Victoria Falls: embarking on a breathtaking adventure

The Victoria Falls Lodge is perfectly situated, providing breathtaking views, with a massive watering hole taking centre stage.

The Victoria Falls Lodge is perfectly situated, providing breathtaking views, with a massive watering hole taking centre stage.

Published Feb 21, 2024


Victoria Falls has held a special spot on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. My brother lived in Zambia and Malawi for many years, leading me to ponder the missed travel opportunities of my youth.

Then came the chance to visit the falls, and I seized it, recognising that second chances don't present themselves often.

A mere hour and 40 minutes from OR Tambo in Johannesburg, flights with carriers like Fastjet, Fly Safair, Airlink and Air Zimbabwe offer a convenient mode of transport. Alternatively, for those seeking more adventure, why not embark on a journey with Rovos Rail?

Meandering through South Africa, the trip spans four days, venturing through Botswana, north towards Bulawayo and, finally, reaching Victoria Falls.

As is often said, the journey to your destination can be as much of an adventure as the destination itself.

Victoria Falls.

Upon disembarking the plane, the sheer heat is the immediate sensation. As a South African, I believed I was accustomed to heat but this surpassed any of my experiences.

It was 41°C on the day of our arrival but the runway felt even hotter. Zimbabwe enjoys numerous hours of sunshine every day, even during the rainy season. It’s advisable to pack clothing that is cool, light, and comfortable.

Passport control proved to be a relatively painless experience – South Africans do not require visas. The air conditioning in the terminal provided a welcome respite.

A quick 20-minute shuttle to our accommodation, the Victoria Falls Safari Club, transported us to another world – an oasis of luxury overlooking unspoilt and wild vistas.

Although I am a fan of the bushveld and have explored many national parks, this destination felt uniquely untamed.

On arrival, we were ushered onto a deck and served iced tea. We marvelled at the sights and sounds. This would be our home for several days, perched on a plateau overlooking the Zambezi National Park, where the sunsets proved to be spectacular.

As we rounded a bend in the trail and caught sight of the falls for the first time, I was in awe.

Known locally as Mosi-oa Tunya, or “The smoke That Thunders”, Victoria Falls stands as one of the greatest natural attractions in Africa. The source of the falls is the mighty Zambezi River which flows through six countries on its journey to the Indian Ocean.

Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1988, this iconic waterfall is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is built on seven levels rising above the bushveld.

In my pre-trip research, adjectives like breathtaking, marvellous, wondrous, amazing, and incredible commonly describe Victoria Falls. But what stood out for me was someone referring to the experience as “a symphony of nature”, and that soon became my favourite description.

As we rounded a bend in the trail and caught sight of the falls for the first time, I was in awe of Mother Nature. The fine spray of mist and the thundering sound of the falling curtains of water created an immersive experience.

“Symphony of nature” perfectly summed up the scene in my mind – an image of a masterful maestro conducting their most precious orchestra. Walking the trail takes about an hour, but at every vantage point, I felt increasingly awe-struck.

The continuous spray from the falls has created an almost tropical forest feel along parts of the trail.

The continuous spray from the falls created an almost tropical forest feel along parts of the path, which proved to be a welcome relief from the blazing sun beating down on us.

Our trip took place several months before the start of the rainy season, a period when the falls weren’t at their fullest but they were extraordinary. From February to May, during the annual rains, Victoria Falls roars at its greatest volume.

Yet, the falls remain impressive year-round, thanks to mild winters and hot summers.

A common question about Victoria Falls is which country offers the best views: Zimbabwe or Zambia? The answer depends on your holiday expectations, as both sides boast do.

The Zimbabwe side, where we were, hosts about three-quarters of the falls and claims the best vantage point. But, the Victoria Falls Bridge provides a quick border crossing for those seeking the best of both worlds.

Armed with your passport and the necessary visas – conveniently available at the border – you can explore the views from both countries.

A statue of explorer Dr. David Livingstone who discovered the falls in 1855 and named them after Queen Victoria, stands at the entrance to the Victoria Falls Park.

Scottish missionary and explorer Dr David Livingstone discovered the falls in 1855 and named them after Queen Victoria. Livingstone, the first European to cross Africa from south to north, stumbled upon this natural wonder during his expedition.

Livingstone described what he saw in his diaries: “The whole scene was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of colour and form … no one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

A warthog family enjoys the manicured lawns within the grounds of the Victoria Falls Lodge "complex".

Nestled at the heart of this wonder, the exclusive Victoria Falls Safari Lodge combines luxury and natural beauty. The lodge, built on seven levels rising above the bushveld, offers a unique experience for its guests.

It is perfectly situated, providing breathtaking views, with a massive watering hole taking centre stage. Hosted by Africa Albida Tourism, a leader in sustainable tourism, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge exemplifies a commitment to environmental responsibility.

The accommodation within the exclusive Victoria Falls Safari Club, where we were staying, offers a harmonious blend of privacy, spaciousness and five-star treatment.

Victoria Falls SafariClub offers a harmonious blend of privacy, spaciousness, and five-star treatment.

The premium lodging comes with quality service and a staff known for their friendliness and hospitality. Guests are treated to luxurious accommodation and have access to a range of leisure activities.

Enjoying afternoon tea with cocktails and appetisers on the deck is just one of the many ways to soak in the ambiance of the surroundings.

The lodge’s concierge service goes above and beyond, ready to organise any experience a traveller seeks, be it a day of pampering at the spa, indulging in fine dining or embracing the thrill of bungee jumping.

Enjoy a marula cocktail on a sunset cruise on the mighty Zambezi River.

The lodge also offers a variety of dining options, with fine dining at MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant, lighter meals at the Buffalo Bar, and the wildly entertaining Boma – Dinner and Drumshow, which offers traditional African cuisine, drumming and entertainment. A must-do activity if you are in these parts.

Victoria Falls Safari Club offers a mix of nature, comfort and warm hospitality. Whether soaking in the stunning sunsets from the deck or exploring the wonders in and around Victoria Falls, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa.

Where to stay:

There is a range of accommodation options to choose from within the Victoria Falls Lodge complex that cater to various budgets and holiday needs.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge: Designed to look like a tree house and built on seven levels rising above the bushveld. All 72 rooms boast comfort and provide excellent bird and game-viewing opportunities.

Victoria Falls Safari Club: Decorated in earthy tones and featuring four suites and 16 rooms with personalised butler-style concierge service. This is premium lodging at its finest.

Victoria Falls Safari Suites: Perfect for families or small groups, offering privacy and space the six suites each open onto patios overlooking a small watering hole.

Lokuthula Lodges: Offers great value for money.The 31 two- and three-bedroom lodges are set in the manicured gardens and can be booked as self-catering or bed and breakfast.

Victoria Falls Safari Spa: Treat yourself to a spa set in the woodlands, surrounded by wildlife. Private and relaxing - nothing says holiday like a pamper session. The spa facilities are top-notch. Take a dip in the splash pool before your treatment or enjoy a light snack at the on-site café.