A different perspective…
Visiting Victoria Falls is one of life’s most captivating and enchanting experiences. It resembles a small piece of heaven, reflected in a curtain of water that cascades 108 meters down a steep gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Situated on the Zimbabwean side, Ilala Lodge Hotel is the closest hotel to Victoria Falls – a mere eight minutes away.
Most visitors to this World Wonder experience the fall’s magnificence through guided tours, or self-led walks through the flora and fauna of a luscious rainforest surrounding the waterfall. As Ilala Lodge Hotel is just 936 steps from the falls, we’ve discovered a little secret to guarantee the most memorable experience of viewing this World Wonder.
A crucial factor to making the most of your experience, is selecting the best time of day to view the falls. While the majority of visitors typically visit around Midday, we’d advise otherwise! Instead, to capture the quietest and most undisturbed viewing of Victoria Falls – we suggest you get there before the sun rises.
Timing is key!
The sun rises at various times throughout the year, which means it is essential to check exact timings before you visit. Likewise, it is important to note that during warmer Summer months – September to May – the Victoria Falls Rainforest is open to visitors from 6.00am and in Winter – May and July – it opens from 6.30am.
As the waterfall is situated within the Victoria Falls National Park, we suggest arriving early a few minutes earlier to pay. Entrance fees for international visitors is US$30.00 per person, SADC visitors is US$20.00 per person and for local Zimbabweans it is US$7.00 per person. Don’t forget to take your ID or passport, your preferred method of payment, credit card or cash are accepted, and a Ziploc or plastic bag to keep your valuables secure and dry.
The spray from the falls can be quite heavy at viewpoints closest to the waterfall so we highly recommend taking an umbrella or raincoat with you to avoid getting too wet! You can pick up umbrellas from the Ilala Lodge Hotel reception or hire raincoats from the curio market opposite the National Park entrance. While the hotel is only a short distance away from the falls, comfortable walking shoes or trainers are essential.
Prepare to be amazed!
A short walk down a cobbled pathway will take you from the entrance of the National Park through the luscious-green rainforest, to the first viewpoint and David Livingstone’s statue. Here, you’ll see the morning sky transform as the sun begins its dawn over the mighty waterfall.
Around the corner are viewpoints three to seven which reveal the widest possible view of the 1,708-metre-wide waterfall. Between these points is where you’ll witness the very best view of the morning sun as it breaks over the horizon, rising boldly over Victoria Falls.
An exceptional transformation of colours takes place in the sky – we assure you this will be one of the most spectacular sights you will witness! Gradually, as the night fades away and the blue sky starts to lighten, the skyline above the horizon glows with orange, pink and purple as the sunrise draws closer. When the sun breaks through, a radiant glow emerges above the horizon. In this moment time stands still. A fiery sphere takes shape, ascending through the misty-spray of the falls, to commence a new African day.
Magnificent and breath-taking views can be seen at all 16 viewpoints along the rainforest walk.
Once the sun is high in the morning sky and your camera is filled with perfect photographs to make this memorable moment last forever, make your way back to Ilala Lodge Hotel for a delicious breakfast feast at The Palm Restaurant – recently awarded a Certificate of Excellent on TripAdvisor.
Waking up a little earlier is a small price to pay to experience this spectacular sunrise, and we can guarantee that this will be one of the most exceptional and unforgettable ways you’ll ever begin your day.