I can’t remember how long “visiting Victoria Falls” has been on my mental bucket list but I was beyond thrilled when on my recent trip to Southern Africa not only did I get to visit this Natural Wonder of the World once, but I got to visit twice!
The Victoria Falls can be found on the Zambezi River creating the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and can be visited/seen from both countries. I was visiting at the beginning of December 2013 and my trip was arranged so that I was able to visit from both countries.
Part of Victoria Falls all dried up. The whole rock face on the right is completely covered by a curtain of water during the high season and it is impossible to see the bottom.
This time of the year happened to be the end of the dry season and because of that there wasn’t nearly as much water flowing over the falls as there is at its heaviest in the rainy season. I was actually surprised to see how bare parts of the falls were which I learned is partly due also to the near by Hydro Electric plant diverting the water. Both tour guides I had however made sure to highlight the fact that because there weren’t huge falls covering all of the rock face, that I was then able to see the geological features which are normally hidden. Bonus for rock nerds! All joking aside it was pretty cool to see.
Victoria Falls as seen from the Zimbabwe side. They weren’t all dried up.
Here are some of my tips for visiting the Victoria Falls:
– Any time of the year is a great time to visit however you might want to avoid April (peak rainy/flood season) when the falls are at their fullest. They create so much mist that not only will you get soaked but it is also nearly impossible to even see the falls through the haze.
– Are you a dare devil? If you are wanting to visit to hang off the edge like a crazy person in the Devil’s Pool make sure you visit at the end of dry season around November. This is when the rate of flow is at its lowest which makes going to the Devil’s Pool safest.
Crazy people hang out in the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls.
*Note: The devil’s pool is only accessible from the Zambia side of the river. Going from Zimbabwe to Zambia as a Canadian in December 2013 cost me $50US. If you plan on going back to Zimbabwe know that (at least for Canadians) you have to pay full price for another VISA as multiple entry VISAs are not available. When I initially visited Zimbabwe as a Canadian I had to pay $75. It is however cheaper for the US and Europe.
– Also know that to visit the Devil’s Pool you are either going to pay a tour operator at least $100+ or you will have to sneak over to it (located at Livingstone Island) but then you don’t have a guide telling you where to go and what to do and watching out for you so you don’t fall over the falls.
– No matter the time of the year you may get wet! I was there at the beginning of December and on parts of the Zimbabwe side I got soaked, but it was so hot out it was refreshing, just not for my camera gear.
– Bring water. Like most tourist places the cost of water is more expensive on site than if you buy it else where before arriving.
– Wear good walking shoes, especially important for the wet areas that could be slippery.
The waterfall known as the Devil’s Cataract, which can only be seen from the Zimbabwe side of the falls.
– If you are staying nearby try to book an accommodation that has tours to the falls included. I paid extra to see the falls at my hotel in Zimbabwe but it was free from my Zambian hotel. My Zimbabwe hotel was a 15min drive to the falls and the Zambian hotel was a 50min drive to the falls, please explain that logic to me.
– Don’t rush your visit, take time to enjoy it. I visited twice and I still feel like I want to go back and spend more time there.
– If you can afford it get a guide, they tell you about so much more info about the falls and the area then what you can figure out for yourself from just visiting.
– If you can only visit from one country I highly recommend viewing the falls from Zimbabwe. The Zambian side was a bit of a let down, especially because it was the dry season, however I’m sure it can be extremely thrilling when the falls are at capacity.
To learn some interesting facts about the falls like the size, who was the first European to see and name the falls, and even how many species of fish live above and below the falls click play on the video and enjoy!