When the sun goes down there is no shortage of ways to fill your guests’ time, from special dinners in scenic locations to adventurous outings. Kristie Omar rounds up some of the best options on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls.
On Zimbabwe’s side of the Falls, perched 120 metres above the rapids of the Batoka Gorge and just downriver of the Victoria Falls Bridge, is the newly opened The Lookout Café. Operated by Wild Horizons, the Café is adjacent to its high-wire facility, where it offers adrenalin-fuelled activities such as the Gorge Swing, Flying Fox and the Vic Falls Canopy Tour. During full moon, the Café offers special dinners, where guests can enjoy views of the Falls and the bridge, lit by the light of the moon. It can accommodate groups of up to 60 guests and the list of Full Moon Dinner dates can be viewed on its website.
Dinner river cruises
Enjoying sundowners on the Zambezi is widely regarding as one of the ‘must-do’ activities when visiting the Victoria Falls. Guests are likely to see wildlife on the banks of the river, including elephant and various antelope, along with plentiful birdlife, as well as crocodile and hippo in the river itself. There are several operators, departing from both the Zambian and the Zimbabwe side of the Falls, with vessels that offer dinner cruises, providing guests with the opportunity to stay on the water after the sun has gone down. These vary in terms of capacity as well as luxury. Safari par Excellence, based on the Zambian side, has two boats that offer dinner cruises – the Makumbi, with space for 100 guests and the smaller Mambushi, with space for 23 guests. Both serve freshly baked snacks, a light dinner and local beverages, spirits and wine. Based on the Zimbabwe side, the Zambezi Explorer Cruise Company also has two vessels that operate dinner cruises, Zambezi Explorer with capacity for 150 passengers across three decks (booked on an exclusive-basis for dinner cruises), and Zambezi Reflections, which has capacity for 34 passengers and serves gourmet-style meals.
Night game drives
The Victoria Falls is near a number of small reserves and national parks, including the Zambezi National Park and the Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve, both in Zimbabwe. These parks have granted operators special night-time access, as both are normally off-limits to tourists outside daylight hours. Shearwater Adventures offers a rhino encounter game drive, including a night drive and bush dinner. The experience starts before the sun goes down so that guests can see the wildlife that gather at Nakavango Dam to drink, followed by a night drive through the park. The vehicle then returns to the reserve’s reception area, where guests will enjoy dinner under the stars. Wild Horizons offers a ‘Night Eyes’ safari in Zambezi National Park, which enters the park in the late afternoon and continues into the night. Refreshments are served on the banks of the Zambezi.
Steam train dinner experience
The Royal Livingstone Express gives guests the opportunity to travel in an authentic, restored train. The Royal Livingstone Express comprises five air-conditioned carriages, two dining cars, a club and kitchen car, lounge car and observation car. The train is operated by Sun International’s Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia and takes guests through the Zambezi Valley, providing them with an opportunity to enjoy views of the Falls from the bridge and the scenery of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. For the dinner experience, guests are collected from the Royal Livingstone Hotel at 17h00 and transferred to the Bushtracks Private Station, where they board the first-class lounge carriage. The dining cars have seating capacity for 92 passengers, who are served a six-course gourmet-style meal.