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  • Writer's pictureDaniel

Mosi-oa-Tunya: Victoria Falls

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

"The Smoke that Thunders"

What is the best way to see this spectacular phenomenon? It is always a contentious point and something we don’t truly alleviate except to provide our take on how to best see Africa's Natural Wonder of the World.

Firstly, most people don’t know that the falls stretch across Zambia and Zimbabwe. This rift creates a natural border between the countries that is accessible by only one bridge (fun fact, a cheetah was the first animal to cross this upon completion). From this bridge, you can bungee 111 metres or simply walk between the two countries and enjoy the experience and remarkable view.

Victoria Falls Bridge seen from Zambia

Victoria Falls Bridge, as seen from Zambia

Zambia was our first experience of the falls. And while your first experience usually creates a bias and prejudice for anything after, we can confirm that it was amazing.

Double rainbow view at Victoria Falls

The Zambian experience

A baboon yawning at Victoria Falls

Zambia sits at one end of the falls with ample double rainbow opportunities and a great panoramic view.

It is a sight that is hard to comprehend with the falls dropping over 100 metres and spanning almost 2km. The spray from this torrid occurrence creates its ecosystem, with a cloud of mist that reforms to assault the casual passer-by in a deluge of fat droplets. If that wasn't enough, there are also dozens of local baboons parading jovially and uncaringly nearby. This experience only cost US$ 20, and we spent a comfortable two hours taking in the marvellous view.

Nevertheless, the classic view of "the smoke that thunders" is from Zimbabwe.

An unimpressed local

Zimbabwe has a far larger area of these majestic waterfalls with an almost 2km stretch containing up to 15 viewpoints. The spray from this side is harder still to fathom. Despite being shoulder season leading into the dry season, we were completely drowned and the mist was so pervasive that it blocked most of the falls from sight. While this is relatively normal, it makes it a little disappointing to have most of the falls blocked by white clouds of spray, particularly considering the price. At US $50 per person, it might be reasonable considering the vast area compared to Zambia, but with a limited vision from the torrential spray, it is a bitter pill to swallow. Moreover, at that price, we were a little disappointed in accessibility and safety features, with only stumps, sticks, and spiked branches forming the safety barriers on the precipice of the cliffs.

The View at Zimbabwe

We had a third opportunity to view this incredible natural wonder. We took a helicopter flight through Wild Horizons. It was expensive — about USD 300 per person — but even considering the price, this was our favourite way to view the falls. While you aren’t assaulted by the spray or extremely close, it is the only view that gives us a true representation of this area’s power, width and breadth. Also, as this was a new experience for us, we paid a little extra to combo some heli-safari over the parks, seeing hippopotami, elephants, giraffes, and buffalo.

Victoria Falls seen from a helicopter

The once-in-a-lifetime aerial view

If we had to pick just one way to experience this natural wonder, we would recommend the Zambia side for the price point and dramatic view down the length of the falls coupled with the abundant double rainbow opportunities. Also, as Australians, we didn’t require a visa for Zambia. However, if price isn’t an option, try something new and jump in a heli. You won’t regret it.

A bloat of hippos by Victoria Falls

A bloat of hippos

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