The Ultimate Guide For Your Safari in Victoria Falls
The world is stirring back to life, and Africa is calling. It is time to veer off the beaten track – to leave the confines of narrow walkways, to emerge from the clusters of building blocks and detach from the crowds of people. The nature of a safari in Africa and the defining characteristics of Victoria Falls have not buckled under the weight of the pandemic because exclusivity, space and nature have always been the epitome of a wilderness safari. We are entering an era where people will travel with purpose to places that protect and celebrate cultural and natural legacies. Adventurers are rewriting the adage, “Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints”. Instead, we will go where we can make a difference and leave something good behind. A safari in Africa will fulfil our desire for meaningful, enriching travel that is authentic and enlightened.
The Restorative Power of Nature
For months, virtual safaris and digital diaries were our windows to the natural world. Live videos were an innovative answer to the qualms of quarantine, and they inspired an affinity with the wilderness and wildlife across Africa. However, desensitization is an unavoidable consequence of digitization. The purpose of a safari is to break down the barriers between humans and nature by engaging all our senses. The restorative power of a safari is stripped away when it is reduced to pixels that we scroll past.
Victoria Falls is an immersive experience that calls to something deep within us. It will simultaneously calm and reinvigorate, replenish the body and soothe the mind in many different ways.
Negative ions create positive vibes.
Negative ions are created naturally in nature when air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and moving air and water. If you have ever been to the Victoria Falls rainforest, you will have experienced the power of negative ions. It is an empowering sensation awash with a sense of euphoria and awe. Though the feeling may transcend words, it can be explained by the science behind negative ions. Though the words positive and negative usually collapse into their prescribed connotations, positive ions affect us negatively, while negative ions spark a positive reaction. During the lockdown, we have been plagued by positive ions generated by artificial light, pollution, air conditioners and technology. Now more than ever, we need the positive impact of negative ions and Victoria Falls delivers this powerhouse molecule in a variety of exciting ways:
- Explore the rainforest on a Tour of the Victoria Falls. The canopy of trees, plumes of mist, cobbled pathways and wild forest flowers harness the beauty of nature and the power of the cascading water.
- Victoria Falls is one of the only places in the world where you can see a Lunar Rainbow or Moon Bow. If you visit during the Full Moon, a nighttime trip around the rainforest adds a dimension of enchantment to the experience.
- Take a dip in Devils Pool, on the rim of the waterfall. The energy generated by the plummeting water will make you feel on top of the world.
- Go on a white water rafting safari on some of the best Grad Five rapids on earth! It is a thrilling and rejuvenating expedition that will have you walking on clouds for the rest of your stay. There is a high and low water rafting season, and each promises a unique adventure.
Safaris stimulating creativity and reduce stress
This year has been rife with challenges and demands, all of which have been emotionally and mentally draining. It has been hard to live in the moment when uncertainty lurks in every corner. However, mindfulness comes with little persuasion when the intrinsic tranquillity of the wilderness envelops you. Away from the white noise and daily distractions, we can organize our thoughts while we connect with our creative side. On an Art with the Elephant Safari, the sweeping scenery and stirring presence of elephant will inspire your inner artist and give you the chance to focus on the beautiful aspects of our world. You will feel more in touch with your environment while enjoying the benefits of sunshine and fresh air.
Victoria Falls leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller
Travelling is just one of the ways we write the story of our lives, and it is also one of the best ways to hear stories of other cultures, beliefs and people. Cultures we don’t find at home; cultures that provoke us to think about the lives of others as well as our own. For traditional food and enriching conversation, book a home-hosted meal with a local family. Embark on a village tour, where art, history and architecture have not buckled under the pressure of foreign influence. Explore craft markets where ancient carving, beading and weaving techniques still produce treasures today. Dig beneath the surface of Victoria Falls, celebrate diversity and enable local people to share the benefits of tourism.
When you travel with Wild Horizons, know that a portion of the profits pays the school fees for over 100 children, support Old Age homes, clinics and initiatives that empower the local people.
The freedom of structure creates a continuous adventure
When you leave your lodge on a game drive, you move towards a plethora of possibilities. Monotonous predictability has no place in the wild. Your vehicle will change its direction and pace after one crackle of static on the radio. Imprints on the earth direct the route, and the journey unfolds according to the calls and contours of the bush.
The natural rhythm of life
Hurried highways disguise the natural rhythm of life, but on safari, you will slow down and look up. A bicycle tour or horseback safari is one of the best ways to discover hidden gems in the National Parks. The feeling of connectedness you get from making yourself tune in to the environment is a vital source of health and happiness.
