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Victoria Falls

Livingstone • Zambia
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Victoria Falls Livingstone

Victoria Falls

Livingstone Town, Zambia

The Mighty Zambezi Expedition

In 1866, David Livingstone, a medical missionary and Victorian-era explorer, embarked a transcontinental expedition across Africa in search of the source of the Nile River. With almost half a decade past in the dark continent without word from his end, The New York Herald charged Henry Stanley with the task of searching out Livingstone. On November 10, 1871 Stanley found Livingstone in an African village with the immortal introduction: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

This is where our story of the Victoria Falls begins.

AT A GLANCE

One of the Great Wonders of the World
UNESCO World Heritage Site
(since 1989)

Location: In southern Africa seen from:
Zambia (Town: Livingstone)
Zimbabwe (Town: Victoria Falls)

Watercourse: Zambezi River
Height at center: 355ft (108m)
Width (*seasonal): 5604 ft (1708m)

The nostalgia of pre-colonial 1800s Africa.

In 1855 Dr. David Livingstone arrived at the Falls, called Mosi-oa-Tunya by the people; The Smoke That Thunders, and christened it with its current western name, in honor of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). He wrote in his journals,

“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.”

JOHN THOMAS BAINES (Scenery and events in South Africa) English Artist and Explorer (1820-1875); Baines was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 1858 he joined David Livingstone's Zambezi Expedition. He painted beautiful pre-colonial era images of the Victoria Falls site on this pioneering expedition, as pictured below. The Victoria Falls were not photographed till 1891 by Francis Harold Watson (’Zambezi Watson’).
Victoria Falls JOHN THOMAS BAINES (Scenery and events in South Africa)

About the Victoria Falls

Classified as the largest falling sheet of water on Earth, Victoria Falls is nearly double the height of Niagara falls and twice-over the width of Horeshoe falls. It is one of the most popularly visited areas in the southern half of Africa. The two islands on the crest of the falls are: Cataract Island, near the western bank and Livingstone Island near its middle, where the 1800s explorers first viewed the Falls.

The Zambezi River flowing upstream of the Victoria Falls experiences a rainy season from late November to April (during which the weather is hottest and the Falls at their fullest by February). During this time the spray rises to almost 1300ft, visible from 30 miles away. It is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its visage, with walkways shrouded in constant shower, shooting upward like inverted rain closer to the edge of the cliff, resulting in heavy mist. The remainder of the year is dry. Over the years given drought factors and damming efforts by the cities to provide town water, the Victoria Falls have been less impressive than the fullness of width possessed in years past.

At full moon, a “moon bow” appears over the Victoria Falls. The site of the Falls has offered discovery of many archaeological artifacts, some dating 3 million years. These stone age tools are presented in the museum at Livingstone.

Luxury Train Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls Map

Best time to visit the Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls are typically at their highest flow in the early dry, winter months from May through June. At this time the falls may generally span the entire width of 1.7km of the Zambezi crest; regrettably however, at this time the spray is far too great to be up close! Flights over the Zambezi river, by helicopter or en route on commercial aircraft schedules provide an exceptional view.

In the hot, rainy, summer months typical to the region, from October through December the falls divide into strands of subgroups instead of the postcard illusion of “fullness” from a single sheet, leaving much of the bedrock wall exposed. At this time, water activities are possible at the Victoria Falls. Those unaccustomed to high humidity however, will not find this a preferable time to travel to the Victoria Falls. From January onward, especially the area becomes more prone to thunderstorms and humidity is exceptionally high. However, at this time the Falls are at their fullest, perhaps, depending upon the flow of the Zambezi River on that given year.

July through September, in the full swing of the dry winter season (and its global relation to summer holidays) is generally the busiest time for the Victoria Falls and a high tourist season, given a more pleasant climate and fewer problems with mist and a relatively acceptable volume of spray.

The best time for visiting the Victoria Falls can be determined for our guests, according to their safari itinerary by the veteran safari team at Guided Safaris.

Victoria Falls Photography

Where to Stay: Beautiful Experiences at Victoria Falls.

The Great Victoria Falls 
Luxury Safari
The Great Victoria Falls
Luxury Safari

6 night special package
From $ 5,700 >
Victoria Falls, Big Five 
& Desert experience
Victoria Falls, Big Five
& Desert experience

5 night special package
From $ 6,500 >
Zimbabwe Luxury Safari
feat. Pamushana Lodge
Zimbabwe Luxury Safari
feat. Pamushana Lodge

4 night special package
From $ 9,350 >

The Victoria Falls experience:

Royal Livingstone High Tea

A luxurious high-tea at Royal Livingstone

An indulgent experience that transports one to a bygone Victorian-era Africa, the afternoon tea room at The Royal Livingstone is a must-do when at the Victoria Falls. The menu is refreshed every four months to complement the best of the season with new treats added at whim. The decadent spread features slices of dainty cakes and colorful pastries, fresh fruit tarts and savory tea sandwiches. A choice of luxury teas is carefully selected for the menu, including the Safari Tea (a signature blend of white and green tea accented by desert flowers and savannah fruit), The African Ball Tea (a spicy blend of Black and Red Teas) and the Vanilla Bourbon Rooibos Tea from South Africa. Served between 3pm and 5 pm daily.
Royal Livingstone High TeaRoyal Livingstone High Tea

A stroll through Livingstone Town, Zambia

Royal Livingstone Zambia
In 1910, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught - son and daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria, visited Zambia on their way to Cape Town. The High Court in Livingstone was built to coincide with this visit.

There are over 300 cultural heritage sites in the town of Livingstone. This includes archaeological sites, historical buildings, engineering structures, traditional sites and national monuments.

The Victoria Falls Field Museum was built around an actual excavation of the Zambezi River. This museum includes exhibits that display the various forms of life around the Victoria Falls from more than 50,000 years ago to the present.