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Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

Stoke-on-Trent...
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Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

I've read lots of posts but I can't quite find exactly the info I want. I want to plan a 3 stop visit, starting at the Okavango delta for a water safari, moving inland (maybe Chobe?) for a land safari, then ending up at Victoria Falls for a couple of days as I want to go whitewater rafting. My problem is timing, as it seems maybe October is best for game viewing but the Falls aren't worth viewing then, but if I go to the Falls in April May, the game viewing isn't as good. I would appreciate some guidance on the best way to combine these two, or the compromises needed to balance the best visit please. Heat is not a problem for us (we happily toured Death Valley this year!), the only other consideration might be when high/low season is for malaria (I'm guessing rainy season?).

We are going to do this in 2020 for my 50th so plenty of time to plan for the right tour.

12 replies to this topic
london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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1. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

In terms of land and water, there are both land and water options in the delta, and other land options besides Chobe, such as the private concessions of the Linyanti.

However, your question mainly concerns timing. One more issue to consider is the rafting, as there is a season for that too. I think it's at its best at low water, so probably around Oct-Nov, but I know the full run of rapids isn't open until a certain point (May/Jun?).

So combining all those factors, it might put a good time as July to early Aug.

Of course, that puts you into high season pricing which is another factor again. Normally I'd suggest going in May-June or Nov to avoid high season.

If you hadn't mentioned the rafting I'd have said May or June- I love this time of year, and May will be shoulder pricing in all camps to my knowledge, and June is still shoulder for some. But you might not have the best rafting at that time- I'm not sure but it's something to look into.

You certainly wouldn't have heat to contend with in May or June!!!

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

The rapids are usually closed from Feb until about May/June.... when they open some of the rapids....

Whens its high water they are closed...

From July/August for the remainder of the year the full course of the rapids open...

Going in april will probably mean the rapids arent able to be used.

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39 posts
10 reviews
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3. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

My husband and I have just returned home from a 4 week safari in Namibia/Victoria Falls/Botswana.We went in early September going on a 2 week safari in Namibia first then 3 days at Victoria Falls followed by a stay for 3 nights at 2 different camps in Botswana.

While the flow over the Falls was a bit low especially on the Zamibia side they were still a great sight. On our first day there we went to Livingstone Island and did the Devil's Pool swim. Due to the water levels this only opened in the 3rd week of August. The next day my husband went white water rafting. He reckons it was the best rafting he has ever done. Because of the water level the course began very close to the bottom of the Falls. I believe when the water level is higher the rafting starts further down the river.

The wildlife viewing at both camps we went too was also amazing. On speaking to the guides at both these camps most recommended August/September as the best wildlife viewing months. I did find that it got very hot during the day (and I live in Queensland,Australia) but this was the time when all animals humans included found a shady spot and had a nap.

Despite the peck pricing if I was to do it all again (Victoria Falls and Botswana safari) I would go in August or early September.

Edited: 7:29 pm, October 09, 2018
Stoke-on-Trent...
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4. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

Thank you all for your replies. Looks like August is the best compromise.

Stoke-on-Trent...
Level Contributor
43 posts
11 reviews
8 helpful votes
5. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

Sandra, when you say the falls were a bit low, do you have any pics you could post a link to? I don’t want to pick the wrong time and be disappointed with a trickle (comparatively!) of water.

Redlands, California
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6. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

I was at VF in early August and there was a LOT of water. It threw up so much spray we had to wear rain ponchos and you could hardly take photos. I can't imagine it being much more impressive.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

I was there last August... still very impressive, you can see the spray from miles away...

Most locals said its actually better viewing than in high flow, where the water is so powerful and the spray so much the visibility almost becomes nothing... meaning you cant see the falls anyway...

Weather is great in August (it averaged 29c for 4 days), very little chance of rain, most activities operational...

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8. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

I am sorry I do not know if it is possible to attach a few photos to this forum.I am still processing my photos and will download them onto a Flickr account later.

You made find the following website useful:www.victoriafalls-guide.net

It gives useful information on the best time to go to Victoria Falls.

Rafting is closed April/May due to excessive high water level and reopens around July with the best rafting in August through to December.

Livingstone Island/Devil's Pool only reopens mid to late August. I would recommend this tour. The company has a high safety record and we got some great photos standing on the edge of the Falls with a full rainbow on display.

In March/April huge volumes of spray makes viewing of the Falls from ground level difficult but great for aerial viewing.I would highly recommend the helicopter flight whatever time of the year you go.

In September when we were at Victoria Falls I would say the water level on the Zamibia was low,not down to a trickle but close. Had all the Falls been like this it would have been disappointing. We spent 2 hours viewing the Falls from the Zimbabwe side and the views were great. We did take rain jackets but did not need them. I would suggest that viewing the Falls a few weeks earlier would be better ie early/mid August and also give you the opportunity for a great rafting experience.

Edited: 11:09 pm, October 10, 2018
Hong Kong, China
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9. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

Hi Sandra,

Did you use a tour company? If so, which one?

Thank you!

Level Contributor
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10. Re: Combining Safaris with Victoria Falls

I did a small group guided tour of Namibia with Ultimate Safaris, 3 independent days at Victoria Falls then flew into the 2 camps in Botswana. I booked it all through Encompass Africa who are based in Brisbane. They also booked all our transfers and airport pick ups. All flowed like clockwork.

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