Victoria Falls Information & Levels



the largest in the world

The Victoria Falls is one of the three largest waterfalls on earth. It is not the highest or widest, neither does it carry the highest volume. However, when comparing a combination of these factors, it is Victoria Falls, Niagara Falls and Iguacu Falls that are the three largest waterfalls in the world.

To understand the levels of the Falls one must understand that the levels of the water in the Zambezi River vary markedly throughout the year as it is a rain-fed river, depending on rainfall to supply the water that flows in it. The rains in Southern Africa fall seasonally and so the level of the Zambezi River and thus the Falls is seasonal, following the rainfall cycle.

high & low water

The Zambezi River is at its lowest in approximately November or early December in most years. The water of the Falls is concentrated mainly towards the Zimbabwe side as that side of the Falls is deeper and dries up slower than the Zambian side. Its highest level is in approximately April or May when the entire length of the Falls is a thundering wall of falling water. Compare the images below of the Falls in November on the left, to the level in April / May on the right.

NOVEMBER

APRIL/MAY

One can understand the level dynamics of the Falls by looking at the simple graph below of the level of the Zambezi River. This is by no means scientific but it is the general trend in most typical years and shows the height of the Falls in each month.

so which level is better?

Each different level brings with it good and bad points for viewers of these incredible Falls, however the one overriding factor is that at any level, low or high, the Victoria Falls is a magnificent and awe-inspiring sight.

In low water some areas of the Zambian side dry up nearly completely leaving bare rock exposed. This may not be perceived as being as "impressive" as the Falls in full flood. That aside, when full, the spray of these mighty falls can be so strong as to obscure the view of much of the Falls, leaving viewers drenched. The only real answer is to see them from the air - no matter what the level. Only then can one appreciate the vast scale of this, perhaps the greatest of all the seven natural wonders.