I recently got the chance to experience the gay adventure capital of Africa, Victoria Falls. And, oh, it was fabulous!
I often imagine what Africa must have been like for the early explorers. The exhilaration of "discovering" wild animals and places – venturing into the unknown and uncharted. There's something so mysterious and exciting about it!
The Smoke that Thunders. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa
Well, we all know that Africa is full of extraordinary creatures found nowhere else on earth. However, their homes are something to write home about, too, as the continent has some of the world's most unforgettable landscapes. And Victoria Falls is one of these that will quite literally take your breath away (she's a beauty, but as the gay adventure capital of Africa, she's also rather thrilling).
When first setting eyes on the incredible Victoria Falls, early explorer David Livingstone uttered a quote that can give us a glimpse of what it must have been like. He described his first encounter as such:
"No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."
In short, it was love at first sight.
Bird’s-eye-view of majesty. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa
Dr Livingstone named Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria. However it's known locally as "Mosi-oa-Tunya", which translates to "The Smoke that Thunders". When you see it in all its glory with your own two eyes, this nickname will make a lot of sense!
It also has all the brag-worthy titles, from being one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.
Victoria Falls is classified as the world's largest waterfall. Although not the tallest or longest, it earned this title because it produces the world's largest sheet of falling water. At 108m high and over 1700m wide – it's almost twice the height of Niagara Falls and is so long that it even straddles two countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
We guess Victoria Falls wants a little bit of everything to herself and could not make up her mind between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Sounds familiar to us!
The mighty Zambezi River. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa
What surprises most visitors is that it has a high and low season based on upstream rainfall patterns. This rain feeds the mighty Zambezi River, which then flows over Victoria Falls. Therefore, rainfall patterns from high up in the Angolan Highlands dictate the water flowing over the falls. And the amount of rainfall directly affects the way you experience her wonders!
High water is generally between February and July. Visiting during this time, you are likely to experience a dense, thick spray thrown up by the falling water. This produces incredible rainbows and also guarantees to soak everyone. While white-water rafting is generally not possible during this time, a helicopter trip over the falls is simply incredible.
Low water levels are experienced between August and January and provide visitors with an exceptional full view of the length and breadth of the falls. This is also the best time to visit the legendary Devil's Pool which sits right on the falls' edge.
Devil’s Pool is a daredevil’s swimming pool. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa
When you come to visit Victoria Falls, at some point, you'll encounter the mysterious Nyami Nyami. This is a local mythical creature, with the head of a fish and the body of a snake. And the Nyami Nyami is the guardian of the Zambezi River and one of the most important deities of the local Tsonga people.
Victoria Falls is the gay adventure capital of Africa, and there truly is an incredible variety of activities on offer for the adventure enthusiast or the curious traveller alike.
With some of the best white water rafting in the world, these rapids, with names like 'the boiling pot', 'gnashing jaws of death' or 'oblivion', are ready to be tamed.
However, if you'd prefer not to get your hair wet, there's also a thrilling gorge swing, set 120m above the gorge with a massive 70m free-fall. Or even a magical zip-line experience with over 400m of effortless gliding – the longest in the world.
Tranquility and adventure in equal measures. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa
Then there's bungee jumping, helicopter rides or canopy, cultural, and bike tours on offer as well. Tiger fishing is also a real highlight here, with these aggressive predator fish providing anglers with a great fight when caught.
There really is such a wide variety on offer, and you will be hard-pressed not to find your perfect way to explore this natural wonder.
Here are my top five activities I think everyone should try:
The options are endless when looking for accommodation at Victoria Falls. Although it has something for everyone's pocket, it will also impress even the most discerning traveller who's looking for something unique and a cut above the rest.
Here are our top six places to stay when visiting Victoria Falls:
Located minutes upstream from the Victoria Falls, this was the first private game lodge within the Zambezi National Park. Offering all the exciting activities at the falls, you also have the opportunity of doing game drives and river cruises.
For those looking for something unique, their sister lodge, the Victoria Falls Island Lodge, offers luxury accommodation on a secluded island slam bam in the middle of the Zambezi River – a real highlight.
Plunge pool overlooking the Zambezi River. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa.
Resting on a private stretch of the banks of the Zambezi River, this Relais & Châteaux property offers the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity. The staff at Royal Chundu elevates this property above all the rest, and a stay at their Island Lodge is something that will change your life forever.
Riverside bliss. Photo Credit: Royal Chundu
With a prime location overlooking Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe's side, this iconic hotel has also been a member of the Leading Hotels of the World since 2013. The old Edwardian charm, coupled with impeccable service, means this delightful manor delivers an unparalleled experience.
Old Edwardian Charm. Photo Credit: The Victoria Falls Hotel Lodge
This lodge is situated within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and consists of 12 luxury safari tents overlooking the Zambezi River. Enjoy incredible boat and vehicle safaris at Toka Leya or head into Livingstone and explore the museum or curio shops.
Luxury tented camp. Photo Credit: Toka Leya Camp
Famed for its luxury ambience, this lodge is a must for those looking for a romantic hide-away while exploring Victoria Falls. Magnificent river views, private terraces with private plunge pools and open-air baths make for a perfect getaway for celebrating a special occasion or honeymoon.
Bath with a view. Photo Credit: Tongabezi Lodge
Located downstream of the Victoria Falls and on a private concession along the Zambezi River, this lodge offers an authentic luxury safari retreat.
The sensationally appointed suites, with a private plunge pool, allow each guest the opportunity to connect with the natural surroundings fully. And since they offer both day and night game drives, you get a full safari experience combined with your time marvelling the Victoria Falls.
Plunge pool right on the Zambezi River. Photo Credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls
Look, Victoria Falls is a heavy-weight safari destination and a must-see for any African travel enthusiast. For early explorers to modern-day travellers, the wonder of the falls is something you will never forget. But what makes it such a popular gay tourist destination is that it's a bit of a haven for gay travellers.
Luke & Luke enjoying sundowners on the Zambezi. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa.
We can almost guarantee that you'll run into fellow fabulous folk looking for a judgement-free African holiday here!
It's also stress-free, with easy flight options and an advanced travel hub in the area. Therefore, a luxury Victoria Falls experience is the perfect addition to any southern African itinerary. Add in the impressive adventure options, and this destination has something for every gay traveller.
Magnificence awaits. Photo Credit: Rhino Africa
Our Travel Experts know that Victoria Falls is a bucket-list experience every gay traveller should tick off, so contact them immediately to start planning your next adventure.
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