We Are Victoria Falls
>
Overview
Victoria Falls

The Area

The Area

Victoria Falls, popularly known as Vic Falls, is a small resort city in Zimbabwe.  It lies on the southern bank of the mighty Zambezi River. The river flows along the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe, under the railway bridge that connects the two countries, thundering over the Victoria Falls and through the dramatic Batoka Gorge. The river, falls and bridge provide opportunities for cruising, canoeing, rafting, and adrenaline activities. 

The quaint riverside ‘city’ of Victoria Falls provides entertainment, lodging and a home for its 35,000 residents. We pride ourselves on sharing the space with local wildlife. There are dedicated wildlife corridors through the city, and it is common to see an elephant crossing the road, or pavements filled with baboons. 

The area is also home to many local communities in and around the city. These villages, often known as ‘townships’ are home to many of the city’s tourism workers, as well as artists, crafters and entrepreneurs. In Chinotimba Township, for example, you will find Dusty Road, a vibrant cafe serving tasty local dishes.  

The nearby Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls National Park are home to a magnificent range of birds and wildlife, from buffalo to crocodile, lion and wild dog. These parks border the city and are easily accessible. Hwange National Park, a few hours drive from Victoria Falls offers deeper wilderness experiences for a longer stay.   

KAZA

Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) is one of the largest transfrontier conservation area on earth. It is a system of connected protected areas in the Kavango and Zambezi River basins where Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe converge. It is enormous, larger than Germany and Austria combined and nearly twice as large as the United Kingdom.

This huge area, much of which is a vast and beautiful wilderness of deserts, savannas, marshes and rivers boasts the world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango, and the awe inspiring tumbling cataracts of the Victoria Falls. KAZA is a safari connoisseur’s dream destination with some of Africa’s best wildlife and adventure experiences.

Local communities participate in management of the TFCA through the Transboundary Natural Resources Management Forum. The aim of this forum is to maximize skills and resources to promote sustainable land use, conservation of wildlife and landscapes, and rural development.

KAZA

Our History and People

The first archaeological signs of human activity in Victoria Falls date back three million years. Stone artefacts from the Early, Mid and Late Stone Age have been found in the area. The Stone Age inhabitants were subsequently displaced by Batoka, Matabele and Makolo tribes who, over time, dominated the area.

The first European to see Victoria Falls was Dr David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary and explorer who wanted to find a way to the east coast of Africa.

It was the Makolo tribe, whose descendants still live in the area today, that escorted Dr Livingstone in dug-out canoes to see the falls in 1855. Livingstone named the falls after the reigning British monarch of the time, Queen Victoria.

But European settlement at the falls didn’t start developing until 1900, when imperialist Cecil Rhodes, with ambitions to build a railway from the Cape to Cairo, commissioned a bridge to be built across the mighty Zambezi River. Rhodes died before the Victoria Falls Bridge was completed in 1905.

Trading Post

Trading Post

Although David Livingstone was the first white man to see Victoria Falls on the 17th November 1855. Various local tribes had been living here for years. The town of Victoria Falls originally became established as a trading post called Old Drift on the Zambian side of the river where they used to cross the Zambezi it was moved to the current day location of Livingstone in around 1900

Railway  Town

Railway Town

By 1903 the famed Cape to Cairo Railway was nearing Victoria Falls as part of the extension into central Africa but crossing the Zambezi River posed a major stumbling block. Two crossing points were identified, one up-river near the Old Drift settlement and one over the Batoka Gorge. The latter option was selected by Cecil John Rhodes by famously saying “Build the bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls.”

The                         Victoria Falls Bridge

The Victoria Falls Bridge

The entire 198m long bridge was prefabricated in England by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, before being shipped to the Mozambique port of Beira and then transported on the newly constructed railway to the Victoria Falls. It took just 14 months to construct and was completed in 1905. e Zambezi it was moved to the current day location of Livingstone in around 1900

Victoria                         Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

Once the first steam train arrived in Victoria Falls, plans for the construction of the bridge turned into reality, all of which meant accommodation was needed. The hotel first opened its doors in June 1904 as a simple building of wood with a corrugated iron roof, well raised from the ground to afford ventilation and freedom from damp and pests. It consisted of 12 single rooms and four doubles, a dining room, a bar and offices.

The 1930’s

The 1930’s

While the rest of the world reeled from the post-war Great Depression, domestic and regional travel to the Falls was encouraged by the Railway Company with the offer of inclusive travel and accommodation fares, with passengers staying at the Hotel. The special offer was so successful that the company often had a long waiting list.

