There are so many fantastic activities at Victoria Falls it can be hard to decide what to do. A helicopter flight over the Falls is not the cheapest of options but it is worth every cent as the breath-taking views of the Flight of Angels cement the Falls as truly one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
The professional operation ensures peace of mind as you are weighed to ensure the helicopter is well balanced before being briefed on the flight path – which is very carefully designed to ensure everyone on the helicopter gets equally fantastic views of the Falls (although I did manage to position myself to sit on the left hand side of the helicopter so I could see the Falls in the distance when we turned back to the base for landing).
There are few different options to choose from and I did the popular 12-13 minute Flight of the Angels. It all seems to happen quite quickly as you are called for your flight, walk over to the helicopter and before you know you are seated and putting on your seat belt and headset. The pilot says hi and then switches the audio over to a great pre-recorded commentary and you are off, gently lifting off the ground. As someone who is actually quite scared of flying I didn’t have time to even think about the fact we were taking off before enjoying the fact that we were zooming towards the towering mass of mist hovering over the Zambezi River. After years of a terrible drought and the Falls running very low, I was incredibly lucky to have booked my flight on the first sunny day in weeks as the drought broke big time in southern Africa – the best news for everyone, human and non-human, and great news for the majestic Zambezi River whose full banks ensured water was thundering over the Falls.
The audio commentary warns you to get ready as you near the Falls and I was worried things would happen so quickly I wouldn’t be able to get any good photos. But the flight path ensures two really fantastic sweeps past the Falls on the one side of the helicopter before two really good sweeps on the other. So if, like me, you are trying to get good photos, get good video recordings and take in the magical sight ‘in the moment’ you actually can do this without feeling to harried – prioritising what’s most important to you for the best sweeps on your side of the helicopter and then taking in the views on the other side.
Even though I was most focused on getting good photos, the sheer immensity of the Falls moved me from the first moments and I found myself quite teary as I looked down upon the vast mercurial waters of the Zambezi River suddenly plummeting off this mile wide gash in the earth creating a massive plume of mist rising so high into the air. Even if the water is low the sight must be mesmerising and with the water high the view from the air is just fantastic – especially as so much of the Falls are obscured by mist when on the ground.
And of course, it’s not just the majesty of the Falls themselves but also the river calmly flowing above the Falls and then the dramatic gorges zig-zagging below the Falls which you can take in so well from the air. After doing our figure of eights over the Falls we headed up the Zambezi River and over the Zambezi National Park – a superb sight in its own rights with its myriad islands dotted through the Zambezi River’s seemingly static surface and a nice reminder from the audio commentary to keep a look out for animals!
We then turned back in and towards the helipad with a final fabulous look over the river towards the towering mist before coming in for the gentlest of landings back at the beginning. 13 minutes seemed so much more on this magnificent Flight of Angels.
Add the Flight of Angels into any of the following Travel Africa itineraries: