The Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls

The BestTime to Visit Victoria Falls.

When it comes to travel, there is no one size fits all way to explore the world. Some people disappear into mountain ranges with just a backpack and book for company, while others choose to lose themselves in bustling towns filled with foreign languages and unfamiliar faces. Some will chase sunsets on tropical beaches while others retreat to snow-capped cabins with crackling fireplaces. We are often asked when the best time to visit Victoria Falls is, and the answer varies for every unique traveller. Each month offers something different, and every season unravels new panels of colour, the presence of different forms of life and a different, yet ever enthralling, rainforest experience. This means that you’ll have to visit us more than once, and preferably at different times of the year, to truly get a sense of your favourite season in Victoria Falls.

We love that every month of the year transforms the beautiful town and landscapes, revealing a new set of adventures for the different types of travellers. In burnt orange or glossy green, Victoria Falls wears each season exquisitely and we have compiled a calendar to tell you the best of each month.

View of Victoria Falls throughout the year.

January

Weather:

It’s the height of summer during January and it’s at this time that you can expect hot days, often resulting in spectacular thunderstorms. The smell of rain on dry earth signals the beginning of the summer months.

In the rainforest:

Victoria Falls becomes more intense with increased river flow. Visitors are awestruck by the Smoke That Thunders and plumes of mist swell above the rainforest.

Wilderness and wildlife:

The land comes alive in variegated greens from the lush grasses to leafy treetops that provide a delicious feast for tall browsers such as elephants and giraffes. There is a lot of birding activity in January as many nestlings are raised, but the wildlife is dispersed as there are many water sources throughout the bush from the rainfall, so it is not the best time for game viewing.

Activities:

The white water rafting generally changes to the high water run in January. Find out more about the difference between high and low water rafting here.

February

February is the month of love and with stunning, secluded luxury lodges, spectacular sunsets and the intrinsic feeling of connectedness that comes from time spent in nature, Victoria Falls is the ideal place to spend this romantic month. Old Drift Lodge and The Elephant Camp are stunning lodges in the heart of the wilderness with tranquil spas, outdoor fireplaces, and beautiful views. Romantic highlights at Old Drift Lodge include a private dinner on the jetty and a sunset beach picnic on the banks of the Zambezi. At The Elephant Camp, cocktails and Canapes on the edge of the Batoka Gorge bring drama and excitement to the evening, followed by a private dinner on the suspended deck.

Weather:

The rainy season is characterised by hot and humid weather with dramatic bursts of thunderstorms.

In the rainforest:

The waterfall is a thunderous roar with the Smoke that Thunders rising higher in the sky. Many rainforest flowers start to bloom and the grass is at its most luscious and nutritious.

Wilderness and wildlife:

There is thick vegetation growth in the National Parks and animals such as zebra look exquisite against the vivid green backdrop. African ebony trees come into fruit and the waterbuck breeding season begins. The National Park is dotted with many nursing herds.

Activities:

The high water rafting run continues. This is a great time for the Flight of Angels as the wilderness is a beautiful mosaic in every shade of green and the waterfall flows so furiously.

March

Weather:

The days are sunny and the nights are warm as the rainy season comes to an end.

In the rainforest:

Although the rainy season comes to an end the Victoria Falls is reaching peak flow as the river levels are so high. The mist can be very dense in the rainforest.

Wilderness and wildlife:

The summer rains mostly fall between November to February each year, however, the bush remains alive with flowering plants as the progression towards Autumn begins. It is not uncommon to see many beautiful blooms attracting antelopes that take advantage of the plentiful food sources. Kudu and buffalo breeding peaks and the migrant birds begin to depart. The grasslands are in seed and Baobab trees hang heavily under the weight of their Cream of Tartar pods.

Activities:

The rafting season usually closes in March due to the high volume of water rushing through the gorge.

April

Weather:

April is a wonderful time with warm, sunny days and crisp evenings. The beginning of Autumn’s chill starts to creep in so evenings spent around the campfire are magical.

In the rainforest:

The water from our catchment area in Zambia arrives and the Victoria Falls reaches its highest flow with an average of 500 million litres of water flowing over the edge every minute! The highest ever recorded was 700 million litres in 1958, but this year we expect to come close! On the 23rd of April, the Zambezi River flow was 4,086m3/s at the Big Tree River station. To put that into context, last year on the same date the flow was 1,034m3/s. The Victoria Falls will undoubtedly be incredibly breathtaking, and it is incredibly unfortunate that so few people will see it due to the travel restrictions. However, we will be posting regular video clips and photographs onto our Facebook and Instagram pages so you can appreciate the majesty of Victoria Falls from wherever you may be.

Wilderness and wildlife:

During this time, the landscape is still wonderfully lush owing to summer rains. April is also the month of the impala rut and many interesting sightings of these animals interacting, fighting and mating with each other are possible.

