• Gemma Fottles

Top 3 things to do at Victoria Falls in Zambia

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

I love a good travel throwback, and few destinations are as easy to throw back to as Zambia. Travelling to Victoria Falls in Zambia in November was one of the most unforgettable trips I have ever taken. From flying high for the best view of the Falls to white water rafting, here's the top four things you have to experience around Victoria Falls for an unforgettable Zambia travel experience.


Longing for the African sun in Zambia

Today, the temperature in my current location hit -28 degrees celsius. Yes, MINUS 28 degrees celsius. Half way through my ski season, I am nestled away in the tiny village of Tignes les Brevieres in the French Alps. Although I am loving my time in the wintery mountains, it's too cold to ski right now... and it's especially hard to comprehend that just under two months ago I was sitting in the African sun at the edge of the biggest waterfall in the world. Staying four days in the city of Livingstone in Zambia offered the best opprtunity to experience all that the mighty Victoria Falls had to offer. Here are the top 3 not to miss things to do in the Victoria Falls.


1. Take a Micro-flight over Victoria Falls


A microflight over Victoria Falls turned out to be my favourite way to experience one of the most famous  natural wonders of the world. I had the choice between a 15 minute helicopter ride, or a 15 minute Micro-flight  Solely due to the difference in price, I chose the latter, and for once, could not have been happier to have had that little bit less money. Approaching the err… vehicle? the nerves set in. I’m not a big fan of flying at the best of times, never mind in what effectively looked like a motorbike with wings. And an old motorbike at that.

Microflight

But the nerves were completely unnecessary. Despite being a hell of a long way up, the flight wasn’t scary in the slightest. Well… maybe I exaggerate  slightly. But even if I was a tiny, little bit scared the incredible views of the awesome Victoria Falls I got to see certainly made up for it. After a couple of laps around the actual Falls, we flew back over the Zambezi river, where I saw a huuuuge crocodile swimming along omninously, I spotted hippos lounging in the muddy waters, and I saw herds and herds of elephants, just living their majestic life free and wild by the river. It was like my own personal Zambia safari from the sky. As you can probably tell from this love letter of a description to the experience, it made me fall in love with the wilderness of Africa wholly and completely.


2. White water rafting on the Zambezi River


The starting point of one of the most extreme places to raft in the world is just after Victoria Falls. Although you don’t really get to see the waterfall on this trip, it’s still well worth doing to experience the absolutely insane power of all that water. It's truly awesome... and truly terrifying. As I’ve written about my rafting experience in Zambia before, it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my life. I cannot lie about that.


Although rafting in Zambia is an unforgettable experience, like a lot of adventures in Africa, it does not come cheap. A common misconception when it comes to travel in Africa is that everything will be, well... cheap. As a budget backpacker or a shoestring-style tourist, Africa is not cheap. For me, even though I experienced true horror in the waters of the Zambezi that day, it was still worth the cost. Although, I guess it did help that my See the World with SPAR travel reporter credit card was footing the bill this time...


3. Jump into the Devil’s Bathtub

Devil's Bathtub

It was the low season when I visited the Victoria Falls. Though this meant that the Victoria Falls were not at their most magnificent at the time that I visited them, the low water level meant that I could swim across the top of the waterfall and sit at the edge in the world-famous Devil's Bathtub. Scary.



Okay. I have a confession.

I say that I experienced the edge in the Devil's Bathtub… but that's only half true. Listen, I'm scared of everything, and the idea of being held by one leg over the edge of the Victoria Falls is honestly just not something that filled me with job. So I may have cheated a little bit here. Instead of jumping into a 6-foot-wide pool that was on the literal edge of Victoria Falls, I freaked out slightly and opted to just sit on the jumping rock. It looked amazing, it really did, but having our less than safety conscious guide hold my legs with only his arms as I teetered over the edge of a 108-metre drop wasn’t really my cup of tea. Needless to say, the rest of the group made it back to land alive and I missed out on being 2 metres closer to – well, realistically, only a panic attack.


We were also offered a boat tour to the top of the falls, but you miss out on the walk across. And, again, for the budget-conscious traveller, opting for the boat on Victoria Falls is substantially more expensive (and less fun!) than being guided over the top, half walking, half swimming.

How do I travel the Victoria Falls?

Victoria Falls lies between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Right in the middle. So in the middle, that you can walk from the Zambian national park Mosi-oa-Tunya to Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. The walk is nice, and a bit more easy going if you’re not into or don’t have the budget for some of the more expensive activities above or, indeed, the wealth of other action-packed adventures on offer from bungee jumping to a helicopter ride. But whatever you decide to do, when travelling in Zambia, going to see the Victoria Falls is an absolute must. Low season or high season, from Zambia or Zimbabwe, from the sky or in the rushing white waters of the Zambezi: the Victoria Falls are one of Africa's best travel destinations.


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