Many visitors to Southern Africa can't imagine not seeing Victoria Falls. The local name for the falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya
, means 'The Smoke That Thunders,' and in the wet season, the smoke indeed thunders! Located on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border between the towns of Livingstone (Zambia) and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), the Falls are twice as tall as Niagara Falls and several times wider.
Victoria Falls makes a wonderful place to begin or end your trip to Southern Africa, and fits naturally into a safari to Botswana, Zambia, or Zimbabwe. The falls are only a quick flight from South Africa and are a favourite 'long weekend getaway' for stressed-out Jo'burgers. Victoria Falls also works well as a place to take a 'breather' from the intensity of being on safari when moving between nearby countries, e.g. from Zambia to Botswana or Zimbabwe to Zambia.
The falls are accessible year-round, but the season determines their flow. During the rainy season (November to March), there is more water and thus the falls are more powerful. Plan to get wet if you cross the bridge or walk along the trails near the falls! Note that in the rainy season the sheer volume of water can actually obscure your view of the falls.
In the dry season (April to October), the falls are not as powerful, but in turn, you will have a clearer view of the rocky ledges beneath the falls. Towards the end of the dry season the Zambian side of the falls can slow to a trickle, so for the best views we advise staying on the Zimbabwean side during late winter visits (October - November).
During the full moon a unique lunar rainbow can be witnessed over the falls - definitely worth seeing if you happen to be in the falls at the right time.
Victoria Falls is renowned as the adrenaline capital of Southern Africa, and adrenaline junkies will be spoilt for choice with activities as white water rafting, bungee jumping, helicopter flips, and microlighting over the falls on offer. The truly intrepid can combine the activities to double or triple their fun, including being deposited from a helicopter into a raft at the start of the white-water run.
Those who prefer a more relaxed way of spending their time at the Falls can enjoy boating on the Zambezi, elephant-back safaris, low-key game-viewing in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, or simply sitting on the deck of their lodge or hotel and watching the river flow by. Livingstone is home to a number of small museums, and visits to local communities can be arranged. Craft markets in Livingstone and Victoria Falls Town offer another diversion, with a wide variety of African crafts - you'll need to bargain hard for the best deals!