Activities:

The rafting is closed but this is a fantastic time for a meal at the Lookout Café, where the mist from the Falls can be seen curling through the black basalt gorge. You can still chase that adrenaline rush on the gorge swing, zip line and flying fox which are located next to the Café.

May

Weather:

May marks the advent of autumn with warm days and a slight chill creeping into the evening air.

In the rainforest:

The Zambezi continues to flow strongly despite the start of the dry season, creating incredible experiences within the rainforest.

Wilderness and wildlife:

Deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves leave a crunchy golden carpet on the rugged terrain within the National Park. This is the white-backed vulture and wild dog breeding season.

Activities:

This is a fantastic time to visit Victoria Falls as the mist is not so dense that it obscures photographic opportunities.

June

Weather:

Autumn gives way to winter and we experience warm days and chilly nights. Winter skies are clearest during May, June and July so this is a wonderful time for stargazing.

In the rainforest:

The water levels begin to drop slightly but the flow over the Victoria Falls is still very impressive.

Wilderness and wildlife:

Raptor courtship displays become more evident and the game starts to become concentrated near the river and watering holes and the grass cover recedes.

Activities:

Consider staying at Imbabala Safari Lodge as game driving and fishing is great during May. The rafting season begins in May/June with the low water run.

July/August

Weather:

The height of the dry season coincides with mid-Winter and the days are hot but you will need to bring something warm for the evenings.

In the rainforest:

The Eastern cataract in Zambia often becomes exposed due to low water levels of the Zambezi so to get the full impact of the Victoria Falls it is better to view the waterfall from the Zimbabwean side.

Wilderness and wildlife:

Mopane leaves begin to take on their distinctive winter hue of burnt orange and there is an increase in the elephant population on the Zambian side of the river which is the winter feeding ground for elephant from northern Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Activities:

This is a wonderful time for sunset cruises as the clear evening skies create beautiful stains of colour. There is also a chance that you will see elephant swimming from Zimbabwe to Zambian banks.

September

Weather:

As the season shifts into Spring the days become hotter and the nights warmer.

In the rainforest:

The Victoria Falls is best viewed from the Zimbabwean side. Right at the end of the rainforest is a rocky outcrop where you can sit and admire the geological details of the Gorge.

Wilderness and wildlife:

The bush remains golden brown, with dusty sunsets owing to the long winter. The spring rain has not yet arrived, however, the first glimpses of green shoots and leaves start to appear. Migrant birds start to arrive from Europe and elsewhere in Africa while the weavers begin breeding. The knob thorn acacia trees begin flowering in with the change of the season.

October, November and December

Weather:

October is the hottest month of the year with occasional bursts of storms that break up the heat. It is important to have lots of sunscreen and to bring a water bottle with you to fill up and stay hydrated during the day. The rains sometimes arrive in November but they could come later. It gets more humid towards December as the rainy season build up after the hot spell.

In the rainforest:

The Eastern cataract is largely exposed but this is just 400 meters of the 1,7 km waterfall and the other viewing points such as Main Falls and Devils Cataract continues to flow beautifully. The Eastern Cataract is slightly higher than the other sections which is why this short strip reveals the rockface behind the curtain of water.

Wilderness and wildlife:

This is an excellent time for game viewing as the wildlife congregates around the river and water sources. The Marulas flower and long-tail cassias display beautiful yellow flowers. Nature’s choir arrives in full force. Frogs of all sorts ring out beautiful melodies that harmonise with the sounds of crickets chirping. Along with frogs, summertime brings great tortoise and butterfly sightings. It’s also at this time that you can experience long fiery sunsets and windless evenings.

Activities:

October, November and December are excellent months for white water rafting and a swim in the famous Devil’s Pool above the waterfall.

What is your favourite season in Victoria Falls? We would love to hear your thoughts and personal preferences!

The Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

Victoria Falls comprises of many wild and wonderful things, from the sprawling wilderness to the diverse wildlife population. However, poaching is a harsh reality, and if ignored, would cripple Africa’s eco-system.

While Victoria Falls may be home to a natural wonder, it is also the heritage and legacy for a community of people with indomitable strength. The Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit (VFAPU) have boots on the ground and eyes on the future. They are the unsung heroes of every game drive and safari in our National Parks areas, protecting the environment and its inhabitants for generations to come. Wild Horizons has been a proud supporter of VFAPU for 15 years, providing financial and operational aid to further their reach and impact. This meaningful partnership is rooted in a shared sense of purpose and appreciation for the remote wildlife areas that make Victoria Falls such a special, diverse space.

VFAPU comprises 15 high-performing scouts who are trained in the tracking and apprehension of poachers, many of whom pose a lethal threat not just to the animals, but the scouts themselves. It is a job that requires the utmost dedication as the days are long and the challenges daunting. Some patrols take place over several days, venturing deep into the National Park with the team covering up to 15km each day. Small details such as a footprint in the dust or trampled patch of grass can lead the scouts in the right direction. Their senses must remain on high alert for any small piece of evidence that might go unnoticed to the untrained eye.