Victoria Falls: Leave nothing to compromise
There are few places in the world where you will find such an eclectic array of natural wonder, adventure, culture and conservation in one place, but Victoria Falls delivers everything in abundance.
Victoria Falls has captivated philosophers and poets, and yet the Natural Wonder transcends the limitations of language. It engages all the senses, vibrates through you, and swirls in the currents of your mind long after you have emerged from the emerald canopy that frames the rainforest. There are a few things you need to know to make sure your experience is as spectacular as you have imagined.
The Victoria Falls straddles two countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia. A 114-year-old bridge connects the countries across the chasm of the Batoka Gorge. The Victoria Falls is 1.7 kilometres long, and there are 20 viewpoints altogether, 16 of which are on the Zimbabwean side. During our low water season, the thunderous roar of the waterfall is slightly tamed, and the Eastern Cataract does expose more rock face; therefore, Zimbabwe does offer more dramatic views. Victoria Falls is spectacular throughout the year and on a guided tour, you will not only see the natural wonder but also learn about the fascinating geology and history.
A different perspective
- Take to the skies in a helicopter to view the waterfall as the angels do. A Flight of Angels will give you a bird’s eye view of the waterfall and the zig zagging gorge. Time and nature have carved a massive crack into the crust of the earth, and from a helicopter, you can see how the landscape has transformed over centuries.
- Swim to the edge of Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island and let the roar of cascading water engulf you! This activity is in Zambia, but a short transfer from Zimbabwe is easy and hassle-free to arrange. Be sure to check if you need a KAZA Uni-Visa to cross the border.
- Cruise along the Zambezi River as the sun sinks beneath its surface and the ripples reflect a golden sunset. The Smoke That Thunders stretches high above the waterfall, competing with clouds in the sky. It can be seen for up to 50 kilometres away! On a Zambezi Sunset Cruise, you will have an uninterrupted view of the mist while enjoying all-inclusive drinks, snacks and an introduction to the river.
Take your body and mind to extraordinary places and let them humble, excite and awe you. It is easy to create a perfect day in Vitoria Falls.
Africa’s Adventure Capital
There seems to be no limit to the adrenaline-inducing activities you can do in Victoria Falls, but that is not the only reason the town deserves the title of Africa’s Adventure Capital. Victoria Falls will transform every moment of the day into an adventure.
Every meal is memorable
Instead of a quick sandwich at a street-side, carbon copy café, have dinner on the Zambezi River, silently slicing across the smooth surface while sipping gin and tonic and dining on grilled Zambezi bream. The Malachite Dinner Cruise is one of the most popular activities for travellers in Victoria Falls.
Visit the Wild Horizons Lookout Café for a sensory overload like no other. The restaurant promises an iconic dining experience. Perched on the edge of the 100-meter gorge, this is undoubtedly the best view in Victoria Falls. This is also where the high wire activities unfold, so you can watch as adrenaline enthusiasts go on the Flying Fox, Zip Line and Gorge Swing! After one of their creative cocktails, you may be tempted to do the same. During the Full Moon, the mist from the waterfall drifts eerily through the lips of the gorge while the roar of the Zambezi rapids fills the atmosphere.
Pay it forward at a local crafts market
Victoria Falls is dotted with curio markets filled with bright chitenge and beautiful beadwork. The Matabele sculptures are world-renown, and these are made in different shapes and sizes. Malachite bowls are dotted along the mat-covered ground, like stunning green flowers bursting through the earth. Roaming among these are intricate woodcarvings of rhino, hippo, elephant and antelope. Everything is hand made and unique, and when you pay it forward and purchase an artefact, you support the livelihood of the local community so that they can share the benefits of tourism.
Ecotourism is about savouring the natural world to save it
Tourism is the life-giving force for the conservation of iconic areas. Ecotourism provides vital revenue to keep wilderness areas going, so guests leave Africa having made a lasting contribution to its legacy.
Our lodges exist in harmony with the environment
Our lodges are built and managed in the most eco-friendly way possible, from solar heating to organic vegetable gardens, recycling plants and plastic-free philosophies. There is enlightened self-interest to tourism in Victoria Falls because without the wild, there would be no Wild Horizons and we go above and beyond to ensure that our presence enhances and protects the landscapes that have shaped our lives and careers. Our Environmental Officer monitors soil erosion and vegetation at all our properties, rehabilitating areas with indigenous trees from our nursery and eradicating harmful alien plant species. Annually, we bring over 1000 children to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust where they learn about conservation, wildlife and sustainability. With the revenue generated from tourism, we invest in conservation and provide support for organizations such as the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit and the Wildlife Trust.
