From Botswana, we crossed the border into Zimbabwe. It took us a couple of hours to get from Chobe to Victoria Falls. The entire trip, I had heard from my Dad about our wonderful accommodation in Victoria Falls. We were staying at the Victoria Falls Hotel, which I believe is the oldest hotel in Africa. It was established in 1904.
When we got there, the place felt a little bit like a mental institution. But as we moved further in, it lost its industrial feel and I warmed to the place very much. There were grand common rooms, perfectly manicured gardens and marvelous facades. Stuffed animal heads on the walls, spiral staircases and chandeliers. Formal dining and high tea – the hotel was the cherry on the cake of what was my favourite leg of the trip.
The falls were completely mind blowing. Last year I was lucky enough to see Niagara Falls, but this was better. It took about 10 minutes to walk to the falls, and then there was a track which wound around to different viewpoints. It was unimaginably hot, so we declined ponchos and instead enjoyed the cool spray of the falls.
The water gushed down in what must have been millions of litres. It’s really amazing to watch and to listen to. The way I would differentiate it from Niagara is that Niagara is two straight sets of falls that you see from afar. This is more than that. It’s bigger and more varied. You can’t stand in one spot and see it all at once. But like Niagara, it does have a permanent rainbow. I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job with the description, so have a look at my photos.
That night, we ate dinner in one of the hotel’s three restaurants. While the food was mediocre, we were treated to some nice African music and dancing.
The next day was our adventure day. At Victoria Falls they have all kinds of activities you can do. Bungee jumping, white water rafting, flying foxes, and so forth. We started off with a helicopter ride over the falls, which was amazing. Awe-inspiring. Painful ears aside, you could use every superlative in the dictionary and still not quite do justice to the magnificent views.
Back on the ground and it was off to the Zambezi gorge. In terms of geography, the Victoria Falls are in between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and fall into the Zambezi river. My brother and I did the flying fox, which was pretty cool. The only scary part was running off a platform where there’s nothing underneath except a drop of about 100 metres into unfriendly waters.
And then my brother decided to do the giant swing. Craziness. You jump off a platform and free fall for 70 metres, before swinging back and forth. The swinging I would be content with, but the drop is just madness. The mother of the two girls who braved it before Simon was having a panic attack watching her kids, and listening to their profanities echo through the walls of the gorge. But brother did it twice – so it can’t have been too bad.
That afternoon, after testing out high tea at the hotel, we swam in the glorious swimming pool. Having been on safari for the previous eight days, everything the hotel had to offer was splendid. Television and free wifi were especially appreciated.
The town at Victoria Falls wasn’t much but it avoided the tackiness that overwhelms Niagara Falls. There were a few other accommodation options, shops and markets. But it was really too hot to do much exploring.
The next morning we were off to our next destination. Stay tuned for Namibia.