Falls Activities & Visitor Information
Victoria Falls, Livingstone and Mosi-oa-Tunya
Falls is approximately 5600 feet wide, twice the height of Niagara Falls, and
one and a-half times wider. The Falls are divided into five separate waterfalls:
Devil's Cataract, Main Falls,
Falls, Rainbow Falls and Eastern Cataract.
Peak floodwaters usually occur around mid-April when around 625 million liters
per minute cascade over the edge per minute. The resulting spray rises up to
1650 feet into the air. During this time (March-April), there is so much water
flowing that the spray makes it quite difficult to see the falls.
Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River which feed the falls form the border between
Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Zambezi River is over 1650 miles long and is Africa's
fourth largest river (after the Nile, Zaire and Niger respectively) and the only
Victoria Falls Town
town of Victoria Falls was originally called Old Drift and it was a
trading settlement on what is today the Zambian side of the river. Old
Drift was moved to the current day location of
Livingstone in Zambia around 1900. A bridge was built over the Zambezi
Gorge as part of the Cape-to-Cairo railway in 1902, making possible the town's
draw of tourists. The Victoria Falls Hotel was built in 1906
and in 1972 the thriving village became the town of Victoria Falls.
In November 1855, David Livingstone, a missionary from Scotland,
arrived at the falls with members of the Makalolo tribe in a canoe
and he named the location after his queen, Victoria.
The Zambezi Gorges
The original Victoria Falls
was 8km downstream from the present falls. Weaknesses in the basalt perpendicular
to the river's flow - plus 2 million years' erosion - have resulted in
the river cutting through seven subsequent gorges, each further upstream
from the previous one. The present-day falls is actually in its seventh
National Park (Zambia)
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park - ‘The Smoke Which Thunders’,
is home to the mighty and spectacular Victoria Falls. The park is found
in the southern most edge of Zambia on its border with Zimbabwe. The
physical landmark which separates these two countries is the mighty cataract
of the Victoria Falls. The park is a wildlife sanctuary and well worth
a visit not only for the sight of what are probably Zambia’s only
remaining rhino, but also for the common species including the odd roaming
elephant. On the northern bank of the Zambezi River, within the Mosi-oa-Tunya
Park you can still see an old cemetery. Overall this small Zambian park
is a must, if not for the wildlife then definitely for the mighty and
misty Victoria Falls.
Chobe National Park - Wildlife Safari More
info on Chobe: Chobe
National Park info
National Park in Botswana is one
of the greatest game reserves in southern
Africa and famous for the number of elephants
in the area.
The Chobe River
flows lazily through the Caprivi floodplains
and provides a haven for huge herds of buffalo,
elephant, zebra, wildebeest and impala which
are followed closely by the predators – lion,
hyena, cheetah, leopard and even the endangered
wild dog. The bird life is also exceptional.
Chobe includes boating the Zambezi River
to the point where 4 countries
meet - Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
The Safari starts with a morning game viewing
cruise on the Chobe River. Tea, coffee, drinks
and snacks are served on board. Large flocks
of birds, big pods of hippos and very large
crocodiles are all about. Disembark for lunch
at the Chobe Marina Lodge overlooking the
Chobe River and the plains beyond. Then onto
open safari vehicles for an afternoon game
drive into the park.
Trips typically begin at 7:30am and guests are back
at their hotel by about 6:30pm. *Please note
that there are visa implications for some
Park fees, transfers, services of the professional
guides, drinks and snacks on the boat,
water on the game drive, lunch and one
soft drink or beer at lunch. Children under 5 are not encouraged to
join on this activity.
Elephant Back Safaris
Morning and Afternoon
Half-Day Trails (Daily)
It is not
often one can climb onto the back of an African
Elephant and set off at an easy rolling pace
in search of other wild game; wild elephant,
giraffe, buffalo and much more. This is an
elephant ‘experience’ and the
guides are highly trained experts in the
behaviour of elephants and the wildlife around
Includes transfers, tea/coffee,
breakfast on the morning trails, snacks
and cordial drinks. All participants will
be required to sign an indemnity form.
