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Aerial view of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
27 March, 20232 minute read

Experience the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls

A visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls in Africa, one of the natural wonders of the world, is the experience of a lifetime. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989, nothing can prepare you for the exhilaration of seeing these thunderous falls up close.

Aerial view of Victoria waterfalls at high water, Zimbabwe

What’s so special about Victoria Falls?

Located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe in southern Africa, Victoria Falls is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The Zambezi River is more than 1.25 miles wide when it cascades 108 metres into the basalt gorge below, and the billowing clouds of mist that rise from Victoria Falls are so large that they can be seen from more than 12 miles away.

The local name for the falls is Mosi-oa Tunya, which means ‘the smoke that thunders’. The legendary explorer and missionary David Livingstone gave them the name ‘Victoria Falls’ in honour of Queen Victoria, after he became the first European to have ever seen them in 1855. Upon seeing the falls, he wrote in his journal that 'scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.'

Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.

view of Victoria Falls  at Zambia side, one of most iconic African natural landmarks

Where can I see it?

Victoria Falls can be seen from a wide range of different viewpoints. Have your camera at the ready and be sure to capture the unique views to be had from the Victoria Falls Bridge and Knife Edge Bridge. You can also fully appreciate the sheer power of the cascading waters close up by heading down to the river-level platforms.

For a truly incredible experience, you can view the falls from the carriages of a restored steam train, the Royal Livingstone Express. You’ll dine on a delicious five-course meal on board, then cross Victoria Falls Bridge at sunset for a view to remember.

What is there to do nearby?

The area around the Victoria Falls also has great archaeological interest. Stone artefacts found there have revealed that early humans lived by Victoria Falls as long as two million years ago, while evidence of Middle Stone Age settlements in the form of tools dating to around 50,000 years ago have also been found.

The Victoria Falls rainforest, soaked by the falls’ spray, is a great place for a walk (don’t forget a raincoat), as is Victoria Falls Town, on the Zimbabwe side of the falls.

Being on the Zambezi River, there are plenty of opportunities for relaxed river cruises. Look for hippos, crocodiles and all manner of birdlife as you glide along, and sip sundowners as the wild landscapes turn golden in the day’s last light.

Elephants drinking on the banks of the Chobe river.

Can I combine Victoria Falls with another destination?

Absolutely – we have a number of Victoria Falls holidays to choose from. You could explore more of Zimbabwe, heading out on safaris and enjoying a small boat cruise on Lake Kariba. Or perhaps team the falls with a safari in beautiful Botswana, following in the footsteps of Livingstone before tracking wildlife in Chobe National Park.

If you’ve got longer, you might like to look at our Tracks of Africa tour, which includes Cape Town, South Africa’s Garden Route and the famous Rovos Rail train. Or how about combining Victoria Falls with a South African safari stay followed by a luxurious ocean cruise?

Dreaming of seeing ‘the smoke that thunders’ for yourself? Find out more about our Victoria Falls holidays.

Image of blog author Nicola James

Nicola considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a number of places around the world and these experiences usually involve searching for as many kinds of wildlife as possible. Recent highlights include penguins in Antarctica, bears and whales in Canada and Alaska and sea otters in California - but there are always more animals to search for.

Nicola | About the author

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