Visiting Victoria Falls from Johannesburg

June 3, 2013 by

Things To Do, Tours & Activities

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls. Creative commons photo by i_pinz via Flickr.

For many visitors to South Africa, it’s too tempting to be that close to the monstrous Victoria Falls on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and not make a short detour to go see it. The best jumping-off point is Johannesburg, but even then it takes some advance planning.

The 355-foot tall Victoria Falls are on the Zambezi River, and the claim is that it’s the largest waterfall on earth. Even if that’s debatable, there’s no debating the power and majesty of seeing the falls in person. The official Zambian name for the falls translates to “The Smoke that Thunders,” which should give you an idea of both the look and the sound of the falls, particularly during the rainy season when they’re at their strongest.

Whereas there are plenty of great day trips from Johannesburg to nearby attractions, Victoria Falls is far enough away that it requires a bit more time to get there and back with enough time in the middle to actually see and appreciate the falls. To drive from Johannesburg would be a journey of more than 805 miles one-way, and the roads aren’t exactly super-highways. You’d likely have to allocate at least two days to make the one-way trip.

The overnight train from the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe is an option, but you would still need to get from Johannesburg to Bolawayo. By far the easiest and fastest way to get to Victoria Falls from Johannesburg is to fly. There are direct daily flights on both South African Airways and British Airways. You can also book a multi-day South Africa tour that includes Victoria Falls as well as a safari.

- Jessica Spiegel

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