First                         Scenic Flights

First Scenic Flights

Towards the end of the 1940’s Spencer’s Airways, using a fleet of one Avro Anson, one de Havilland Fox Moth, a Tiger Moth and one Fairchild UC.61A began offering short pleasure trips over the Falls and safari flights along the Zambezi River.

1980’s                         Tourism Boom

1980’s Tourism Boom

The birth of the adventure sport industry in the early ’80s sent the tourist industry into orbit. By the 1990s Victoria Falls was a boom town, fizzing with new hotels and tour companies. White-water rafting was raging, punters queued up for what was then the world’s highest bungee jump and new ideas for action-packed activities bounced from the drawing board into reality.

Conservation

Focus Areas

Our people and communities live in the heart of the largest conservation area on earth. To live side by side with nature means that we need to conserve and protect it, as well as responsibly manage our growth and development.

Anti-poaching
Anti-poaching

Anti-poaching

The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, The Forestry Commission and several private organisations work collaboratively on measures designed to eradicate poaching and the illegal harvesting of natural resources, ensure effective legal frameworks and deterrents against wildlife crime, strengthen law enforcement, and support sustainable livelihoods.

Visit website
Human Wildlife Conflict Management
Human Wildlife Conflict Management

Human Wildlife Conflict Management

With the current human population growth rate, the increasing demand for natural resources and growing pressure for access to land, conflicts over human–wildlife interactions are present. There are however ongoing efforts by different partners to reduce conflict and increase public support for professional management. Community guardians, mobile bomas, chilli gun deployments, research, monitoring and education are just some of the initiatives underway in collaboration with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to address human-wildlife conflict.

Research and Biological Monitoring
Research and Biological Monitoring

Research and Biological Monitoring

Long-term biological monitoring is key to effective, evidence-based conservation management. In and around Victoria Falls there is ongoing research, disease testing, wildlife and biological monitoring with a strong focus on fostering community-based conservation methods. For example, the Community Guardian program was established in 2016 by Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. Local community members were employed and trained to protect community livestock and villages from wildlife, and to work to mitigate wildlife coming into the communities. The guardians track any collared animals and are able to pre-warn community members in advance of possible conflict.

Visit Website
Relevant organisations
Zimparks
Zimparks

Zimparks

As the mandated authority, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority play a vital role in maintaining the pristine ecology and wildlife within the Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Parks.

Visit website
Forestry
Forestry

Forestry

With so much of the naturally forested areas surrounding Victoria Falls falling under the mandate of the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, they play an integral role in preserving the buffer zones and natural wildlife corridors around and between the National Parks.

Visit website
Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust is a non-profit organization setup in 2008, whose mission is to advance and promote environmental conservation in Southern Africa through hands-on wildlife research; management of a wildlife veterinary diagnostic laboratory and rehabilitation facility; the education and empowerment of local peoples in the sustainable utilization of indigenous resources through active involvement in conservation training and community outreach programs. Based within Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the Trust is dedicated to protecting the area’s unique indigenous fauna and flora, in collaboration with appropriate Authorities, local communities and other stakeholders. Projects include rehabilitation of injured or orphaned wildlife, anti poaching and wildlife veterinary assistance, research and monitoring, community outreach based projects, and a children's conservation education program.

Visit website
The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit
The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of local wildlife and natural resources in and around Victoria Falls. With a City located in one of the most beautiful environments on earth, with unspoiled expanses of wilderness, abundance of wildlife and spectacular settings, it is vitally imperative that support is provided to ensure the protection of the biodiversity which makes this destination so special. Set-up in 1999, VFAPU has worked in close collaboration with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to achieve numerous successes. Efforts are not limited to anti-poaching and include support in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

Visit website
Bhejane Trust
Bhejane Trust

Bhejane Trust

Established in 2010, The Bhejane Trust is dedicated to assisting Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in aspects of the management and operations of the Parks estate in north western Matabeleland. This includes facilitating anti-poaching and deployments, research work, staff welfare, and a host of other missions, as well as its original Rhino monitoring program. Bhejane Trust has been active in the Chamabonda Vlei in Zambezi National Park for over ten years, reviving and implementing key water points for wildlife to supplement their water supply during the dryer months, and to assist with infrastructure development of viewing platforms and hides within the Park.

Visit website

Your Travel Journey Starts Here Subscribe here