All hotels will arrange reservations and give advice on activities, most at no additional charge. If you want to check that this is the case (as well as view the very latest on activities), visit Safari Par Excellence's comprehensive website (www.safpar.com).
Choosing Sides -- Certain activities are available only on the Zambian or Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls; the Safpar website lists what is available on which side of the falls (activities are listed in terms of the country where they start/end). This may determine on which side of the falls you choose to base yourself, though bear in mind that you can always just pay the additional transfer and visa fees and pursue them regardless. A daytripper Zambian visa costs $20; with most activities costing up to $40 less on the Zimbabwe side, staying here (even with visa and transfers, which Safpar will organize, should you wish to do something on the Zambian side) will more than likely save money (and provide the Zimbabweans with much-needed support).
Abseiling, Gorge Swing & Flying Fox -- Rappel down a 50m (164-ft.) drop into the Batoka Gorge, then tackle the gorge swing or traverse the Flying Fox. Attached to the world's highest commercial high wire, the gorge swing allows you to experience free-fall for 70m (230 ft.), then swing over the Zambezi, churning 120m (394 ft.) below. The Flying Fox is one of the world's longest cable slide lines, whereupon you more or less fly, fully harnessed to the cable, above the Zambezi rapids at speeds of up to 105kmph (65 mph). For the Flying Fox alone, the cost is $75, or you can do any activity as often as you want for $95 for a half-day, $115 for the full day.
Bungee Jumping -- The checklists of most adventure-sportsmen aren't complete until they've done the heart-stopping 111m (364-ft.) bungee off the Vic Falls Bridge, stopping about 10m (33 ft.) from the boiling waters in the Batoka Gorge. Jumps take place daily (9am-1pm and 2-5pm); the first jump costs $105 ($145 for tandem). Jumps may be delayed during the months of heavy spray (Mar-June).
Bush Walks -- Operators like www.natureways.com (tel. 263/47/44159) or www.cansaf.com (tel. 263/13/43352) will accompany you on a variety of expeditions, from 2-hour bush walks to 2-night walking safaris, as well as canoe safaris. A 3-hour birding or game-viewing walk costs around $65. "Walking with lion cubs," an activity now available on both sides of the falls, is understandably tempting, but it remains highly criticized in conservation circles, who see no benefit whatsoever to the lions. Some suspect the cubs are released into private reserves where they become targets in "canned" hunts. If you're still keen, book in advance through Safari Par Excellence ($115).
Canoe Safaris -- Canoe safaris offer a more sedate option than rafting, with the added bonus of seeing hippos, elephants, and crocodiles while you paddle the broad expanse of the Upper Zambezi. There are no (or very small) rapids on this trip, so you won't get your hair wet, though be aware that hippos do occasionally upend canoes (in which case, your guide will whisk you aboard almost immediately). Sunset cruises are particularly recommended ($45), or opt for a full-day overnight canoe safari ($155-$200, depending on the side of the falls). Contact Robin Brown at Cansaf (tel. 27/83/278-5770 or 263/011/60-5063) or book through an adventure outfit.
Elephant-Back Safaris -- Four major companies now offer elephant-back safaris, and it is suspected that some 50 elephants are held captive in the area. The growth of the activity has raised many controversial questions. The industry is under-regulated and, apart from the obvious animal welfare issues relating to concerns over the captive methods (in 2006, Shearwater Adventures captured 12 wild elephants from Hwange National Park), the training methods used, and the environmental impact of keeping these animals captive, there is no obligation for commercial operators to provide for the life-time care of these emotionally sensitive animals. Ascertain where the elephants have come from, how they are trained, where they are kept, and what the company's long-term plans are before you saddle up ($90-$150).
