The Best Activities at Victoria Falls

Whether you decide to visit Victoria Falls from the Zambian or Zimbabwe side (see our blog comparing the two sides here) there are tons of activities for you to take part in. Here are a few that we highly recommend

Whitewater Rafting

Rafting trips on the Zambezi run from both the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides of the Falls and operators on both sides are highly professional. The water level of the Zambezi River is completely dictated by rainfall, and this has a huge impact on the white water rafting season. Therefore the dates given below are guide lines only as rainfall varies every year.

Low water trips (approx August-early January) start at Rapid 1 which is just below the boiling pot of the Victoria Falls. These trips are either half day (10 rapids) or full day trips (21 rapids). On the shorter trips you simply exit the gorge after rapid 10 at about lunchtime. Exiting the gorge involves a steep climb of about 250m, although helicopter lifts are available, at a cost. High water runs (May-July and January-March) miss out the first 10 rapids as they are just not safe to raft at the high water level. It is a shorter day even though it is still sold as a full days rafting. This trip is not nearly as exciting, so please be aware that if rafting is a priority on your trip, plan on coming between August and early January.

Helicopter Ride

While at ground level you can feel the enormous power of the Victoria Falls, it is only when you take to the air that you can take in the whole panorama and enormity of this mighty spectacle. The best way to do this is helicopter ride over the falls. There are 2 different options available;

1) The first option is a flight lasting 12-13 minutes which takes off from Elephant Hill helipad, just upstream of the Falls. The flight takes you over the falls several times in both directions, the pilot banks the helicopters as you circle so you can really see right into the chasm of the Falls. You can see the towns of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia and clearly up and down stream.

2) The second option is a 30 minute flight which starts off exactly like the shorter flight but then takes you for an enthralling Game viewing flight upstream along the Zambezi River. You are likely to see quite a bit of game including many hippo in the river.

Bungee Jumping

Although at 111 meters (364 feet) it's not the highest bungee jump in the world (that honor goes to Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa which is an incredible 765 feet), the jump at the Falls is one of most break-taking. Maybe it is because of the backdrop of the Victoria Falls or free falling down towards the mighty Zambezi; whatever it is, it is a huge adrenaline rush! There is only one company that operates the bungee jump and they are called the Zambezi Adrenaline company. They are based in Zambia and are affiliated to Shearwater in Zimbabwe. If you are not brave enough to do this alone, you can always try to convince a buddy to leap with you and do the tandem jump. First timers normally do a standard head first dive, but the more experienced try all sorts of flips, back-flips and inward tucks etc. Pre-booked and paid bungee jumpers are entitled to a full refund up until they sign the indemnity form on the bridge and start to strap up then you are then past the point of no return....

Livingstone Island and Devil's Pool

The Devils Swimming Pool and Livingstone Island Tour is a combined activity offered by Tongabezi, a respected tour operator (as well as a beautiful lodge) in Livingstone, Zambia. This activity is only available from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. The tour is seasonal and can only be done when the water level of the Zambezi River is low enough to allow safe access to Livingstone Island (from early July to early March). The Devils Pool experience is available for an even shorter period as the water level has to be really low to allow for safe swimming. Although variable every year this is normally from late August to early January. Five trips are offered throughout the day each trip lasting about 1.5 to 2 hrs.

Guests meet by the deck at the Royal Livingstone hotel, where you meet your guides and are given a safety talk. From there a five minute boat ride speeds you through the current of the Zambezi River to Livingstone Island. From there guests are led to the very edge of the Falls on the east side of the island overlooking Horseshoe and Rainbow Falls and then to the west of the island overlooking Main Falls. It's like no other view of the Falls and gives a completely unique different perspective on the Falls.

Now is your chance to jump into the Devils Pool if you feel comfortable, your guide leads you and explains your route. You swim slightly upstream in a very slow current, being a strong swimmer is not a prerequisite. A safety rope is also in place as an added precaution. You then climb out on another rocky outcrop close to the edge of the Falls. The Devils Pool itself is a deep natural pool with a rock ledge on the lip of the Falls. This natural barrier is what allows you to jump into the deep pool but not get swept over the edge. You can now lie on this rock lip and look right over the Falls! It is an awesome experience and the operation is extremely well run by Tongabezi, with safety being a high priority. Please note that there are several off-the-street guides who offer tourists the opportunity to do this activity, these guide are not licensed and we would strongly advise against going with one of them.

Other great activities at the falls include:

  • Horseback safaris
  • Guided Tour of the Falls
  • Game Drives
  • Sunset cruises
  • Fishing on the Upper Zambezi
  • Canoeing
  • Jet Boating
  • Day Trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana (from either Livingstone or Victoria Falls)
  • Day Trip to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe (from Victoria Falls)
  • Abseiling, Gorge Swinging and Flying Fox
  • Zambezi River Cruises
  • Microlight Flights
  • Segway Tours from the Falls Resort
  • Guided Tour of the Falls
  • Victoria Falls Bridge Tour
  • Victoria Falls Bridge Swing
  • Victoria Falls Bridge Slide
  • Quad Biking
  • Game Drive in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia) or Zambezi National Park (Zimbabwe)
  • Walking Safari in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia) or Zambezi National Park (Zimbabwe)
  • Livingstone Reptile Park (Zambia) or Spencer's Creek Crocodile Farm (Zimbabwe)
  • Wildlife Conservation and Awareness Safari (Zimbabwe)
  • Tour of Livingstone Town
  • The Livingstone Museum
  • The Railway Museum
  • Village Visit and Cultural Performances
  • Elephant Hills Golf Course and Club

Given all these activities, we at Extraordinary Journeys recommend at least two nights at the Falls!

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Marcia Gordon