Founded in 1905 and named after the famous Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone, Livingstone owes its existence primarily to Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya - the Smoke that Thunders, as it is aptly named.
Rich in culture and history with a mix of colonial architecture, museums, craft producers and traditional village life mixing naturally alongside backpackers and five star lodges, Livingstone is today at the heart of Zambia
There’s no denying that Victoria Falls remains the primary attraction. Peering into the deep crevice and cascading waters below, soaked to the core by the spray and silenced by the force of nature, this Natural Wonder of the World will leave you breathless and is certainly one of the more dramatic places to visit whilst touring Southern Africa.
Walk the pathway. And remember visiting the Falls doesn’t have to be done in khaki.
Yet visiting the mighty Victoria Falls and walking the pathway above the gorge will only take a couple of hours, which will leave you plenty of time to explore the other attractions that this vibrant African town has to offer.
For the adventurous, a must is a bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge into the ravine below – not for everybody but I’ve done Bloukrans in the Eastern Cape and have this high on my wish list! There’s also abseiling above the Batoka gorge only 3km away and some of the best white water rafting on offer. For those in the know it boasts several Class V rapids.
See the Falls from above to offer a true perspective of scale. Either by helicopter for a short flight over The Falls or the longer flight that will skim above the rapids of the Zambezi River and finish with a flight over the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. Another option for those somewhat braver, is a microlight flight over the Falls, but keeping a fair distance.
Take in the magic of game viewing from the water with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi, with elephants, buffalo, hippo and crocodile to be spotted. Canoe Safaris are also on offer in the Upper Zambezi River, a beautiful place rich with vegetation. Here the rapids are small with plenty of opportunity to take in the beauty.
Animal Interactions such as the elephant back safaris offer ‘eco friendly’ game viewing and an opportunity to learn more about these beloved animals. This is more an elephant experience than elephant riding, with only positive training methods used. There is something very special about being this close to an elephant. It tends to bring out the emotions.
The Lion Encounter is an active conservation program that offers the chance to literally walk with the lions. As part of a four-tier program, they are bred in captivity and slowly taught to hunt and be independent, before ultimately being released into the wild. Walking in the bush holding the tail of a lion is certainly surreal.
Important to get a feel of the town itself with a visit to the Livingstone Museum and the Maramba and Salaula Markets that sell everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to colourful fabrics and second hand clothes.
The local Livingstone Chief encourages visitors to his village, where a headman will escort you around; show you how traditional huts are made and touch on the complexities of village politics. I highly recommend this.
No matter where you’re staying, allow yourself a treat one afternoon. Take a taxi to The Royal Livingstone Hotel and settle on the deck overlooking the Zambezi River for high tea. There are usually vervet monkeys around trying to help themselves to a scone or two. The Zambezi river runs by with its high population of rhino and crocodile and there is an air of colonial living about.
As much as game viewing from the water offers a tranquil experience, a Game Drive in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park connects you with a land richly populated by game. This is offered in 4x4 open safari vehicles in either the morning or evening. Never think twice abut taking a big game safari.
When is the best to visit the Victoria Falls? Victoria Falls is a spectacular throughout the year, yet it’s at its most impressive between February and May when the water levels are highest. By contrast the dry season of October and November is best suited to the heat seeker, with June to August offering a good balance.
Whenever you get to Livingstone, its worthy of a good few days stay, not only for the natural wonder that is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, but to really get a feel of this place that merges history and natural beauty with an endless array of activities.
For help planning a trip to Livingstone and Victoria Falls and organising any of the activities mentioned above contact one of our experts on 020 7843 3500.
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