Children under 10 on request only. A guardian
must accompany all children under 18 and
the guardian will be required to sign an
indemnity form for all persons under 18.
Zambia (Visa costs not included if coming from Zimbabwe side)
Morning and afternoon ½-day
trails are available.
begin at Thorntree Lodge in the Mosi-oa-Tunya
National Park an attractive lodge overlooking
the Zambezi River. Tea, coffee and cordial
is served on arrival. After a short introductory
talk and safety briefing guests are introduced
to the elephants and their handlers before
mounting the great animals. The handler
and no more than two guests on each animal
then head off through the riverine bush,
crossing the river in shallow water to
get onto islands.
the ride guests will dismount and interact
with the elephants on the ground giving the
guides an opportunity to make an interesting
an informative explanation about the African
Elephant and their relationship with man.
the morning last about 4 hours and end with
a full English breakfast and the opportunity
to view a video of each guest’s elephant
safaris go on for about 4 hours with snacks
at the end of the day and the opportunity
to view a video of each guest’s elephant
be 10 years or older. A guardian must
accompany all children under 16 and a guardian
must sign an indemnity form for all persons
Zimbabwe (Visa costs not included if coming from Zambia side)
are collected at approximately 6:15am and
transferred to Woodlands Estate - home
of the elephants. The transfer is approximately
half an hour long and game is often seen on
the way. On arrival tea/coffee and biscuits
are served and guests are introduced to the
elephants. A short training session follows
and guests witness the bond between groom and
elephant being reinforced and new handling
commands being introduced.
an integral part of the relationship between
the elephant and the groom and continues
throughout the elephant's working life. The
elephants are then saddled and the safari
commences. The elephants follow ancient game
trails and are led by an armed guide on foot.
The grooms are friendly and knowledgeable
and explain as much as possible about fauna
and flora along the way. A bush breakfast
is served mid-morning and the elephants then
roam wild until the afternoon activity. Guests
are then transferred back to their hotels
arriving at approximately 11:00am.
Guests are transferred
to Woodlands Estate where the elephants will
have been fed during the day. The transfer
is approximately half an hour long and game
is often seen on the way. On arrival soft drinks
are served and introductions are made between
the guests and the elephant. A short time will
be spent with the elephants prior to saddling
them and setting off on safari. This time allows
the elephants to familiarize themselves with
the new guests. The elephants follow ancient
game trails and are led by an armed guide on
foot. The grooms are friendly and knowledgeable
and explain as much as possible about fauna
and flora along the way. Guests enjoy the truly
magical experience of an African sunset from
elephant back. ‘Sundowners’ and
snacks are served in the bush prior to the
guests making their way back to town by 7:00pm.
Walks & Game Drives - Zambezi National Park
The Zambezi National Park is one of the lesser known national parks in Zimbabwe and well worth a visit. The park is active and varied, bordered by the Zambezi River, and contains many large mammal species and a variety of bird life, particularly along the river. There are 2 principal game drive roads and walks with a professional guide can be rewarding. The park closes during or after heavy rains so guests need flexibility during the rainy season (November-April). Morning, afternoon and full day game drives and walks are conducted by knowledgeable guides both within the park's boundaries and on private concessions.
Zambezi Nature Sanctuary - Crocodile Ranch (Zimbabwe side)
For more than 100 years, the Crocodile has been persecuted for its reputed threat to man and livestock and for its skin. By the 1950's, the Crocodile was in danger of extinction and, like all species, the Crocodile plays an important role in the balance of nature.
Spencers Creek Crocodile Ranch is responsible for the collection of thousands of eggs per year and returns a small percentage to the wild. The role of the Sanctuary is to protect the species through careful management and scientifically based farming methods. With 5,000 Crocodiles of all sizes, the Sanctuary offers lots of reptiles for your $2 admission fee. There is also a Crocodile museum, informative videos, a tearoom, a cat enclosure, an aviary, a collection of insects and a curio shop. There is also a restaurant offering tastes of Crocodile meat.
