In a timely reminder that nothing lasts forever, reports from Zimbabwe and Zambia are showing that Victoria Falls has staged an epic recovery and are now in full flow just a few months after widespread reporting that the waters were at a historically low levels due to seasonal drought. In December of last year, stories about the drought were accompanied by alarming pictures showing the bare rockface of the Falls, but by April 2020 the waters had returned and the Falls were back at their magnificent best.
Of course, in the intervening period events in the wider world have temprarily shut down international tourism, so at the moment only residents of the towns of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia are able to enjoy this spectacular sight. But nothing last forever, and as Zimbabwe and Zambia have both been relatively unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic they are begining to ease their own internal lockdowns, and at the momenty the hope is that international tourists will be able to return to the Falls later in the year.
Hopefully the waters will still be close to their current spectaucular levels when international tourists do return, but even if the levels have dropped somewhat from their current highs there is plenty to attract visitors to the area.
Over the years the area around Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border has developed into one of Southern Africa’s leading adventure tourism destinations. Clearly the main attraction of the area is still a visit to visit the Falls themselves, and for most visitors this will take around half a day if they do this with a guide and visit both the Zimbabwean and Zambian side of the Falls. The evening cruises on the Zambezi are also immensely popular, and then after that we find a whole host of activities from microlight flights to white water rafting that are sure to provide spectacular memories for those brave enough to take them on.
1. Microlight flight over the Falls
Whilst the popular ‘Flight Of Angels’ helicopter flights offer wonderful views over Victoria Falls, a trip in a microlight offers a more exhilarating way to see the Falls from the air.
As with the helicopter flights, there are both 15 minute and 30
minute options available, however the fact that you are completely
exposed to the elements in the microlight make this feel like a very
different experience. The microlights fly lower and slower than the
helicopters, meaning you feel the spray on your skin, and as they are
slower moving the 15 minute flight will stay closer to the Falls for the
majority of the flight. One thing to note is that you are not allowed
to take your own camera on the flights due to safety and insurance
issues, however there is a wing mounted camera that is operated by the
pilot, and you can buy digital copies of these pictures at the end of
2. The Devil’s Pool
The Devil’s Pool in only accessible when the Falls are at their lowest, between late August and early January, and this natural wonder provides an unforgettable vantage point with spectacular views of the Falls. For those who think they might be washed away as soon as they enter the water, fear not, as there is a natural rock wall that stops any anyone from being swept over.
The Devil’s Pool can only be reached as part of an organised trip, and these depart from the Royal Livingstone Hotel, and start with a short boat ride towards Livingstone Island in the middle of the river right by the edge of the Falls. From here you will walk to a viewing point overlooking the Horseshoe Falls and the 108 meter drop of the Rainbow Falls, and then you are taken to an area where you can see the Main Falls from a completely different angle that that seen from the visitor center on the other side of the gorge.
With only a sheer drop and the rushing waters of the Zambezi around
you, Devil’s Pool will showcase the unparalleled beauty and power of
this natural wonder, giving you memories that will last a lifetime.
3. White water rafting on the Zambezi
Setting off at dawn with your fellow rafters, guests will all be
taken up river for what will be one of the most incredible and exciting
activities they’ll ever do. From the drop off point, it is a short hike
down a valley to the river, walking along small paths and having to
climb down in some areas, making everyone feel like a true explorer.
When everyone is down, no time is wasted in getting onto the river and
letting the fun begin. The guide will give you some instructions and
tips about safety, and then with a roar from the team, the adventure
You will hear the roar of the rapids before you see them, and you
won’t be disappointed with what lies ahead. As the adrenaline kicks in,
and the water crashes around you, remember to keep paddling, and then
before you know it, you are through and in the calmer water… that is
until you tackle the next one!
After conquering that final rapid, guests will be left feeling
exhausted, but it won’t matter. With a huge smile on your face and a new
group of friends besides, have a look back at what you have just done
with a feeling of amazement and satisfaction.
4. Bungee jump from the Victoria Falls bridge
Whist there are bungee jumps all over the world, there will be very
few betters place to try out this incredible activity than at Victoria
Falls. With the Zambezi River below you, and the falls thundering
constantly in the background, guests will have to go a long way to find
anything more dramatic.
Waiting in the queue on the bridge, watching as each person is given
the countdown and then jumping, can be daunting at first. As you get
closer and closer, the mind is racing and there is so much adrenaline
that you cannot keep your feet still, until finally its time. With your
feet just over the edge and nothing in front except one of the best
views of the river, all anyone hears is the countdown. With your heart
racing and arms out either side, you conquer the fear and jump, and
everyone always does. With the river rapidly approaching suddenly you
start to slow down, before going up, and then falling again. In that
moment, the elation and joy of what you have just accomplished takes
over, knowing from then on, if I can do this, I can do anything!
5. Victoria Falls gorge swing
Whilst nearly everyone knows about the famous bungee jump, the gorge swing can sometimes pass under the radar, but don’t be fooled as it offers an adrenaline fix rivaling all of the activities at Vic Falls. When the guides have walked you through the safety procedures, a harness attached to the rope swing will be attached to the jumper. With the guide offering some steady encouragement the jumper can walk to the edge of the platform, before getting ready to make the most memorable jump of their lives.
Breaking free from the fear that was holding them in place, the feeling of free falling before swinging out over the raging waters below is something that is near impossible to describe, and it will take something very special to get a better rush of excitement anywhere.