|Victoria Falls, Zambezi River
Best Views of Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, the world's largest waterfall and one of the seven wonders of the world, is located on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border. The falls are a mile wide (1.6 km) and drop to 420 feet (128 m) into the Bakota Gorge which runs 400 feet (120 m) across. For perspective, the falls are twice as wide and twice as high as Niagra Falls. Named for Queen Victoria by Dr. David Livingstone, the British explorer, the falls are called Mosi-oa-Tunya locally, which means "Smoke That Thunders". The falls are part of two national parks, the Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe, and the Zambezi National Park, Zambia. Victoria Falls National Park, along the southern banks of the Zambezi River, offers the best views.
Victoria Falls Viewed From Space
Image courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.
The Best Time to Go
July or August is the best time for viewing Victoria Falls. This is midway through the dry season, which is also the winter season. Temperatures during the winter are moderate, ranging from 68 degrees farenheit (20 degrees celcius) to as low as 41 degrees farenheit (5 degrees celcius) at night. You might think it would be best to go right after the rainy season (the end of April), when the water volume is at its highest, but the falling water creates a thick mist that rises over 500 feet (150 m), through which the falls cannot be seen. There is still plenty of mist midway through the dry season, though. The water volume is at its lowest at the end of October, the end of the dry season, making the falls less thrilling to see, so July and August are the best months to visit the falls.
Victoria Falls National Park
You'll be sprayed by the rising mist of Victoria Falls, so rent an umbrella or raincoat at the entrance when you arrive at park. The mist creates a rain forest on the opposite side of the falls, where a trail runs through it with side paths leading to different views of the falls. A tour guide isn't necessary, as the trail is well marked. Among the views you will see are Devil's Cataract and Danger Point. At Danger Point, you can look straight down into the gorge from the edge of a cliff. You will be struck by this spectacular natural wonder's loud roar and rising mist, which can be seen 25 miles (40 km) away.
There are many more things to do while at Victoria Falls. You can fly over the falls in a helicopter or microlight for a breath-taking view of the falls. Bungi jump from the Zambezi Bridge, the world's second longest fall. Try a guided canoeing safari on the upper Zambezi River, or down river from Victoria Falls, you can try white water rafting through the terrifying, but safe, gorges of the Zambezi. These rapids are graded as high as five. You may prefer to take it easy on a Sundowner Cruise, having champaign and a bite to eat on deck, while watching hippos and other wildlife as the sun sets. On nights having a full moon, the park is kept open for visitors to see the spectacular lunar rainbows.
Planning Your Trip