Tour of The Falls
Residents of the Royal Livingstone and
Zambezi Sun Hotels have free access to the Falls
from the Eastern Cataract on the hotel property
throughout their stay. However, to find
out how the Falls were formed and what local
customs and traditions surround them, it is worth
considering a guided tour. These tours are informative
and end with a visit to the arts and crafts centre.
Tour of the Victoria Falls from the Zambian
side lasts for approximately one hour and
offers excellent photographic opportunities.
Visit the Eastern Cataract and cross the
footbridge to the Knife Edge. From January
to June, the Zambian side of the Falls benefits
from increased water flow. Participants are
able to explore the Rainforest, right up
to Danger Point and must remember to bring
their passport for the border crossing.
Photo courtesy of
Dr. Roy Gordon |
The entrance fee to the park is currently around US$10 (please check with us as this may change). Be prepared to get wet when you visit the Falls. Take precautions to cover your camera gear and valuables as well as wearing appropriate clothing - you will get wet!
Along the rim of the Falls, a network of surfaced paths - laid down to limit damage to the fragile rainforest ecosystem around the falls - leads to a series of unobstructed viewpoints. One of the most dramatic is Cataract View, the westernmost point of the park, at the bottom of a steep stairway.
At Danger Point, there is an amazing view into the First Zambezi Gorge, but terraces of soaking and slippery moss-covered rocks and a sheer, unfenced 300-ft drop-off are precarious at best. You can follow a side path to the gracefully beautiful Zambezi Bridge which connects Zimbabwe with Zambia. The bungee jumping tourists can be viewed from this vantage.
While walking through the rainforest, take note of all the local flora, including ebony, ferns, and a variety of lianas and flowering plants. Also keep watch for the Chobe Bushbuck, a small antelope which is common here and browses right up to the lip of the gorge.
Visit to Livingstone Island
Daily departures from the Royal Livingstone
to water levels and may not be available
as tour usually opens mid July)
paddlers skillfully landed Dr. David Livingstone
Island’ (now Livingstone Island), right
on the lip of the chasm before the Zambezi
River plunged over the cliff. A few steps through
the small rainforest and, on the 16th November
1855, he gazed upon one of the most spectacular
sights in the world – ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (The
Smoke that Thunders), which he named The Victoria
are collected in a twin engine boat with
powerful motors and a skilled skipper to
re-trace Livingstone’s approach
to the island and witness the very best view
of the Falls that there is. All visits to the
island are during the ‘low water’ season,
which usually begins in mid July and goes through
to the end of January. High water visits are
not possible as the island is continuously
covered in spray/downpour from the Falls.
pick up place is the jetty off the Royal Livingstone
River Deck and guests take a 5-minute transfer
to the island in a 12-seater aluminum launch,
with twin water-jet-propelled engines. Drop
off is at the Royal Livingstone jetty an hour
later. The trip includes a short guided tour
of the island, viewing the Falls and a light
snack, depending on the time of the visit.
under 12 are not encouraged to visit Livingstone
Zambezi River Safari
aluminium hulled, jet-propelled boats, are
carefully designed to give them access to
places other boats cannot go. Experience
a unique wildlife safari through the channels
and rapids between the numerous islands to
be found in the wide part of the river just
before the Falls. Elephant, hippo and wonderful
birds are the main wildlife attractions and
the views and sunsets are highlights.
lasts for 2 ½ hours.
Safari on the Upper Zambezi
the best way to appreciate the beauty, peace
and wildlife of the Zambezi River above the
Falls is to paddle slowly downstream in a
raft (canoes not able to accommodate this
group’s size) with some of the best
wildlife guides in Africa.
