Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya in the native tongue, is one of Africa’s top travel destinations. For centuries, the Falls have dazzled explorers and travelers alike, with awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur. It’s the largest waterfall in the world, and as such, is near the top of most safari bucket lists. Let’s not forget history though; from colonial explorations to far deeper ancient tribal rites, Victoria Falls has stood witness to much of our human history. Fittingly, it’s a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has been described as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Still, most travelers don’t realize the extent of activities offered at the Falls (beyond marveling at its beauty). See below for our list of the most extraordinary (and lesser known) experiences at this world-class natural destination.
Few moments in your life will make you feel as small (or inspired) as staring across the vast expanse of empty space from the bridge to the thundering walls of water. Go one step further and combine a local village visit with your tour of the Falls. Community visits are a great opportunity to connect and engage with locals and artisans. Learn more about life in this area from the people who live it every day. Hike alongside the Zambezi River to one of the surrounding villages, where you can enjoy brunch with your local host. Tickle your taste buds with traditional foods, while learning about the ancient cultures that continue to thrive at the Falls.
Get your feet wet rafting the mighty Zambezi. ©Shearwater
River rafting is an exhilarating option for the active traveler whether you choose the half or full day excursion to the Falls. The whitewater section propels rafters from exciting rapids (Class 5) to calmer stretches of relaxing river, where you can catch your breath and admire the view from the best seat in the house! The expert rafting guides have years of experience on these waters, so even novice rafters can sit back and relish the adventure. The river itself is the beating heart of this landscape – become part of that pulse as you glide down these scenic waterways. Note: Exiting the gorge involves a steep climb of about 250m, although helicopter lifts are available, at a cost.
Our safari expert Pearl takes the plunge!
For all you adrenaline junkies out there, take a leap off the historic Victoria Falls Bridge. Measuring up at just over 350 feet it’s not the highest bungee jump in the world (that honor goes to Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa which is an incredible 765 feet), the jump at the Falls is one of most breathtaking. Maybe it is because of the backdrop of the Victoria Falls or free falling down towards the mighty Zambezi; whatever it is, it is a huge adrenaline rush! f you are not brave enough to do this alone, you can always try to convince a buddy to leap with you and do the tandem jump. First timers normally do a standard head first dive, but the more experienced try all sorts of flips, back-flips and inward tucks, etc. Bonus points for trying to sneak a peek at the lush beauty and curling mists of the gorge as you make your rapid descent.
Gain a bird’s eye view as you fly above the winding gorge system around Victoria Falls in a microlight. Known as the “Flight of the Angels”, ascend to new heights for a panoramic perspective, high above the grunting hippos and splashing crocodiles below. The pilot circles over the Falls and islands in an ultra-lightweight two-seater aircraft. This is the closest you’ll ever come to totally uninhibited flight.
While at ground level you can feel the enormous power of the Victoria Falls, it is only when you take to the air that you can take in the whole panorama and enormity of this mighty spectacle. The best way to do this is helicopter ride over the falls. There are two different options available. One flight lasts 12-13 minutes and takes off from Elephant Hill helipad, just upstream of the Falls. The flight takes you over the falls several times in both directions, the pilot banks the helicopters as you circle so you can really see right into the chasm of the Falls. You can see the towns of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia and clearly up and down stream. The second option is a 30 minute flight which starts off exactly like the shorter flight but then takes you for an enthralling game viewing flight upstream along the Zambezi River. You are likely to see quite a bit of game including many hippo in the river!