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When is the best time to visit Victoria Falls?

The best times of year for your favourite activities

Marc

Marc

Africa Specialist
Published on

09 Aug 2018

Read time

6 minutes

Stanley Safari Lodge The Victoria Falls

Visiting Victoria Falls in Zambia is an unmissable experience although it can be a tricky decision deciding when to go. In the local lingo it is called Mosi-oa-Tuna, which roughly translates to ‘the smoke that thunders’. It’s easy to see why, or should I say hear why, because the enormous roar of water plummeting down the 100m basalt cliff face can be heard miles away. The levels of water fluctuate enormously throughout the year due to rainfall which correlates to high, medium and low water volumes.

Victoria Falls Water Levels Photo Credit Wild Horizons
Water levels in Victoria Falls through the year (photo credit: Wild Horizons)

Each season brings something different to the table depending if you prefer the rush of adrenaline or to take a slower pace when you are on holiday.

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

Best time to photograph the falls

Nowadays photography is an integral part of your holiday, capturing the moment and holding on to memories for years to come. Therefore it’s essential to know the best time and locations to shoot a stunning image. During the peak water levels between February and June, the falls are at their full capacity, which makes it more difficult to take a winning shot from the viewing platforms since they are obscured by plumes of mist. However, if you take a microlight flight or helicopter ride you can observe the falls in full force high above the mist and spray. From August to November the water levels are lower, so spray levels are reduced, but the falls are still impressive to catch an envy-inducing shot and prevent damage to your camera equipment.

Victoria Falls On The Rise In January
By January the Falls are on the rise

Best time to fly over the falls

We recommend flying over the falls in a helicopter or small aircraft around April – June to experience the falls in their full majesty. Although there isn’t really a wrong time to fly over since the landscape below is breath-taking even in the dry season when you can see directly in to the gorge without large plumes of spray.

Victoria Falls Helicopter Flights
Flying over the Falls

Best time to spot some game

If you want to combine seeing the falls with a safari, July and August are one of the best times to visit. During the drier season in July and August, wildlife gravitates towards watering holes in search of water. This makes it the perfect time of year to spot some game in Chobe National Game Reserve from the comfort of a boat trip.

Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana - River Safari
Chobe River Safari

Best time to visit Livingstone Island and to swim in Devil’s Pool

Dr Livingstone first spotted Victoria Falls from this small island and it is one of the best vantage points to watch the spectacle of the falls from. A short boat trip and guided swim from this island is the iconic Devil’s pool. Swimming in Devil’s Pool is only available at select times due to obvious safety reasons. Between October and January, the pool is open, so you can get your heart pounding as you take a dip. If you’re feeling extremely courageous, a guide can hold your feet as you peer over the brim of the 103m edge. In addition, at this time of year the temperature is a comfortable 30-35 degrees. Alternatively, if you are visiting during the high water level season and still want to experience the heart stopping feeling of swimming at the top of the precipice, Angel’s Pool is your answer. Angel’s Pool is 1.5m away from the edge and emulates the same feeling as its counterpart, Devil’s Pool.

Devils Pool
Devils Pool
Livingstone Island And Angels Pool Victoria Falls
Livingstone Island and Angels Pool

Best time to go rafting

Riding the white crested rapids of the Zambezi river is best between August and September after the high-water period but before the water levels drop too much. White-water rafting is better suited to those who are up for an adventure since they are considered grade five in difficulty.

Zambia Rafting Wild Horizons
White Water Rafting (Wild Horizons)

It’s impossible to pick only one ultimate time to go and visit Victoria Falls because the atmosphere and activities on offer vary so much. You are guaranteed to have a brilliant experience regardless of the time of year.

Victoria Falls are a great add on to a safari in Botswana, Zambia or South Africa.