Watch the Pied
Kingfisher hover and dive, listen to the
haunting call of the fish eagle and the grunts
of the hippo, see elephant, buffalo and other
animals come down to drink and explore the
islands and waterways along the route. There
is time to stop for something to eat and
drink and listen to tales of Livingstone’s
journey to the Falls.
There are 5 ½ hour
safaris which begin in the morning and include
tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks
River Cruise on the African Queen / African Princess
are met by staff from the boats and driven
to the ‘Royal
Landing’ jetty on the Zambezi River.
Board the attractive cruise boat and make
your way slowly upstream along the length
of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park looking
for game on the way. A number of animals
and a host of bird species can be seen from
the decks. Hot
and cold snacks are served on board and the
bar is well stocked with spirits, wines,
beers and soft drinks. All food and drinks
are included in the price and served throughout
the cruise by waiters.
lasts for 2 hours and includes lunch, drinks
boat departs at 4:00pm from the Royal Landing.
The cruise lasts for 2 hours and includes hot
and cold snacks, drinks and transfers.
of the Angels (over the Falls)
Helicopter: Flights from 8:00am to sunset
Microlight: Flights from
6:30am to 10:30am and 3:00pm to sunset
The ultimate view of this
natural wonder can only be seen from the
air. Flights over the Falls provide a fabulous
vista of this magnificent river, with hippos
and crocodiles often visible in the shallow
waters, and elephant quietly browsing in
the surrounding countryside. Experience
a bird’s-eye view of the seemingly
tranquil Zambezi River, with its many islands,
as it plunges over the edge, thrusting
spray a thousand feet into the sky and
see the tortuous zig-zag of gorges leading
to the Batoka gorge downstream.
From a Helicopter: a
15-minute flight will take you over the Falls
and the Zambezi River. A 30-minute flight
will take you over the Falls, the Batoka
Gorge, the Zambezi River and Mosi-oa-Tunya
|From a Microlight: one
person and an experienced pilot fly over
the same sights as the other craft for either
15 or 30 minutes. The
minimum age is 8; however, if a child is
younger but big enough to fit into the harness,
then they are permitted to fly.
Full Day (8 hours)
The rapids of the Zambezi River are considered some of the best in the world. The deep water, combined with the high volume, and small amounts of exposed rock either in the rapids or the pools below the rapids, make this river highly sought after by rafting enthusiasts. The distance between rapids varies from 100 meters to 2 kms. The Gorge itself is about 122 meters deep at the launching point and 230 metres at the finishing point. The river drops 122 meters over the 24kms of the one-day raft trip and the depth of the Zambezi can reach 61 meters.
The British Canoe Union has classified the river Grade 5 “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas”. Nearly half of the rapids negotiated are Grade 5. (Grade 6 is un-runable - rapid number 9, “Commercial Suicide” is a Grade 6 rapid and we porter around this rapid).
One challenging element is the steep and slippery schlep back up to the rim while your body is still jittery with adrenaline from the ride down.
The low-water rapids (rapids 4 through to 18) on the Zimbabwe side (rapids 1 to 18 on the Zambia side), are open from mid-August to the end of December. Rapids 11 to 18 and 23 are the highest water rapids and quite quiet. These rapids may be traversed from both sides of the river during July and the first half of August; however, in years with lower rainfalls, rafters may ride these rapids beginning sometime in May. All rafting companies avoid rapid 9 (by walking around it) - Rapid 9 is known as Commercial Suicide.
The trips include a briefing and assistance with your life jackets, safety helmets and other equipment. Techniques are also demonstrated. A lunch stop is usually in a shady spot with a small beach. The rafts are typically 16-foot inflatable's which accommodate a maximum of eight per raft and are guided by an expert oarsman who knows the river intimately. The trips end mid-afternoon with a steep walk out of the Gorge. Collection is usually from 07h30 to the various de-briefing points. Half day and full day trips are offered depending on the season.
30-minutes, 2 departures daily (9:00am
vast amounts of power from huge jet engines,
powerboats shoot down the rapids below
the Falls at 100 km an hour. A thrilling
half hour spent flying over the water
and ‘buzzing’ rock faces
between rapids 23 and 27.
two departures, morning and afternoon.
