Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia

Photo: Sanctuary Retreats

Victoria Falls is one of the most impressive sights you’ve ever seen. Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke That Thunders) is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the world’s largest sheet of falling water. It spans more than a mile, drops 355 feet, and is two times as wide and deep as Niagara Falls. Plus it sits on the Zambezi, Africa’s fourth-longest river. You’d love to return to this breathtaking spot. But it’s so crowded along the river in Zimbabwe. There’s another side of Victoria Falls, though.

Zambia lies on the north side of the Zambezi. Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and two-thirds of Victoria Falls do, too. So, yes, the view is better from the Zimbabwe side. You have to work a little harder to find a good vantage point from Zambia. But you’ll have those lookout points practically to yourself.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park isn’t big—it only covers 25 square miles—but it’s impressive. Half of the park borders Victoria Falls. Its curved riverbank is covered with ebony groves and a mopane forest. Rainbows arch across the thundering water. Plus boardwalks wind between lookout spots. The second half of the park, upstream and inland, belongs to the animals. Angolan giraffes. Burchell’s zebras. Cape buffalo. It’s also where you find Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma.

Photo: Sanctuary Retreats

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma sits nearly eight miles upstream from Victoria Falls. The lodge, named after two Africans who accompanied David Livingstone when he explored the area, feels remote. Before you arrive, you worry that it’s too remote. But, as part of its all-inclusive package, you get to pick two safaris each day. A game drive in a custom-built, four-wheel-drive vehicle. Canoeing down the Zambezi. A guided tour of Victoria Falls. A walking safari to track southern white rhinos. A sundowner cruise. Then, after each excursion, you return to this peaceful spot on a dramatic bend of the river.

Suddenly, remote sounds ideal. Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is surrounded by jackalberry trees and Phoenix palms. The main lodge is the heart of the property. The two-level, open-air space houses a dining area, a round bar, a wine cellar, a curio shop, and a pool. Hanging chairs, candle lanterns, and a fire pit litter the shaded deck. A spa treatment room dangles over the water on stilts. While the view extends across the river.

From the main lodge, wooden boardwalks extend to 12 Sussi treehouses and two Chuma houses. You might see the footprints of African elephants along the walk to your thatched treehouse, which is perched in a giant ebony tree. Earth tones, cozy sitting areas, and a very comfortable bed fill the inside. It’s the outside where you’ll spend most of your time, though. From your private viewing deck, you can hear rushing water and the sounds of the bush. You can see the river and playful vervet monkeys. Plus you can sip a glass of Pinotage as you relax far from the crowds. This is the way to enjoy Victoria Falls.

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