Rainbows and Moonbows-Helicopter Tour and Lunar Tour-Victoria Falls

Though our day exploring Victoria Falls was amazing, I had one regret. Pre-trip, as I scrolled through Instagram photos of the falls, I saw a lot of fabulous rainbow pics. Alas, on our Victoria Falls day, there was not a single rainbow in sight.

Victoria Falls-Helicopter Tour

I was a tiny bit nervous as we pulled into the helicopter company’s parking lot. It was my first ever helicopter ride, and although I had zero trepidation later in the week when paragliding, there was something about being squished together in a small, metal pod, that ascended into the air, that gave me the claustrophobic fidgets.

We were weighed, placed in our group, then given a little overview of Victoria Falls  and the surrounding area.

Then we waited for a bit, which didn’t help ease my jitters.

Our group was called and we were instructed to make our way to the helicopter (I had to fight back the urge to yell, “get to the chopper!”).

My tummy wasn’t necessarily filled with giant monarch butterflies, but there were some tiny moths flapping their wings inside there.

They loaded us according to weight, and I was thrilled that I got a window seat.

The view from the air was an amazing sight.

The helicopter turned, to expose a different angle, and it happened.

Just as we turned, a rainbow leapt out of the falls. Or at least that’s what it looked like, a leaping, bright, colorful rainbow, jumping out to greet me.

Joy, wonder, amazement, I felt it all. I’m grateful that my husband just happened to snap a photo of me at the very moment I saw it.

I finally got to see my Victoria Falls rainbow and in a more spectacular way than I could have imagined.

I emerged from the helicopter like a little kid.

“Again, again,” I wanted to cry. Helicopter rides are super fun.

Taking a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls is one of those travel splurges. It isn’t necessary, but if you can save somewhere else so that you can swing it, the views are incredible, and the experience is unforgettable.

Extra Info: Helicopter Tours can be booked through the Zimbabwe Helicopter Company. When you arrive at the helicopter company, there is a park fee that you have to pay in cash, even if you already paid ahead for the rest of the ride, so make sure to bring cash with you.

Victoria Falls- Lunar Tour

Our trip was already booked, when I came across information about the Victoria Falls Lunar Tour. After checking the dates of our trip, I realized that we would be at the falls during the full moon. As there are often rainbows at the falls, during the full moon, you have the possibility of encountering a lunar rainbow, or moonbow. Essentially a rainbow that is illuminated not by the sun, but by the full moon. We couldn’t pass up the chance to see something that unique.

We booked the lunar tour through a company, that included transportation to and from our hotel, but you can just as easily stroll up to the entrance the night of and pay the entrance fee for the tour. I’d actually suggest this instead of booking ahead, so you know it’s going to be a clear, weather free, night, before you financially commit.

Everyone on Lunar night, must stay together with the group. It’s very dark, and there could be wild animals lurking about. The guides carry flashlights to lead the way, and they are very strict about everyone staying together.

We arrived at the first viewing point, and there it was, a moonbow. Cascading down from the falls. It had an eerie glow, not experienced during daytime rainbows.

The appearance made me think of a stretched out, multi-colored, ghost.

It was inspiringly cool.

I am in love with my Olympus Tough point and shoot, and am happy using my phone for supplemental photos and video. I’ve never had much of a desire to lug around a DSLR camera, but this was an occasion where I wish I had more sophisticated equipment, because we couldn’t get a great shot of the moonbow.

I was very careful to keep my flash off, but when I reached at some point to stabilize my phone, I must have accidentally touched the screen. To my great embarrassment my flash went off, pissing off the girl standing next to me. Embarrassment aside, I ended up getting a fun shot of the mist at night.

We went to several other viewing points, but the first moonbow was the only one we saw that night. Our visit was during dry season, and one of the guides said that you can see a lot more moonbows during the high season. It was still exciting being able to see one. It was also neat being able to walk around the falls at night with nothing but a few flashlights and the full moon to provide light. You couldn’t fully see the falls, but because of that, you could feel them all the more.

