ZIMBABWE – A UNESCO World Heritage site, Victoria Falls is a magnificent and powerful waterfall on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. However, while the scenery is truly magical, Victoria Falls has so much to offer visitors in the way of adventure sports, safari options, and more.
Also known locally as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” – or the “The Smoke that Thunders” – this isn’t the highest or even the widest waterfall in the world. However, it is considered to be the largest, based on its width of 5,604 ft and height of 354 ft, making it the world’s largest sheet of falling water. As most probably the first European to gaze upon the scene, Dr. David Livingstone once said famously of the falls, “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
As reported, there is so much to see. Along with the gorges running below the falls and the historic bridge spanning it, Victoria Falls is a perfect place to experience some of the finest adventure sports in the world.
It was the Victoria Falls Bridge that first attracted tourism in the area. Up until 1905, the Zambezi River was crossed above the falls using a dugout canoe or a barge towed across with a steel cable. However, Cecil John Rhodes had a vision of building a railway from the Cape in South Africa all the way through to Cairo in Egypt, and the bridge was built for that purpose.
While still used as a railway, road and footbridge, this bridge over the second gorge measures an impressive 650 ft with a height of 420 ft, making it the ideal spot for a little adventure.
If you have a yen to tie a rope to your ankle and jump off something high, the Victoria Falls Bridge is one of the best places to do this, all the while viewing the magnificent waterfall and the raging torrents below in the gorges of the Zambezi River, surrounded by rainbows and enticing mist.
Victoria Falls Bungee is consistently voted as being one of the top five adrenaline experiences out there, with four seconds of free-fall over a distance of 111 meters. For the more experienced bungee jumper, you can make the experience even more exciting by doing a Back Flip, Ankle-tied or Star Elevator jump from the bridge.
In a similar vein, imagine stepping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, falling into the Batoka Gorge in an upright position, enjoying a bridge swing for 260 ft with the falls crashing by your side. This experience can be enjoyed solo or with a friend and allows participants to enjoy an adrenaline rush while views the scenery of the gorge below.
For those less daring adventurers, the Bridge Slide is a great zip lining adventure for one or two people, gliding 984 ft over the rapids of the Batoka Gorge with amazing views of the falls. The adventure starts on the Zambian side, finally ending up on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls Bridge. Imagine taking selfies with the roaring water and a magnificent rainbow behind you as you glide slowly along.
For anyone who has heard of cage diving with the great white shark, right in the heart of the town of Victoria Falls itself a similar adventure is on offer. However, according to a blog by Hulavu Travel and Tours, this time the experience is with three, huge Nile crocodiles as companions on the adventure.
With the Crocodile Cage Diving experience, you get to meet the three rescued female Nile crocodiles in question – Bongo, Prado and Lucky – and visitors can watch and touch these fearsome reptiles during the experience.
The cage is operated by an overhead monorail, designed for 2-4 people per cage. Wet-suits and diving equipment are on hand and you don’t need prior diving experience as the experts will help you have an adventure of a lifetime under the safest possible conditions.
The cage is lowered into the water, giving and up close and personal view of these amazing creatures. While you watch, Bongo, Prado and Lucky are fed chicken “chum” and you get a close up view of those incredibly scary jaws snapping down on their meal.
Getting back to the gorges running past the falls, whitewater rafting is a great adventure with many of the rapids considered to be among the best in the world, including a sheer, adrenaline run in the “boiling pot” directly below the falls themselves.
A journalist writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described his experience as completing his bucket list of whitewater rafting on every continent except Antarctica and he was suitably impressed.
The rapids are rated Class I to Class VI, with the highest classification too dangerous to run commercially. However the Class V Zambezi features rapids with charming names like Devil’s Toilet Bowl, Gnashing Jaws of Death and the Overland Truck Eater.
For anyone wanting a bird’s eye view of the Victoria Falls, the gorges and the mighty Zambezi River, helicopter flights are available, taking you soaring over the magnificent views.
The 45-minute Helicopter Flight of Angels is the perfect way to experience the entire area in total comfort, viewing the elephants and hippos in their natural environment down below.
The helicopter flight can be combined with an exciting Elephant Back Safari, where your guides will tell you all about the various wildlife living in the area as you travel along at a comfortable pace.
Besides the adventure options, Victoria Falls offers many more attractions, including relaxing Zambezi cruises and canoeing adventures, strolling through a rainforest, walking with the lions and other safari options. There are also several world-class hotels available as accommodation.
Take a trip to Zimbabwe this year and head on up to Victoria Falls for the adventure experience of a lifetime.