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Victoria Falls - the smoke that thunders

Check out all the travel tips to discover the gorgeous Victoria Falls and the Zambesi river in Zimbabwe

"When you think positive, good things happen". Matt Kemp

The sight and the hearing. The beautiful and unforgettable memory of our travel to Victoria Falls it is not only about the exceptional dimensions of the World’s greatest curtain of falling water; it is rather a mix of feelings which recalls its original name: “Mosi-oa-Tunya" or “the smoke that thunders”.

If you are planning a trip or a quick stopover to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, here you can find the top 10 things to know for your adventure

  1. Where is Victoria Falls? Victoria Falls is positioned approximately half way along the Zambezi River, making a natural border between two African states: Zambia on the Eastern side and Zimbabwe on the Western side. Today Vistoria Falls is listed among the Seven Natural Wonders of the planet thanks to its giant curtain of falling water of 1708 m wide and with up to 500 million litres per minute descendings from its spectacular cataracts

  2. Why Victoria Falls? The name tells about a history of exploration and conquer, when the british explorer David Livingstone discovered it in 1855 naming it Victoria Falls in honour of his monarch, her majesty Queen Victoria

  3. Which side is the best? Both sides offer a footpath in the rainforest with some beautiful viewpoints of the Falls. Zimbabwe side is more scenographic to take pictures and embrace 75% of the waterfall curtain, while Zambia allows to get more close and to appreciate the waterfall also from the base

  4. When to go? The best period is between June and September when the dry season offers mild temperatures and sunny blue skies; the water level of the river decreases progressively because the lack of rains and the view of the Falls is more spectacular. Obviously it is all related to the amount of rains falling the previous months and the river level can vary from year to year. During the High-water season, especially between February ad April, the river is in full flood, the mist can hide completely the view of the cataracts and most of the water-based activities like canyoning or rafting are not possible. On the contrary during the Low-water season, especially on November and December the water levels drop drastically and instead of the waterfall you might be take shots of the bare rocks with just a trickle of water

  5. How to plan the visit of Victoria Falls National Park? The park has two main entrance gates, one in Zimbabwe from the small town of Victoria Falls (the one we choosed, with a ticket price of 30 USD per person) and the other one from the city of Livingstone in Zambia (cost 20 USD per person). The ticket covers a single-country entry and 2 footpaths are not directly connected; if you want to visit both you need to exit and enter again from the other gate, paying a new ticket. Guided tours are available and starts from the Visitor Centers but the park can be explored in complete autonomy: the path is almost flat and several viewpoints are clearly indicated. Take your time and consider at least half day to complete the trail which should give you enough time to enjoy the walk and to rest from time to time to take your shots

  6. Where to take the best shot? The majority of the viewpoints offer interesting opportunities but it mostly depends on the water level and the weather conditions. Our suggestion is to access the park early in the morning and head to the viewpoint number 6 for a suggestive shot of the Devils Cataract with the magic of a rainbow (most difficult to see later when the sun is higher). Another beautiful picture is from the viewpoint number 7 capturing all the power of the Main Falls

  7. How to protect the camera from the mist? If it is not the first time you try to take pictures of a waterfall you know that the mist and spray exposes your camera to a dangerous wet condition. An inexpensive and and easy solution if you have not a professional cover is to use a shower cap (usually included for free in the bathrooms of all the hotels). Just create a small hole in the center large enough to insert the lens inside, fix it with a rubber band and cover the rest of the camera with the shower cap

  8. What is the "Devil's pool"? The Devil’s pool is a small natural pool on the Zambiam side of the Zambesi river right on the edge of the Victoria Falls, accessibile with a short swim via Livingstone Island taking part of a guided official tour during the dry season (approx. between mid August and mid January depending the water levels). A rock lip that protrudes upward which prevents people from falling over the edge of the Falls

  9. What else in the nearby? We suggest you two other activities we really enjoyed during our stay:

Helicopter fly: absolutely the best view of the Falls and the gorge, to appreciate the marvel of the landscape from the height (from 150-200 USD per person)

Zambezi river sunset cruise (40 USD per person)

10. Where to stay? One of best hotels is Victoria Falls Hotel, with a beautiful coloniale style and a lovely garden, quite close to the main entrance of the Park. For us it was the ideal place to relax a bit at the end our African tour

To discover more about these places read, have a look to our posts and stories dedicated to Zimbabwe dated September 2017 on our Instagram page @2intour

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