The smoke that thunders Victoria Falls

Straddling the banks of a charming small safari town, the Zambezi River pummels its way over a jagged, mile-wide basalt ledge to form one of the grandest vistas in all of Africa – the Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water on the planet.

Purportedly first discovered by Portuguese explorers, it was Dr David Livingstone’s well-documented discovery that made Victoria Falls famous in 1855. (Though this official Wonder of the Natural World has been revered as a sacred site by local tribes for centuries.)

Both Zimbabwe and Zambia will tell you these Falls are theirs; a tale of two cities – or towns, rather – whose names are merely variations on a theme. Livingstone and Victoria Falls both offer equally magnificent views, sumptuous five-star retreats, spectacular game viewing, and epic Zambezi “booze cruises”. And each has their own international airport, giving neither a particular leg up on the other.

The Zimbabwean side boasts remarkable elephant encounters (up close and personal) and Zimbabwe’s Devil’s Cataract delivers jaw-dropping power.

When it comes to Vic Falls (as she goes by in these parts), timing is everything. The waters rise and fall throughout the year, fed by summer rains that surge down the Zambezi’s tributaries.

Levels typically peak between February and May, when the full force of the Falls reverberates through your bones and its thunderous mists light up with rainbows, even by the full moon’s illumination. You’ll want to pack a couple of Zip-Locs for your camera gear!

Come the dry season, the spectacle subsides, but the view is no less impressive. In fact, there are upsides. It’s also a great time of year for rafting in the white waters of the gorge below.

Victoria Falls Itineraries

9 nights Custom Safari Southern Africa Honeymoon safari The iconic Southern Africa tour

Starts: Cape Town Ends: Cape Town

Price from USD $8,120 per person

9 nights Custom Safari Luxury South Africa Safari and Victoria Falls The iconic Southern Africa tour

Starts: Cape Town Ends: Cape Town

Price from USD $7,100 per person

12 nights Custom Safari Luxury treehouse safari Life in the trees

Starts: Cape Town Ends: Cape Town

Price from USD $17,290 per person

11 nights Custom Safari 12 day ultimate Zimbabwe safari Upper Zambezi, Lower Zambezi and everything in between

Starts: Harare Ends: Victoria Falls

Price from USD $10,850 per person

8 nights Custom Safari Highlights of Zimbabwe safari Wonderful wildlife and natural wonders

Starts: Victoria Falls Ends: Victoria Falls

Price from USD $8,995 per person

10 nights Custom Safari 11 day Zimbabwe and Zambia safari A taste of Zimbabwe and Zambia

Starts: Victoria Falls Ends: Livingstone

Price from USD $12350 per person

Lodges in Victoria Falls

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