Flying -- To get a real idea of the size of the falls, take to the skies on a microlight or ultralight flight -- both are quieter than helicopter or fixed-wing flights, and you'll be sailing a great deal closer to nature. Batoka Sky (book through any of the adventure-activity operators above; flights leave from Livingstone) operates tricycle-style microlight flights from Zambia and charges $120 for 15 minutes. You can't take a camera (if you drop it, it may stop the engine below), so Batoka has a camera attached to the wheels; your pilot will take a photograph of you at the most appropriate moment -- flying past the falls. Ultralights, considered marginally safer than microlights, cost about $110 for 15 minutes.
For helicopter trips, book through an adventure center or direct with the Zambezi Helicopter Company (tel. 263/13/44513; $130 for 15 min.); for fixed-wing flights, try Ngwazi Air Charter (tel. 260/096/665-7001) or United Air Charter (tel. 260/3/32-3095 or 263/11/40-7573; www.uaczam.com).
Golfing -- The 6,786-yard Elephant Hills Intercontinental (tel. 263/13/44793) course is at times just a stroke from the roaring Zambezi River, and the constant presence of the falls -- not to mention wildlife -- makes this Gary Player-designed course one of the most interesting in Africa.
Horseback Safaris -- Zambezi Horse Trails (tel. 263/13/44611) provides riders with an opportunity to get closer to game than they can on foot or in a car. Led by an experienced guide with an extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area, rides take place on 30,000 hectares (74,100 acres) of the Matetsi River Ranch, which borders Zambezi National Park. Experienced riders can choose among half-, full-, or multiday riding safaris; a full day will cost around $95, excluding park fees ($10). Novices are taken on a 2-hour ride ($45) into areas where such potentially dangerous animals as elephants are avoided. Alternatively, if you stay at Chundukwa , you can hire the owner's horses for guided game-viewing trips along the river. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations and prices.
Skydiving -- If you think bungee jumping is for babies, a tandem skydive -- accelerating toward Victoria Falls before enjoying a restful 5-minute parachute ride -- is for you. The folks at Sky Dive Vic Falls (tel. 260/977/33-7153; www.skydivevicfalls.com) are the ones to contact; weather permitting, you'll be whisked up to 2,700m (9,000 ft.), ready for the most exciting outlook on the falls.
White-Water Rafting -- This is the most exhilarating ride you'll ever have. Operators pride themselves on offering the best commercially run rapids in the world. You need to be reasonably fit (not only to deal with the Class III to Class V rapids, but also for the 230m/754-ft. climb out of the gorge at the end of a tiring day). You should also be a competent swimmer. Don't worry if you haven't done anything like it before -- organizers offer dry-ground preparation before launching onto the water, and the safety and guiding standards are excellent (note that this does not prevent unforeseen disasters). The best time for rafting is when the water is low and the rapids impressive, from July to January; September and October are particularly good months. (From Apr through May, when the water is particularly high, some rafting companies close altogether.) You should be aware that there is a certain level of danger and that the rapids claim a few lives every year. The safest option is to get on a boat that has an oarsman who guides you along the safest path. The alternative, where everyone in the group has his or her own paddle, is much more fun, despite the fact that -- or in large part because of it -- you'll definitely end up in the water. River-boarding is the most hair-raising way to brave the rapids -- alone, on a boogie board, you literally surf the waves created by a selection of Class III to Class V rapids. Most river-rafting companies offer an optional half-day rafting, half-day boarding experience. The kings of the river are Raft Extreme (tel. 260/3/32-3929; www.raftextreme.com) and Safari Par Excellence . Both offer trips from both the Zimbabwean and the Zambian side -- Zambia has the added advantage of including a few extra rapids, and they also begin right beneath the falls; the benefit of being on the Zimbabwe side are the multirafting trips -- after a full day rafting, overnighting on a sandy beach in the gorge is bliss -- sure to be the highlight of your trip. This costs only $165 per person, meals included. Alternatively, expect to pay $110 to $145 for a full day (depending on which side you start at). Prices include lunch, drinks, and all equipment.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.