The Upper Zambezi River Cruise is a wonderful way to soak up the atmosphere of this magnificent River. Enjoy morning, lunch, sunset and dinner options
Lush riverine vegetation, beautiful scenery, prolific birdlife and a variety of wildlife, means going on at least one cruise on the iconic Zambezi River is an absolute must for every visitor to Victoria Falls.
There is a great variety of cruises available, including early morning, lunch, sunset cruises and dinner cruises. There is also a huge variety of boats from small private boats of 8 to 10 people up to large party boats that carry 120 people.
Each boat is catering for different sectors in the market, from bulk standard through to fancy luxury. If you need advice on which cruise to book, please contact us.
In Zimbabwe, the boats launch about 5 kilometers upstream of the Victoria Falls well out of dangerous way of going over the edge, some people are often wary of this.
Although the Zambezi River is a very large river (2700 km long), there are still rocks and rapids which means that in this section by Victoria Falls only about 5 kilometers of the river is navigable for these large boats.
The bigger boats normally head upstream a little way and then turn around to return slowly giving you plenty of time to take in the magnificence of your surroundings. You will see plenty of crocodiles and hippos and the birdlife is spectacular. Often elephants are seen crossing the river to get to the lush vegetation on the islands. Giraffe, baboons and other plains games are also often seen.
As you look downstream you can normally see the spray from the mighty Victoria Falls rising high into the sky and you imagine to yourself, that this must have been the same view that David Livingstone had, as he approached the Falls for the very first time in 1855. It’s difficult to understand the excitement he must have felt. What does confuse and disappoint some people is that you cannot see the waterfall from any one of these cruises. They are all above the Falls themselves and all you will see is the rising spray from the Falls.
There are no sedate boat cruises below the waterfall, but the seasonal jetboat, which is an adrenaline activity, does offer you a view of Victoria Falls from below. This can also be achieved on a white water rafting trip but also only at certain times of the year, during the low water season.
Strangely enough, there are very few boats out on the river in the early morning, which is one of the added benefits of these cruises.
Possibly they are just not as well-publicized as the sunset cruises or it could be that many folks don't like getting up early. However if you can drag yourself out of bed you won't be disappointed, the peace and tranquillity is simply stunning.
Sedate sunrise cruise on the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Wonderfully serene sunrise cruise on the Zambezi River
It is cool and calm and at certain times of the year, mist hovers over the glass-like water, catching the early morning glows of the rising sun to create unforgettable photographs and memories. Sunrise and breakfast cruises typically attract birding and photography enthusiasts, but I highly recommend this activity to anyone - far fewer boats than at sunset, making it uniquely special to you.
There are a couple of different options for these cruises, depending on if you want to specialize in something or just cruise. A new offering is now with teas, coffees and muffins but without breakfast, as that is normally included in your hotel rate. What a way to spend your last morning in Victoria Falls before flying out at around midday. Please contact us for details.
As with the morning cruises, these lunch river cruises don't seem to attract as many people as the afternoon sunset cruises, but are in my view are still worthwhile if you have a couple of hours spare in the middle of the day and don't want to sit in your hotel room.
Cruising along the Zambezi River in the hot midday, whilst you relax comfortably in the shade with a cool breeze catching your skin. Waiters endlessly serve you refreshing drinks as you soak up the vibrant colors and scenery...it is wonderful.
You may encounter some wildlife along the river banks, and certainly the Zambezi regulars - hippos, crocodiles and a splendid array of birdlife. Gourmet lunch or finger snacks are served depending on the boat you're on. The sizes of the boats also vary from very small to double-decker.
Read this article on the different types of cruises and how to choose
This seems to be the one activity that just about every visitor to Victoria Falls does, and rightly so as it is a very enjoyable experience. There are numerous boats of all shapes and sizes on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian side of the river.
Cruises range from a basic booze cruise up to high-end luxury cruises. Each of the boats offers something different and deciding on which one to choose would depend partly on your budget, as well as your personal preferences. You may also want a quiet dinner after the sun goes down.
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We travelled with Falcon Safaris in Zimbabwe and Botswana for 16 days. Falcon designed a wonderful trip with private guide to the most interesting sites in both countries. The organization of the whole trip was excellent, flights within the country, accommodation and activites. The guides were very knowledgable and told us a lot about the countries, their history, people, economy and much more. Wevisited the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the Victoria Falls and a number of national parks in both countries.
Rhino tracking was a real adventure! We had tremendous further game drives and saw very many animals - we did the Big Five. We had much more activities than planned and enjoyed very much.We strongly recommend Falcon Safaris to everyone planning a trip to Southern Africa and East Africa.
Our Consultant Vimbai was very helpful and accommodating. We stayed at the Elephant hills hotel which was nothing short of amazing.Our activities included a helicopter flight, dinner cruise as well as a morning game drive. All the activities were absolutely amazing.
We worked with Gertrude to schedule and organize everything and she did an excellent job. I asked a lot of questions via e-mail and she answered everyone in a timely helpful manner. Our guide at Victoria Falls was also great. He met us at the airport, provided a thoughtful tour of the Falls and got us to our next guide in Botswana. Our lodgings at River View Lodge were just as described- very comfortable and excellent food. All the staff were so pleasant and helpful. If I had to do it again I would arrange a morning boat ride as well. We only did the sunset boat rides and they were the high point of our entire trip- we saw so many animals and our guide was very knowledgeable. Just a great experience. Our lodgings at Oddball's Enclave was rustic and we loved it. So great to disconnect from the world for a bit. Leo, our guide, was the best - got us out and about, saw fantastic wildlife and got back to camp safely each time. Doc manages the camp so well. This whole trip was planned and organized by Falcon Safaris and we could not have been happier.
Falcon safaris have given my the correct advice with excellent service. The only suggestion will be to work closer with the lodges to confirm bookings as soon as possible. We have booked and pay our deposit a year in advance. We have only receive our final convermation from Chobe Safari lodge a week before departure. I do realize its not within your controle but with limit alternatives and a group of 14 people it becomes an issue to find alternative accomodation if the booking was cancelled.
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