Victoria Falls River Safaris
A Unique Sunset Cruise Exploring the Islands of the Upper Zambezi River above Victoria Falls
This aluminium pontoon boat is powered by twin water jet engines rather than propeller engines, allowing it to access areas that other boats can't go.
Victoria Falls River Safaris are aluminium pontoon boats, powered by aqua-jet engines rather than propeller engines. This unique feature enables these boats to navigate parts of the river that the other cruise boats can't go.
Some parts of the river get congested with the larger sunset cruise boats
Aqua-jets are also called jet-boats, but the term jet-boat is misleading as it conjures up images of hurtling through rapids at high speed, making 180 degree turns on a dime and getting very wet, as per the one below the Victoria Falls. But for these cruises that couldn't be further from the truth, as they're sedate and relaxing, meandering slowly through the channels of the upper Zambezi River.
Most people who visit Victoria Falls go on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Cruises are often packaged together with other activities and sometimes thrown in as a freebie. But those cruises are generally on large pontoons with deep draughts and propeller-driven engines, unable to navigate the rocky and shallow sections of this river, giving them only 5 km of river in which they can navigate.
That's where the aqua-jets come into their own, they can traverse through much shallower water opening up whole new sections of the river.
The smaller boat ensures a personal experience
I felt kind of privileged as we left all the other larger boats behind and headed into our own section of the river away from the maddening crowd. Being smaller than most of the other boats it felt more intimate - a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The cruises explore the islands and channels above Victoria Falls. The experienced captain manoeuvres the jet-boat expertly through these channels searching for birds and wildlife of which there is plenty. In high water the captain can get within 600m of the Falls but as the water level drops more rocks are exposed and it gets difficult to get that close.
The scenery is just beautiful especially in the warm sunlight of the African afternoon and the rising spray of the Falls is always evident further downstream.
One can't help but ponder, that this was the exact view Dr David Livingstone had as he approached the Falls for the very first time on 15th November 1855 moments before becoming the first European to ever to see the Falls.
Closer to the Falls
There are two jet-boats available, both are ideal for small groups and have that feeling of being on your own private cruise. Both traverse the same section of river and are operated by the same company.
The smaller boat "Darter" has a maximum capacity of 16 people and we call it the "Classic River Safari." On this cruise, clients will be provided with a choice of local and imported drinks from 5 different spirits, 4 different beers, red and white wine, varied soft drinks and snacks.
The larger boat "The Victoria" has a maximum capacity of 20 people. It is an upmarket version of the "Darter" with more salubrious finishes to the boat, premium brand drinks and gourmet snacks prepared on board by a chef from the Victoria Falls Hotel. Quality comes at a price, so it is more expensive than the "Darter Classic River Safari."
"The aim of
The Victoria is to create the finest cruise experience on the upper Zambezi
River. Bushtracks Africa and The Victoria Falls Hotel have put their reputations
forward to ensure The Victoria meets this standard." - Bushtracks
More Information on the Victoria Falls River Safaris
• The cruise includes pickup and drop-off at your hotel, approx 1 hour
before departure from jetty.
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