General Information About Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls known as the “Smoke that thunders” in the local Tonga language, is the largest single curtain of falling water in the world and 70% of the exquisite views are seen from the Zimbabwe rain forest. The rain forest which has constant rain 24/7 from the never ending spray of the Falls, has unique ecosystem. It is a botanists dream and bird lovers’ paradise. There are species here that don’t occur anywhere else, and our recommendation is to look just a little beyond the pathway and the numerous viewpoints.
One of the beauties is that the area has not become over commercialized. In fact, once you are standing by the Falls your view will not be much different to that of David Livingstone’s who first saw the Falls in 1855.Walking within the Falls is a couple of kilometres and it does get very hot. There are two drinking water taps on route, one is close by this entrance and the other is at Livingstone’s Statue.
The pathway system has been well designed to take you to the best viewing points. There is no need to go off the pathway. Some viewpoints have only a few thorny branches acting as a barrier between you and the gorge, 100m below. In other places there is absolutely no barrier at all! In this regard it is unique and wonderful.
It is worthwhile noting here that the Falls vary considerably throughout the year depending on the levels of the Zambezi River. In mid-December the river starts to rise with the onset of the rainy season and this high water continues right through until about June. During this time the volume of water plummeting over the Falls is enormous, there will be lots of spray and you will get very wet, camera equipment among other electronics needs to be protected. If you don’t want to get wet please take a raincoat, however it is somewhat of a cleansing experience to get soaked to the skin by these magnificent Falls. Generally the weather is hot to very hot and the cool spray is very welcoming.
The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is situated less than one kilometre away from the Falls. This means that many of the Hotels and Lodges are within close striking distance of the Falls. Development on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe has been carefully controlled. Almost the entire stretch of river from Victoria Falls to Kazangula (+/- 80 km) is a pristine National Park filled with wildlife. Victoria Falls is a totally safe destination. This is corroborated by the millions of tourists who do venture there.
Victoria Falls town is surrounded by National Parks and wildlife areas. This is what makes it such a unique and wonderful place, man and animal do co-exist here. Warthogs, monkeys and baboons are plentiful in the town; they generally will not harm you unless you corner them or provoke them.
This is a small town focused primarily as one would expect, on tourists. So you will note there is an array of curios shops, arts and crafts, galleries and little boutiques and restaurants around the town. The main shopping centres are Elephants Walk, Trading Post Centre and the Pumula Centre. Each one of these centres is relatively small but has a selection of curio shops, boutiques, cafés, restaurants and service providers.Very close to Elephants Walk Centre is the large outdoor curio market, where you will be stunned by the sheer volume of wood carvings, stone sculptures. At the entrance gate to the actual Victoria Falls, there are a few curio stalls outside the gate, selling local crafts, through the gate there is also a well-stocked shop selling a variety of items relating to the Falls area including a range of clothing and accessories.