Rise early to see the magnificent Victoria Falls at dawn during your luxury Victoria Falls safari.

Luxury safaris at Victoria Falls

The Seven Wonders of the World pale in comparison with their natural counterparts, and Victoria Falls in is perhaps the most spectacular of them all. It makes for the perfect beginning, or end, to your luxury safari itinerary.

While the town of Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe, the falls themselves are shared with Zambia, the closest centre being Livingstone. Visitors typically cross between the two, to enjoy vistas from either side of the Zambezi River.

Indeed, what better way to blast away any cobwebs than by seeing, hearing and feeling millions of litres of water in motion? As well as being an astonishing natural spectacle, Victoria Falls is the fulcrum of the Zambezi and all the many activities it offers.

Experience the ‘Smoke that Thunders’ at close quarters during your luxury Victoria Falls safari with a walk along the edge of the cataract. Then gain a different perspective with a ‘Flight of Angels’, a scenic helicopter or microlight flight that takes its name from Livingstone’s awe-struck exclamation on being shown the falls: ‘Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.’

I’ve never personally been brave (or foolhardy) enough to bungee jump from the iron bridge that spans the gorge, but I do love to watch others do it whenever I’m there.

Opportunities for unique experiences extend above and below the falls too. When the river is low, island picnics and a dip in the vertiginous Devil’s Pool – at the very lip on the Zambian side – are possible, while river cruises and canoeing excursions take place further upstream, on more serene stretches of the Zambezi.

The Batoka Gorge below the falls – carved out by the river over aeons – is a superb white-water rafting venue, or scratch your safari itch by spending time in Zambezi National Park, where you can take game drives along the river.

When to Go

Early in winter, there are still good volumes of water flowing over the falls, and this coincides with prime safari times in Chobe and the Okavango. As winter progresses, the water at the falls decreases, and it eventually splits into several discrete cascades (and may dry up entirely on the Zambian side). Island picnics above the falls and the Devil’s Pool are on the agenda, as well as better views of the rocky gorges thanks to reduced spray. Tamer canoeing options on the Upper Zambezi (above Victoria Falls) are available year round.

The Southern African summer season contains the very best months of the year to experience Victoria Falls at its most impressive. Swollen by summer rains, from around February to May the Zambezi River tumbles over the precipice as a single immense sheet of water, with all the noise, spray and humidity you could wish for. Some activities immediately above the falls (like swimming in Devil’s Pool) are impossible, however. Combine with a safari to any of the two countries’ game reserves to enjoy the best of the green season’s predator activity, and lower occupancies in luxury lodges.

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