African Safari blog

Top African Destinations Part 2 – The Iconic Victoria Falls


The first article in this series addressed some of the top African game reserves. This one addresses the iconic Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River. Victoria Falls has at least a couple of reasons for its place on the list of top African destinations.

The falls themselves, which are regarded as the largest in the world (even though they are neither the highest nor the widest) are, as one would expect, an amazing sight! At the height of the Zambezi’s flood season (February to May) the spray from the falls rises to about 400 meters and can be seen from as far as 48 kilometers away. Thus the name given to it by the locals Mosi-oa-Tunya which translates to the smoke that thunders.

A fact that intrigues me is that the falls are constantly receding upstream. Apparently the constant flow of water is perpetual enough to cut through the layers of sandstone layered between the sections of hard basalt plateau which forms the base of the Zambezi, thus creating a succession of gorges. Apart from the current gorge (known somewhat unimaginatively as the First Gorge) the other five gorges represent past sites of the falls. The Devil’s Cataract is predicted to be the next site of the Victoria Falls.

As if the geographic wonder was not enough to justify the position of Victoria Falls on the list of the top African destinations, activities available in and around the falls which makes it the activity capital of Africa! Activities includes bungee-jumping off the Vic Falls bridge, canoeing on the Zambezi, helicopter trips (delightfully entitled “flight of angels”) tiger fishing (which I understand to be a challenging type of fishing) and elephant-back safaris! Finally, the completely foolhardy tourist can swim in the Devil’s Pool at the very edge of the falls when the water is low (November & December!) However that activity is surely only for those with a strong death wish (as some have had fatal experiences of the Devil’s Pool!)

While Zimbabwe has undoubtedly been through some tough times in recent years and is hopefully slowing creeping back on the tourist map (more about that later as we are checking out the various lodges in Southern Zim in September 2014) Vic Falls has always been on the map as an attractive and very reasonably priced destination. As well as offering a break from the bush, it offers diverse activities to suit all tastes as well as top quality reasonably priced accommodation, including my personal favourite, Victoria Falls Hotel – the “grand old lady of the falls” which I doubt had changed in decades despite the circumstances!

Thus I conclude that Victoria Falls definitely deserves its place on the list of top African destinations and so is a must see destination for Southern African visitors. While currently harder to access for East African safari goers, it is understood that there are plans to schedule an airline connection from Nairobi which is going to make a visit to what really is a very distant location almost practical!


Top African Destinations Part 1 - The Great Game Parks


Top African Destinations Part 3 - Cape Town