Victoria Falls in June
by Jess White
Victoria Falls in full flood
25 June 2018
While the rest of the world looks to a temperature gauge, Africa has its own unique way of showing us the seasonal transformations.
The courting raptors and migrating elephants announced the arrival of our winter in June. The butterfly leaves of Mopane trees are taking on their distinct winter hue, and as the grass cover recedes, animals advance to the water sources. The concentration of wildlife at the water sources and the sparse vegetation characteristic of our dry season creates amazing game viewing in the Zambezi National Park. The rains may have left but the Zambezi is still flowing strongly post-peak, eagerly awaiting exploration.
Zambezi River Fishing
Fishing lines cast into the Zambezi are only momentarily slack before the tiger fish snap up the bait. The water is wonderfully clear at the moment, ideal for fly fishing and spinning. Tiger fish do manage to evade capture more often than not, but with cool weather, clear water and stunning scenery, these fishing expeditions are a must this time of the year. If you aren't a keen fisherman, take advantage of these picturesque conditions by embarking on a canoeing safari instead.
Victoria Falls White Water Rafting
Victoria Falls is famous for its exhilarating rafting expeditions. The river tumbles down into the gorge, erupts into spray and thunders into the canyon below, forming one of the greatest river corridors in the world, and a highway for rafters. The intensity of the experience varies with the water levels. The sheer volume of water during the high-water season created extremely turbulent conditions, and this year the rafting tours stopped on the 13th of March. They have been open since the middle of June, and as the water levels continue to fall, the rafting trips are getting more exciting. The higher the water, the more deeply submerged the rocks that generate the white-water rapids. The view of the waterfall has been jaw dropping while the river is so full, but if you are planning your trip around a rafting day, it would be better to wait until August or September when the levels have dropped a bit more and the full capacity of the rapids can be felt.
Devils Pool and Livingstone Island
Access to Livingstone Island and Devil's Pool is also determined by the water levels and this year was closed on the 3rd of April. Livingstone Island was reopened on the 18th of June, but Devil's Pool is still closed. When the water level of the Zambezi gets too high, the lip of rock that creates Devils Pool overflows, and swimming there becomes dangerous- but as the river levels decrease it is a safe, well managed and must-do activity. There are some experiences that simply transcend words, and swimming to the edge of the Victoria Falls is one of them. To float above one of the worlds natural wonders, flanked by curtains of roaring and churning water is simply awe-inspiring. The pictures alone might make your legs feel like jelly, but the memories you take away are reminiscent of a life changing moment in which you only feel bliss. The Zambezi River decides when Devil's Pool will be open, and this is usually around August.
Livingstone Island is open, and absolutely breath taking at this time of the year. The water levels are high and 10 million liters of river rushes over the lip of the waterfall every second, plummeting 108 meters into the gaping chasm below. Livingstone Island is nestled in the heart of the spray on the brink of natures own infinity pool.
The island is steeped in history and was the very place that Dr. Livingstone first laid eyes of the Victoria Falls, gasping that it was a sight so lovely, it must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. Witnessing these words in context as you follow Dr. Livingstone's footsteps around the island is a humbling and memorable experience. A guide accompanies the groups, retelling the incredible history of the island as you explore the edge of the waterfall. A decadent five-star meal concludes the adventure, before you climb into the speedboat and bounce across the rapids back to the Royal Livingstone Hotel.
Victoria Falls in other seasons
We hear the arrival of summer in the roaring "smoke that thunders". The Zambezi River will be in full flow after the rainy season and plunges over the side of the gorge with such ferocity that the rains come as heavily from the bottom of the gorge as they do from the clouds. Silver steaks of lightening crack open the navy blue skies in short dramatic evening thunderstorms. Summer shows itself in the thick green foliage and the fruit that sprouts from African Ebony and Baobab trees. It is the season of new beginnings in Africa, and throughout the game reserves, nursery herds are evident and mothers can be seen teaching the younglings how to navigate the bush as they feast on the resplendent vegetation.
Flocks of returning migrant birds symbolize the arrival of an African spring. Knob horn trees and Baobabs come into flower, bright yellow petals drape the long tail cassias and white gardenias are splayed across the landscape. The water levels fall, exposing the best rapids for the year. Autumn is colored with rich red and orange hues, making the wilderness look as it is reflecting a sunset that we are only shown in the evenings. The deciduous trees lose their leaves, and the breeding white backed vultures can be clearly seen moving between bare branches, searching for a mate.
Victoria Falls is a year-round destination, but if you are visiting us in the near future, you can safely put rafting, Livingstone Island, tiger fishing, bird watching and game viewing on your to-do list.
LinksZambezi National ParkZambezi RiverDevil's PoolLivingstone IslandVictoria Falls CanoeingRoyal Livingstone HotelVictoria Falls
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