Would I have liked to come home with a stellar lunar rainbow pic? Sure. In the end I was there, seeing it in person, experiencing a rainbow, illuminated by the full moon, at one of the natural wonders of the world. It felt like a once in a lifetime experience, and being there, in the moment, soaking it all in, is really what travel is all about.

 

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24 Comments

  1. Dylan

    January 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    What an experience! We would love to fly in a helicopter and see Victoria Falls! So glad you got to see a rainbow! Such a spectacular trip!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      It was so much fun. I’m glad now that the rainbow waited until the helicopter ride to make an appearance.

    2. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      It was definitely a trip of a lifetime. It was also fun getting to experience a new continent.

  2. Jaime.

    January 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve never heard of Moonbows! That looks even better than a rainbow!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      It was really cool and something so unique to see. I’m not sure where else moonbows occur, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for them from now on.

  3. Jm

    January 26, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Awesome experience and such a breathtaking view! You are very lucky

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      We were lucky, especially with the weather. Conditions were perfect for everything we did.

  4. Chuck

    January 26, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    That is a bucket list place for me. Thanks, for all the great info, will really help my planning.

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      You’re welcome. I love reading other people’s blogs to get ideas for activities.

  5. Corinne

    January 26, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I’ve never been sold on helicopter tours over top of things (like in NYC) but after seeing your shots over Victoria Falls I think I’m converted. It’s like a totally different experience seeing everything all at once like that. Simply spectacular!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      I think helicopter tours are great for vast natural areas. I think I’d like to go back to the Grand Canyon to do one there, and we’re hoping to take a helicopter to a glacier during our trip to Alaska, since that’s been on our bucket list for a while.

  6. Matthew

    January 27, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Your video and pictures are stunning. It was great to see the excitement in your face. I was hoping to visit Zimbabwe this summer but had to postpone to next year. Now I’m counting down the days till 2019 haha….thanks for sharing

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks. I’m still learning how to do the video stuff, so I hope in a year or two my skills will be much improved. I’m so excited that you’ll get to visit Zimbabwe in 2019. It will be an amazing trip.

  7. Lisa

    January 27, 2018 at 9:37 am

    What an awesome and unique way to see the Victoria Falls. Absolutely love your reactions on the pictures. 😀 #WeekendWanderlust

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      It was fun getting to see the falls from above, up close, and a nighttime all during the same trip. We can definitely say we saw Victoria Falls now.

  8. Sarah

    January 27, 2018 at 9:52 am

    What an amazing experience, I loved your reaction to seeing the rainbow as well. Your husband had brilliant timing.

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      I’m glad that my husband is good about taking pictures of me while we travel, otherwise I’d probably come home and find out there are no pictures of me at all.

  9. Cynthia Mackintosh

    January 27, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Loved your facial expressions when finally seeing the rainbow at Victoria Falls! We did a helicopter tour of Maui and loved it so I know you must have been thrilled as well!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks, I was really excited about the helicopter ride once I discovered it wasn’t so scary. I’ll have keep a helicopter ride in Maui in mind when we get around to visiting Hawaii.

  10. Jen

    January 28, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Wow this looks amazing! Definitely on my list. The views are spectacular. Great photos!

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      January 28, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks. It was so cool getting to see everything from above.

  11. Lara Dunning

    February 2, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Stunning photos! The falls are so dramatic and that would be a great way to see them. I often get motion sick, but I’d think I’d suffer through or dose up on Dramamine for that ride! I would love to see the moonbow. I didn’t even know that existed!

  12. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    February 4, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    This such a bucket list worthy experience! Wow…it is one of those once in a lifetime splurges that really should be done. Beautiful captures of an incredible place. Love the expressions of you captured here. I would be so giddy too. This is so near the top of my travel wish list.

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      February 6, 2018 at 2:19 am

      I was so excited. It was a spectacular experience. I’m so glad we got to visit the falls, and see a rainbow and a moonbow in the same day.

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