The most impactful place that I’ve been to where I was just completely awestruck, happy, moved is Victoria Falls. It is probably the most beautiful and romantic place in the world.”“HILL HARPER
Vibrant, Energetic and Creative
Victoria Falls Town is an eclectic mix of traditional charm and modern vibrancy all stitched together by a strong community. The town has a large number of talented local artisans from which visitors can purchase creative arts and crafts, musicians and cultural dance groups providing entertainment, and an overall contagious vibrancy and energy.
Accommodation & Food
The town boasts a diversity of accommodation offerings from options for the more budget focused traveller to those looking for high end luxury escapes, and everything in-between. An assortment of restaurants allow for varied taste preferences and experiences, including traditional local cuisine, relaxed open-air cafes and cocktail bars with modern cuisine, bush dinners and exquisite fine-dining.
Renowned as the adrenalin capital of Southern Africa, Victoria Falls has an unlimited number of activities to enjoy from land, sky or water suitable for visitors of all ages, fitness levels and interests. Adrenalin and adventure are not all that is available, and for those looking for a more relaxed, romantic and slow-paced break to enjoy this vibrant town, there are sundowner cruises, dinner cruises, yoga and wellness options available.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.