Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, a Day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe


The Victoria Falls straddling the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia is a highlight of any travels across the Southern Sahara African Belt. The history and legacy of the Cape to Cairo Railway that founded the dreams of this town are constantly in the forefront of any visit. Our visit to Victoria Falls allowed for a great day of exploration surrounding this exotic attraction, along with plenty of opportunities to get wet.

This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, A Day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

“Victoria Falls is a must visit attraction for Southern African visitors to the region. It’s worth seeing this world famous attraction, at least once in your lifetime”

We started our day from a restful sleep at the Victoria Falls Hotel. After an included breakfast, we headed over to the falls. We walked over direct from the hotel to the Victoria Falls National Park. The Victoria Falls are located on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia and are situated towards the international border end of town.

The Victoria Falls Hotel has a semi – private direct path that leads directly to the falls. It’s situated at the back entrance of the hotel. The back entrance was also minded by a hotel security guard who walked with us acting as an escort to the falls.

Walking the Hotel Pathway Towards Victoria Falls
Heading Out for the Day from the Majestic Victoria Falls Hotel
Views of the Zambezi Rapids on our Walk to the Falls

The Victoria Falls Security Guard took us by the zip line center along the way, and we were able to get some nice photographs of the Zambezi River after the bridge.

Views of the Zambezi Bridge Straddling the Two Countries

Entering the Victoria Falls Park:

We arrived at the Victoria Falls park. Like my last visit, they still have two tiered pricing here, although now it’s evolved into a three tired pricing structure; one price for Zimbabwe, one for SADC (African) countries, and one for everyone else. It was $30 USD for us to get in with no “in and out” privileges. They have upped their game a bit here with better infrastructure and there is now a proper information stand, souvenir shop and café inside the park borders. On my last visit almost twenty years ago, it was a rudimentary experience with almost nothing.

Reception Gate: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
An Escalating Price Sheet
Inside Victoria Falls: Walking to the Devil’s Cataract

The Victoria Falls Devil’s Cataract:

We started off at the Devil’s Cataract on the far left side. The months of March and April are the highest in water consumption flow for the park. It is said that in 3.5 days, the entire annual water consumption of the city of New York flows over the water falls. Travellers are usually forewarned that the high water levels generate a lot of spray. Despite the high water levels, there was some spray, but we were still able to see most of the water falls.

First Look: The Devil’s Cataract
The Devil’s Cataract
A Leafy Spray Experience
Tremendous Water Flows
Calm Waters Hide Dangers Ahead
Tight Canyons Guide Victoria Falls
Low Observation Viewpoints

We walked along the ridge of the falls. We were able to get some great panoramic views of the falls in their full capacity.

Spectacular Vistas
The More Traditional Views of Victoria Falls
Awesome and Inspiring Waterfall Views
The Amount of Water was Astounding
Beautiful Waterfalls
Wet Waterspray
The Waters Edge: No Barriers to the Canyon
The Splendor of Victoria Falls

We continued our self tour over to the Danger Point on the right hand side of the park towards Zambia, most of the spray made it too much to see a lot of the falls. We totally got drenched. I was happy to have brought my Ziploc Bag that I packed my toiletries in for the trip to protect my Nikon camera from the water falls spray. I also packed an umbrella from home and it was the best thing that I ever did.

Leafy Views
The Green Slopes Near the Falls
The Smoke that Thunders – at times completely obscured visibility

Although there was spray, and it was recommended to take a helicopter flip, we decided that we got enough feel of the waterfalls based on what we had seen. We also did not go over to the Zambian side of the falls, as the past Canadian Government was not kind with its foreign policy and charged outrageous visa fees to all visitors to Canada. The other governments were kind enough to return these charges to Canadians visiting their host countries making it a bad deal for intrepid travellers like us. All in, this meant that it was a $75 USD for each entry into Zimbabwe and another $20 USD for a visit into Zambia. The Zimbabwe government does not offer double entry visas to Canadians and getting a single entry visa in advance through the Zimbabwe embassy in Ottawa was around $250 USD.


The Victoria Falls Bridge:

We did take a close up look at the bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. There was no bungee jumping from the bridge during our visit this time. At one point, it was the highest bungee jump in Africa. There are also a few news articles floating around on the internet of the Australian that jumped and had her bungee cord break, somehow surviving the fall.

Views of the Victoria Falls Bridge
Truck Transfers

We took a last look at the falls on our way back. It’s truly a scenic wonder and by this point, we were savouring every last look after all the travel to get here.

Victoria Falls Cataract Views
Massive Amounts of Water

Hanging Out in Victoria Falls:

After the waterfalls, we took a quick walk through town. Victoria Falls has cleaned up a little bit but it’s still a rough looking border town with little going for it.

Wild Monkeys in Town
Heading from Victoria Falls Park
Heading Into Town
Souvenir Stands in Town

We stopped and had a beer at the Shearwater Café, which was the nicest looking spot in town with free wifi and a large patio. The Shearwater Cafe is run by one of the largest tour operators around the Victoria Falls area. We didn’t personally use any of their services (other than the café) but the place was well kept and professionally run.

We generally felt safe walking around in Victoria Falls, although we kept to the compound living philosophy and didn’t leave the The Victoria Falls hotel at night.

Zambezi Beer: Zimbabwe’s Own Lager

My thoughts on our visit to Victoria Falls:

All in all, it was an excellent day and the Victoria Falls remain worthy of a trip. The last time that I saw the Falls were in low season in November 1998. They were completely different to see them at the peak of their water weight. MrsWT73 found the waterfalls to be worth a visit, and found our 2 day visit duration to be completely enough, if you knew what you were planning do to in advance.

If you’ve visited Victoria Falls, did you visit in the spring high season of water volume?

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