
We got very close to the waterfall just as the water starts to descend to the abyss
The guides were very friendly and we explored the Zambezi river
Amazing photo opportunities you need to get on to experience the feeling
I would recommend everyone who goes to Victoria Falls to get on this adventure the feeling when you do spins is awesome.
We decided to splash out and return from Vic Falls to South Africa on Rovos Rail. This is the epitome of luxury rail travel, and probably akin to the Orient Express (not that I've been lucky enough to try that yet). It is unashamedly expensive, but there are good deals available - particularly for South African residents - if you shop around.
Unlike other 'high end' rail operators - such as the Blue Train - Rovos Rail uses vintage rolling stock, which lends a glorious period elegance to the experience. For example, our dining car was 1911 vintage and beautiful beyond adjectives!
Initially you wonder what you will do for 2.5 days on a train with no particular stopoffs ... after a couple of hours of luxury, this is no longer a concern, as you slip effortlessly into neutral gear and just enjoy the experience! The cabins and their en suite bathrooms are extremely comfortable - if necessarily compact - and I slept for most of the first day, waking only to be fed delicious food (cooked by other people!) at regular intervals! After that, I read and caught up on writing and we socialised with fellow passengers in the exquisite observation car, and the time slipped by ...
The food is phenomenal - five course gourmet fare with an outstanding wine list (which you can order by the glass to pair with each course). The quality of the food is outstanding, and its presentation is lovely, but it's not pretentious. All food and drink (bar French champagne) is included in the price - as well it should be, given the cost, but at least once you've bitten the bullet and paid the fare, you don't have to worry about additional costs.
The service is world class and attentive without being intrusive.
The dress code is casual, except for dinner, for which formal attire is required. Given the elegance of the surroundings and the food, this is only fitting, and I believe, adds to the experience.
Be warned that Rovos has no control over the locomotives or rail lines that it uses to move its own carriages. Thus, our arrival was delayed by 6.5 hours (arriving in Pretoria at 23:30 rather than the scheduled 17:00) due to a combination of locomotive breakdown, signals being out, being stuck behind trains that had broken down and replacement locomotive drivers not turning up when they should have - Rovos provided us with an additional unscheduled meal and kept taxi drivers who had been booked to collect passengers regularly updated of the delay and estimated time of arrival, but it was a pity that such an amazing trip should end on such a note due to circumstances beyond Rovos' control. The schedule contains quite some latitude to catch up (eg. there is a 5 hour stop in the middle of the night in a siding outside Mafikeng scheduled, which can be foregone if the train is running late), but I would strongly recommend that to be safe, anyone travelling this route plans to stay in either Pretoria or Johannesburg overnight rather than scheduling onward flights on the same day, just in case of delay.
If you are a honeymooner, someone looking to spend uninterrupted time with your partner, a train buff, a person who needs enforced leisure to relax or simply someone in need of pampering, this is for you!!!
The craft village is an excellent place to buy inexpensive souvenirs. There is a wide selection of local crafts, so you can spend here long hours looking for bargains. The prices are negotiable and the sellers may seem sometimes too pushy, but this is often their sole source of income, so let's not be surprised. Some of the sellers want to exchange their products for shoes, clothes or some equipment of yours, a few want to sell you Zimbabwean dollars which of course have no value at all.
The things you can buy there are of various quality but a lot can make wonderful souvenirs. You can find there many figures of animals and walking sticks carved in wood, sculptures made of stone, pottery, hand painted fabrics, batics and lots of jewellery made of jasper and malachite.
Victoria Falls is not only the name of the mighty waterfall, this is also what the town itself is called. It's not a big place but it has everything that tourists may need: a couple of hotels to choose from, tour operators offering different activities, a number of bars and restaurants, a Spar supermarket, internet cafes, craft markets and so on.
It takes about 20 minutes to walk from the town centre to the entrance gates leading to the waterfalls. We felt safe walking around the town in daylight, people were kind and helpful. We met a young man who offered to show us the way to the Falls. He introduced himself as an artist and asked us to visit his stall at the craft market on our way back. When we came to the market, he saw us and waved asking to visit his shop. We did but didn't find anything that might be interesting for us there. Although visibly disappointed, he was still very polite.
Victoria Falls lies on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and it's possible to view it from both sides. I cannot judge which side offers a better view, as I saw it only from Zimbabwe. However, according to most sources, Zim side offers a wider and better view because it has as many as 16 viewpoints, while Zambia has just one. Besides, accommodation and activities are said to be more expensive in Zambia.
