The mighty Zambezi River and the majestic Victoria Falls form a natural border between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Regardless of whether you choose to stay on the Zimbabwe side or the Zambia side there’s a wide range of activities to enjoy at Victoria Falls.
From adventure activities such as white-water rafting, bungee jumping and zip lining, to incredible game drives in Hwange National Park and sunset boat cruises on the Zambezi River.
Whichever side you’re based on you can easily cross the border via Victoria Falls Bridge to explore the other side – just don’t forget your passport when heading out on excursions as you’ll need it if you’re crossing the border from one country into another.
It is important to bear in mind that your Victoria Falls experience can be very different depending on the time of year that you visit and if there’s specific activities that you’d like to include in your itinerary you’ll need to choose the right time of year to travel.
Activities on the Zambezi River are best when water levels are at their lowest, otherwise the current is too strong, whilst activities on land or in the air are best when water levels are higher as you’ll have dramatic views.
Here are our top 13 things to do in Victoria Falls:
1. Walk along the footpaths of Victoria Falls National Park
There are national parks on both sides of the falls – Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia. Both parks offer the opportunity to get up close to the thundering falls, however the experience is quite different from one side to another.
Victoria Falls National Park, located on the Zimbabwe side, is a lush rainforest reserve which offers some of the best views of Victoria Falls. You can walk along the footpaths of the park which meander through the rainforest and out onto viewpoints where you can see four of the five different sections of the falls on this side - The Devil's Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls.
2. Walk along Knife Edge Bridge on the Zambian side
From Zambia, you can only see the Eastern Cataract, the second deepest falls of the series at 101m deep. However, this side offers an incredible opportunity to get exceptionally close to the cascades of water as you can walk along the paved paths on the edge of Victoria Falls.
During the high water season from February to July you can cross Knife-Edge Bridge which is an exhilarating walk along the edge of the precipice, 100m above the gorge.
3. Visit Livingstone Island and take a dip in the Devil’s Pool
Livingstone Island is located in the middle of the Zambezi River on the edge of Victoria Falls. A trip to Livingstone Island begins with a thrilling five minute boat ride through the channels of the Zambezi and then you’ll be taken on a guided tour of the island which is a protected World Heritage Site.
Your tour guide will initially lead you to the west of the island overlooking Main Falls – this is a magnificent viewpoint and offers a completely different perspective to the views you get from the path through the rainforest on the other side of the gorge.
During the tour you’ll learn about the history of the island and the formation of Victoria Falls, surrounded by spectacular views of the Zambezi River and the falls thundering into the gorge below. Your guide will also take you to the edge of the island where David Livingstone stood for the first time in November 1855.
The Livingstone Island tour is seasonal and can only be done when the water level of the Zambezi River is low enough to allow safe access – this is usually from late June to early March. When the water level of the Zambezi is too high, the island is completely closed.
After the island tour you’ll have the opportunity to take a dip in the Devil’s Pool. First you’ll have to swim a short distance upstream (you don’t have to be a strong swimmer as there’s a safety rope in place as an added precaution), and you’ll then climb out on a rocky outcrop close to the edge of the falls and the Devil’s Pool.
The Devil’s Pool is a deep natural pool that has been created by thousands of years of erosion. What is unique about it is that there’s a rock ledge on the lip of the falls, where the water is only a few centimetres deep, and this natural barrier allows you to jump into the deep pool without getting swept over the edge.
It is an exhilarating experience to lie at the edge of the Devil’s Pool and look into the 103m chasm of the falls, with huge torrents of water flowing just meters away.
Taking a dip in the Devil's Pool is only possible when the Zambezi water levels are low - usually between mid-August and mid-January.
4. Enjoy a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi river
A late afternoon boat cruise is a wonderful way to enjoy the tranquility of the upper Zambezi and see a spectacular African sunset. During your two hour cruise you can expect to see elephants, hippos, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, baboons, and a variety of birdlife.
If you're looking for a more adventurous experience you can take to the river in a two-person canoe on a guided excursion.
5. Take a helicopter flight over Victoria Falls
A fantastic way to appreciate the sheer size of Victoria Falls is from a helicopter. A 12-13 minute flight will take you over the thundering falls and you’ll soar above the towering wall of mist.
You’ll enjoy scenic views of Batoka Gorge and you can look out for hippos and elephants as you fly over the Zambezi River. Once you have flown over Kalunda Island your pilot will take a left turn and prepare for your landing. A 25 minute flight offers the opportunity to see more of the Batoka Gorge and also takes you over the Zambezi National Park.
