WELCOME TO VICTORIA FALLS
Locally known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, translating to the ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, Victoria Falls are deservedly one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Forming a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, fed by the mighty Zambezi River, the Falls are a sight to behold!
The 100m vertical chasm spanning the full one and a half kilometre width of the river, creates the biggest curtain of falling water in the world and one of the most extraordinary displays of nature’s might and magnificence. Despite the beauty of the Falls themselves, this region warrants the reputation as an adventure centre, offering a plethora of adrenaline-inducing activities both in and around the Falls. The best time for viewing the Falls is from July to October when the water levels are high but the mist has subsided, offering clearer views.
The indigenous languages are Ndebele and Shona but English is the official language and is widely spoken and understood.
One arrival in Victoria Falls you will be greeted by some of the friendliest people in the world. The predominant religion is Christianity, with traditional beliefs in rural areas, and some Hindu, Muslim and Jewish minorities.
Victoria Falls is situated in a summer rainfall region. Instead of differentiating the climate according to the conventional spring/summer/autumn/winter divide, locals consider there to be two distinct climates - the dry season and the wet season. The dry season begins in May and extends through autumn and winter into October. The early part of the dry season is a temperate time with daytime temperatures in the early 20°C range and the mercury often falling to single digit figures at night.
Generally, the rains begin during the course of November and, by December, the wet season has usually set in with hot daytime temperatures, lightened by torrential downpours that generally take place during the late afternoon. At night, temperatures are an average 18°C and, during the day, the temperature can rise into the 30’s. Visiting the Victoria Falls during the wet and dry seasons is a markedly different experience. In early summer, the water level in the Zambezi is at its lowest, and the spray from the Falls is least dense, allowing for more visibility and better photographic conditions. Low water levels mean that parts of the Falls dry up, particularly on the Zambian side, but this is when Devil’s Pool is accessible. During late summer, when the Zambezi is pumping, the spray from the Falls is intense and any visitor to the rainforest can expect to be soaked.
Best time to visit Victoria Falls
May to November are the best months for most visitors but…
- If you want to see the Victoria Falls in full power, go between March and May.
- If your main reason to visit is for the white water-rafting, go between August and early January when the rapids are at their best.
- If a safari is your priority, go between May and October when the vegetation is low and animals are more easily spotted.
The Zimbabwean dollar is no longer a valid currency and almost all transactions are conducted in US Dollars. The currencies presently used in Zimbabwe include US Dollars and South African Rand. Make sure you have a sufficient amount of foreign currency in your possession, prior to entering the country due to a cash shortage and the fact that many ATMs will not accept international cards. Do not change foreign exchange with moneychangers on the street, as this is illegal. It is best to travel with small denominations of foreign currency.
240 V. square pin adapter (same plugs as UK).
As Victoria Falls is situated in a malaria zone, it is recommended that you consult your physician on the correct preventative medication required before you travel.
Bring small denominations for tipping purposes as small change is very rarely available locally. Whilst not compulsory, it is enormously appreciated and often contributes a substantial amount toward ensuring that those working in the service industry earn a living wage. Just make sure that a service charge hasn’t already been added to your bill.
WHAT TO DO IN VIC FALLS
Victoria Falls will not disappoint; whether you’re seeing the Falls for the first time or planning a hair-raising bungee jump, there is so much to do and see! Your visit will be jam packed with adventure so plan wisely. These are our top recommendations:
- See the Smoke that Thunders
- Take a Sunset River Cruise
- Go white-water rafting
- Enjoy the Flying Fox cable slide
- Do a bungee jump (111 metres – eek!)
- See Vic Falls from a helicopter – the famous "Flight of Angels”
- Be daring with a gorge swing
WHAT TO PACK
- As a guide, the maximum weight for checked luggage is 20kg in economy class and 30kg in business class
- Your hand-luggage should not weigh more than 6kg and needs to be small and compact
- Casual, comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year
- Jeans or trousers for evenings and cooler days is recommended * In more upmarket hotels and restaurants, elegant casual outfits are recommended for dinner
- Sunglasses, suntan lotion and insect repellent are a must
- Please note that camouflage clothing is banned in Zimbabwe
- Throw in a few warmer items between April and August, especially for early mornings and late evenings
- Don’t forget any medication that you might need, and be sure to pack it in your hand luggage
- Chargers for all your devices (it’s a good idea to take along a few movies on a tablet or something similar as the English TV channels in your hotel may be limited)
- A hat or cap
- Some sturdy walking shoes
- And don’t forget your binoculars
- Pack a change of clothing in your hand luggage in case of baggage delays
- Clothing creases less if rolled in a sausage shape when packed – so roll, don’t fold
- No sharp objects are permitted in your hand luggage (yes, tweezers are sharp!)
- Travel insurance is a must. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford to travel!
- Travelling with kids – please check that you have all the relevant documents including unabridged Birth Certificates.
- Put electronics, medication, toothbrushes and jewellery in your carry-on bag.
- It’s often a good idea to let your bank or credit card company know that you’re going overseas
- Be patient, be flexible, be spontaneous and have the best time ever!