Of course, the best thing is to see the falls from both sides. It's possible to cross the border over Victoria Falls Bridge - visas are issued on the spot (and are quite expensive). We didn't do it though, being satisfied with the awesome views from the Zimbabwean side.
A visit to Victoria Falls doesn't have to be limited to watching this wonderful spectacle of nature. If you are an adrenaline junkie you will surely find here the craziest activities you can think of, including bungee jump, white water rafting, or swimming in the Devil's Pool. Those who are not keen on taking such risks can opt for wildlife and safari adventures, which undoubtedly interesting, cost quite much. For the budget travellers, like me, there still remains exploring the town of Victoria Falls with its art and craft market and nice cafes and bars.
I'd like to recommend a great website with comprehensive and update information on all possible activities as well as the history and present of the Victoria Falls.
One of the last viewpoints allows you to look at Victoria Falls Bridge, the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes and a masterpiece of engineering. Built in 1905, it was designed to span the gorge on the Zambezi River in order to allow the railway connection from Cape Town to Cairo. At the time of its construction it was the highest bridge in the world. What makes its story even more interesting is the fact that it was made in England, then shipped to Mozambique and finally transported by rail to Victoria Falls.
Today Victoria Falls Bridge is famous for bungee jumping. With its 111 metres it's not the highest possible jump, but for sure its surroundings make it one of the most spectacular jumping sites.
A walk along the falls is unforgettable. There are 16 spectacular view points on the Zimbabwean side. The Main Falls is a wide, approximately 460m, screen of water. The views are stunning , unless you are unlucky enough to have them shrouded in the mist. But the other thing that makes the walk special is the shower you must be prepared for. If you don't have your own waterproof jacket, be sure to hire a raincoat they offer at the entrance to the park. You and your camera will definitely need the protection.
The spray created by the plunging waters rises up to 400-800 m into the air and can be seen from 30-50 km away. The mist also sustains the thick rain forest adjacent to the falls with many species of vegetation, including mahogany, ebony, palm trees and lots of creepers and lianas.
No wonder the Victoria falls have been designated the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is called one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
A trail of the Falls starts at the statue of D. Livigstone. The statue itself is not really interesting, but of course it's nice to know something about the first white man who saw the Falls and gave them their present name in honour of his Queen - Victoria.
David Livingstone was born in 1813 in Scotland. His parents were poor and pious. David was a very hard working and ambitious boy and decided to be a missionary. When in Africa, he soon became a traveller and explorer rather than a missionary. After a long lasting journey along the Zambezi river, he reached the mighty waterfals called by the indigenous people "Mosi-oa-Tunya" (Smoke That Thunders). This is how he describes it: " No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by the European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight".
Livingstone never ceased in his pursuit of new lands and attempts to stop the slavery - in spite of illnesses, personal tragedies and the lack of luck. He died of malaria at the age of 60 in Zambia. His body was transported to England and buried in Westminster Abbey. But his heart remained in Africa.
Steep stone steps lead down to the Cataract View. This is our first encounter with the mighty falls. The view is breathtaking, enhanced by the rainbow visible in water particles. We are lucky to come here when the sun is shining. On the next day the view, although stunning, is deprived of this magical atmosphere, as there's no rainbow.
Devil's cataract, which is 27 m wide and 60 m high, is the lowest of the five falls. It's separated from the other parts by the Cataract Island which lies in Zimbabwe. The other island, called Livingstone Island, is on the Zambian side of the Falls. It is from here that David Livigstone first saw the Falls.
The entrance fee to the Falls from the Zimbabwean side is 30 US dollars (July 2010). You can stay in the park all day long, but a walk along the Falls takes about two hours. You don't need a guide for the trip, unless you want to find out more about the rainforest which is picturesque, but without doubt it's not what most people are here for.
Before entering the park, you should rent a raincoat to protect you from the permanent spray. On the first afternoon we didn't do that, and got only half-way through. It was rather our cameras that we were worried about, not ourselves, and on the second day we decided to come back in the morning wrapped in long raincoats.
A well-marked trail leads to 16 view points - the first one being the David Livingstone Statue and the last the railway bridge.
If you want to have the best view of the waterfall (and this is what most tourists come for), it is a good idea to visit from July to September. It is a transition phase from the overflow to a low flow state. Before that time, during the flooding state (February to May), the mist can obscure the view, so no matter how impressive the Falls are, you may not be able to perceive it. The end of dry season (October and November) means that the Falls are not as spectacular as you could expect at other times. Besides, the temperatures then are very high. On the other hand, if you need the adrenaline rush, you should opt for the low water level (August to December), as this is when whitewater rafting and swimming in the Devil's Pool are possible.