Zimbabwe Profiles Guides,Local,Places Historic Tours and Adrenaline Rush: Experiencing Victoria Falls Bridge

Historic Tours and Adrenaline Rush: Experiencing Victoria Falls Bridge

Historic Tours and Adrenaline Rush: Experiencing Victoria Falls Bridge post thumbnail image

The Victoria Falls Bridge, a prominent steel-lattice two-hinged arch bridge, spans the Zambezi River just below the renowned Victoria Falls, connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia.

This bi-national structure, with historical significance and engineering brilliance, serves as a key link between the two countries.

The bridge, built in 1905, has played a pivotal role in the region’s transportation and commerce, with a fascinating history and a mix of adrenaline-inducing activities attracting visitors today.

ALSO READ: Tsumo DzeChiShona Dzinotanga naS

Victoria Falls Bridge – Pure Vision

Victoria Falls Bridge: Picture credit to Pure Vision

Origin of the Name

Originally referred to as the Great Zambesi or Zambezi Bridge, the structure later became known as the Victoria Falls Bridge, paying homage to the iconic falls nearby.

The origins of the name Victoria Falls Bridge involve two intertwined stories:

1. The Bridge itself:

  • Originally known as the Great Zambesi Bridge or simply the Zambezi Bridge, the name reflected its primary function: crossing the mighty Zambezi River.
  • The bridge was the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, who envisioned a Cape to Cairo railway and commissioned its construction in 1900. Despite his grand vision, Rhodes never even visited the Falls and died before construction began.

2. The Influence of Victoria Falls:

  • The bridge’s location, just upstream from the majestic Victoria Falls, played a significant role in its eventual name.
  • David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary who named the falls after Queen Victoria in 1855, brought global attention to the region.
  • By association, the bridge crossing near the falls naturally adopted the Victoria Falls name, paying homage to both the geographical landmark and the queen.

Interesting tidbits:

  • Rhodes famously said he wanted the trains to “catch the spray of the Falls,” but this desire wasn’t fulfilled due to engineering constraints.
  • The bridge’s design, credited to George Hobson, is a remarkable feat of engineering and stands as a testament to human ingenuity.


While the bridge initially lacked a specific name, its connection to Victoria Falls and the surrounding area ultimately led to its current, globally recognized moniker.

So, the name “Victoria Falls Bridge” reflects not just its purpose but also its location and historical context.

ALSO READ: Tsumo DzeChiShona Dzinotanga naT

History of the Place

Cecil Rhodes’ Vision

The brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, the bridge was conceived as part of the ambitious Cape to Cairo railway scheme.

Although Rhodes never visited the falls and passed away before construction began, his vision aimed to have trains catch the spray of the falls as they crossed the Zambezi.

Construction and Design

Designed by George Andrew Hobson and prefabricated in England by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, the bridge was transported to Victoria Falls via Mozambique, taking only 14 months to complete in 1905.

The main central arch, a parabolic curve, stands at 156.50 metres above the river.

Operational Challenges

During the Rhodesian UDI crisis and the Bush War, the bridge faced closures, and regular passenger services were disrupted.

However, freight and road services resumed in 1980 after successful negotiations.

The Grand History of the Bridge:

The Victoria Falls Bridge holds its own against a natural wonder | ASCE

Picture credit to ASCE

The Bridge, an iconic landmark stretching across the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe, boasts a rich and fascinating history. Here’s a glimpse into its journey:

Vision and Conception (1900):

  • Initiated by Cecil Rhodes, driven by his ambitious Cape to Cairo railway scheme.
  • Originally called the Great Zambesi Bridge or Zambezi Bridge.
  • Sadly, Rhodes passed away before construction began.

Design and Construction (1903-1905):

  • Designed by George Hobson of Sir Douglas Fox and Partners, with stress calculations by Ralph Freeman (later known for Sydney Harbour Bridge).
  • Parabolic arch design, prefabricated in England by Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company.
  • Shipped to Beira, Mozambique, then transported by the newly built railway to the Falls.
  • Construction took just 14 months, a remarkable feat in 1904-1905.

Opening and Significance (1905-Present):

  • Officially opened in 1905 by Professor George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin.
  • Originally built with two railway lines, later modified for one line, two car lanes, and two pedestrian walkways (1929).
  • Became a crucial link for trade and transport in southern Africa.
  • Served as a meeting point for negotiations during political tensions in Rhodesia (1970s).
  • Holds the status of a National Monument in both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Listed as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Beyond the Bridge:

  • The building process involved around 30 skilled European engineers and hundreds of local African labourers.
  • Construction faced challenges like extreme weather conditions and logistical complexities.
  • The bridge holds cultural significance, appearing in literature and films like “The Mummy” (1999).

