Named after the famous Victorian missionary explorer, Dr David Livingstone who explored the area extensively, the town of Livingstone is situated in southwestern Zambia, a few kilometers from the Zambezi River and the border with Zimbabwe. The main draw of a visit to Livingstone is Victoria Falls. “Its amazing and there is so much to do there too”, says Lucy Grewcock.
Thinking of visiting Zambia? Here Lucy gives us her top five adventures in Livingstone…
1. Microlighting Victoria Falls
Zip up your flying suit, pull on a helmet and give your pilot the OK before you glide into the African sky and soar above the world’s largest waterfall at sunrise. Exposed to the elements and with unobstructed views, this has to be the most spectacular way to experience Vic Falls. Beneath you, the Zambezi meanders peacefully across Zambian plains before thundering over the lip of Bokota Gorge and surging into Zimbabwe. Swoop down to take a closer look at families of elephants marching through Mosi-Oa National Park, and watch pink-eared hippos wallowing in glimmering pools while the rising sun scorches the horizon. No experience necessary but there is a weight limit of about 16 stone; see www.seasonsinafrica.com.
2. Quad biking through the bush
Victoria Falls is the sole focus of most visits to Livingstone, but experiencing the world beyond the waterfalls can give a fascinating new perspective. Rev up a quad bike and ride into the African bush, skidding through the dirt and flying over humps on designated tracks, or safari through the scrub to visit local mud and stick villages, where you can meet the villagers and experience everyday life in rural Zambia. Wildlife wanders freely to and from the nearby Mosi-Oa National Park, so quad biking can often double up as a safari – look out for rouge baboons and wandering elephants or click off the engine to listen for impala and zebra. See www.seasonsinafrica.com.
3. Wet ‘n’ wild walking Victoria Falls
A rite of passage for Livingstone visitors, the pathways that meander past Vic Falls give jaw-dropping panoramas and are reliably drenched in spray. With up to 500 million litres of water plunging over the falls each minute, clouds of water can rise more than 18m above the Zambezi, showering back down like rain or falling as a torrential downpour in certain sections. Knife-Edge Bridge offers some of the best but wettest vistas (July to March promises the clearest views), and further on you can watch bungee jumpers plummet over the chasm. Spray-soaked rainforest fringes the falls and, as you tramp beneath the trees, baboons chase across the tracks and dangle down from the branches above.
4. Riverboarding the Zambezi
Get kitted out with a bodyboard, fins, a life jacket and a helmet, then plunge into the Zambezi to ride down the rapids and surf some of the world’s biggest fresh water waves. Surrounded by dark and dramatic gorge scenery, you’ll have a chance to catch your breath in the calm waters between each set of rapids before roller-coaster riding down the next set. Serious surfers bring their own boards, keeping their fingers crossed for an appearance of the hollow tube, which occasionally forms at Rapid 11. See www.afrizim.com.
5. Swim Devil’s Pool
The ultimate infinity pool, a tranquil lagoon forms at the tipping point of the falls during the dry season. Visitors wade across from Livingstone Island, then swim to the edge or allow the water to propel them inches from an eye-popping 30m drop. Contained by a submerged lip of rock, children and adults alike bathe in Devil’s Pool, stretching their arms over the edge and peering over the ravine while the Zambezi thunders past. It may seem like madness but no tourist has ever been swept away.