Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls, whilst not the highest waterfall in the world, nor the widest but, in full flood this is the largest sheet of falling water in the world.  The Falls are the location of a number of high adrenaline activities such as white water rafting and bungee jumping but, for those who wish to relax, a sundowner cruise or boat trip on the river above the Falls are not to be missed.

Quick Facts about Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls

  • The explorer David Livingstone is believed to be the first European to see the falls.  In 1855 he wrote, "No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."
  • Mosi-oa-Tunya  is one of the seven natural wonders and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1989.
  • Mosi-oa-Tunya is the name given by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800s.  Today this is translated as “The Smoke that Thunders” but it is probably more accurately “The Smoke that Rises”. (Correspondence)
  • This vast curtain of falling water is about 1708 meters wide with the deepest point being 108 meters. 
  • At full flow more than 500 million litres per minute thunder over the falls with a deafening roar, soaking everything and everyone in its rain-like spray.  A trip across the Knife-Edge Bridge to view the Eastern Cataract can leave the visitor completely saturated.
  • In the low water season this deluge is reduced to approximately 10 million litres per minute.
  • Downstream of the Falls, the river has eroded eight deep zig-zag gorges through the changing positions of the waterfall.  This is a spectacular example of the erosive power of water.  Upstream are a series of beautiful riverine islands.  The region is the breeding sites for four endangered and migratory bird species making it an Important Bird Area.  Taita falcon breeds in the gorges, as do black stork, black eagle, peregrine falcon and augur buzzard.
  • At full moon a lunar rainbow or moonbow, can be seen in the spray.

To truly appreciate the might of the Victoria Falls two visits are actually needed.   From February to May, after the rainy season, is when you'll see the greatest flow of water but you will need waterproof protection for your camera.  Some activities are not available during this time due to the sheer volume of water.  September to November is the time of the lowest water levels and also peak safari season for the rest of Zambia.  July to September is arguably the optimum time to visit with cooler temperatures, enough water coming over the Falls and a good selection of activities.