Straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, the world's largest sheet of falling water is one of the world's seven natural wonders and a must-visit for thrill seekers, nature lovers and anyone wanting to rediscover their sense of wonder for our planet. The 1700-metre falls are wider than Niagara, higher than Iguazu, and unload 550 million litres of water a minute. Come to Africa without seeing them, and you'll live to regret it.
Perhaps the best part about Victoria Falls is the multitude of ways in which you can admire them. From the Zambian side, there's an edge-of-the-world feeling to be had at the Eastern Cataract lookout point, or the sensation of walking through the falls (complete with a thorough soaking) while crossing the Knife Edge Bridge. On the Zimbabwean side, breathtaking vistas await at the Devil's Cataract and Danger Point. The best views, however, are from World Heritage-listed Livingstone Island. Peer down into the spray-filled gorge sans safety barrier and, if you're brave and visiting in the dry season (August to January), take a dip in the Devil's Pool, nature's ultimate infinity pool set right on the lip of the falls.
Sure, it's touristy, but The Boma restaurant is also loads of fun. Get kitted out in a traditional "chitenge" (like an African sarong) on arrival, before gorging yourself on a "braai" barbecue buffet of local specialities including crocodile, warthog and the infamously awful mopane worm. There'll be shows by traditional dancers and singers, stalls run by fortune tellers and hair braiders, plus the nightly drum show and dancing. Just make sure you leave before the audience participation begins. See theboma.co.zw
Zambia's Mosi-Oa-Tunya national park, where the falls are located, has excellent game drives and walks. Meet an ark-full of creatures including zebra, elephants, buffalo and antelope, plus the park's famous population of white rhino, which you can track on foot with an anti-poaching ranger. A Zambezi River sunset cruise will get you up close and personal with crocodiles, hippos and more as you sip sunset cocktails, before drifting back to your lodge for dinner under the stars.
Coming to Victoria Falls and not taking the "Flight of the Angels" helicopter or microlight flight over them is like visiting Paris and not climbing the Eiffel Tower – it just has to happen. Suspended above this raging curtain of water, you'll see the successive precipices that the falls have carved into the rock over millions of years. You can also take whitewater rafting trips along the Zambezi or, for something gentler, canoeing and fishing. See shearwatervictoriafalls.com
For a real-life Tarzan experience, Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma has 12 luxury treehouses on the banks of the Zambezi, 12 kilometres upstream from the falls. They offer air-conditioning, freestanding tubs and large wooden decks, and there's a communal swimming pool, riverside fire pit area and spa treatment room overlooking the Zambezi. Splurge on one of the two Chuma Houses, and you'll get your own private plunge pools, a private chef, and a private vehicle and guide. See sanctuaryretreats.com
Pack quick-drying clothes and rubber sandals for outings to the falls, and a dry bag for your camera and phone. You'll get the most drenched from March to June, when the Zambezi is at its highest.
Nina Karnikowski was a guest of Luxury Escapes. See luxuryescapes.com