Pick up is at the Day Activity Centre,
followed by a drive for half an hour
to the edge of the gorge. Walk into the
gorge and board the boat. The ride lasts
for ½ an
hour. Walk out of the gorge at the end.
must be 7 years or more.
Jet Boat Extreme and Helicopter
30-minutes, 2 departures
daily (9:00am and 2:30pm)
the rapids in a jet boat then,
instead of clambering out of
the gorge on foot, take a helicopter
and complete a thrilling day
by flying up the river skimming
the water under the shadows of
the cliffs, rising out of the
gorge for a quick look at the
Falls before landing.
Walk into the gorge and
board the boat. The boat ride
lasts for ½ an hour
and the helicopter flight for
15 minutes. Children must be
7 or more. Prices are the same
for all ages
note that for the Jet Boat and
Helicopter flight out of the
gorge, costs are per helicopter
for the flight. ie. 3 Seater
and 6 Seater helicopters. Should
there only be 2 guests on this
tour they will be liable for
the full helicopter cost.
must be 7 years or more.
From 9:00am until
the Falls behind you and the river rushing
below the Victoria Falls Bridge, this
is no ordinary bungi jump! This
death defying leap into the Gorge off
the Victoria Falls Bridge, between the
Zimbabwean and Zambian border posts may
be the ultimate thrill available here.
The bridge is 111 metres from the water
level and is one of the highest commercial
jumps in the world.
rush is as wild as the river itself.
There are two bungi options. A single
jump on your own and a tandem jump with
a partner. You meet at the Day Activity
Centre at a time convenient to yourself
and stroll to the Victoria Falls Bridge
with your passport, passing through the
Zambian immigration point. Including
the walk, the entire experience takes
approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
The bungi supervisors are there from
9am until 4pm.
to jumping, guests are given a safety
talk, explained how the harness system
works and what to expect as well as the
recovery procedure. Age restriction is
14 years (under 18 needs written parental
activity happens on the boundary between
Zambia and Zimbabwe;
therefore, no visa’s
are required. Guests
are issued a gate pass at the border
(don't forget your passport).
operate from 9:00am, subject to the season
and weather. The cords are very safe
and the ankle harness has 2 components.
There is also a waist harness with separate
attachments to the bungi cord as a backup
system. There have been well over 500,000
jumps worldwide with this system without
incident of slipping or coming undone.
Jumpers are hoisted up to the catwalk
below the bridge after the jump, assisted
by the trained crew.
minimum age is 14 years, the minimum weight
is 40 kgs and the maximum weight is 140
Swing and Flying Fox
From 9:00am until late afternoon
53m down the
gorge on the
end of a rope,
down into the
void. The walk
out is up a
steep slope. Full-day and half-day options.
the edge in
a body harness
50m, and swinging
the gorge and
runs out and
you are lowered
to the ground
to walk out.
Fox: A cable
You can sit
on the ‘chair’ or
as you fly
a whole day
as you wish.
in the morning
8 ½ hours
back up again.
a cold lunch,
the end of
as long as
to fit into
Fishing the Zambezi
Zambezi River is famous for one
of the great freshwater game fish – The
Tigerfish. Powerful, swift predators,
Tigerfish are a thrill to catch
and require a great deal of skill.
A good river specimen can weigh
over 15 pounds.
and tilapia also live in large numbers
in the river. Spinners and lures
are the most common method of catching
these fish, although using light
tackle, a fly and fly-rod, is becoming
very popular and brings an extra
dimension to a very exciting sport.
to one of the launch sites. Board
the boat and set off to the fishing
Trips into Livingstone
Village (or Simonga Village)
Mukuni's village is home to the Leya people. The chief has invited guests to
visit his village to make it possible to view local people living their traditional
lives, see their huts, how they are built and decorated, go inside, view them
a work and even taste some traditional foods and beer. Guests must realize, however,
this is a working village and not one built as an example for tourists. The population
is over 5000.
