Victoria Falls, although not the highest or widest waterfall in the world, is still one of the most famous, perhaps second only to Iguazu Falls in South America. It is the largest vertical sheet of falling water by sheer volume in the world, and it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The climate around Victoria Falls is humid sub-tropical, and the year can be divided into the wet season and dry season, like many other places in Africa with similar climate classifications.
Dry Season (April-September)
In many parts of Africa, seasonal classifications are not used because their climate and lifestyle is defined by either wet or dry, with temperature variations being relatively small comparatively. The dry season at Victoria Falls could be considered the winter and spring, in terms of temperature, because the temperature drops gradually from April-July, then rapidly spikes to the end of September. The average rainfall over the course of the dry season is only 0.2 inches of rainfall per month, and June, July, and August typically get no rainfall whatsoever.
The average mean temperature during the first half of the dry season (April-June) is an overnight low of 10C (50F) and a daytime high of 27.5C (81F).
During the second half of the dry season (July-September), the overnight low remains at approximately 10C (50F) and the daytime high increases to 28.5C (83.5F).
Making the trip to Zimbabwe/Zambia to see Victoria Falls is the opportunity of a lifetime, but many people don’t know what else there is to do, besides trek across the world to see a waterfall. In fact, the area surrounding Victoria Falls offers plenty of interesting activities for visitors, and while the dry season might be a challenging time for some tourists, it is still a wildly popular time to come. The main event is of course, the sight of the entire Zambezi River falling 360 feet off a cliff, and once you see that, you understand why Victoria Falls is considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. The National Park that contains the falls is easy to access from the nearby town, also called Victoria Falls, which can be confusing. The National park consists of 6,000 acres of rainforest reserve, which you can spend days exploring, in addition to seeing the waterfall. Another very popular choice is to go on a night safari, and during the dry season, you actually might see more animals under the cover of darkness, including the rare black rhino. A bit further up the river from Victoria Falls is the Zambezi Bridge, which connects Zimbabwe and Zambia. This bridge is not only a scenic spot for some lovely photos, but it is also the spot where thousands of bungee jumpers find a rush on their African vacation. If you are feeling daring, plunge headfirst towards the river below, it will certainly make the trip even more memorable.
For a more formal experience of this legendary locale, take the Victoria Falls Steam Train on a sunset trip to the Victoria Falls Bridge. Get treated to some luxurious service in this old-fashioned setting before arriving for an evening stroll, with a cocktail in hand at one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world.
In the dry season you might want to take a dip to cool off. There is no better place for a swim than the Devil’s Pool, a seemingly insane way to spend an afternoon. This naturally formed pool is right on the edge of Victoria Falls on the Zambian side, and a rock wall slows down the water and prevents swimmers from tumbling over the edge. However, this is only safe when the water levels are relatively low, like the period from September-December, before the intense rainfall of the wet season raises the amount of water too high. Whatever you end up doing in Victoria Falls, it will be a trip you will remember for the rest of your life!
Rainy Season (October-March)
The rainy season in Victoria Falls breathes new life into the abundant natural wonder. The color returns to the surrounding areas, and the waterfall is invigorated with more water and a more powerful downfall of water. Additional activities are also available during the rainy season for visitors to enjoy. Precipitation peaks in December and January, with just under 7 inches of rain during both of those months, while the outlying months average about 3 inches per month.
The average mean temperature during the first half of the rainy season (October-December) is an overnight low of 18C (65F) and a daytime high of 32C (90F).
The average mean temperature during the second half of the rainy season (January-March) is an overnight low of 17.5C (64F) and a daytime high of 29C (85F).
If you choose to visit Victoria Falls during the rainy season, expect your viewing of the Falls to be a wet experience. The increased volume of water causes massive spray and a large mist cloud to sit over the falls during most of the season. This can be a beautiful time to visit, as long as you bring a raincoat and something to protect your camera from the moisture! Also, in the evenings, many people choose to take the trek to the waterfall to see what is called a moonbow. On cloudless nights with a fuller moon, the rays of light from the moon interact with the spray of the waterfall to create these rare natural phenomena, a rainbow in the middle of the night. It is a spectacular sight if you can catch it on a good night. White water rafting is also an option for adventure seekers during the rainy season. The Zambezi River is considered one of the better spots for white water rafting, and there are many tour companies that offer guided experiences for that. If you want that sort of excitement, with a little less involvement, take one of the Jet Boat Adventures, which can be accessed after a short walk from the town of Victoria Falls.
A very unique experience for the brave cultural adventurers who visit Victoria Falls is an authentic village evening. Spend a night in a local village and experience traditional African life. Besides the cot and the mosquito netting, you have no other luxuries, but the once in a lifetime opportunity to live, eat, and celebrate among rural African people is something not to be missed. The Leya people, led by Chief Makuni, is a popular, nearby choice for this type of experience, and more information can be found in the town of Victoria Falls. Since it is the rainy season, the amount of animals that are awake and active during the daytime increases dramatically, so safari tours are a very popular activity in this season. Take your safari to another level and climb aboard the back of an elephant as it wanders and walks through various trails of Victoria Falls National Park. To get up close and personal with the Falls, the rainy season can be a wild time to take a helicopter tour right over the waterfall basin. Take an extended helicopter ride and head out over the nearby game reserves for some picture taking from above of wild animals in their natural habitats.