When I booked trips to Victoria Falls, people often asked, “When is the best time to go?” It was always such a difficult question to answer. I always answered with a question, “What is it that you want to see and do?” Attractions and activities depend on the season and the strength of the Falls.
Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world, situated between the Southern African countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The global measurement of a waterfall is based on its height, width and volume, so I prefer to say it is one of the largest, some will say it is the largest in the world. Victoria Falls is fed by the Zambezi River. When the flow of water reaches the Falls it plummets a staggering 344 feet or 105 meters into a gorge in a single drop. The width of the Falls at this point is 5,600 feet or 1,707 meters. Measurements from WWD (World Waterfall Data)
Seasons (depending on annual rainfall)
- High water is typically from February to July
- Flooding occurs around April and May
- Low water is typically from September to November
- The rainy season peaks from January to March with occasional thunderstorms. The humidity and temperatures will also peak at this time.
- In the dry season, October can get really hot.
So, when should you go for a particular interest?
Helicopter and microlight flights: This is fun all year round, and one of the best ways to see and appreciate the size of Victoria Falls. My only concern would be the thunderstorms, but if you have booked a few days at the Falls you could reschedule if your flight had to be cancelled.
Hikes and walks: There are a number of paths that will take you closer to the Falls. When Vic Falls is at peak flow the mist and spray from the Falls will soak you. Wear a rain coat and take along a zip lock bag for your camera and other electronics. A bridge walk is available and a great option.
Photographing the Falls: When the water is flowing at its peak from February to June the noise is thunderous and the spray from the gushing water rises high into the sky. It is very difficult to photograph the Falls under these conditions, if you are photographing from the ground. I recently read someone say that from March to May it rains upwards at Vic Falls. They are referring to the mist and spray which is really thick. It is better to take an aerial view from a small aircraft, helicopter or microlight. If you are on the paths you are going to get soaked, again not a great idea to take electronics along the paths. Consider a time from around July to September for photography from the ground. The Falls will be in a transitional period from high to low flow, but will still hold some of it majesty.
Safaris: There are a few nature areas near Victoria Falls such as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, where visitors can go on a game drive. A good time for game viewing is in the dry season when the wildlife will tend to gather at watering holes and rivers. It is possible to go game viewing in Chobe National Park, Botswana as a day activity, but this must be booked in advance. If you are staying at Victoria Falls and want to go over to Botswana for the day, please make sure you check the visa requirements. You will probably need to get a multi entry visa for Zambia prior to arrival.
Swimming Devil’s Pool: When the water flow is lightest, around late September to early January, a natural pool at the top of the Falls opens up where visitors can actually swim at the very edge of Victoria Falls. This is not for the faint hearted.
Viewing the Falls: Many visitors would like to see the Falls at their most majestic. This is going to be when the flow of water is at its greatest from February to May. I must just add again that it is difficult to photograph because of the equally majestic spray produced by the Falls. In October and November visitors might find that the Falls have dried up in places, and that Victoria Falls is no longer a single mass of water, but a selection of smaller ones. The basalt rock is exposed and looks dry in places. Try the Zimbabwe side of the Falls to get a better view. So to view the Falls without the heavy mist or boring dry spots, consider the months of February or June to August. A border crossing from Zambia to Zimbabwe is possible for a day visit.
White Water Rafting: April and May is high water season, and chances are the activity will be closed. It is just too dangerous at this time. The best time for rafters is when the Zambezi River is low from around August to December. The activity will close down in February or so, in anticipation of the high waters.
20 reasons to visit Victoria Falls.
- Fishing trips to catch Tiger Fish on the Zambezi River
- Visit the Livingstone museum
- Go on a Canoe safari to see hippos, crocs and other wildlife
- White water rafting on the Zambezi River (seasonal)
- Take a horseback safari in the nearby game reserve
- Walk with Rhinos in Mosi Oa Tunya Game Reserve
- Visit the craft market of Maramba
- Visit Chief Makuni’s village
- Take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River
- Get an aerial view of the Falls from a helicopter
- Take microlight flight over the Falls - ask about the souvenir DVD of your flight - it is usually available for purchase.
- Go on an Elephant Back ride, nature’s own 4×4. If you are not keen on riding you could walk with the elephant.
- Day visit to Chobe National Park in Botswana, usually includes a lunch and 4 x 4 safari. Great for elephant sightings.
- A lion walk – yep with actual lions, no leashes or collars
- Jet boat trips – water levels permitting
- Bungee jumping
- Bridge tours
- Zip line tours
- River boarding – water levels permitting
- Steam train – for breakfast, tea or dinner trips – the museum cars are beautifully restored.
Copyright © 2012 FindTripInfo.com. All Rights Reserved.
Author: Principle writer – Celeste Wilson
We welcome reblogging with attribution to Findtripinfo. com