6. Experience the Zambezi river walk
The Zambezi River Walk, on the Zimbabwe side, offers a fantastic way to experience the beauty of the upper stretches of the Zambezi. The walk starts just beyond the Victoria Falls National Park border, just above the Devil's Cataract.
On this gentle walk along the banks of the Zambezi River you’re likely to see troops of baboons, plus you might also see warthogs, hippos, elephant and buffalo.
7. Enjoy a safari experience in Hwange National Park
Covering an area of 15,000km² Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest national park. It is famous for its huge herds of buffalo and elephant - Hwange is home to a population of approximately 30,000 elephants which is the second largest in the world after Chobe National Park in Botswana.
You’ll have a good chance of spotting the big five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) on your game drives, plus Hwange is an important breeding ground for endangered African wild dog, black rhino, and roan and sable antelopes.
Hwange is located 104km from Victoria Falls (approximately two hours drive) making it an excellent day trip option for those who wish to include a safari experience in their itinerary.
8. Experience white water rafting on the Zambezi river
A white-water rafting adventure on the rapids of the Zambezi River is an adventure of a lifetime. The Zambezi River below Victoria Falls boasts one of the most spectacular white-water sections in the world - including class 4 and class 5 rapids.
The views of the gorge are spectacular and you’ll have plenty of time to take in your surroundings during the calm stretches. Please note, white-water rafting is a seasonal activity depending on the water levels.
9. Learn about the history of the Victoria Falls bridge
The Victoria Falls Bridge connects Zimbabwe and Zambia and it is an iconic part of the Victoria Falls landscape. Originally named the Zambezi Bridge, it took 14 months to construct and was completed in 1905.
The Historic Bridge Tour is a fantastic experience which includes an informative presentation on the fascinating history of this famous bridge. You can also get harnessed up and walk under the bridge where you can take in the spectacular 360 degree views and fully appreciate the immense depth of Batoka Gorge. You may even be lucky enough to see a double or full circle rainbow which is formed by the spray of the Victoria Falls.
10. Bungee jump from the Victoria Falls bridge
A bungee jump from the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge - with the epic Victoria Falls behind you and the mighty Zambezi River beneath you - is the ultimate adrenaline activity. The Victoria Falls Bridge itself is impressive and offers incredible views as you get ready for your jump.
On the bridge an ankle and body harnesses will be attached and then your jump-master will give you calm and encouraging instructions, followed by a countdown. Once you leap from the bridge you’ll experience four seconds of freefall as you plummet 111m towards the rapids of the Zambezi River.
11. Experience Zambezi zipline and Flying Fox
Another exciting way to experience the Batoka Gorge is from a 135m zipline across the canyon, 75m above the Zambezi River. This is the ultimate adrenaline rush as you’ll reach speeds of 90-100km per hour within just a few seconds.
There’s also a ‘flying fox’ option where you’ll take a running jump into Batoka Gorge and soar horizontally across the gorge with the mighty Zambezi beneath you. You’ll be clipped into a harness attached to a pulley which glides along a cable over Batoka Gorge - giving you the sensation of flying.
12. Glide across the Zambezi River on the Victoria Falls Bridge Slide
The Victoria Falls Bridge Slide is a 300m zipline which begins from a platform on the Zambian edge of Batoka Gorge and gently glides over the rapids of the Zambezi River before reaching the Zimbabwean side of the bridge. As you slide from the edge of the gorge towards the bridge you can enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic Victoria Falls.
This is the perfect activity for those who don’t feel quite brave enough to experience the Zambezi zipline or a bungee jump from Victoria Falls Bridge. It is also a fantastic option for families with young children (children aged between 4 to 14 years can experience the bridge slide, however they must ride tandem with an adult).
13. Explore the historical town of Livingstone in Zambia
Livingstone is located 10km from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls Bridge and is the gateway to many of the attractions of Victoria Falls and the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.
This historical town was moved from its original site at the Old Drift to Constitution Hill in 1905 due to malarial outbreaks. The new location was carefully planned with wide, tree-lined streets and buildings with high ceilings and mosquito-netted verandas.
Livingstone has preserved much of its colonial architecture, yet it also has a small town African atmosphere. If you spend a morning strolling along the colonial streets, drinking a coffee at one of the pavement cafés and exploring the colourful local markets, you’ll get an interesting insight into this fascinating town. We also recommend that you visit The Livingstone Museum which traces local history and the life of the Scottish explorer, David Livingstone, after whom the town was named.
If you’d like to visit Victoria Falls as part of your tailor made holiday, please call our Luxury Travel Specialists on 0203 143 4293 or send an online enquiry to start your journey.