The musuem houses
the most comprehensive memorabilia of
the great explorer and Missionary, Dr
David Livingstone. With the guides, guests
will be given a comprehensive tour of
the museum and the history of the great
explorer. They also organize the curator
of the museum to give a guided tour for
groups. There is also an anthropological
section that includes traditional living,
medicines, and witchcraft. From a cultural
and historical point of view, this museum
is of great value to Livingstone town.
Maramba Market is
a vibrant local market where you can
test your bargaining skills where everything
is sold from “chitengies”,
curios, pots and pans among other items.
This is where the people of Livingstone
come to shop - its colourful and bustling
and great for photography and their guide
will smooth the way and show you things.
wonderful museum shows a broad history
of the railways, beginning in Europe
and Zambia, its origin, its financiers,
engineers, contractors and its socio-economic
impacts. Among its celebrated collections
are: the pioneer Rhodesia 7th class steam
locomotives, the vintage deluxe train
coach, the mine Hunslet steam locomotive,
an array of ex South Africa, a Cape Government
Railways 7th class steam locomotive of
the 1890’s and vast collection
of architectural/engineering records
of the recent Tan-Zam Railways.
Tour of Livingstone
two hours are spent walking and driving
around Livingstone, looking at the first
school, hospital, Library, Sports Club,
churches, the High Court and the old
North-wester Hotel and learning of its
famous history. The Railway reached Victoria
Falls in 1904 and the bridge was completed
in 1905. It was then that the BSA decided
to move the town from the Old Drift at
the river to a healthier site to Constitution
Hill which is now the town of Livingstone.
In 1907 it became the capital of then
Northern Rhodesia and remained so until
1935 when it moved to Lusaka. The town
was well planned and also split – the
railway workers lived at the bottom of
the hill and the administrators and business
people at the top of the hill and the
two rarely mixed.
Trips into Victoria Falls Town
Visit the 'Open
Market" and Craft Village for shopping.
At the market, this is where your bargaining
skills will be tested. You will find
everything from printed T-shirts and
hand woven bedspreads, to varved woodwork,
basketware, soapstone and verdite carvings.
Soapstone comes in various colours including
balack, bluish, brown or red but is found
most commonly as green or white.
Perhaps also stop at the Victoria Falls Hotel for
High Tea. High Tea is served from 3:30pm
on the Terrace overlooking the gorge
and the Victoria Falls Bridge. The oldest
Hotel in town, it recently celebrated
a century and has maintained its charm
and Edwardian feel.
Steam Train Excursions
Experience the romance of a bygone era on this excursion which entails a 3-hour journey across the magnificent Victoria Falls Bridge to Zambia. The Royal Tea Run departs at 08h30 (remember your passport). Relax with refreshments and listen to a brief history of the train and places of interest along the way. Morning tea and snacks are served and the train shunts onto the Mulobezi Line and continues towards Simonga in Zambia. Guests wishing to visit the Railway Museum will be dropped at the entrance. On the return, guests who have visited the museum will be collected are pre-lunch snacks are served while the train stops on the bridge to view the Falls and Gorge and sip a glass of Champagne. The train returns to Victoria Falls at approximately 12h30.
The Bridge Run departs at 14h00 and stops on the bridge for refreshments, returning at 15h00. The Moonlight Dinner Run offers a full buffet and departs at 17h30 (depending on the season, to catch the sunset), toast the sunset on the bridge and continue to a bush site where a bonfire awaits. The main course is served en-route. Desert is usually served on the return to the Falls and the journey ends at approximately 21h30. All departure and arrival times are subject to alteration by National Railways.
The train is a 1922 Class Ten steam locomotive with a 1900 first class coach and rail dining car. The train has been lovingly restored to capture the elegance of the steam era.
Return to Victoria Falls / Livingstone Hotels & Lodges Weather: Victoria
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