Discovering a Victoria Falls Lunar Rainbow | Ilala Lodge Hotel Blog
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Discovering a Victoria Falls Lunar Rainbow

By Ilala Lodge on October 30, 2023

“Nothing but breathing the air of Africa, and actually walking through it, can communicate the indescribable sensations.” – William Burchell

What is a moonbow or lunar rainbow?

Rainbows remain magical, no matter how old we get. What if we told you that a similar phenomenon is possible by the light of the moon? It’s called a lunar rainbow, or, simply, a moonbow.

On clear nights when the moon is full, Victoria Falls, with its constant spray of water being whipped up from the belly of the chasm and settling about the ravine in a fine mist, creates the perfect conditions for a moonbow.

The moon’s bright light reflects off the water particles in the air and refracts to reveal a splendour of colours under the starry night sky.

victoria falls full moon

Not only are the Falls themselves a sight to behold at night, but the addition of a moonbow paints a scene plucked straight from the pages of a Tolkien fantasy novel.

As incredible as it is to simply take this wondrous scene in, it’s also an opportunity for avid photographers to capture something truly special. The Victoria Falls Lunar Rainbows are still something of a secret, so the chances are that the pathways in the rainforest won’t be crowded, allowing you to set up the perfect shot.

When can I see a Victoria Falls lunar rainbow?

If you’re resolute on seeing this stunning natural occurrence, the best time of year is when the Zambezi River is full (high-water season is from the beginning of April to the end of July).

Plan your trip to coincide with the full moon. On these nights, Victoria Falls National Park opens the rainforest for nighttime visitors to come and enjoy this occurrence – weather and spray permitting!

To find out more about these special tours, click here. (Times and dates for 2023 included.)

Alternatively, simply ask our friendly front desk team. We would be happy to put the excursion together for you.

(Note: If you’d like to read about more photographic spots in Victoria Falls, take a look at another one of our blog posts here.)

victoria falls lunar rainbow

Quick facts about lunar rainbows

Moonbows are fainter than their daytime equivalent, but no less spectacular. This is, of course, because the moon, as a light source, is not as bright as the sun.

The vividness of a moonbow’s colours will differ from individual to individual. It all depends on your personal night vision!

What the eye can’t see, the camera will capture. Long-exposure photographs display the colours of the moonbow beautifully – an exciting challenge for photographers.

According to The Earth Site, there are only two places in the world where you can see lunar rainbows on a consistent basis – Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, U.S.A. and, you guessed it, here at our very own Victoria Falls!

Stay with us

Victoria Falls is home to many natural wonders. For something extraordinary, try to time your stay with us over a full moon.

Whether a moonbow appears or not, the splendours of the Falls at night are something wondrous to behold.

Browse our website and make your booking directly or simply contact our team via and allow us to assist you in putting together a magical vacation to Zimbabwe and an in-person sighting of a Victoria Falls Lunar Rainbow.

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