- Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS TOWN
Situated on the southern banks of the mighty Zambezi River is the quaint town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, it is a travellers and adrenaline junkies Mecca.
There are a host of adventure activities to participate in from activities on the river such as white water rafting, boogie boarding or jet boat trips to the
100m bungi jump on the bridge across the gorge.
The town boasts a number of luxury hotels and casinos as well as catering for the backpacker and travel market with a collection of
comfortable campsites. The towns many bars and markets provide the weary traveller with an ice cold Zambezi beer or an opportunity to do some curio shopping.
HISTORY ABOUT THE TOWN:
The original Victoria Falls town was called Old Drift, established as a wild west-style trading settlement on what is now the Zambian riverbank, shortly after David Livingstone's reports about the Falls began attracting Anglo traders. At the turn of the century, malaria started taking its toll and Old Drift was shifted to the site of present-day Livingstone in Zambia. The Zambezi Gorge was first bridged for the abortive Cape-to-Cairo railway in 1902, and with the railway came the first influx of tourists.
The Original Victoria Falls Hotel was constructed in 1906 and, 66 years later, the growing village was granted town status.
Humans have lived around Victoria Falls for thousands of years. The first known name for the falls was Shongwe, given to it by the Tokaleya people who inhabited the area prior to the Nguni invasions. Later, the Ndebele changed the name to Amanza Thunquayo, or Water Rising as Smoke. The late-arriving Makalolo, a tribe of refugees from the Nguni invasions, changed it yet again, this time to Mosi-oa-Tunya or Smoke that Thunders.
On 16 November 1855, Scottish missionary David Livingstone was brought to the falls by the Makalolo in a dugout canoe and, Livingstone promptly renamed it in honour of the queen.
Access to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is assured with 24 international flights every week – 21 from Johannesburg and 3 from Namibia’s capital, Windhoek.
These are complemented by a daily flight from Harare by Air Zimbabwe, plus a good road network from the South African border at Beit Bridge right through to the Falls.
Additionally Air Botswana flies into Kasane, Chobe, just a 90-minute road transfer (and often a game drive itself) to the Falls and Nationwide, BA Comair and SAA all fly into Livingstone, Zambia, just a 30-minute transfer across the bridge border into Zimbabwe.
And Air Zimbabwe is gearing up for the building momentum – they have approval to buy 4 more modern jets – two 767s and two 737s
Now in its 150 millionth fantastic year - reaches its zenith in about May each year.
It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sight, the sound, the smell; the humbling feeling that here indeed is Nature’s Supreme Masterpiece. No photograph can begin to depict the reality…and nothing prepares you for your first sight.
With Livingstone’s statue, the Main Falls and 70% of the mile-wide view located on the Zimbabwe side this is one of those must-do-in-my-lifetime experiences, and destinations, that always surpasses expectations.
The Victoria Falls and the surrounding rainforest are persevered as a 23.4 kilometre National Park and form one of Zimbabwe’s four World Heritage sites.
The Zimbabwe National Parks have maintained The Victoria Falls and the surrounding rainforest virtually as they were when Livingstone first saw them almost 140 years ago.
The sight of millions of gallons of turbulent water cascading over a sheer precipice into a narrow gorge a hundred metres below is something nobody can ever forget. Considered the largest curtain of falling water in the world, the magnificent Victoria Falls draws visitors from all over the world. The total width of the Victoria Falls is more than one and a half kilometres. The height of the various falls ranges between 100 and 116 metres. The width of the gorge at its narrowest point is sixty metres.
In April and May, the peak of the flood season, the six falls - Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls, Armchair Falls and the Eastern Cataract - form the largest curtain of falling water in the world. But in the dry season, between September and November, almost no water falls over some sections. The Falls have a continual mist above the surrounding area, creating a rainforest ecosystem for 2 km's. This unique nature sanctuary is rich in fauna and flora.
VIEWING THE FALLS:
Be prepared to allow at least two hours for your enchanting stroll through the dense rain forest to see Zimbabwe’s True Wonder – the Victoria Falls. You may stop at 16 spectacular viewpoints at the very edge of the massive Batoka Gorge to take in the entire mile-wide vista as well as the 100-year-old Railway Bridge spanning the Zambezi and linking Zimbabwe and Zambia.
A glance at the Footpath Guide provides conclusive evidence that the finest viewing is from Zimbabwe; therefore tourists should not miss experiencing a tour from this side. You will walk from Livingstone’s statue, peering over Devil’s Cataract, to the supreme and only view, year-round, of the Main Falls, as well as Livingstone Island, from where the legendary Dr. first saw Mosi-oa-Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders. In full spate the Horseshoe Falls are also truly spectacular.
WHEN TO GO:
Different times of the year will provide completely different experiences of the Falls region.
Best viewing is usually between the months of February through July, but be prepared to get wet! The skies above may be blue, but the billowing spray from the Falls spirals high into the air and a torrent comes crashing down. However, viewing the Falls at any time of the year is always spectacular, even just to witness the amazing topography of the Batoka Gorge. The Main Falls are an impressive sight and can be viewed 365 days of the year – from the Zimbabwe side.
TO DO / ACTIVITIES:
Some of the activities we can organise in and around Victoria Falls include:
- Tour of the Victoria Falls
- Cruises on the Zambezi River
- White Water activities including rafting, river boarding, kayaking & canoeing
- Bungi jumping, abseiling and the gorge swing
- Helicopter & micro light flips over the Falls
- Visits to the craft village and Crocodile farm
- Traditional dancing evenings and visits to rural villages
- Full day, night or morning game drives
- Day trip to Chobe Game reserve
- Walking safaris
- Elephant back safaris & horse trails
- Fishing safaris
- Zambia tours including the town of Livingstone and rhino drive
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