When one thinks of wildlife poaching, images of poachers with high powered rifles may come to mind. However, this is just one approach. Snares are rudimentary pieces of wire fashioned into a loop, left (and often forgotten about) in areas of high animal traffic. They wrap around the neck or leg of an animal, and the more the animal tries to escape, the tighter the snare becomes. VFAPU have removed 22 500 snares from wildlife areas, saving as many lives in the process. To date, the scouts have rescued nearly 300 mammals who have been injured through poaching activities, all of which received veterinary attention and once recovered, were released back into the wild. A staggering 900 poachers have been apprehended, and the damage prevented through this alone is incomprehensible.

Funding remains one of the biggest challenges that VFAPU faces. Their invaluable work incurs massive costs and donations are vital to ensure the continued success of the organisation. Wild Horizons is a proud supporter of VFAPU, paying the salaries of three scouts each month and sponsoring the fund raising activities hosted by VFAPU.

By simply reading and sharing the work that VFAPU do, the call of the wild travels a little further. However, if you would like to donate to VFAPU, please visit their website at http://vfapu.com/donate/ where you can also discover more about their extensive projects. Financial help is always appreciated, but boots, green shirts, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, raincoats and medical supplies will also make a difference.

VFAPU started as a team of three dedicated individuals. Now, they have given a global community the power to transform knowledge to action. Because of them, future generations will walk in an elephants footsteps, hear the haunting whoop of a hyena, find shade beneath a tangle of trees and watch a sunset over the pristine Zambezi River. It has been an honour to be part of their journey, and Wild Horizons will continue to be a proud supporter of the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit for decades to come.

Zambezi River Report January 2020

Welcome to our first River Report of the new year, designed to give you regular updates on the Zambezi River levels and how this may impact various activities in Victoria Falls. We are happy to report the water levels are rising steadily and the following seasonal product changes should be noted.

 

Zambezi River Levels

The past few months have been a strife with alarmist reporting alleging that the Victoria Falls is drying up. Year after year, we see a natural fluctuation in the volume of water going over the waterfall; it is a normal and expected phenomenon that exposes a different yet equally beautiful perspective of this geological masterpiece. The only thing that has been unprecedented about the drop in water levels this year is the amount of negative media coverage it has received. As always, we remain at your disposal to dispel any queries or concerns.

 

Aerial view of Victoria Falls in January 2020

 

According to data captured by the Zambezi River Authority on 27 December 2019, 323 000 litres of water was going over the Victoria Falls per second. On the same date last year, this figure was 267 000 litres per second. To put this into perspective, we have drawn on Peter Jones’ example of the water supply to London and adapted it to accommodate the increase in water since his interview.

In a typical year, London uses around 30,092 litres of water per second.

Therefore, on 27 December, the 323, 000 litres of water going over the Victoria Falls could supply 10.7 cities the size of London.

High Water Rafting Season Begins

The high water run started on 10 January 2020 in line with the rising water levels of the Zambezi River. The expeditions will begin 10km downstream of the Falls, starting at the Overland Truck-eater (Rapid 11) through to The End (Rapid 24). This exciting section includes the Mother (Rapid 13) at its brooding best.

 

Hanging over Victoria Falls edge

 

Livingstone Island Update

Devil’s Pool will be closing shortly due to the rising water levels above the Victoria Falls.
However, Livingstone Island tours will remain open until the end of April/May. Angel’s Pool will close at a similar time to the Island.

 

Your Experts On The Ground

Wild Horizons endeavours to be your Victoria Falls experts on the ground and in some cases, from the sky too. Below is a series of aerial images taken on 7 January 2020. The video clip of Devil’s Cataract was taken on the same day. The water levels are on the rise and we look forward to sharing these beautiful views with our agents and guests when they visit Victoria Falls.
Please rest assured that even when the thunderous nature of the waterfall is somewhat tamed during the drier months, the Victoria Falls is a spectacular sight. It is, and always will be, a natural wonder.

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

 

Kind Regards,
The Wild Horizons Team

Victoria Falls Has Never Dried Up

The Internet Age has come with an overload of information that can lead to confusion and misrepresentation.

We are here to dispel that by making things measurable. Not only has the Victoria Falls never dried up but last year it was the highest it has been since 2010. Every year we chart the water levels in a graph using data provided by the Zambezi River Authority, who assess water levels through a hydrometric network comprising of thirteen stations.

As you can see, seasonally there are drop offs in the dry season and rises in the wet season, this is nothing new or concerning, it is a natural fluctuation. More so, apart from this year, the river level has been above the normal average for the past five years. Please be mindful of exaggerated stories and footage that has been censored and sensationalised. We are here on the ground and we are available to answer any questions or concerns.

We have wet seasons and we have dry seasons, but the Victoria Falls is magnificent in all her forms.
The river is currently on the rise and alarmist reporting only distorts a very normal phenomenon.
Victoria Falls