Where to observe the lunar rainbow:
The Victoria Falls is of course shared by both Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The Zimbabwean side has by far the most viewing opportunities with a series of paths in the rain forest leading along the opposite bank to the falls (facing the falls) from the Devils Cataract in the west to the boiling pot in the east, a distance of about 1.5 km.
The Zambian side has fantastic views looking down the length of the falls, from the Eastern Cataract, along the Rainbow falls to the boiling pot.
There is a shorter series of paths, and a narrow bridge leading to knife edge here you can view the boiling pot from the Eastern side. The paths are a lot shorter, round 300 metres, so viewing angles are a lot more restricted on the Zambian side.
However for the purpose of the lunar rainbow viewing after sunset, the Zambian side offers great viewing opportunities as the moon rises behind you (in the east), offering a great rainbow over the aptly named ‘Rainbow Falls.’
Back to Victoria Falls
There is little or no opportunity to see the rainbow after 2200hrs to the early hours of the morning as the moon is moving to the west and the rainbow is too deep in the gorge. This is also a problem from September to January as there is little water flowing on the Zambian side.
On the Zim side there are a number of opportunities:
• After dusk viewing of the rainbow over the Devils Cataract (from 1900hrs to 2200hrs.)
• Early morning (from 0000hrs to dawn) viewing of the rainbow over the Main Falls.
• 0000hrs to dawn viewing of the rainbow from the ‘173 steps’offering a great overall view of the Falls.
• Viewing the sunrise through the spray, from either the Devils Cataract, or from the Victoria Falls hotel.
- A tripod is essential.
- All you do is focus to infinity, set your camera on manual mode on f5.6 and try a series of shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 30 seconds.
- Shaking the camera by pressing the shutter is not a problem as the shutter delay is so long due to the low light.
- Experiment with various shutter speeds and also f stops. The higher the f stop, the longer shutter speed you will need
I found 20 seconds/f8 was excellent ad this showed the slow fuzzy flow of the water
A day either side of the start and end date for each month is also fine to observe the lunar rainbow.
January 10, 11, 12th
February 9, 9, 10th
March 10, 11, 12th
April 8, 9, 10th
May 8, 9, 10th
June 6, 7, 8th
July 6, 7, 8th
August 4, 5, 6th
September 3, 4, 5th
October 3, 4, 5th
November 1, 2, 3rd
December 1, 2, 3rd
December/January 2010 30, 31, 01
January 29, 30, 31
Feb/March 27, 28, 29
March 28, 29, 30
April 27, 28, 29
May 26, 27, 28
June 25, 26, 27