Locals call it Mosi-oa-Tunya – the ‘smoke that thunders’. No other name describes the Victoria Falls better. Straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls are one of the most impressive falls in the world, spanning more than a mile. I saw a photo of the falls in a geographic encyclopedia as a child and I knew then, that’s where I’ll go… one day! Thirty-odd years later, that dream came true.
We flew into Livingstone in Zambia from Johannesburg and as the plane approached the airport, the falls came into view. The aerial views of the Victoria Falls were simply breathtaking! Several days later, I found myself standing at the entrance of the Victoria Falls park on the Zimbabwean side of the falls. I could barely contain my excitement. From the entrance, I followed the path that leads visitors through the forest to the falls. As I approached the falls, I noticed the thicker vegetation. Whilst the flora at the entrance was shrubbier, closer to the falls, the scrawny bushes made way for trees whose thick branches were covered with all sorts of epiphytes such as lianas. Sustained by the incessant spray from the falls, the rainforest formed an extraordinary contrast to the woodland savannah in the surrounding region. The thunderous roar of the falls was clearly audible and I quickened my pace. I made my way to a clearing and there they were: the Victoria Falls!
Experiencing the Victoria Falls
I stopped for several minutes to take in the splendid view, then continued along the path through the forest. The path branched off to various lookouts, each of which offered amazing views of the falls on the other side of the gorge. It was a hot day and I was only too happy to linger at the lookouts, getting absolutely drenched by the enormous clouds of spray!
The path stopped abruptly at the end of the gorge. Signs warned visitors not to get too close to the edge – there were no fences, at least not that I can recall. The view of the falls, the gorge and the rainbows below were absolutely stunning!
Read about my Zambezi Queen cruise.
Read about my visit to the nearby Chobe National Park.
Fun for thrill-seekers
Aside from walks through the forest to view the falls, the park also has several activities for those seeking an adrenaline-charged experience. The activities ranged from fox-flying (zip-lining in a horizontal position) across the gorge (least scary) to gorge swinging (simply terrifying!). I chose to stay put and enjoy the view! Haha!
I stood in the shade and watched these thrill-seekers – i.e. crazy people – zip-line across the gorge, and bungee-jump or swing into the gorge. Their screams echoed across the gorge, assuring me that I’d made the right decision!
Seeing the Victoria Falls truly was a dream come true and I’m glad I got to see it. It’s a pity that I didn’t get to experience the falls from the Zambian side – one of the biggest attractions there is the Devil’s Pool, where visitors can sit in a natural pool at the very edge of the falls.
That only means I’ll have to return… one day! 🙂
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