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Victoria Falls River Safaris

A Unique Sunset Cruise Exploring the Islands of the Upper Zambezi River above Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls classic river safari on aqua jet pontoon boat, Zambezi River in Zimbabwe

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.

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These river safaris are operated on a 28ft twin aluminium pontoon boat. The twin 60hp Yamaha engines have been fitted with aqua jets rather than propellers, this unique feature enables these boats to navigate parts of the river that the other cruise boats can't go.

Victoria Falls classic river safari, Zambezi River in Zimbabwe

Some parts of the river get congested with the larger sunset cruise boats

Because of this adaptation these boats are called jetboats, but the term jetboat 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. This couldn't be further from the truth as these cruises are very sedate and relaxing, meandering slowly through the channels of the upper Zambezi River.

Almost everyone who visits Victoria Falls goes on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Those cruises are often packaged together with other activities and sometimes thrown in as a freebie. But those boats are generally large pontoons with deep draughts and propeller driven engines.

As much of the upper Zambezi is rocky and shallow, only a short 5 km stretch of river around Long Island has a deep enough channel for these large boats to navigate. There are possibly 15 to 20 companies that operate sunset cruises, which means this small section of river gets quite congested with boats going backwards and forwards. Don't get me wrong these are pleasant cruises and enjoyed by many, but if it were me and I had the choice I would pay the marginally higher price and go with the jetboat river safari.

Victoria Falls classic river safari, Zambezi River in Zimbabwe

The smaller boat ensures a personalised 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 all the other boats it felt more intimate - a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

The Victoria Falls river safaris depart from a jetty amongst all the other sunset cruises but after a short cruise downstream it breaks through a narrow channel navigating around and cluster of rocks which forms the natural barricade for the bigger boats and leaves them behind. The boat is now on it's own and begins its exploration of the islands above the Victoria Falls. The experienced captain manoeuvres the jetboat expertly through the channels searching for birds and wildlife.

Victoria Falls classic river safari, Zambezi River in Zimbabwe

Closer to the Falls

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 to 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 white person ever to see the Falls.

The boat has a maximum capacity of 16 people, ideal for small groups with a feeling of having your own private cruise. On the cruise clients will be provided with a choice of local and imported drinks from 5 different spirits, 4 different beers, red and white wine and varied soft drinks, with snacks. Return transfers from your hotel to the jetty are included. There is also a toilet on board. 

The jetboat sunset cruise times vary with the seasons. Times are from leaving the jetty to returning to the jetty. Summer 16h30 till 18h30 and Winter 16h00 till 18h00. Private cruises and fishing trips can be arranged by special request.

The Victoria

The Victoria is the upmarket version of the classic river safari described above, but with a maximum capacity of 20 passengers. It is jet propelled, making it the only luxury safari boat that is able to access the part of the Zambezi River that is very close to the edge of the Victoria Falls and the islands in that area. It combines exclusivity with luxury.

The Victoria river safari offers a very comfortable sunset cruise while taking you downstream towards the rising spray of the Victoria Falls. While cruising, a chef from the Victoria Falls Hotel prepares sushi "and other gourmet canapés". It is a romantic experience infused with a touch of history. Meandering through the islands on the Zambezi River, you may spot elephants crossing part of the river that David Livingstone took when he first arrived at this magnificent waterfall.

"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

• The cruise includes pickup and drop-off at your hotel
• Dress code is smart casual
• Children of all ages are welcome
• Price does not include river fees, which are to be paid in cash on arrival
• The cruise includes a full bar with local and imported spirits and mixers, wines, beers and soft drinks
• Bring Cameras/Camcorders; Booking voucher; Sunscreen/hat; Warm clothing in winter
• Do not bring valuables; small expensive items that may fall overboard; cell phones if you can do without

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All Activities

Adrenaline & Adventure
White water rafting
River boarding
Bridge swing
Gorge swing
Bridge slide
Zip line
Flying fox
Canopy tour
Bungee jump
Devils Swim

Wildlife and Safari
Upper Zambezi canoeing
Overnight Canoe Safaris
Siduli Hide
Game drive ZNP
Night drive and dinner
Elephant Encounter
Elephant back safari
Walk with lions
Chobe day trip
Zambezi fishing
Horse back safaris
Walking safaris

Scenic Tours
Tour of Falls
Helicopter flight
Microlite flight
Sunset cruise
River Safaris
Sunset and dinner cruise
Zambezi Explorer Sunset Cruise
Ra Ikane cruise
Historical bridge tour
Steam train trips
Tram trip
Livingstone island tour
Crocodile Farm
Lunar rainbow tour
Bike tour

Boma Dinner
Traditional village tour

Art of Africa
Birding Safari
Photographic safari
Vic Falls Photographic Tour

Family Friendly Activities

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Client Testimonials

by Kate (Zimbabwe)
Many thanks for all your assistance. You have probably been the most responsive and helpful tour organizers I have worked with- anywhere in the world. I'll be sure to recommend you to my colleagues and friends.

All the activities lived up to the hype!
by Alex (Swaziland)
Good Afternoon Boo,
Just wanted to let you know that we are now back in Swaziland and had an incredibly fun time enjoying Victoria Falls! All the activities lived up to the hype and I would like to thank you for all your help in organising a busy but full holiday for us! Everything went smoothly from the moment we arrived to the time we left.
Also wondering where you prefer to have your reviews written?
Thanks again!
All the best

Memory I will not forget
by Sunitha
Hi Jane
Hope you are keeping well.I must say a very big thank you for all your assistance and advice for my trip. I had the most amazing time at Vic Falls, a memory I will not forget.
Thanks a million once again.

Fantastic Itinerary
by Graham & Janet (United Kingdom)
Dear Boo
We would like to offer our thanks for sorting a fantastic itinerary for our all too short visit to Vic Falls. The cruise on the Zambesi at sunset was a delight and the helicopter flight breathtaking! The pick ups were punctual and staff members were all very smiley, friendly, helpful and good company. The whole experience of the actual Falls and the town itself was outstanding.
We will return! Your company will be our first port of call. Many thanks for a very efficient service.
Best wishes

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