Safaris remind us that there is more to life than the view from your window
There is a feeling you get when you wake up in the wilderness that we can’t quite put our finger on—a sense of being wonderfully lost in a foreign place and yet totally at home. There are no crowds of people, just herds of impala, prides of lion, dazzles of zebra and journeys of giraffe. There are no city lights to distract from the scatterlings of stars and no traffic jams on the elephant trodden paths.
The world is bigger than our computer screens and suburbs. It is craft markets and culture, rivers and rainforests, the ripple of a new language and the taste of adrenaline. In Africa, the true meaning of travel has not been buried under technology and tenacity. A safari in Victoria Falls will be the tonic we need to reengage with life. Get in touch to book your safari retreat today.
Canopy Tour – Spectacular views make for great photo opportunities.
Over the course of our lives, human beings are taught a series of lessons aimed at keeping us safe and out of harm’s way. Don’t run with scissors, don’t talk to strangers, and most certainly do not throw yourself off a wooden platform perched on the edge of a cavernous gorge. It seems like useful enough advice. However, every year thousands of Adrenalin junkies break free from the chains of reason and allow their bodies to be swallowed whole by masses of African air as they plummet towards the rapids of the mighty Zambezi. The expert guides at Wild Horizons facilitate an experience of exhilaration with a level of professionalism and enthusiasm that has jumpers bouncing back for more.
Wild Horizon’s high wire activities are nestled between the jaws of the Batoka gorge. The open, natural design of the Lookout Café allows it to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding environment, and offers a unique 360 degree view of the excitement and beauty that unfolds there everyday. With the flying fox and canopy tour to the right, the zip line and gorge swing to the left and the luminous rafts plunging through the rapids below, even those sitting and sipping a cocktail in the café feel included in the adventure. The sheer extravagance of this natural wonder can be overwhelming even to those who have seen it one hundred times before. To help you navigate this landscape and decide which activity best suits you, we have put together a High Wire Hand Book.
The Canopy Tour
The canopy tour consists of a series of short zip lines that zig zag between the vegetation spilling from the rock face. This is an ideal activity for anyone who will appreciate the time to drink in an exclusive view of the scenery. Accompanied by a trained guide and occasionally a curious baboon, it is impossible not to have a smile stretched across your face as you whiz from one platform to the next.
Canopy Tour – Each slide gives you more confidence…
The Flying Fox
It is not often in life that we can transform fantasy into reality, and anyone with the slightest sense of adventure has fantasized about flying. Strap on your GoPro, fasten that harness, kick off your shoes and you are just a short run away from flying with this next activity. The harness is designed to attach to your back, so that the moment your feet lose contact with the wooden platform, you are tilted and lifted into superman position (but with a view far more exquisite than he would have had). Stretch your arms out, with nothing to grasp but the cool wisps of wind as you sweep across the sky.
The Flying Fox
The Zip Line
Anyone out there with a need for speed, this is the activity for you. Our zipline is the longest in the world, extending 425 meters across the gorge, suspended 120 meters over the rushing rapids and travelling around 106 kilometres per hour. There is the option of taking/dragging a friend along for the ride, or sailing solo. Ignoring the frantic voice in your head, you will sit on the edge of the platform and get your first full look at the adventure that awaits you. Slowly, you will inch off the ledge until you are dangling above this incredible spectacle. Point your toes, make sure your eyes are open and feel your body shoot forward into the beautiful abyss.
The Tandem ZipLine
The Gorge Swing
The most important thing to know about the gorge swing, is that the scariest moments are the ones leading up to the jump- when you hook a trembling arm through the harness, take those tentative steps to the edge of the platform and peer down the steep drop below. This is the part your brain kicks into high alert. Tremors will shoot down your spine and every cell in your body will tingle in anticipation. However, the second you step into the African atmosphere the wind whips all the fear and doubt right off you. When there is nothing pulling you down but the force of gravity, your heart is in your throat and the only sounds your own screams of thrill, you will finally understand why so many people are addicted to this feeling. The drop may only last three seconds, but the memory lasts a lifetime. Perhaps it is the perceived danger of the jump, or the incomprehensibility of what you have accomplished, but during the swing at the bottom, you will feel more alive than on the day you were born.
The Gorge Swing
Of course, there is an opportunity for creativity with this activity. For increased incredulity, some people prefer to do the jump backwards. For the extremely daring, there is a hand stand option. The choice is yours, and our experienced guides will be with you every step of the way to ensure that no matter which way you jump, you are 100% safe.
