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Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

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Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

Hello Fellow Travelers and Experts,

My sons and I will be traveling in Botswana in July. We likely will be going to Victoria Falls. I have looked at some of the activities there. I want to be clear that I don't mean this to be insulting, but I have some trepidation about how touristy it may be. The list of possible activities makes it appear a bit like a theme park. I am certain the falls themselves are spectacular, but I wonder, given my sensibilities as someone who is less than excited about being among crowds of tourists, if it would be better for us to spend more time elsewhere in the country. Can someone please give a reality check on what the atmosphere is like around the falls, especially in July?

Cheers!

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

In my mind VF is worth a morning/afternoon and one night (unless interested in some adventure activities which I wasn't). The morning/afternoon is for viewing the falls (I was there end of March and couldn't really get close owing to the spray). The highlight for me was the sunset cruise during which you get to see lots of hippos and waterfowl skimming the river, all the while relaxing with a Zambezi beer or two (included in price in my case). After a night's rest it's time to move on.

Cornwall England
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2. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

We did the breakfast cruise/walk to the falls in June. Great fun, few tourists and we got to look over the edge! Arranged by Waterberry Lodge. Stayed there two nights so also did evening and early morning cruise on their small boat. Not to be missed. C

london
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3. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

I've been to the falls 4 times- Aug 1994, May 2000, Sept 2006 and Oct 2009. Over that time period, the sort of activities I've been interested in has changed a lot- from white water rafting in 1994 to a sedate afternoon boat cruise in 2009. There is quite a range of activities available to suit most interests, but if you aren't interested in the gorge swinging, bungee jumping white water rafting type of thing, there are other activities, but I think a night or two would be sufficient. If you want something quiet and non touristy I would recommend one of the afternoon boat trips in one of the small boats (6-10 guests) that is more of a nature viewing trip. The larger boats can have more of a "booze cruise" atmosphere especially if you find yourself on the boat with a large tour group who are keen to take advantage of the unlimited alcohol included. But the smaller boats generally stay away from the larger boats, as the small boats get in close to the banks, in the shallower water to look at birds, etc.

Bear in mind that these activities are all carried out in different areas, so it's not as if you would even be aware of them if you just go and look at the falls. The areas where you walk around the falls (on both sides) are quite pleasant pathways, in and out of trees and round to various viewpoints.

The question of whether it's worth a visit rather depends what else you are doing and what you have to give up. If, for example, you have a good 10 days of safari in Botswana, it's easy to tag on a day or 2 at the falls, and I would do it. But if you only have a week, and you might have to sacrifice some of that safari time to see the falls, that is a different question entirely. But logisitcally, if you are in the northern Botswana area and have to fly back home from Johannesburg, there are 2 ways- to Maun then fly to Johannesburg, or to Kasane, road transfer to Vic Falls or Livingstone, then fly back to Johannesburg. So adding the falls is very easy, so unless you're really pushed for time to do other things, I think it's worth a visit.

Fish Hoek, South...
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4. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

Visited the falls 9th May 2015, quite spectacular. Made use of a special 4 day 3 night excursion & had a wonderful very hectic stay, felt like 3 weeks. Optional extras were the sunset cruise on the Zambesi, a walk through the rain forest, very wet in places from the spray, helicopter aerial view (well worth it), a night game drive including braai (barbecue) & a visit to Chobe with a morning cruise on the Chobe River, lunch at the Lodge & an afternoon game drive. We didn't see any cats, pity, but plenty of animals & birds. Last morning was a general walk round the Vic Falls village & craft market.

Best part for us was few tourists, but not good for the economy.

Edited: 22 May 2015, 01:32
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5. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

I was in Vic Falls in 2012, did not find it touristy, really, and not a lot of people there besides the locals. The helicopter ride over the Falls is definitely worth it, and we also rode horses in the wildlife park (so could get closer to the wild animals) The tour of the Falls was spectacular!

Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

Victoria Falls is definitely not a "theme park". Yes it is a centre for tourist going to Zimbabwe but there are so few tourist that go to Zimbabwe. You can walk along the main road at mid-day for a couple of hundred meters before you see a tourist. At the actual falls if you want to be alone and just happen to get there at the same time as a party, just sit back and admire the view for 5 minutes before you carry on. Whatever activity you decide to do then you will meet other tourist waiting to do the same thing but I have always found these to be small enough groups so that you get to talk to them and you end up sharing experiences.

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7. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

We went Aug 2014. I did lots of research because I didn't want to be caught up with loads of tourists. We stayed 3 nights so we had 2 full days. We stayed in at Zambezi Sun hotel as this gave us direct access to the Falls within minutes. What we did - Explored the Falls at different times of the day, the best being 6.30 am. It was magical, only about 5 people there. Having drinks at the Royal Livingston by the edge of the Zambezi, watching the sun go down, then eating there. Going over to Zimbabwe for the day and having a local guide taking us around the Falls on that side. The Falls were great but so was our guide, such a humble, knowledgeable chap. We rafted down the Zambezi and the next day took a more leisurely boat trip on the top. We saw animals in their natural habitat and had locals to explain many interesting things to us. While being transported to these places we were able to see people going about their everyday life, very different to ours. Both times it was just our family of 4, but even if you go with a group it’s not going to be more than about 8. We rafted in the afternoon as it suited our itinerary best and we were the only boat we saw. An experience we often talk about! The helicopter flight completed our experiences. So we flew over, rafted down, floated on top, walked around and swam in the Zambezi! I avoided any thing to do with cruises that evolved more than 8 people or alcohol. I avoided thing like ‘walking with lions’. My husband has been to Niagara and much preferred his experience at Victoria Falls. I found the whole experience magical, both the place and the people.

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8. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

We were fairly luke warm with Vic Falls. It is quite spectacular, but personally I preferred the Iguazu Falls in Brazil/Argentina. It is relatively touristy on both sides of the border. We did one touristy activity which was the white water rafting which I must admit was excellent. We visited the falls independently on the Zimbabwean side. We visited as we were literally passing. I don't feel like I would be missing out too much if we didn't see them compared to the other places such as Etosha, Okavango, Damaraland. I think you just need to ask yourself how much you like waterfalls and if you have seen any on this scale before.

9. Re: Victoria Falls - Overview of the Atmosphere Please

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