Lonely Planet guide: Best places to visit during August | Activity Holidays | Travel


The flow of Victoria Falls starts to thunder more quietly, from August


WHY NOW? Run the white waters of the Zambezi

You might think the best time to raft some of the world’s wildest whitewater is in the wet season.

You’d think wrong. When the flow of Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders”) starts to thunder more quietly, from August until the end of the year, falling water levels in the Batoka Gorge beneath the 354ft-high (108m) cascades provide the most thrilling rafting.

Oblivion, Washing Machine, Gnashing Jaws of Death – these are just some of the rapids that fl ip adrenaline-pumped paddlers from their rafts.

If you can catch your breath, gaze up at the cliffs, watching for birds including the rare Taita falcon. Once you’ve dried off, take a dip in the Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island at the very edge of the falls, before venturing on a wildlife drive in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park to spot elephant, buffalo and giraffe.

Trip planner: Fly to Livingstone via Johannesburg or Lusaka. Rafting trips range from half a day to four days. Add on visits to Livingstone’s markets, viewing spots for Victoria Falls, a safari in the national park and perhaps a day kayaking above the falls.

Need to know: Rafting trips also run from Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe. 



The famous Skogafoss waterfall in southern Iceland,


WHY NOW? Delve into otherworldly interiors

When Nasa wanted to train their astronauts for lunar conditions, they sent them to Iceland. A visit to the island’s desolate interior reveals why.

It is as barren and unforgiving as can be imagined and experiences harsh conditions for much of the year; August is the optimum – indeed, almost the only – time you can penetrate its lava fields, volcanic craters and jagged rockscapes.

A few historic routes wind through the inner highlands creating shortcuts between the north and south, with some sections only accessible to the toughest of 4x4s.


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