A regular bucket list feature for any African adventure is Victoria Falls, and rightly so with it being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Many people try to schedule a quick stop off here as part of their travel itinerary while rushing between safari hotspots across the continent. However, if you look a little further you will see that just beyond ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ lies an abundance of safari potential worth setting up camp for, between which you have got ‘The Big Five’ covered. Spend less time travelling and more time doing.
Here we list some safari flavoured cherries for your Victoria Falls cake…
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
The ‘Smoke That Thunders’ National Park is situated along the upper Zambezi River. It is the home of Victoria Falls itself and stretches for about 12 kilometres up river above the Falls. It is only 66 square kilometres, but there are plans to extend the Park further. Because the Park is small, it offers a wonderfully relaxing drive where a wide variety of species can easily be seen. The Park provides a home for numerous antelope species, zebra, giraffe, warthog, and a variety of birds and smaller animals. Elephants cross the Zambezi and freely walk through the Park and the surrounding area.
Chobe National Park
Chobe is in northern Botswana near the vast, inland Okavango Delta. It’s known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which hang out along the riverfront in the dry months. Lions, antelopes and hippos inhabit the woods and lagoons around Linyanti Marsh. The floodable grasslands of the Savuti Marsh attract numerous bird species, plus migrating zebras.
This vast inland river delta in northern Botswana is known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the region. Here, dugout canoes are used to navigate past hippos, elephants and crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos.
Lower Zambezi National Park
This park is in southern Zambia, on the Zimbabwean border. In the south, the Zambezi River valley is known for abundant wildlife, including buffalo, fish eagles and herds of elephants. Canoes ply the river, which is home to hippos and crocodiles. In the east, the river passes past the striking red cliffs of Mupata Gorge, with its fish-filled waters. North is the steep and rugged Zambezi Escarpment.
And why not add some sprinkles to your Victoria Falls cake too with these alluring extra activities:
Royal Livingstone Express
The Livingstone Steam Train, which has been restored to its former glory, travels through the World Heritage site to arrive at the Victoria Falls Bridge in time to watch the sunset. Guests then enjoy the sights of the African bush from the stately dining carriages whilst experiencing a silver service five course dinner
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi
The Zambezi River is highly regarded by white water rafting enthusiasts as one of the top ten paddling rivers on the planet. Commercial river rafting started on the Zambezi n 1981. By 1996, some 50 000 people had been rafting at Victoria Falls and numbers are increasing every year.
The Victoria Falls Bungee Jump is undoubtedly the most scenic bungee jump in the World. With the Victoria Falls themselves as the backdrop, and the mighty Zambezi River flowing beneath you, this is sure to be the greatest bungee jump in the World.
Victoria Falls, and Livingstone in particular, is the ideal base for you to enjoy any of these activities. But if you are still itching to see more than it is good to know that this area is also very well connected with international airports close by at Lusaka and Livingstone as well as Kasane (Botswana) so you can easily catch flights to other key African sights such as Lake Kariba (Zambia/Zimbabwe), Lake Malawi (Malawi/Mozambique/Tanzania), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Cape Town (South Africa).
You can easily plan your African adventure using the interactive travel planning map from Tongabezi Lodge, a luxury African hideaway on the banks of the river, who can also book many of these activities for you as a guest. They are also the only organisation with the rights to Livingstone Island, the small island on the very edge of Victoria Falls, from which you can take a peek over the 108m drop or, if you want to brave it, take a dip in Devil’s Pool or Angel’s Pool.
If you are planning your African adventure and are planning to ‘do Vic Falls’ as well as a traditional safari (who isn’t?!) then maybe consider Livingstone as your base. Less time on the road equals more time in the bush…with some very tempting extras on the side!