This section of Victoria Falls is where Africa really shows off, and whether you choose to do an activity or not, this is a corner of the world worth seeing. Written by Jess White
We met our guides Michael and Bright at The Lookout Café. The venue is spectacular and the views give you a tantalizing taste of what’s to come. Our guides kitted us each with full body harness, pulley and safety helmet and there was plenty of laughter about the flattering fit of the harnesses!
We then walked a short distance to the first slide on the Victoria Falls Canopy Tour and our guides demonstrated how to slide on the cables and the safety procedures.
The Victoria Falls Canopy Tour offers everyone an exhilarating opportunity to soar through the rain forest in the Batoka Gorge with spectacular views of the mighty Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls Bridge. It is an unforgettable adventure as you slide from one platform to the next along a series of steel cables set amongst magnificent natural surroundings.
You are in another world from the moment you step off the first platform and slide through the tree-tops… there’s simply nothing to prepare you for the magnificence of the view across the gorge you glimpse as you first whizz across it. As you continue on the tour it appears that each slide offers something more and you can feel the groups’ confidence build.
At first some of us were very unsure and there was much nervous giggling but by the third slide whoops of sheer delight were reverberating through the gorge. We soon realize that with the combination of the safety line and the knowledge and expertise of Michael and Bright who are calm, confident and encouraging, we were totally safe.
All groups are escorted by a lead guide and safety guide at all times. The guides are friendly, professional and reassuring. Your safety is paramount and Wild Horizons have strict procedures in place to ensure that you are constantly connected to either the cable or the platform.
The scenery high up within the forest canopy is spectacular. We enjoyed spotting birdlife amongst the surrounding trees and canyon walls and were lucky enough to have a Verreaux’s eagle soaring above us and periodically landing in trees on the canyon wall to watch us inquisitively. I can only imagine he thought we were learning to fly! Each tour lasts between 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on how many people are in your group and the speed you choose to go. We had a much-needed cold drink as we walked out of the gorge still smiling from the adventure.
Next up was the Flying Fox. We were re-harnessed so that we were suspended from our backs. The Flying Fox consists of a cable over the width of the gorge and with the harness facing down you literally ‘fly’ through the air over the turmoil of the Zambezi below. With our confidence soaring from the Canopy Tour we all stepped off into the abyss. The view is unbelievable!
Similarly to the Canopy Tours escalation of excitement and adrenaline, so the order we did the other activities in scaled up in order of excitement. Accordingly we moved on to the Zip Line- this is an activity we chose to do in tandem. Our harnesses were re-adjusted and we were seated for the activity. The platform it leaves from offers an exciting view of what you are about to embark upon- a very steep descent that has you travelling at up to 105 km an hour whilst travelling across the gorge with the Zambezi below.
My friend perfectly described the feeling of hurtling downwards and across the gorge as a ‘rush of joy’!
The final and most adrenalin inducing activity is the Gorge Swing. Not for the faint of heart this includes a whopping 70 metre free-fall before you are ‘caught’ by the harness and begin swinging across the gorge. This is an incredible experience as you swing in a huge arc with the Zambezi churning below you. It’s impossible not to appreciate the feeling of hanging over the mighty Zambezi by a cord!
And suddenly we were done! Buoyed up by adrenaline and the indescribable feeling of feeling more alive we headed back to the Lookout Café for a celebratory beer. We were all thrilled at the end of a great day and the shared memories we had created.
- Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe footwear. Open sandals are not suitable as they will simply fall off. Wear shorts or long pants and not a skirt as you will be in a harness. Running shoes are perfect and strap-on sandals will do.
- Take an easy to use camera with a strap that can attach around your neck or to your hand. There are plenty of great photo opportunities!
- The Canopy Tour experience is an excellent corporate and team building event.
- There is a safe box at The Lookout Café where you can leave your belongings and any valuables- however I suggest packing lightly.
A High-wire Activity is an adrenaline rush and a must do when visiting Victoria Falls.
There is a range of activities from the family friendly and exciting Canopy Tour to the extreme gorge swing for those who are more adventurous. Wherever you fall on the adrenaline scale try something new and you won’t regret the memories you make.
There are 4 levels of Activity:
The Canopy Tour: The gentlest of the high-wire activities. This exciting and scenic activity offers amazing views of the turbulent rapids, the Victoria Falls Bridge and the spray of the Falls. This unique experience is suitable for families or groups who will be able to enjoy the activity together. Adventure seekers of all ages can partake. Observe the riverine forest from a variety of vantage points – from above, below and within the canopy itself. Experience forest bird-life, which can include the Black Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Knysna and Purple-crested Turaco (Lourie).
