By Palm River Hotel on 15 April 2024

Your Self-Guided Victoria Falls Tour

While guided tours are informative and an excellent way to meet fellow travellers, you may decide that a self-guided walk through Victoria Falls National Park’s rainforest is more your speed.

No matter what, being in the presence of the world’s largest waterfall (in terms of volume) is pretty awe-inspiring stuff. The crash of the water, the constant spray and the beauty of the rainforest’s lush undergrowth all contributes to a feeling of total exhilaration.

When walking along the footpath that skirts the edge of the gorge you will have no doubt as to why Victoria Falls has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

The Palm River Hotel, located on the banks of the Zambezi River, is only 5,4km from the park’s front gate. If you require transport to and from the park, simply let us know and we’d be happy to arrange it for you. Read on for everything you need to know about navigating the Falls solo, or with your group!

The Cliff Path

You’ve paid your entry fees and are now inside Victoria Falls National Park. On the other side of the gates you will find vendors selling curios and a few offering rain ponchos for hire.

If you have a camera with you, or don’t feel like getting wet, taking along a raincoat or some form of waterproofing is essential. If you don’t mind getting wet, or don’t have any electricals to protect, there is something wonderful about getting absolutely drenched from the waterfall’s spray! (Especially in the summer months when the days are hot.)

The pathway is paved and easy to navigate, with turn-offs that take you closer to the cliff’s edge. The railings at the various viewpoints serve as boundaries more than sturdy protection against the steep plummet. This adds an element of ‘closeness’ to your viewing experience as there isn’t much between you and the spectacular waterfall, but it does merit a word of warning to be careful about how close you walk to the edge.

The path winds through the rainforest, which is beautiful in its own right. From within the treeline, you can catch glimpses of the Falls. Sometimes the spray is so dense that it feels misty, but this is simply water whipped up from the belly of the chasm. Along the path there are numerous information boards sharing facts on the Falls, the flora and fauna of the forest and naming each viewpoint.

The path will take you along the entire gorge and turns back towards the park’s entrance after a final view of the Victoria Falls Bridge, where you can see jelly-kneed bungee jumpers preparing for their leap into the ravine.

It’s worth checking out The Rainforest Café before you leave the park – they serve excellent coffee and have great lunch options.

 

Breaking Down The Viewpoints

The first thing you’ll see upon nearing the waterfall is a statue of David Livingstone. (Livingstone is believed to be the first European to lay eyes on the Falls in 1855.) You are now on the western end of the Falls’ chasm and the viewpoint directly in front of you is called Devil’s Cataract.

A little further along the path, you will see a set of (steep) stairs called the Chain Walk. From the bottom you can look directly into the belly of Devil’s Cataract and, if conditions are clear, see Cataract Island.

As you progress down the pathway, the viewpoints give you an excellent aspect of the Main Falls. It’s magical to pop in and out of the forest, only to be confronted with the sheer might of Victoria Falls all over again.

Look out for viewpoints called Horseshoe Falls, Livingstone Island, Rainbow Falls, Danger Point and Boiling Pot. It’s interesting to note that the pool below Horseshoe Falls is 95m deep – can you imagine the force of the water crashing down into that chasm every day to cause such a deep pit?

From the Boiling Pot lookout point, you will be able to see the bridge that links Zimbabwe and Zambia. Looking down, the water is so tumultuous that it appears to be “boiling”.

RAINFOREST MAP

10 Interesting Facts About Vic Falls

  1. Victoria Falls spans 1708 m in width and 108 m in height.
  2. The Falls are locally known as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” which means “The Smoke That Thunders.”
  3. David Livingstone introduced Victoria Falls to the Western world in 1855, naming it after Queen Victoria.
  4. The Falls were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.
  5. Devil’s Pool: Forms during dry season, offering a daring swimming experience.
  6. Vibrant rainbows often arch across the gorge.
  7. You can participate in thrilling activities like bungee jumping and white-water rafting.
  8. Flow Variation: Water levels vary seasonally, from low to powerful flows.
  9. Bridge: The Victoria Falls Bridge, completed in 1905, connects Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  10. Victoria Falls is important to the local economy, drawing tourists and providing employment for many in the area.

Stay With Us

Make the Palm River Hotel the base for your self-guided adventures around Victoria Falls! Experience the magic of this iconic destination firsthand and create memories to last a lifetime.

Book your stay with us today, either online or via onlinereservations@palmriverhotel.com, and let the journey begin!

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