When Is the Best Time
Victoria Falls are truly a natural wonder, one of the "7 World Wonders" and breathtaking almost throughout the year. In October/November-December, the Vic Falls on the Zambian side can dry out. The best time to visit Victoria Falls regarding the weather is April to September; to experience the falls' biggest flow, it’s February to May. The Zambesi river gets filled by the Angolan rainfall in the highlands from November to April.
Of course, it is impressive to witness this high amount of water trembling more than 100 m down. If you plan to visit Victoria Falls during or shortly after the rainy season, the falls are best seen from the air. It is very misty when walking along the edge. You don't see much of it you just hear the falls roaring.
It is quite a journey to get to Victoria Falls. Usually, the Vic Falls are combined with a safari in Botswana. If you like to have a thrilling bath in Devil's Pool next to the tremendous falls, you should go between June and December when the tours to Devil's Pool are offered. My recommendation is September to December when the flow is the lowest.
My favourite months are from June to September. It is sunny and dry with day temps around 30°C. The falls are still impressive but not too misty for taking spectacular shots along the 1.700 m meter-long falls. Also, mosquitoes are no longer such a plague.
The best daytime is in the afternoon when the falls shine in a wonderful bright warm light in contrast to the morning when you face front-lighting and glaring sunlight. My friend Chris (comment below) prefers the sunset for the helicopter flight. Another great time is sunrise before it gets busy along the falls in the National Park.
A lower water level occurs from October until December. It is disappointing watching just a fraction of the immense power you can witness after the rainy season. On the opposite, it is a great and safer time for a bath in Devil's Pool.
Vic Falls Opening Hours and Entrance Fee
- 6 am to 6 pm
- The entrance fee to Victoria Falls for foreigners is $30 and for SADC $22.
Weather by Seasons
The dry season starts in April and lasts until October. April and October experience a small amount of precipitation, while the other months are usually dry. October is the hottest month of the entire year on average, 35°C/95°F during the day. The most pleasant months are May to August, with temperatures ranging from 26-29°C/79-84°F. In September day temperatures are above 30°C/86°F already. Night temperatures drop significantly in the winter months from June to August below 10°C/50°F. May and September are a little warmer, but a jacket is needed in the morning and evening from March to October.
Increasing rainfall in November with its peak from December to February. Decreasing rainfall in March, but still expect high humidity and a daily temperature around 31°C/88°F, but it feels hotter due to the humidity. Night temperatures are pleasant, around 20°C/68°F. Mosquitoes are an issue in the rainy season, at least until May. Rainfall can occur for days, and roads get flooded.
Avoiding Crowds at the Vic Falls
With one million visitors annually, it gets a little busy here from June to September. Most visitors combine Victoria Falls with safaris in the different National Parks, as we did. It is essential to book your helicopter flight and your hotel in advance. The helicopter flight is an outstanding experience that shouldn't be missed at the falls, and the same goes for the sunset cruise. Choose your hotel wisely to be independent. We visited the falls several times throughout the day. In the early morning and afternoon, the crowds were bearable. Early morning during the sunrise and late afternoon, it's quieter here along the falls.
Malaria is an issue in Africa, and the risk is the highest during the rainy season and at the beginning of the dry season. It is recommended to wear long sleeves, and long trousers to keep mosquitoes at bay. It is advisable to take antimalarial in a high-risk time, and even in the dry season, I recommend a stand-by medication in your suitcase. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends for your vacation in Africa.
Accommodation and Tours at Vic Falls
My top recommendation; stay next to Vic Falls in the Ilala Lodge Hotel within a short walking distance at the borders of the Victoria Falls National Park. If you stay here, you do not depend on a shuttle to the falls and back. The reason we visited the falls twice in the morning and afternoon.
During midday, we enjoyed the amenities of the hotel and their excellent lunch. If you depend on a shuttle service, you end up in a bigger group at the stunning falls. Is it safe to walk to the falls? There is lot's of police around, and the local people were super friendly. Some locals sell handmade gifts for family and friends at reasonable prices.
5 Activities at Vic Falls
These are my tour recommendations via GetYourGuide. You stay informed with them and really important nowadays a 100% money-back guarantee if you need to cancel your trip.
It is pricey to come to the Vic Falls, and if you do so, book your heli flight. The view from above down to the Vic Falls is spectacular in all seasons and shouldn't be missed. It is an entirely different experience.
A sunset dinner cruise on the Zambesi River is outstanding. The food and service are excellent, and on top, you watch lots of wildlife; crocodiles, elephants, hippos, and others.
The Devil's Pool is probably one of the most thrilling tours you can do in life. The guided trip is called "Livingston Island Tour". However, the tour is risky, although the guides do a fantastic job. The water is fast-flowing, the current is strong, and people were already fallen unexpectedly. No one will really tell you the truth if people died there or not. One guy was falling and survived. All photos taken from there look incredible. If you want to do the tour, you have to book it in advance to secure a space. There is limited access to the pool for small groups only. The fee for Devil's Pool is included in the tour price. It's a short boat ride of a few minutes to get there. Wear waterproof shoes; don't go in flip-flops!
First, you can watch the breathtaking falls from Livingston Island. Your belongings are safely kept here. Afterwards, your cameras and mobile phones are stored in a waterproof bag. Now starts the adventure; you cross the river walking and swimming to get to Devil's Pool. It must be exciting being in the pool and looking more than 100 m down. This tour is definitely not for the fainthearted like me.
Chobe National Park in Botswana is exceptional for game-watching, from lions to leopards, and vast herds of elephants. It is the elephant kingdom of Africa. Every safari is thrilling. You never know what comes out of the bush.
The Bunge Jumping Bridge - Victoria Falls Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe. I wasn't brave enough to jump from here 111 m deep down in a few seconds only. My friends did it, and they both loved it. They highly recommend doing this jump.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The majestic Vic Falls also called “The Smoke that Thunders” for a good reason, especially from February to June. However, we could even hear the thundering falls in September from the Victoria Falls Hotel's terrace. Nowadays, climate change can have an impact on the flow of the Vic Falls, too. At the end of the dry season, the falls are often a trickle only.
It is a 20 km drive from the Victoria Falls Airport to the Vic Falls. You can either take a taxi or organize a shuttle from your hotel what we did. If you visit the Zimbabwean side's falls, a footpath is leading through the rainforest and along the edge on the opposite of the falls. Be careful if you are walking close to the rim; the park is not well maintained, and solid barriers are missing.
Be aware of the monkeys trying to catch your food or even bag. Swimming in the Zambesi River is not recommended. You will see lots of crocodiles in the evening during your sunset cruise.
5 Facts About Victoria Falls
- Located at two borders; Zambia and Zimbabwe. In total, 75% of the falls are located in Zimbabwe, which is the most impressive part.
- It s the world's largest sheet of falling water and is called "The smoke that thunders"
- Dr David Livingston; a missionary and passionate African explorer from Scotland, was the first European who witnessed this sheer power of mother nature in 1855.
- The Victoria Falls Park and the Zambesi River are rich in wildlife.
- The Zambesi River, the fourth-longest river in Africa, gets divided by the Vic Falls.
- A bottle of water for your walk along the falls. It is always hot during the day.
- Ask for a lunch package or a sandwich in your hotel.
- Depending on the season, a rain jacket or poncho - you don't need any rain gear at the end of the dry season.
- A waterproof cover or bag for your camera.