Flying Fox: You get clipped into a harness that is attached to a pulley which then glides along an almost horizontal cable across the gorge, 125m above the canyon floor. This gives you the sensation of flying. It looks tame in comparison to the Zip Line and Gorge swing, but this is still a thrilling experience.
The Zip Line: This is similar to the Flying Fox but here the cable is not horizontal it is at a steep angle so once you let go you accelerate down-hill at speeds of over 100km/h. It is extremely exhilarating and can be done singly or in tandem. It is twice the distance as the flying fox.
Gorge Swing: Leave your stomach behind, this is only for the totally insane. Your harness is attached to a rope, the rope is attached to the middle of a cable that runs across the full width of the gorge.
Once you are all set, you stand on a platform on the edge of a sheer 120m cliff, say a quick prayer and jump off – how crazy is that? You jump off and free-fall for about 70m straight towards the river below, then as the rope becomes taut you start to swing away from the ravine you were hurtling towards, fractions of a second ago. You then swing in a gentle arc giving you time to appreciate both the beauty of the scenery and the adrenaline rush.
Last week we asked some brave, (and some not-so-brave) souls to volunteer their services in the name of marketing to throw themselves off our infamous Gorge Swing platform, so that we could film their reactions and compile an acitivty feature video showcasing the swing, how it works, and the screams!
It was rather hilarious watching the fear on some of the first-time jumpers’ faces as they mounted the platform for the first time and start processing the sheer enormity of the
simple, yet terrifying task ahead of them – to jump!
The Gorge Swing is a giant, pendulum-type swing that launches the rider into a 90m wide swing across the chasm of the gorge – AFTER a 70m freefall! It is 110% pure adrenalin, and only for those with nerves of steel! Two of the jumpers could not keep sure footing once on the platform and ended up crawling right back off in disbelief and horror. After some coaxing and encouragement from the spectators though, they were able to pluck up the courage to try again and succeed.
After the swing, the feeling of conquering such an un-natural act simply has to be experienced to be believed. Check out the video below for the results of the shoot. You can book a Wild Horizons Gorge Swing by contacting us through our website here.
On Friday 15th August, Wilderness Safaris staff members attended a team building session at The Wild Horizons Lookout Cafe. The afternoon proved to be high entertaining, whilst at the same time further enhancing the bond of this dynamic team.
The first challenge required an elected team member to embark on a Zip Line across the gorge, with his task being to “bomb” an inflatable canoe on the river below with a water filled balloon. This was highly entertaining as in most cases, the inaccuracies were something to behold! Those brave enough then had the opportunity to earn their team an extra 5 bonus points if they endured a 70m free fall on the Gorge Swing (only 3 brave souls!).
The next activity that followed entailed team members hoisting a harnessed teammate up a tree using ropes and pulleys, in order for them to find and retrieve a hidden toy Guinea Fowl.
After the Guinea Fowl retrieval, the three teams then moved to the new Lookout car park, for a game of “sausage soccer”. This entailed each team lining up in a relay fashion, and then using a sausage tree fruit, tied around their waist, to hit a soccer ball across the playing field to their next waiting teammate. No touching of the sausage fruit was allowed, and many, many laughs were had!
After the sausage soccer, came the tent-erecting race – whereby each team had to work together to quickly and efficiently set up a safari tent, complete with a bed and bedding on the interior. After a suspicious amount of skulduggerous pole-snatching and rope-pinching, the ‘orange’ team emerged victorious in this round! (Their attention to detail clinched it for them in the end, as their bed was made complete with hospital corners, and a flower on the pillow!).
After the tents, the teams then found respite in the shade of the Lookout platform, and undertook a fun quiz which covered all essential aspects of Zimbabwean life, including the colours of the Zimbabwean Flag, and of course some essential wildlife facts!
Finally, a Zimbabwean culinary tasting competition saw the end of the day’s activities – team members had to consume an array of traditional Zimbabwean delicacies such as Mopani worms, dried vegetables, a whole chilli, and of course, a coca-cola!
Once the results were tallied, and the quiz sheets had been marked, it was seen that 2 teams, the orange and the green, needed to compete in a tiebreaker. This came in the form of performing a verse of the Zimbabwean National Anthem – some bringing music to the ears of those who listened, and others, well – they got ½ points for smiling ‘n miming!
All had a wonderful afternoon, and the Wilderness team is now undoubtedly stronger than ever before, for having been through a Wild Horizons team build!
You can find out more about Wild Horizons’ team building packages by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org