Of all the many wonders to take your breath away that Southern Africa has to offer, Chutes Victoria, Zimbabwe is perhaps one of the better-known attractions. Situated on the Zambezi River, which acts as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this waterfall is a truly spectacular sight. The sheer scope of the falls, with a height of 108 meters and an average flow of 1088 cubic meters per second, makes it widely recognised as the largest waterfall in the world.
Also know as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates to ‘the smoke that thunders’ the spray from the falls can at times reach up to a thousand feet in the air, causing the brilliant array of rainbows that earned the falls it’s nickname, the Rainbow falls. While this natural phenomena is indeed a beautiful sight to behold, it also gives rise to the lesser known nocturnal phenomenon, the lunar rainbow.
A lunar rainbow or moonbow as it is also known, results when the fine water particles of mist from the falls spray reflects the light from an almost full moon. As such moonbows are visible at best on three nights of the lunar cycle – the night before, of and after the full moon – when the reflected light from the moon is at its brightest. Under perfect conditions, when the night sky is clear and exceptionally dark, with the moon low in the sky, an observer may witness an indistinct white arc above the falls spray.
The best place to view a lunar rainbow at Chutes Victoria, Zimbabwe is from the Zimbabwean side of the falls, as the moon will rise in front the observer, it can be also be seen from the bridge and various other places. One has to be able to view the spray with the moon at their rear and the two to three hours while the moon is still below 45 degrees on the horizon are the magic hours. The sheer volume of spray at Chutes Victoria, Zimbabwe is what gives rise to the rainbows and January to July when the falls are experiencing peak flow would be the best time to visit.
On these three nights of the lunar cycle the Rainforest Park is re-opened for a few hours to enable viewers to experience this spectacular sighting. Victoria Falls is in fact one of the few places in the world where this spectacle can be seen regularly. When planning your trip to the falls, be sure to keep the lunar calendar in mind so as not to miss out on this amazing experience.
The great news is that if you have already booked a safari with us or thinking about it, and this safari includes Chutes Victoria, Zimbabwe, you may have the exciting opportunity to witness this rainbow!
The safaris that coincide with this phenomenal event are:
- Botswana Wildlife Breakaway: 7th September, 5th October and the 5th November
- Botswana Untouched Mobile Safari: 8th of September
- Southern Explorer Safari: 17th October
- Northern Experience Safari: 30th of July, 28th August
- Botswana Lodge Explorer: 9th of October
- Great Trans African Lodge Safari: 1st August
- Beach & Wildlife Voyager: 17th of October
We are able to organise this exciting (a must!) add on for you and your clients. If you are interested in this, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org – this experience, specially priced at USD 38 per person (excluding USD 50 park entrance fees), is extremely popular and places sell out quickly!