Today, the Bridge stands as a testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess. It continues to serve as a vital transportation link and a captivating tourist attraction, forever intertwined with the grandeur of Victoria Falls.

Further Exploration:

Geographical Location

Situated just downstream from Victoria Falls, the bridge spans the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The coordinates are 17°55’41.7″S, 25°51’26.1″E.

The Victoria Falls Bridge spans the mighty Zambezi River, right next to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Here’s a closer look at its geographical location:

Coordinates: 17°55′42″S 25°51′26″E

Region: Southern Africa

Countries: Zambia (north) and Zimbabwe (south)

Specific location:

  • The bridge crosses the Second Gorge of Victoria Falls, about 350 meters (1,148 feet) upstream from the main waterfall.
  • It connects the towns of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on the south bank, and Livingstone, Zambia, on the north bank.

Significance of location:

  • The bridge’s proximity to Victoria Falls adds to its historical and cultural significance.
  • Its location on the border between the two countries facilitates trade and transportation in the region.
  • The surrounding landscape, characterized by the Zambezi River and the Batoka Gorge, adds to the bridge’s scenic beauty.

ALSO READ: Tsumo DzeChiShona Dzinotanga naUTsumo DzeChiShona Dzinotanga naU

Activities to Do

Adrenaline Adventures

The Victoria Bridge offers a range of adrenaline-pumping activities, including:

  • Bridge Slide: A thrilling zip across the gorge.
  • Bridge Swing: A free-fall followed by a swing over the Zambezi River.
  • Bungee Jumping: A headfirst free-fall with speeds reaching up to 120km/h.

Non-Adrenaline Activities

For those seeking less intense experiences:

  • Historic Bridge Tour: A guided tour exploring the construction and history of the bridge.

Adrenaline-Pumping Activities at The Bridge:

The Chronicle - Breaking news

Victoria Falls Bridge: Picture credit to The Chronicle

For the thrill-seekers and adventure junkies, the Bridge offers a variety of heart-stopping activities that will leave you breathless:

  • Bungee Jump: Take the plunge 110 meters (360 feet) down into the Batoka Gorge, with the mighty Zambezi River rushing beneath you. This is one of the highest commercial bungee jumps in the world!

    Bridge Swing: Feel the pendulum swing 80 meters (262 feet) over the gorge, reaching speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph). Enjoy the panoramic views and the adrenaline rush as you swing back and forth.
  • Fast Rope Descent: Rappel down 110 meters (360 feet) along the sheer face of the bridge, experiencing the power and spray of the Victoria Falls up close.

  • White-Water Rafting: Embark on a thrilling rafting adventure down the rapids of the Zambezi River, battling the currents and soaking in the breathtaking scenery.

Activities for Relaxed Enjoyment:

If you prefer a more leisurely experience, there are plenty of options to soak in the beauty of the Victoria Falls Bridge and its surroundings:

  • Bridge Walk: Take a stroll across the bridge, marvelling at the engineering marvel and the stunning views of the falls and gorge below.
  • Sunset Cruise: Enjoy a scenic boat cruise on the Zambezi River, witnessing the breathtaking colours of the sunset as it paints the sky and the bridge in vibrant hues.
  • Wildlife Tour: Embark on a safari through the Zambezi National Park, home to elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and many other amazing animals.
  • Scenic Helicopter Flight: Soar above the Victoria Falls Bridge and the falls themselves, capturing breathtaking aerial views of the natural wonder and its surrounding landscape.

Remember, safety is paramount when participating in any activities around the Victoria Falls Bridge. Always follow the instructions and guidelines provided by qualified professionals.

ALSO READ: Tsumo DzeChiShona Dzinotanga naR

Police Contacts

For any police-related matters on the bridge, contact the local police departments in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and Livingstone, Zambia.

Victoria Falls District, (013)41571. Victoria Falls, 0773 029 967.

Maintenance and Modernization

Ramboll, an international engineering firm, conducted a structural analysis of the bridge in its 100th year, recommending limited repairs and regular check-ups to ensure its longevity.


  1. Victoria Falls Bridge – Wikipedia
    • Author: N/A
    • Published: N/A
  2. Victoria Falls Bridge – ASCE
    • Author: N/A
    • Published: N/A
  3. Ramboll picked for new check on Victoria Falls Bridge – Bridgeweb
    • Author: N/A
    • Published: N/A
  4. Victoria Falls Bridge Activities – Victoria Falls Guide
    • Author: N/A
    • Published: N/A

Leave a Reply

Related Post