Activities at Victoria Falls according to Water Levels
What to do during High and Low water
10 Jul 2018
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Whilst Victoria Falls is a year-round destination, it's important to know that the differing seasonal water levels in both the falls and the Zambezi River can affect some activities in the area. We asked Alison at Chundukwa River Lodge for her top tips on when to visit Victoria Falls according to the most popular activities...
I would say, whatever the time of year, try to view and experience the Falls and the Zambezi in as many ways as you possibly can during your trip:
Explore the paths in our National Heritage Area at Victoria Falls – walk down to the Boiling Pot too, where you can hear the water gushing over, you can see it rushing past, and you can look up at the cliffs and into the gorge.
Walk onto the railway bridge that links Zambia with Zimbabwe – stare down the gorge, glimpse part of the Falls – and sometimes feel the spray too.
Cross the Border
Pop over to Zimbabwe (or vice versa depending on where you are) for a different vantage point of the Falls.
Take a scenic flight over the Falls – it really gives you perspective as to their great width and the channels that the Zambezi forms as it flows over, as well as the geology of the area, the layout of Batoka Gorge, and how the Falls were formed.
Stand on top of the Falls on Livingstone Island and view the Falls on either side of you – if the island is accessible.
Paddle the Zambezi
And make sure you get onto the river at some stage – whether it’s a boat cruise or more actively canoeing on the upper Zambezi or rafting in the Gorge.
However some of these activities are only possible at certain times of year:
What can you do if you visit during the Low Water months? (August - November)
The Low Water season offers a variety of opportunities for some of the more unusual Falls and Zambezi experiences, for those who visit during these months:
Rocks and Canyons
Views of the rock wall and skeletal canyon of Victoria Falls. We strongly recommend an early excursion in the cooler hours of the morning so you can enjoy the soft glow of sunrise reflecting on the rocks.
Visit Livingstone Island and the associated Angel’s and Devil’s natural infinity pools on the edge of the Falls – an absolutely phenomenal way to experience the Falls, standing on top of them and immersing yourself in the Zambezi, right on the edge of the Falls.
Rafting and Kayaking
This is the best season for white water rafting and kayaking the Zambezi – the amount of water passing through the Batoka Gorge is just right for incredible class V rapids to be navigated.
Visit the Base of the Falls
A chance to stand below the Falls (only at very low water levels), where it is possible to access the sanctuary, observe the Falls from their base, and glimpse the ‘minus’ rapids that only a few have ever paddled.
See the Zambezi adorned with water birds, especially local migrants such as Livingstone’s turaco, rock pratincols, and paradise flycatchers. At Chundukwa we also have regular sightings of the African finfoot, which is a rare and elusive water bird. Sunset and sunrise cruises are just magical at this time, with fantastic bird and wildlife sightings.
What can you do if you visit during High Water Levels? (February - June)
Some of the experiences above are still possible at higher water levels, though not in their entirety.
Livingstone Island is generally accessible from June, when the river starts subsiding, until the end of March when the island is largely covered by the very fast flowing Zambezi. However the Devil’s Pool adjacent to the island is usually only accessible from September until December, when the river level is sufficiently low to safely cross over to this rock pool on the edge of the Falls.
Similarly, it is possible to raft certain sections of the Zambezi below the Falls from June until the end of March, and in some years throughout the year, but the full extent is only possible when the river is at its lowest, generally August/ September until December.
Whatever time of year you visit Victoria Falls you'll have a fantastic time. Just make sure you take the water levels into account when planning your activities.