Zimbabwe National Park

Victoria Falls

Without doubt, the Victoria Falls constitute one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. Visitors can gaze at the mighty Zambezi as it flows, broad and placid, to the brink of a basalt lip seventeen hundred meters wide before taking a headlong plunge into the frothy chasm of the gorge below. This is the world's largest sheet of falling water, yet although its fame has spread far and wide, the site has been tastefully preserved so that tourists do not spoil the magic of the very place they have come to see.

There is far more to do at Victoria Falls than to marvel at the Falls themselves; upstream, the Zambezi plays host to the famous 'sundowner' cruises, excursions onto the river to watch the local wildlife while gently sipping a glass of champagne and partaking of a light snack.

But once the river has taken its plunge, there is quite a different experience to be had. For those with the courage, the rapids immediately downstream offer some of the most terrifying white water rafting anywhere in the world. Several companies now offer one and two day trips on this stretch of the river, while the more adventurous can take a week long journey all the way to the mouth of Lake Kariba.

There is also a spectacular excursion to be made on foot. The Rainforest on the lip of the chasm opposite the Falls is a unique swathe of dense tropical vegetation which thrives on the spray thrown up throughout the year. A well-kept path takes tourists on a walk through the forest, with occasional diversions to viewing points for the Falls themselves.

But the ultimate view of this natural wonder can only be seen from the air. The 'Flight of Angels' provides a fabulous vista of the upstream river and its many islands, the spray from the Falls as it is kicked a thousand feet into the sky, and the tortuous zig-zag of the gorge downstream.

To absorb all these experiences can take many days, and Victoria Falls is not short of excellent hotel facilities. The Victoria Falls Hotel, built in 1904, is still one of the most romantic in the country, an opulent building in the grandest of colonial styles occupying a prime view of the site.

Special thanks to the Zimbabwe Ministry of Enviornment and Tourism for providing this information.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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